Entry #09: My welcome to INDIA !!

McLeod Ganj Travel Blog

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Melinda, Jason and me.
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.
The egg delivery man!!
  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.
outside my hotel
  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.
the streets of Mcleod Ganj, India
  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.
The view from my hotel in Mcleod Ganj, India
"  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.
My Internet cafe in Bombay
   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.
The Fashion Show crowd!
  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.
Beautiful Indians - Fashion Show and movie premier stars....
  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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Melinda, Jason and me.
Melinda, Jason and me.
The egg delivery man!!
The egg delivery man!!
outside my hotel
outside my hotel
the streets of Mcleod Ganj, India
the streets of Mcleod Ganj, India
The view from my hotel in Mcleod G…
The view from my hotel in Mcleod …
My Internet cafe in Bombay
My Internet cafe in Bombay
The Fashion Show crowd!
The Fashion Show crowd!
Beautiful Indians - Fashion Show a…
Beautiful Indians - Fashion Show …
me, Melinda and Jason in Mcleod Ga…
me, Melinda and Jason in Mcleod G…
My first monkeys
My first monkeys
my first Buddhist Temple
my first Buddhist Temple
Aish - Indias top model/actress
Aish - India's top model/actress
Provogue Fashion Show in Delhi
Provogue Fashion Show in Delhi
Provogue Fashion Show in Delhi
Provogue Fashion Show in Delhi
Want to get married - still a stro…
Want to get married - still a str…
This one didnt sound to bad to me…
This one didn't sound to bad to m…
Delhi!
Delhi!
Jason on our deluxe overnight sle…
Jason on our "deluxe overnight sl…
Selling water through the bus wind…
Selling water through the bus win…
A rickshaw in Bombay
A rickshaw in Bombay
the Coke delivery.
the Coke delivery.
Rickshaw outside my hotel in Bombay
Rickshaw outside my hotel in Bombay
Rajeev Chaurasia - my Internet pen…
Rajeev Chaurasia - my Internet pe…
Fashion show desserts...
Fashion show desserts...
Fashion show cameras....
Fashion show cameras....
Fashion show in Delhi.
Fashion show in Delhi.
more fashion show....
more fashion show....
me at dusk on my overnight deluxe…
me at dusk on my "overnight delux…
me and Jason in front of our store.
me and Jason in front of our store.
Melinda and me.
Melinda and me.
moi on my hotel balcony
moi on my hotel balcony
so many Israelis in town that all …
so many Israelis in town that all…
Melinda, me, Jason and Israeli Ami…
Melinda, me, Jason and Israeli Am…
Halloween.
Halloween.
view from my hotel
view from my hotel
little monkey
little monkey
me and Jason
me and Jason
me and Melinda
me and Melinda
Prayer flags.  Prayers are written…
Prayer flags. Prayers are writte…
A Tibetan Thangka Painting in th…
A Tibetan "Thangka Painting" in t…
A Tibetan Thangka Painting in th…
A Tibetan "Thangka Painting" in t…
A Tibetan Thangka Applique (sewi…
A Tibetan "Thangka Applique" (sew…
Melinda
Melinda
view from hotel
view from hotel
View from hotel (Richard Geres ro…
View from hotel (Richard Gere's r…
restaurant.
restaurant.
street corner
street corner
mailing packages home.
mailing packages home.
the hospital.
the hospital.
hospital
hospital
The butcher store.
The butcher store.
fruits and veggies store
fruits and veggies store
Tibetans playing a game
Tibetans playing a game
Jason going to meditate.
Jason going to meditate.
McLeod Ganj
photo by: Stevie_Wes