Published: December 9th 2011December 8th 2011
looking through everything for my Steripen I last saw at the bottom of my pack Monday morning at 3AM packing in Colorado Springs.
I got back to my room around 5 this afternoon, and laid down to watch a cricket match on TV and dozed off. I woke up now 2.5 hours later, thought I'd only crash out for 20 minutes. My hotel is fantastic, they own other business including two FANTASTIC cafes here in the same building. I met a wonderful Tibetan merchant today, the first guy I met when I ventured out. He had me in his shop for tea, and gave me a Tibetan astrological reading. But he told me that I should go through the hotel staff for all my needs because they'll bend over backwards for me. I was going to take a NICE luxury state operated Volvo bus to Dharamsala next week. This guy said no, take one of the Tibetan operators private coaches, it's a better service. There are offices all over for tickets (different operators), but he said go through my hotel, it's the way things are done here. Good advice as I got a 33% discount doing so!
Yesterday I finally ventured out of the comfort of the airport in the afternoon for the pre-paid taxi stand that everything I recommended told me
Wall mounted flatscreen Toshiba and Taha Sky satellite for all one's Bollywood and cricket viewing needs.
to take. It's price controlled, you pay in advance so the driver doesn't take advantage of you. Well, the taxi ride was certainly like anything in the movies or science fiction, it was surreal! Just the variety of vehicles, and the controlled chaos that is negotiating traffic. No such thing as right of way or LANE obedience here. But as with all things Indian, the once constant is that it is a paradox and it just works, so if one resigns to that fact, they will be fine. I recognized my driver was immensely skillful. I dozed off for a second, even in this madness of noise and horns, and awoke to a horned cow driven cart next to me. I was all "whoa! THERE it is!" We ventured on the road, and I feel I landed in the sea of humanity.
I got up here around 4PM to the Tibetan Colony called Majnu-Ka-Tilla. I feel like I stept out of India into Lhasa, Tibet. It's a vibrant Tibetan refugee settlement. It's like a miniature city. I got to my room, and laid down about 5 and watched a little Indian TV (on my Toshiba mall mounted flatscreen).
Adequate tile flooring and wall in the bathroom. I'm just grateful the toilet isn't a whole in the floor.
I woke up first at 4AM, 11 hours later, then went back to sleep until around 9AM. It felt great.
I got up and then went out and explored the village here - the city within a city. There's a wonderful park adjacent, and we're right on the bank of this major river Yamuna. The city has dumped 58% of it's waste in it, but have since paid 1/2 billion dollars in an effort to clean it. Across the river are the real shanty towns & slums of Old Delhi. You can't seen them, and from this side unless you know, it's just a great vegetation laden river bank, a refreshing scene from the madness that faces west.
I walked up and down the Tibetan merchant laden pedestrian paths in this enclave exploring and meeting people. I later met a group of Tibetan monks fresh over from having fled Tibet. That was something.
I LOVE INDIA!!! This is a wonderful place. I'm very comfortable, and think I prepared well and thus had realistic expectations. I was so tired and a little nervous about leaving the clean sterility of the efficient modern airport for what
Sign outside the building where my hotel is located as well as numerous Tibetan shops and services.
was beyond weary what laid beyond. Once I did, it was fine, and I've had little culture shock yet. I feel very comfortable here in the Tibetan camp which is sort of an oasis in New Dehli.
Well, that's about it. Everything is so cheap here. I'm in this amazing (Tibetan) that's so modern and nice, nicer than many cafes there. They have free wi-fi (wireless internet) so I woke up to come down here before the close at 10.
Tonight is a chicken tikka masala sandwich on a long multigrain roll along with a banana lassi. A lassi is a unique yogurt based India milkshake that is SO GOOD. Less than $2.
It was interesting I was in one of the world's wealthiest centuries-old cities on Tuesday, and one of the poorest on Wednesday. Talk about dichotomies and extremes.
There are more photos below