Sunday Music

I look up from the desk, over the room and through the window. And instead of the slope of a hill with some trees to the right and on top, and vineyards to the left, I see only a white flat, no deepness ; occasionally greyish-white objects swirl in front of the window-pane – perhaps LAWSONs “zig-zag & swirl” wasn’t so foolish ?
While driving through a village this morning I saw a public temperature indicator and learned that it had 9 °C minus, winter finally arrived. The vehicle drives pretty well on ice and snow, but the engine finds it hard to heat the cabin ; an additional heating system is fitted, but one can watch it gulping down the driving juice – anyway, the alternative would be sneezing kids and a grumpy co-driver, so let’s stoke, weaklings …
After some to & fro the big white monstermasher accepted the new operating system – no fear I will not bore you with technicalities. It does things a bit different from windows, takes notably longer to start, but when it’s fully loaded it works fine, wie der Herr so’s G’scherr. This means that I’ll be slowly trundeling back to normal regarding my online-habits, all I have to do is re-collect some of the three hundred or so bookmarks I lost. The computer works remarkably silent. Sadly the BIOS showed no inclination to accept the wonderful ssd-harddrive, but I do not give up on this – ha, take this ! Also the sound needs improvement, at least I hear the start-up & start-down dingle-dongle, so the speakers do work.
Let’s travel a bit through time and space : As antidote to the white freeze outside let’s visit the sunny India of 1953.
I hope you like it, and may we all have a relaxed and easy week ahead !



Icy Stupa

Long time blogging friend AUSTERE has sent an email last week, and I want to let my venerated readers know what she has to say about a very interesting initiative in Ladakh.


I recently volunteered at an alternative institute, SECMOL in Ladakh (Ger., Eng.) for 3 weeks.
SECMOL is largely independent, a prime example of eco-friendly sustainable living, with self-sufficient solar energy, solar heating, own source of water, organic farming, etc.  The setting is beautiful — on a cliff above the Indus, surrounded by towering mountains.

I’d like to share a water conservation project, The Ice Stupa Project, that SECMOL is working on, along with the monks from the renowned Phyang monastery (Eng.).
HH Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpochey (one of the highest incarnate Lamas) is actively supporting this project.

Towering Ice stupas, conical artificial glaciers of about 12 storey height, will be built to conserve water for the time when it is needed the most. Villagers will be able to take an extra crop. This field of glaciers will be created using gravity and school-level science, that water finds its own level.
This project is being funded using crowdfunding on Indiegogo, and I actively seek your support for this :

Here is the link.


AUSTERE included an email  from the founder of SECMOL,


I am writing this email to let you know that the much awaited “Ice Stupa Artificial Glacier” project is now launched on I hope you will like the idea and support it.

Please don’t feel compelled if you are not in a position to contribute financially now, you can contribute by sharing this idea with your friends, relatives and the media. It’s as much an Education Campaign as it is a Fund Raising Campaign.

You can either forward this email to friends with a note of introduction or post it on social media sites, although studies show that email has the best success rate.

However if you do want to make a contribution then this is the right time. Studies also show that most successful projects on crowd-funding platforms collect up to 30% of the target in the first 3 days.  It is said that this attracts and encourages other unknown potential contributors and the media (which then helps in the snowballing effect) . It also raises the ranking of the project (called GoGo factor) on the Indiegogo site which helps a lot in promoting a project.

Luckily we seem to be not too far away from this rate, since today, on the third day it has reached 11%.of the target amount.

So whether it is sharing the news or contribution … earlier the better.

Here is the link to the site that has a short film and all details :

Best wishes and many thanks for your support

Sonam Wangchuk


So let’s hope that the attention this site gets for nothing is turned into something useful in Ladakh.

Thank You for having a look at this project, thank You for letting me know, AUSTERE.

New Julfa

There are names of places that evoke images of adventure, the desire to travel and go and see the geheimnisvolle Orient. Isfahan (Ger., Eng.) is such a name. But when in Isfahan next time, do not miss to see New Julfa.
Isfahan saw its golden age under the Safavid Dynasty (Ger., Eng.), who ruled from 1501 until 1722. They made Isfahan their capital in 1598. Shah Abbas I. (Ger., Eng.) conquered Armenia (Ger., Eng.) – and a lot of other regions –  at the beginning of the 17th century and re-located the population of the city Julfa in the Caucasus by force. They were weavers and tradesmen, merchants. Until Nader Shah (Ger., Eng.) destroyed New Julfa 1747 this city and its Armenian population developed a truly global trade system: They connected Europe-Eurasian trade with South-East-Asia. The Armenian merchants traded silk and silver, and formed a system of trade posts around the Mediterranean into Northern Europe with Amsterdam as terminal; they also had connections into the Russian state; at the same time they had stations at the shores of the Indian Ocean and further through India, reaching out to the Philippines. All these lines and connections merged in New Julfa  (Ger., Eng.). Abbas I. had not only the Armenian merchants transferred to this place, but he gave them the monopoly on the export of silk. In 1622 he retook the island of Hormuz (Ger., Eng.) from the Portuguese, so breaking their position in the trade of the region.
The Armenian merchants developed a system of companies with outposts run by agents all over the world: The agent was a kind of subcontractor, he stood in a very close, contractually defined relation to the chief of the operation, and very often additionally in a kinship relation.
The agents held close contact to the centre by letters. In the year 1748 British naval forces confiscated a ship “Santa Catharina” in India. She carried aboard 1.700 pieces of correspondence between chiefs and agents written in an Armenian dialect. The convolut came into the British Library and there it seemingly was forgotten.
Until Sebouh David ASLANIAN used these sources for his book about the Armenian worldwide trade connections from Madras to St.Petersburg, Manila to Venedig. This is what HOPKINS (Eng.) and BAYLY (Ger., Eng.) called Proto-globalization (Eng.). Seems to be worth a look.

ASLANIAN, Sebouh David: From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (California World History Library),  2011.

… distracted …

There are names of places that cause a kind of Sehnsucht, “longing” the dictionnaire says, but I think that the sich nach etwas sehnen, sich an einen anderen Platz wünschen, is not entirely translated with this word. Names of such places would be Tang(i)er (Ger., Eng., Reisebericht), Marrake(s)ch (Ger., Eng.), Casablanca (Ger., Eng.),  Byzanz (Ger., Eng., arte), Toledo (Ger., Eng.), Nowgorod (Ger., Eng.), Taklmakhan, Brazzaville (Ger., Eng.) + Kinshasha (Ger., Eng.), Surinam (Ger., Eng.), Buenos Aires (Ger., Eng.), Ballarat (Ger., Eng.), Kallgoorlie (Ger., Eng.), Mindanao (Ger., Eng.), Jakarta (Ger., Eng.), Kuala Lumpur (Ger., Eng.), Andaman (Ger., Eng.), INDIA, Muskat (Ger., Eng.), Mekka (Ger., Eng.), Bagdad (Ger., Eng.) … my  travel around the world. Besides “Andaman” and “Taklamakhan” all names of cities, and one continent.
Arm chair travelling.
Only thing I attended today was writing another application. It’s too hot to walk or run, bills trundled in, they’ll have to wait ’til next week. Mombasa is not on the list above, strange. In fact I was collecting links about LE SAPE when I got distracted by names of locations, Orte der Sehnsucht.