back home, pretty much everyone has heard about the movement to free tibet. it’s become quite the popular cause to support, with backing from many celebrities, and bumperstickers galore. but if you asked most people if they knew exactly where the tibetan government currently resides, i’m sure most people would answer w/ a blank stare. i know i would have if someone had asked me last week. well, it turns out that the tibetan govt in exhile is in a tiny little mountain village called McLeod Ganj up in the indian himalayas. this is where the dalai lama lives, and also happens to be where we are right now. when we read about this town in our guidebook, we knew we couldnt pass up a chance to come up here. plus, it randomly turned out that today is tibetan new years, so we cut our time in delhi short to rush up here as quickly as possible. unfortunately, there’s no new years celebrations here at all! in fact, tibetans celebrate new years at home w/ their families, so if anything, this is a bad time to come up here since so many places are closed! *sigh*. the one time we actually get somewhere in time for a holiday… nothing happens!
the himalaya were created by india millions of years ago. the earth used to be one huge continent, and eventually, it split into 2 chunks, a northern part and a southern part. well, india was on the southern part, but some how broke off, and swam across the ocean until it crashed into the northern part causing the himalayas to rise up. of course, india didn’t just barrel across the ocean at top speed, this happened over millions of years, but still, that’s where scientists think that the himalaya came from.
after an exhausting and painful 13 hour bus ride, we arrived here a little after dawn. dayum. the views from town are absolutely breathtaking. huge snowcapped mountains everywhere. misty skies. green valleys below. everything is just so damn scenic!! the air is crisp and fresh… such a change from the smoggy air in delhi. it’s so weird to be here. it’s hard to believe that just 6 days ago, we were sitting in the *desert* where it’s *hot* amongst *camels* and now we’re so high up in the mountains and it’s freezing and there’s snow to be seen. india is such a diverse land geographically!
when we piled off the bus this morning, along with a handful of tibetan monks dressed in their robes, it was pouring. everything was wet, and it was a struggle to find a hotel while getting soaked and hauling our packs. and like i said earlier, a bunch of the hotels are full because of new years. despite all that, we were so excited to be here. there’s something really awesome about rain, and it’s especially enjoyable up in the moutains. and there’s something really awesome about seeing monks running about town everywhere. i could instantly tell i’d really like this place.
so far, we haven’t really gotten a chance to do anything. we weren’t prepared for this weather, and spent most of the day shopping in darmashala, a small town a few km downhill from mcleod. on the way back up to mcleod, the jeep we were getting a ride in broke down. after trying to fix it for a bit, they decided to try and push start it. in other words, push the jeep till it’s going fast and then pop the clutch to get it going. since we had been going uphill, they had to try this maneuver *in reverse*. the driver peered out his side window over his shoulder into the darkness and tried to steer while being pushed backwards. ugh. rolling quickly down an incline, backwards, in the pitch black, over gravelly wet roads, when there are hairpin curves every few yards is the most sketchiest thing ever. in the end, they weren’t able to fix the jeep, and we caught the next bus into town… phew! another close call!
tomorrow we’ll start exploring this town for reall. we have so many things we want to do here, and our plans are totally up in the air….