Chillin' in the Himalayan Foothills
McLeod Ganj Travel Blog› entry 47 of 68 › view all entries
November 22nd, 2009 – by: ronin2k
From Amritsar me, Sid and Emile boarded a local bus to Pathankot. For some reason, there arn't any coach buses that leave Amritsar to the north (or anywhere!), so we had to endure 3 hours on a local bus or 'hell on earth" as I like to call it, just to get half way there! Local buses always have people coming off and on, 3 get off, 10 get on, 10 get off, another 15 get on. Somehow they always fit enough people on so that you have someone's armpit in your face, or if your sitting, at least an ass or two in your face!
Once we got half way, we all dreaded taking another local bus 5 hours, at night, up the mountain roads to McLeod, so we ended up hiring a taxi the rest of the way.
For those unfamiliar with McLeod Ganj, it is the home in exile (near Dharamsala) to the Dalai Lama and a large population of Tibetan refugees. Having lost my chance to visit Tibet this past September, it was extra special to visit this Indian Tibet. And what a visit it was. Now, I've met many people throughout my travels, but out of all of them I think Tibetans are the friendly group of individuals I've ever met! During my stay here I got to talk to a lot of Tibetans and heard many stories of their escapes from Chinese Tibet, their hope for peace and their hope for a chance to visit relatives back home.
One of those stories was from a man I met at a local cafe, Lopsi.
We all ended up spending 5 days in McLeod Ganj, it was that chill and relaxing, unlike the chaos of the rest of India.
Other than a few walks here and their all we ended up just shopping, sharing beers with the locals, and eating meals at a great little restaurant called the Tibetan Kitchen. EVERYTHING we ordered there was some of the best food I've ever had.
Those days we spent in McLeod were what I really needed. As wonderful as it is to travel, sometimes the constant hassle of moving every few days takes its toll. On top of having time to relax it was great getting to know Sid. Saying "Lankan please!" was the running joke between us. Lol. Great guy, and I'm sure we'll stay in contact well after I return home. In fact, we both enjoyed hanging out so much, I'm contemplating joining him and his friends back in Sri Lanka for new years! We'll see what happens.
So that's McLeod Ganj. Next stop is Varanasi via Delhi. Thanks for the great time Sid, I'm sure we'll meet again soon! O' I just remembered, Sid actually waited a few extra days in McLeod and actually met the Dalai Lama! Lankan please!
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