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Published: September 18th 2005
So far I was happy not to suffer in India, but I did hope it would improve at some point. Well, we chose to start our Indian time in McLeod Ganj because people said it was "easier", and they were right.
McLeod Ganj is a small town, maybe just a big village, in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Located in the mountains slopes, above a big valley, it offers magnificent views. It is also the home of a big Tibetan community, lead by the Dalai Lamah himself. They live here since they ran away from the occupied Tibet in 1959.
And that was the tourist guide book information. What do you actually see when you get here?
The first thing you see is a market, and even when you’re not in the market itself there are shops all around you. You see lots of people, but a good mixture: Indians, Tibetans (that have a more Chinese-like look), and plenty of tourists. There are lots of hotels and restaurants, offering all kinds of food, with the most common being: Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, Italian and Israeli, yes - Israeli. There are lots of options for courses here - massage, yoga, cooking classes,
even a miracles course. They are all published in the streets where every wall is a notice board. And as the guide book would say, the views are superb. For a minute when the cloud moved a bit, we even saw one peak with some snow on top.
Yesterday we walked a bit around McLeod, to the villages of Bhagsu and Dharamkot. It’s very green around, with the villages adding lots of colors in the middle of the picture. It started to rain when we were on our way back, but 5 minutes after we were back in our room we understood how lucky we were. Because then it started REALLY raining! It was raining cats and dogs for hours! We used the time to go to sleep :-)
Our main pastime apart from this walk is eating. We already tried maybe 7 restaurants in 2.5 days here… I thought there would be nothing to eat in India, well I was soooo wrong. Truthfully, I am not so keen on Indian food. But as I already mentioned, McLeod offers everything. Today’s lunch was Japanese (no, not raw fish, I wouldn’t have that here…). Before that we had excellent pancakes here,
oats porridge, fruit curd muesli, omelettes, the local Kingfisher beer that is ok, and some Tibetan food: momo that resembles dim sum, and the Tibetan brown bread is really tasty.
If you didn't get the feeling that we are quite happy and having fun here, wait till you here about the Tibetan massage. An hour of pure pleasure, much better than any massage I had in Thailand (sorry guys in Thailand, I don't like Thai massage), only for 30 Shekels. It won't be the last massage here, I am sure.
And our biggest adventure today: a monkey entered our room. Daphna was the first to over come the shock and fight him out, he even jumped on her but eventually decided to take the right move and withdraw… Unfortunately the photographers were too shocked to take a picture of the guest!
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