the Yoga Bum

I’d heard a lot of things about Los Angeles – it’s just a sprawl, there’s no centre, there’s nothing to do, there’s loads to do, you need a car to get around, the public transport’s better than people think – each piece of information more contradictory than the last that in the end I realised there was nothing else to do but just go there and see for myself.

la-la land

To be fair, LA is a big place, more like several towns that butt up against each other than one big city. I was only going there because I had to fly out from there to go to Australia. But I figured while I was there I should hit up a few of the local attractions, see what all the fuss was about.

I was staying at the Hollywood Hotel, quite a nice place that was surprisingly cheap for what you…

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the Yoga Bum

I don’t like a lot of talk. Oh I can do it well enough, both the listening and the yapping away, but by nature I tend toward silence and solitude. That’s why I was really looking forward to my one week retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After 3 months Karma Yoga, and a few weeks traveling (in one of which I visited 3 major cities!), I was in need of a recharge.

vajrapani institute

I found the Vajrapani Institute just by doing a quick Google search. There were, unsurprisingly, quite a few places to do meditation in California, but it was their pictures of the cabins, and the surrounding hills, that sold me on going there.


Getting there proved to be reasonably straight forward, but at the same time a bit of a mission. I took the Amtrak down from Oakland (near San Francisco) to San Jose, where I had…

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the Yoga Bum

Someone asked me the other day if I’d ever found a city I could settle down in? Well, after visiting San Francisco I’d have to say, maybe yes; but, with two qualifications.

First off San Francisco is gorgeous. Built round the bay it has views all over the place. A city needs views. Apart from Primrose Hill, and a few streets in Crystal Palace, London is woefully short on viewpoints. SF has them by the bucket load.

twin peaks 1

Met up with my mate Mark who’s settled out here and we drove around a bit checking out some of the sights. He took me up Twin Peaks, where you get the best overall views of the city, and we also went across the Golden Gate Bridge to see it at sunset from one of the best viewing spots you can get.

twin peaks 2
sunset from twin peaks (lens flare)
crossing the golden gate
the golden gate at sunset
koo and keith at the golden gate

Yes indeed, SF looks good from a distance, but it also…

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The Icepo Hunter

As some of you may remember, in May I got involved in the icepo project, a worldwide effort to release captive icepos back into the wild.

Well, since then I’ve gone over to the other side. Kind of a game keeper turned poacher kind of thing. I am now an icepo hunter!

icepo hunter (in repose)

Hunting icepos is difficult. They are a rare and skittish breed. But a bit of research told me that one could be found in the San Francisco Public Library. Immediately I set to work (but only after a proper icepo hunting breakfast of tea and gingerbread pancakes!).

gingerbread pancakes

It takes great skill to hunt icepos; and a really big gun. Preferably one that shoots lasers and can turn into a sword. Mine does all that and more.

the hunt begins

Icepos are notoriously difficult to track,

looking for sign

but with a bit of patience (and a lot of luck) it can be done.

picked up the scent

Icepos hide out in the most normal looking of places.

icepo, in it's natural habitat

You’ve got to know what you’re looking for if you’re going to have a successful hunt. And even then you have to be careful for fear of spooking this rare and moody beast.

almost got him

But with skill and diligence victory can be yours!


Of course, I could never kill such a majestic creature. I hunt for the fun of it, not for the loss of life. Rest assured that icepo 99 was released back into the wild, and still roams free in the bookshelves of San Francisco Public Library to this day.

icepo, well and truly hunted

So, is there an icepo near you? How about hunting one of your own? 😉

the Yoga Bum

My God, where to start?

Last time I blogged anything significant was over a month ago, so that’s a lot to catch up on. Thankfully, the last 4 weeks of my karma yoga went pretty much the same as the first 4 weeks – lots of getting up early, working all day, cooking food, and waiting for the time I could head off traveling – with the exception of the final week where things got a bit crazy.

The hotel by the ashram closed for renovations, so all the yoga guests were staying with the ashram for a while. I suddenly went from cooking for 14-18 people to cooking for 40-45 people in one fell swoop. And cooking for that many people makes a big difference let me tell you. Changes in recipes, cooking time, prep time, all has to be taken into consideration. I’ll be honest, I was glad…

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