Day 18: Manali
Manali Travel Blog› entry 19 of 26 › view all entries
An older man with a stick simply stands there with a small pail, whimpering soundlessly. Passing these wraith-like figures are the substantial, muscular, Western backpackers who home in on these places, looking for cheap accommodation while sporting designer shades that would cost a street mender six months' wages.
Poverty is corrosive, but it's always worse when it is found side by side with wealth. Occupants of shanty towns in the
Michael Palin –
There must have been something seriously wrong with that Blue Cheese sauce I had at Johnson's cafe because around everything left my body in an explosive wave of diarrhoea. A second wave announced itself when I woke up the next day. Fortunately the worst seemed to have passed by then, enabling me to have a day with relative freedom of movement.
We had breakfast at eight o' clock, just in time to see the rest of the group leave for a 6 hour trekking.
We walked to The Mall past the spot were yesterday several curious monkeys had been watching us and following us at a safe distance (for us or them?). They weren't here today. We used the relative quietness in Manali at this time of day to go to the ATM and go on the Internet. At we took a tuk-tuk across the
None of that for us, we explored the town and its surroundings and the small temples at the town's centre. There were two 'mandirs', one of which was two stories high and judging from the laundry that was drying on the top floor, somebody actually lived in it. Other temples were dedicated to Rama and Shiva.
Zig-zagging to avoid the countless cow droppings and their creators we walked down the path at the back of the village, all the time being loyally followed by one of the towns dogs (named Rabies by Judith, like she called every dog since getting three expensive shots against this disease). Every time we passed a wall of stacked stones various lizards that were basking in the sun scurried away.
Eventually we ended up in the Rainbow Cafe, a nice spot overlooking the town and its temples. This must have been one of the most relaxed places of this vacation, featuring nice Buddha Bar-like lounge music and staff that seemed to have left this planet long ago. ;-) We had lunch here (tomato soup and toast with butterscotch honey) and chilled out for a while before walking back to Manali. The Lonely Planet recommended a footpath down stone steps that brought us quickly to the
We ended up drinking beers and watching the activity from the Khyber bar overlooking Manali's main junction, watching the tuk-tuks and jeeps, tourists and beggars, shoe-shine boys and Indian honeymooners.
Slightly intoxicated we took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel, where I ended up chatting with Emile and Paul on the balcony of their room, watching the low hanging clouds pass by and the heavens open up again. Tomorrow we would leave Manali so Judith and I decided to pack and have dinner at the hotel (our sizzlers turned out to be as good as at any other place we'd eaten at), take a last warm shower (it might well be the last one for a week) and were in bed by half past nine.