Tuesday, March 24, 2009


(my camera has gone a bit psychadelic for some reason so some of these pics look great!)

It was a long journey to Dharmsala but a lovey picturesque one. The landscape became more and more mountainous i couldnt take my eyes off it. The roads here are pretty bad i worked it out that although the bus seems to be driving recklessy fast it only covers about 20k an hour!

Inside of the luxurious indian local bus

Little villages on the way...and you think there's not much happening in Mullingar??

We got there just after sunset...the whole day on the bus....numb ass, numb ass!

We arrived in Dharmsala pretty late, myself and 2 others Courtney and Gardiner headed to a house on the hills where we were couchsurfing. The nice thing about arriving when its dark is that you can relax that night when you arrive and when you wake up in the morning there is a huge surprise waiting for you of whats outside! The view from the couchsurfers house in the morning time was unbelieveable. It was just of mountains to one side and a valley in front. The mountains were huge a covered in snow and just right beside the house! We decided we must buy a house here in the future!!

Not a bad view from your KITCHEN!!!

A 'cute' spider we found walking back to the couchsurfers house one night, he jumped off the wall when the camera flashed we jumped a little!!

We got up very early the next morning for the Dali's lama's speech which was in the next town called McLeodGanj....it was founded by a scottish lad as far as i know hence the very non-indian name!

This is Dali Lama's house

The speech was set in a temple beside where Dali lives. They had it decorated nicely inside with prayer flags. We took a seat on the ground, Dali's speech was in Tibetan so we couldnt understand a word but he had a very catchy, funny laugh so when he burst out laughing we all burst out laughing and it looked like we were laughing at the same thing! I will always remember it was such a beautiful clear sunny morning with fresh air blowing, not too cold not too hot i was in heaven especially after the long, cramped bus ride the day before. I decided i was really going to like this place!

It was very different here to the other places in India that ive been as the people here are mostly Tibetan and Tibetan monks at that so it doesnt really feel like being in India at all, which in a way i felt a bit sad about because im really growing to love this country! The one advantage with monks all around the place is that for sure there is less chance of getting a really horrible ass grope from a dirty indian man!

There are prayers written on these wheels so when you spin them clockwise you are saying your prayers how handy!

I dont know if it was more for the tourists benefit but there seemed to be some sort of 'free Tibet' protest everyday.

Forget the protest look at those mountains!!!!

The really lovely thing about here was that you could just go for a walk for hours and hours which i dont think you can comfortably do in the busier cities and towns and i LOVE walking! I had filled my mp3 player with indian type music with the citar and flute so i just floated through the forests listening to this, the exercise and the fresh air was a big change and so good!(although cancelled out a little but the food here which was also too good!) Although you still get every indian man stopping his car or motorbike hoping you would like to be picked up, it feels safe and the views are so great i walked for hours there.

Unfortunately the morning we were packing up our stuff to move from the couchsurfers house to McLeodGanj i could only find one of my shoes outside. My really really good shoes!!! It turned out one of the local dogs probably took it in the middle of the night to play with. I wish the couchsurfers could have told me not to leave my shoes outside!!! I was DEVASTATED, such excellent shoes and probably the most valuable thing i owned. I was incredibly pissed off that day as i couldnt go hiking in flip-flops. Anyway i suppose the positive thing is that there is nothing i own now of much value so im getting even more detached from having material things....still though...how annoying!...ok ok im over it (writing this a month later!!)

It was a co-incidence that i saw this sign soon after at a temple..

Right....moving on!

