Published: July 7th 2012July 7th 2012
Finishing up at JN
So our stay at Trekkers Nest really was great. The staff were awesome (see picutres) and we actually made some really good riends ,especially with Bunty and his family. We went to their house again on our last day where we exchanged some photos, had a laugh with Gugu (their son) and had indian pancakes. Upon Leaving, the grandparents presented us with our very own Himachali style caps (see pictures) Everyone kept asking us when we were coming back, but unfortunately on this trip, we're definitely not. The hotel organises treks in the surrounding area and has a campsite at Barot (the next valley we walked to) where you can fish for trout in the river before staying the night and walking back. Every week on a sunday Dr Singhla has a gathering of all the big dogs in town. A few other doctors, an engineer and a cloth merchant. They drink whiskey which is very popular here now (good job i bought him some as a present) and always invite us to join, though I only accepted once. I think our biggest problem was with the insects, not mosquitos but giant flying cockroaches/beetles
etc with at least one or so getting into our room somehow every night which i obviously had to dispatch. We organised a Taxi to take us to Mcleodganj (dharamsala) where the dalai lama lives and the tibetan government in exile exists and most tibetan refugees go to tstart their new lives. Rhiannon and the Amoeba
Rhiannon was sick for about 20 minutes in delhi and then we had no problems. The food at the hotel was great and we drank filtered water which I usually purified with iodine as well. But Rhiannon still had a bit of a bad time. In our second week she was having Delhi Belly but refused to take my advice until she got quite ill. Dr snighla gave her a combination of ornidazole/cipro, but she kept vomitting it up and was soon quite dehydrated. I finally told Dr Singhla that she needed some fluids and he took us to his house, installed us in his guest suite on the bottom floor, got Shanti and Manju from the clinic to put in a cannula, give her some IV anti-emetic and about 2L of fluid and some Abx kept down and she
was mostly better by the evening. I skipped clinic for that day, but after that I went back and rhiannon had a couple of day soff before re-joiing us. We still think it was in Delhi because thats pretty much th eonly food we didnt share, but felt a bit guilty that someone at the hotel probably got an ear bashing about washing all our food in filtered water etc. McleodGanj
We got a surprisingly good taxi to Mcleodganj which took about 2 hours. There was a fairly uneventful trip except for a stop at a tea garden but we reached teh bustle of the touristy bit and checked into Snow Lion recommended in our guide book, it wasnt that great tbh and we had a noisy night there before we wandered down to the Dip Tse Choklin monastery about 300 steps below the main bazaar and completely away from the bustle. Surrounded by trees the monks rent out Rooms in a building donated by a couple a few years ago which are the best value in Mcleodganj for sure. Cheap, with breakfast and dinner for a little extra we had an absolutely brilliant stay there.
There was also a group of young americans staying on some life experience tour who were meeting tibetans and learning about the tibetan cause (which is the basis of most of th etourism there). We had dinner with them and watched a film about Tibetan refugees crossing the borders which ad been filmed by some climbers in Tibet for the first time ever. The difference in the Tibetan run part of the town was staggering. It was stil dirty by european standards but way above India as a whole and I saw a rubbish truck (who'd have thought!!!). The best change was that the tibetans never hassled you. If you looked at something in their shop they might show you more options, but wouldnt invade your personal space with the usual "my friend, you need hotel, you buy good price, good price for you my friend" which happens everywhere else in india along with the obligatory stare down rhiannons top by every indian man between 15-50 with absolutely no shame. Often looking at me, then back down without caring. This has been one of the biggest hassles of travelling here with rhiannon. Even on 2nd class sleeper trains men would
walk past and open the curtain to gaze in with our muslim friend in the next bunk the only one to tell them to go away and be respectful (he was travelling with his teenage daughter). Back to Delhi
We had booked a bus so we didnt have to go back to Pathankot and get the train, but the weather took a turn for the worse and rhi stressed about the bad weather, bad roads and worse drivers so given we were within 2 hours of the train main line we ended up luckily getting some last minute 1st class tickets back to Delhi. The taxi ride was fine and we waited an hour at the station before finally travelling in real style (comparatively speaking of course) back to delhi. Though we were left at old delhi station instead of new delhi whic hwe didnt realise. We tried the metro again but being an early morning and having no electronic ticket machines we decided not to queue and just pay for a taxi. Part of this trip has been learning to 'let go' and just pay the extra few pounds for a stress-reduced (not free) ride.
Its a shame that its like this, but the people here dont seem to care, and we try to take official taxis and use the metro as to put our money into useful projects and not encourage the vulture like tourist-screwing taxi drivers/tuk tuk drivers/touts etc. We were however taken to as our guidebook states "the only budget place worth staying in Connaught place" (a british built supposedly european mall which is a set of concentric cicles of arcade buildings instone which has all the modern shops you'd find in any european city. Ours was down a back alley, pointed out by our taxi driver and someone came to answer the door when we banged loud enough. They showed us to a tiny room attached to the back and we collapsed and had a shower and walked about a bit. Nowhere opens til 10am so the cinema and shops were shut. We got the usual hassle except were the only white people and had a coffee at "dunkin donuts" for a change of scenery. We went back to our terrible room and decided it was ridiculous and walked up to Paharganj and back to the Smile inn, which at least
has nice rooms, air con and only charged 1000 rupees, not the 1500 for the other place which wasnt even half as good. Being by Myself
After a teary day I finally dropped rhi at the airport though I wasnt allowed into the terminal as I didnt have a plane ticket so we had to say goodbye outside the main doors and off she went. I think a combination of knowing I would be here alone for a month, the stressful journey back here and knowing I had to do it all again except by myself made me doubt staying here properly for the first time and debate flying back to germany with rhiannon and trying to organise something there. I spoke to my mum, to Dr Verghese in Manali and booked a bus ticket there for tonight so I wont have a hasslesome time in my few days before the next placement starts. After my 16 hour bus (AC volvo - tho still driven by an indian) I shall be staying with Dr Verghese before he drives me and two dutch doctors to Kaza for 20 days of surgery before i come back. I'm sure
it'll be eye opening, and Kaza is more of a tibetan/nepali type settlement so the people probably friendlier and I can day trip to Ki Monastery and around. I can stayin the clinic with the other Drs for roughly 250 rupees (3 quid) a day before coming back here and jumping on my flight. If I stay, it'll probably be at the airport to avoid the hassle of coming back into touristy parts of delhi once more. I've already been hassled less being by myself, but its not really compensation. I had a great time so far, I only wish that Rhi would be here to share the second half of this trip with me as well. I'll add pictures a little later when I have all my camera cables etc
There are more photos below