Entry #09: My welcome to INDIA !!
McLeod Ganj Travel Blog› entry 10 of 46 › view all entries
November 3rd, 2007 – by: musicdan
Hello from Dharamsala, North India - in a little village called Mcleod Ganj. This village is the home of the Tibetan government in exile and the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (he arrives here today!!). It's a wonderful, peaceful and interesting place at the base of the Himalayas.
I have been quite busy - with lots to tell.
10/24 - 10/28
I've been in India for one week now. I needed to do some sort of 'transition' from my Euro-trip to my India-trip. The Euro trip was too luxurious and somehow bothering me with $9 beers, $6 coffees, $40 dinners, touring cities and sites all alone. It wasn't what I came to do.But, I DID get to see close friends and experience two weeks in Turkey - all unforgettable experiences. But, this trip is now about something else. And a transition to India was needed. And, I got it!
India has already taken me. I've been in India almost one week and I am super happy. It has been like wind lifting me up and taking me with it - yet I get to steer the way. So cool. I don't know where to begin....
I arrived in Bombay on 10/25, but knew that I wanted to get myself up to the north into the Himalayas as soon as possible - before winter.I also knew that i wanted to start (again) outside of a big bustling city. But, first I spent a quick two days in Bombay and Delhi on my way up north. OH...boy. Those were crazy experiences. Bombay was intense. There are too many sick, disabled and poor people everywhere you look. My first morning in Bombay I was on the beach and saw a little 7 year old girl with a penis playing with her brother (9?) who had a vagina. It was surprising and disturbing. But, they seemed happy. Minutes later, I bought a phone card from a man who had one eye and a patch of hair (HUGE) - like a full beard growing out of his ear.Then, a man with amputed arms approached my rickshaw (taxi) to beg me for money. It was hard to see. And, just as I was digesting all that, I flew to Delhi where I was invited to a VIP fashion show/movie premiere with models, rockstars and fashion designers - food flowing, open bar, money and jewels. The contrast confused me, touched me, effected me. India.... here I am. But, get me to the Himalayas!!!!
10/29 - 11/2
On my way up north, I met up with a friend from San Francisco who I plan to travel with for a while - Jason Hoffman. Jason and I took a crazy bus ride to get to the north. We payed $12 for an "overnight luxury sleeper bus." Um....yeah right. It was a hunk of metal with wheels and cots. We had to share a top bunk - my feet in his face, his feet in mine. The bus wound us up the slim roads winding into the Himalayas all night (12 hour ride). We were bouncing around like volleyballs on a trampoline. I almost flew out the window, Jason onto the next bunk. Even an Ambien couldn't put me to sleep. But, we made it.
We are NOW in a village called Mcleod Ganj which is where the Tibetan goverment is in exile and the Dalai Lama has his official residence. It is small, dirty and amazing!!! I love it. Jason and I met another friend from San Francisco here: Melinda Tisch. I grew up with Melinda so we are all having a wonderful and amazing time together.I decided to just live here until i "felt" ready to "do India". It's been 5 days and I am already feeling a change. I'm almost ready to go off and explore everything India can offer me. But, not yet. I will be here another 12 days (and I'll tell you why at the bottom).
Funny things happen here. Yesterday I was talking to Melinda in the narrow street when all of a sudden a bull shoved me aside with its horn (softly). Yes - a bull. I guess I was in his way? You see, cows and monkeys roam the streets and rooftops like cats and dogs. They are everywhere. But, this bull just came up and wanted me to move. We were histerical laughing.
Today I was in the post office and a monk asked me to fill out his "customs" form to send a package as big as a shoebox.When it came time to put the "content and quantity", I asked him what was in it. He said "medicine". OK. and how many...? "65". The guy was sending a huge package of "65 medicines" through customs. I think customs is going to check that box.
Food and money: Each night we go out to dinner and get, tea, soup, appetizers, dinner, dessert and coffee. Each night the bill is about $1.75 each. amazing. My hotel room is one of the best in the village. I have a top floor balcony looking over the valley from the mountainside. Rumor around town is that I am in Richard Gere's room when he stays here. I pay $8/night. Many tourists I meet pay $3.75/night.
11/3 - 11/12 - THE NEXT 10 DAYS: Meditation
With all the cities I've been going to and all the sites and villages ahead of me, I decided to try some place entirely new.I decided to visit "me". So, tomorrow I head up the mountain about 2 km for a 10-day Buddhism/Meditation course. I don't know what to expect. I think westerners call it an ashram experience. I'll know more afterwards. All I know is that for 10 days I will not speak or connect with the outside world. I will spend my days in a meditation hall learning about Buddhism and meditation - no talking, no cell phone, no Internet no iPod. Only reading Dharma materials and eating vegetarian meals. Cool! I am excited. I will still have 4 months to visit cities and sites after this. So, I'm sure I will be ready for the rest of my journey when this is over. Wish me luck.
I'll be back in 11 days. See you, write you, Skype you then.....! Much love.
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