Here is a strange little fellow that we found chillin out at a temple on the main st

And of course the obligatory cow picture in every blog entry...just chillin in the middle of the road the car beeping its horn like crazy....only in india!!
Here is something stupid you didnt need to know. I thought i'd post these pics of some Dharmsala restaurant toilets!
There is a water shortage in this town but..yeah a bath..wishfull thinking!
And when i asked the shopkeeper did he have a toothbrush for sale i was presented with this box of ancient toothbrushes!!
The day after Dali's speech was Holi festival! Its where everyone throws toxic paint on each other woohoo! I did have an extremley boring very long explination of the reason behind the festival where i drifted in and out of listening to a song in my head, i think it has something to do with the death of winter i could be horribly wrong. Anyway we put on some old clothes (ha ha they're all so old by now..) and head off into the street for some paint throwing.
I got a nice facefull of pink from this guy with the totally green face! It was quite a friendly Holi festival i had heard that in the big cities it can get really out of hand but here the people were like...oh can i put some paint on you!! I got a good unexpected slap of the coloured powder when i turned a corner, it was all in my mouth and nose such a musty smell, i got those guys back with all the pink powder i had left. It was like if you already had some paint on your face then it was a licence to be ambushed and if somebody was totally clean you asked oh happy holi can i put some paint on you!
We were having a coffee afterwards when the lady in the cafe pleaded with me to wash the paint off asap as its so toxic, easier said than done in a town where there is only water for one hour in the morning!!
The next day myself and Lydie went on a hike to find the waterfall that was nearby. We stopped 5 minutes later to get some delicious ice-cream off this guy, then back to the hike!
We almost stopped again 10 minutes later for tea! why push ourselves...and poor me in my sandles not my lovely shoes...
It was a nice walk, the waterfall was a stream of water falling down a hill into a small pool at the bottom.
The clouds were starting to get very heavy, we saw this sign in the middle of the hill so we followed a track up to a cool cafe in the middle of the mountains. We got there just in time as it started very heavy rain, thunder and lightning! There was no better place than a cosy cafe, sipping hot sweet chai and having a chat with some locals and tourists that had spent maybe too much time in the area!
I had a few games of this carrom board with a one-eyed tibetan guy who spoke no english and me obviously no tibetan but there was no problem in understanding! He had played this game a lot and slaughtered me every time with his fancy moves! I also got chatting to some indians here and i realised how much of an inferiority complex the indians have about themselves. They were saying 'oh no we're not lucky at all, life isnt good for indians' i was saying to them 'guys look where you are!on holidays also in a cool cafe in the middle of the mountains...what is there to complain about'! But the guy insisted that indians are just not as cool or good or as up to scratch as westerners. Well this is obviously just his opinion but i have to say if only he could know how much i love india because of the amazing people ive met! The people here really are one of a kind they are so easygoing, funny, caring, generous, kind, massive personalities, that for me is more important than any amount of material things....even nice shoes.....
Before i left Dharmsala i had promised my mum i would call into a convent nearby. Her aunt was a very famous nun in India...a lesser-known mother Theresa type lady and she was the head nun of a group of schools around india and was known as 'mother'. The convent was set in the middle of a nothing type town, but after i entered the gates i was blown away by the beautiful gardens. The nuns were so so excited that 'mother's grand-niece had come to visit, they were telling me all about how much they admired her. I had to say they had a great sence of humour and very on the ball! The nuns fed me although i had to force it down i was already so full, they gave me sweet stuff and nutmeg to take home. There was also a lot of load explosions outside, when i asked where they doing up the garden they said no they were making their graves.
I had met a few irish people here, the first irish i think that ive met since coming to india and as it was coming up to St Patricks day we decided to organise somthing for the event! I was trying to get hold of some green paint from Holi festival to decorate ourselves with but i never got around to it...as was the general scene of things here! We had a little shindig in a cafe where the Tibetan lads working there had lived in ireland for years and had a super strong Dublin accent! They cooked traditional irish food without the beef...oh it was delicious, we washed this down with cheap indian whiskey then while there was an irish guy on a guitar, a tin whistle and an irish lady who was excellent at playing the flute, i was dragged up to perform the worst irish dancing you ever could see in your life. Not only was my stomach a big bag full to the brim of food and whiskey i really just cant do the irish dancing! Anyway it was a good effort and a fun night and i felt proud to be irish!
You could hear the liquid sloshing about my stomach as we did a frantic jig for about 20 mins!

Next off to Manali.....

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