Thursday, June 12, 2014

To the Himalaya

Delhi has a really impressive metro, which was great for saving rupees getting to the airport. Our plane to Dharamshala was small and nowhere near full and the flight was quick. The landing, however, was the shakiest either of us have ever experienced - we came in so fast and steep we really did hold our breath for a but... but it finally stabilized. Phew.

Now picture an apartment complex down a narrow one-lane dirt road in the middle of nowhere. That's where we found out the room we'd rented was. It was beautiful, but we were absolutely stranded and much further from our destination than we expected. There was no internet and we don't have a phone, and our housekeeper spoke very broken English.
Rice fields with our apartment room in the background
Eventually, we communicated well enough to get to an internet cafe and change our hotel plans. But we were really glad for the mistake, because the walk to the cafe took us through fallow rice fields, a grain mill on a stream, and the housekeeper's residence. We met his family, who lived in a family home along with his mother and brothers and their wives. They had goats and their own little shrine-temple (not sure what it is called). It was so nice out there.
He showed us his mill on the stream running next to their home

But alas, we needed to get up the mountain slopes! So we took a taxi up the winding hillside, narrowly missing oncoming traffic on roads barely barely barely wide enough for two cars (and sometimes not that wide). The drive was so steep! We were amazed that the little taxi we were in could make it, and a little scared on some of the hairpin turns.
Our steep climb up the mountain began
The hassle was all so worth it! McLeod Ganj is a breath of fresh air. It's enchanting staying here at the base of the Himalaya, and it's very different than other parts of India we've visited. There is a mix of Indian and Tibetan culture since so many refugees live here. So far, we have really loved it.

A full post on McLeod Ganj to come. For now, enjoy some phone photos of the views we have from our hotel.

From our hotel roof

These slopes are so colorful!

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