So we arrived in Dharamasala, well actually McLeod Ganj (it’s where the Dalai Lama lives along with a lot Tibetan refugees), safe and sound.
The drive from Srinagar to McLeod Ganj was long and beautiful and full of crazy traffic jams and monkeys and camels and potholes and military dudes with automatic weapons and passport checks and tollbooths and crazy unpaved mountain roads with big holes and lots of bumping around the back of the jeep.
I think it was technically supposed to be a 10 hour drive but our driver made it in 7.5 hours. It was wonderful and challenging at the same time.
Once he dropped us off and sort of pointed out where we were supposed to go, we carried our crap down a crazy path of badly maintained stone stairs (which run all around and throughout this town) to odd paths and through people’s backyards to our hotel.
Lovely cheap hotel with a great view. Actually most of the hotels around McLeod Ganj have great views because the whole city is built into various sides of a mountain range so the whole city is hills and valleys and nothing is level.
And holy shot the tourists. Don’t get me wrong I am very much aware (and grateful) that Kris and I are actively in that category but so far since we’ve been in India we haven’t seen many non-Indian tourists anywhere–and they all look like they just came from an international Grateful Dead concert with Sting as the opener. It’s hilarious. It’s 20 something’s to 60 something’s all over wearing hemp with dreadlocks and Tibetan style pants speaking German, French, Japaneese, Scandinavian, Russian and English–it’s completely surreal.