Technically no one usually stays in Dharamsala, the bus continues forward to a small Tibetan Refuge 30 mins up the mountain, Mcleodganj. After a 14 hour bumpy bus ride we (Nadi from Rishikesh and her 7 year old son) were so tired we took the first place we could to sleep. The next day we continued through Mcleodganj where the Dali Lama lives to a smaller one with no roads and much more relaxed called Dharamkot. We found a great room with a kitchen and bathroom right in the middle of the valley overlooking everything.
I got sick, probably from food poisoning, but also because I started closing my heart from the love of this amazing woman. I started to think of a woman back home that has constantly been a source of pain, but for some reason I always turn back to. It took me a few days of laying in bed to get better, and admit that I was having doubts about our relationship. When she said I was still a silly boy who didn’t know what he wanted, I agreed. I met two guys from Canada and Sweden who were looking to change their living situation too. We found the best room/view in the entire town. Nadi and Jamir were our neighbors and came to visit everyday.
(the picture with the fruit + vegetable stand is the owner of our hotel, right at the bottom of our stairs, sooo convienent)
Calvin, Johan, and I had a great time hanging out, cooking, going into town to play ping pong and reading in between. Out flat became a hang out spot for many, and six other friends moved into various rooms downstairs from us. At one point we had five people living in our room with us and besides minor exceptions we were in such great harmony. We were each very different people that maintained our own individuality while functioning as a group when ever possible.
We climbed up to a waterfall two hours away for Raaee’s (a downstairs neighbor) birthday. Besides needing to find cover from the rain and it being a little too cold to swim, we had a great 4/20 with many goats, cake and Shiva Prashad.
There was a party one night at the top of a different waterfall a little closer to our hostel. We had never been, but decided to try and find it anyways. We were guided through town to the other side where we could see way up above us the lights flashing. From there we climbed for at least 30 minutes to the top where the party was raging. We had a great time until some Indians attacked our Tibetan friend because he was dancing with one of our pretty backpacker friends. The Indians were obviously very drunk and jealous. They immediately started beating him and several of us western men came to his defense. We were having trouble telling who was doing the attacking because there were so many of them. They tried to drag him to the edge of the cliff and throw him off. Just in time we surrounded his limp body and stopped the fight. We carried him down the mountain until he was conscious enough to walk. He was bleeding but had no broken bones or permanent damage.
The nights are filled with music, and to follow the spirit I bought a guitar 3500 rps ($65). One of the main places to participate in music was the Rainbow Gathering Cafe (completely different than actual Rainbow Gathering principles)
The Tibetan Library + a tasty treat (hello to the king)
Dharamsala was all about human interaction and community. In Rishikesh everyone was so individually spiritual, being together was often a chore. Conversations revolved around yoga techniques, diet, meditation, mantra, karma, enlightenment, cleanses, and all around asceticism. This created a tense atmosphere because it was impossible for everyone to adopt and understand each other’s spiritual practice. In Dharamsala everyone got along (besides that one night). People didn’t worry much about anything other than being together. The Buddhist philosophies supported community and religion in the sense of bringing people together. Eventually I became frustrated because of the lack of seriousness available when I wanted to talk about real things happening in the world. Accepted pseudoscience promoted avoidance from reality. I didn’t have the answers but I knew they weren’t here. Adventurous energy drove me into the next phase of the journey, buying a 2001 Bajaj Eliminator (30,000 rps, $555). I planned to take on the Himalaya loop. My itinerary was loosely Dharamsala, Mandi, Dalhousie, Chamba, Jammu, Srinagar, Leh, Manali. I had heard the roads through the Himilayas are the most beautiful and intense in the world.
PS. the man with a typewriter is transferring the title to me, and the man next to him is the big dog notary (I didn’t have a witness or a passport so I paid an extra $1 bribe)