I’m back! After a year and a half since my last visit my love affair with India continues. My heart literally…
…skipped a beat with excitement as I walked out of Indira Gandhi International airport into the madness that is New Delhi.
I am not sure why I find this country so endearing, but I think it’s because it rips you out of your comfort zone with an abruptness one can’t explain, and offers up an assault on your senses that you won’t experience anywhere else in the world. Erm… I did not sell that very well.
There are however a few ‘nuances’ of which I cannot, try as I might, get used to:
1) Indian traffic/driving – I thought my journey in the death cab from the airport to the hotel was hair-raising until, later that evening, I found myself at the wrong train station (New Delhi instead of Old Delhi!! Eeek!). Let’s just say that the mad rush to the correct station in a tuk tuk through streets occupied by rickshaws, bicycles, cars, cows, dogs, motorcycles, loaded carts pushed along by skinny Indian men and anything else you can imagine, traveling in EVERY direction possible, left me somewhat stunned (!)
2) The cosy relationship between toilet and shower – a simple instep would surely solve the whole wet bathroom, and often potty, conundrum would it not?
3) Squat toilets – I’m sorry I can’t. I’m too much of a princess… squat toilets used thus far, two. Sob!
My journey continued by overnight train which reached Pathankot early the following morning. I finally arrived in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala by taxi two hours later and have spent the last two days acquainting myself with the town.
Mcleodganj, as the seat of the exciled Tibetan government and home to H.H. The Dalai Lama, has understandably a large Tibetan influence, yet retains an interesting mix of both Indian and Tibetan culture.
There is so much to see and learn in this hill station town that three months almost does not seem long enough – though I may feel differently in a few weeks. But for now here are some of the more typical and familiar sites of India.
The below pictures needed their own introduction. What you have here is the town’s water system… Yep that was my reaction too, but it’s literally the pipes supplying water running directly over the sewage system (I checked). And both run along open canals on either side of the town’s streets and through the mountain’s valleys. Gulp!
And finally, my home for the next three months.