Day 24-25 (McLeod Ganj - Manali - Vashisht)

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July 28th 2011
Published: August 2nd 2011
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Today seems to have gone in a flash. I got up early and headed back to my hotel, leaving Steve and Keenen behind.

I packed up my things, paid the monks for my room and headed out to find food. Before i found it i went to Green Hotel, used the internet for a while and finished the last few chapters of the book i had been reading. I fancied pizza and had read in the LP guide that there was a non-veg pizza place called Jimmy's Italian round the corner, it sounded good so i headed out to find it.

On my way there i ran into the Tibetan man who's camera had been taken yesterday. He was not in a good mood. Turns out his camera is now broken as a result of the attempted theft last night. He demanded that i pay for it or find the girl who had taken it. He didn't seem to believe me when i said (honestly) that i dint know the girls and hadn't the faintest idea as to where she might be. He said he would take me to the police and i said that was fine and followed along, on the way there i reminded him that when the police handed me the camera it was working and when i handed it to him it was working and that the police wouldn't do anything about it. He shrugged this off and muttered angrily in Tibetan before stopping outside a hotel that he thought she might be staying in. After less than a minute he came out, he hadn't found her and he demanded that i pay for the camera. This time i suggested we go to the police and he just shrugged and walked off. I continued on to Jimmy's.

The pizza was lovely but i was in a bit of a mood over the Tibetan guy, every person i have met in McLeod has been lovely, always smiling and helpful, although i guess it wasn't his fault a girl decided to steal his camera. I finished up and headed out, intending to find a ticket to Manali for that evening.

Day 25

I managed to get hold of one of the last tickets to Manali that evening, after i got the ticket i went to find Steve and Keenen to see what their plans were, as i had anticipated they were staying another night. I had an hour or so until my bus left so i sat with them and had a bite to eat. Then i said goodbye and headed out to grab a rickshaw to the bus stop outside of town.

I was sat right at the front next to a woman (Jamie) with her 8 month old baby (Angelica). I was worried at first that I'd get no sleep on the 11 hour journey but the baby was brilliant and slept through most of the journey. I spent the first few hours talking to Jamie and an Ozzy psychologist called Damien who was sitting behind us. We chatted for a while before we started to drop off one by one. I plugged in my iPod and passed out.

The journey only lasted about 9 hours and i recon i managed to sleep through half of it. We arrived in Manali at 5.30am and were immediately swamped by taxi and rickshaw drivers. Damien, Jamie (and baby) myself and a dutch girl who had been on the bus too managed to group together and we all got a taxi together. Jamie decided to get out near old Manali at the cab drivers guest house. The dutch girl was planning to go to Vashisht, on the opposite side of the valley to Old Manali. Damien and I decided to go there too.

When we arrived in Vashisht everything was closed, it was about 6.30am so we sat on the restaurant balcony until about 7 when the hotel staff (who had been asleep on the floor of the hotels restaurant) slowly got up and started work. We looked in the hotel but decided to keep looking, we looked in about 3 hotels before we found a nice one with a good price, unfortunately there were only 2 rooms so i decided to keep looking, the hotel receptionist suggested a place and he took me to Sonam Guest house, which is in the guide. The room was pretty spartan, just two beds, a small window and a toilet with a ceiling too low for me to stand up in but i liked the place so decided to stay.

Right now i'm in my hotel room waiting for the cafe's and restaurants to open so i can get some breakfast.


Ended up falling asleep for a few hours before getting up and meeting Damien for breakfast, after breakfast we decided that we both needed more sleep so i we decided to meet later to watch a film in the TV room of my hotel (according to the movie book its a 'Transvisionary Center for Art and Aesthetics'😉. I went back to my room and slept for about 3 hours though it felt like 10 minutes. I guess i didn't get as much rest on the bus as i thought i did.

After my sleep i called Damien and we decided to go for a walk down to the small rivers that run between the two sides of the valley. We took a shortcut down a path that went behind the buildings on Vashisht's single road. The path was lined with Cannabis plants, like McLeod Ganj and the Valley of Flowers it can be found pretty much everywhere, growing as a common weed.

We got down to the bottom of the valley and crossed a few small rivers before heading upstream. We walked for a while before deciding to head back, unfortunately we had come a long way from where we had crossed and crossing further upstream was a lot more difficult, the banks weren't far apart and maybe could have been jumped with a long run up but there was no run up over the rocky ground and if one of us didn't make it then money, phones and passports would be the price of failure. In the end we found a place that had trees growing up from the riverbank and we used the trunks and roots to get across. We got back to our hotels and i had a quick wash before i met with Damien and the Dutch girl to watch a movie. We decided to go for a Charlie Chaplin movie and Joy (the owner of my hotel) suggested 'The Great Dictator'. The film was really good and the Transvisionary Center for Art and Aesthetics, although just a room with an old TV and mats and cushions on the floor, was comfortable enough to enjoy the film.

After this it was getting late so we headed to Rainbow Cafe to find food before heading back to our hotels and passing out for the third time that day.


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