My thoughts and activities in Dharamsala

Sunday, September 11, 2005

From the Himalayan foothills

Well I have finally made it. My travels went completey unhitched with some minor confusions but besides that I sit safely above Dharamsala in Mcleod Ganj. I have traversed from the Appalachian foothills to the Himalayan foothills. The views for here are absolutely incredible. Far beyond what I could ever imagine. The roads are so incredibly steep and windy, and people, cows, beggars and motor vehiches mingle in a flow that is very strange to me. I am hoping that I will not get hit. These cars come inches from hitting you very everytime they pass. I arrived here on the morning of September 9th. It took me a 12 hour bus ride from New Delhi. The weather here is cloudy, so far I have not seen the sun until today. Delhi's humidity is not to be reckoned with. Up here on the other hand is a bit chilly. I met my bossman from Tibetan Charity Jigme Tenzin La at the building. He was supposed to of met me at the bus stop in Mcleod Ganj ( the area above Dharamsala), but I was kicked off the bus in Dharamsala, so I did not met him at the bus stop. Immediately getting off the bus, many men rushed at me saying " Hello sir Taxi, Hotel". My first instinct was to grab my belongings and deflect the uncoming solicitors. They were unrelenting. Eventually they left me alone. Since it was around 6:30 in the morning there were not any phones in site that I could call Jigme with. I got a taxi, and he did not know were he was going. We went up one of Dharamsala's many steep and windy pot holed roads to find a tree had fallen on the road. The taxi driver said "no problem" and suddenly many Indians appearred seemingly out of nowhere with axes and two-manned saws. As soon as they cut a space wide enough for the taxi we sped away. After the the taxi driver asked a few Tibetans (which he sarcastically called loudly "Guruji") where Tibet Charity was, we finally found the place and I met bossman. He in turn took me to where I will me staying. The lady that I am staying with is named Drolma. She also has a little dog named Tiger. She is in the process of learning English, meaning that we have some very lively conversations due to my horrible Tibetan. So far I have managed. She is about 32 years old and her husband, who was a escort for H.H. Dalai Lama, had just died five months ago. She has fed me so well, and it is hard to refuse her cooking. I have also met some of her friends who are really nice. One who stands out is Lobzang. I was showing him some picture from Berea and he recognized many of the Tibetans that attend Berea College. He took me on a motorbike ride to Tsuklhakhang, the resident of H.H.D.L, to met my friend Palkyi's uncle. I had some things to deliver to him from Palkyi. He was really nice and he is going to search for a cheaper place for me to stay and arrange a langauge tutor for me. There are still other folks that I need to get in contact with, and I will in due time. Today is a holiday called Mela, which is to celebrate the end of monsoon. The first day that I got here it rained incessantly, until this morning and now the sun is finally shining. Also a ten day Hindu celebration for the Elephant headed deity Ganesh is in progress. Right now there are so many people mingling in the street due to the Mela. Bazaars filled with people are pretty thick. So far I am in the adjusting process, with everything being so different I am in a odd state. Eventually it will subside. Tomorrow morning I will commence my duties at Tibet Charity Multi-educational Centre. I am a bit nervous for it is still not totally clear what I will be doing. It seems that my duties will be maliable which is fine my me. I hope that this posting make sense to those that are reading it, I am writing with what automatically come to my mind with little care for syntax, so forgive me. That is it for now.

Pax.

2 comments:

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RJ Bates said...

Awesome to hear about your adventures...as I sit in the Appalachian foothills, longing for cool air.


All the best