Saturday, February 10, 2007

Road trips

We have had a couple of trips now in Indian vehicles. The first was a journey from Shimla to Mandi in a jeep where I got to sit in the troop seat in the boot! Have to love that facing the middle on the windy roads. I didn't get to see much out the front, but Jo was in the front seat and I think she had a more exciting ride than me. I am reading her blog as she writes it and she says there was wandering cows donkeys and sheep. My memories are of being thrown around in the back as the driver threw the car into the corners like he was in the Dakkah Rally.

Mandi itself had a sunken market, apparently the only one of its kind in India. It was in a sunken courtyard and had 3 levels. It was like a bazzaar with anything you could imagine to buy, except drinking water, which was a challenge to find. The Hotel was the Raj Palace and has seen better days. We didn't freeze there as much as in Shimla and here in Dharamsala. I had a late lunch in the courtyard, which was another challenge as the waiter tried to tell me to go to the dining room, I think I was missing that all important male organ required to get service here at times.

The next bus ride was hair-raising at best. Our bus was broken down, so we had to take 2 other buses. The first we got seats on for about the 3.5 hour journey (luckily there was a toilet break) however, the road is very windy and some people lost their breakfast on the trip, including one of our pax who was sitting right behind me. The bus negotiated some narrow mountainous roads and took on trucks, buses and cars coming in the opposite direction, not to mention the wandering cows, chickens and people. Mmm, no pigs here I notice!

The 2nd bus was marginally better, I got a seat, or a half of one, which I shared with Jo, a small girl and a bag that she refused to take off the seat and we survived the 1.5 hour trip. (Our Indian Leader needs a watch as she told us it would be 45 mins!)

We finally got to a place where we visited a Tibetan Temple. We are in the foothills of the Himalayas, and there are loads of Tibetian refugees. The food choices are India, Chinese and continental. The bhuddhists here dress in red, different to the orange clours I am used to in Laos and Thailand. We are getting the occassional glimpse of the snow covered peaks, but the clouds keep coming in. Outside at the moment the fog has decended, so I can only see a 100 m or so. It is also, freezing, so much so that I think I need to put gloves on...inside. We got a heater for our room at an extra $5 a night, but it only improved the temp by a few degrees. So we have 3 blankets each and wore our wollen jumpers to bed!


At 8:26 am, Blogger Louise said...

Sounds cold Rosemary! Much warmer here. School back with all the usual. Mardi & Davo were down last week & on homebound stretch burnt the explorer to the hubcaps. Major drama but both safe & ok. ciao babe Louise


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