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Published: July 13th 2008
Brazen Monkeys on roof tops...
... and literally everywhere here in Shimla.
We arrived at the town encrusted on hills filled with pine trees, set at 6000ft, at 6:30am, on a very nice overnight bus from Delhi.
We tested our physical endurance, without much of a choice, by climbing the VERY steep narrow paths and steps up to the town, in search of a good guesthouse.
Going up and down, pointed in wrong directions, packpacks now weighting a ton, we finally gave up looking for a "quiet' place recommended by the LP when a vicious Brazen monkey threw a small rock at us. I am telling the truth. Huffing and pussing we said enough and went back to check in at the bad Danziel Hotel. No way it's a mid-range. Overpriced ($12... yeap, that's overpriced here), bad bathroom, cold. The only nice thing was the beautiful view.
we ventured out to have breakfast only to find all bussiness close: The country was in strike in support of land/caste issues in Kashimir. Whenever we have gone hungry, we have resorted to Goldfish and oatmeal bars brought from home!!
Stolled around the chaotic zigzag of narrow roads and alleys, always up and down. lots to look at when we got to the
Ridge, an open area where locals, monks, monkeys, soldiers, Indian tourists and of course, us, hang. We heard about a 'Free tibet" demonstration the day before, and met a very nice couple from Russia, who have been in india for 2 years!
Visited the Catholic church (anusual) and set up the on a 45 minutes super steep hike to the hindu Jaklu Temple, dedicated to the monkey God. Very appropriate for Shimla, a city infested with monkeys, everywhere. If you know me, you know I love monkeys... or should I say, I used to love all monkeys!?
I snapped apicture of Amanda, and the next second a monkey snatched the water bottle off her hands. She freeked out and than we had a c\nervous laught attack while watching the monkey try to get to the crystal light flavred red water.
At the small temple, Hindus prayed standing or seating on the floor. The priest/guru blessed the pilgrims and than signal for me to approach. So I did, kneeling down. He put a red mark on my forehead, placed a scooped of holy spiced sugar on one of my hands and a scoop of sacred spicy water on the
On top on the misty hill
We made it up in 42 minutes! We are getting fit.
other. i pretended to drink the water, letting it pour down my lips... it numbed my lips! I have no clue what was on in, but it didn't taste holy at all.
As far as the holy sugar, I follow a stupid advice to feed it to the monkeys!! Later, Amanda got her leg grabbed by another one, and my freind Ann had her glasses pulled off her head. See, why now I am no longer in love with the cute fellows?
I am fascinated by the pictures depicting Hindu stories at temples and other places. They seem so "fantastic"...
Met lots of interesting people in cool, misty Shimla, including a fascinating 75 year old American who still is a professional lobster diver 3 months out of the year, and a backpacker the rest of the time. Super positive, funny, a joy and an inspiration. Yeap! I am getting the idea that I am not too old to continue to backpack, discovering this incredible world of ours.
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