On the road again

Trip Start May 25, 2003
Trip End Aug 21, 2003

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, June 22, 2003

Well, after a week of serious r&r in the Tibetan-Himalayan hamlet of Dharamsala, we decided to head for "greener" pastures. After much socializing with the throngs of fellow (though some far more intrepid) travelers who inhabit the villages in these hills, we found that this place is almost too nice. India should hurt more than this! It was a great time, though - lots of hiking, daily yoga (for Mike that is, who so impressed his teacher with his efforts that the guru enlisted Mike to study Dianetics with him! L Ron Hubbard meets Gandhi - ouch.), and yummy food galore. H met some really nice Aussies with whom she joined in the inaugural Westerners vs Tibetans Sports Fandango. Tibetans and Westerners alike took cover when H grabbed the bow and arrow for the archery event, but she was triumphant in the 3-legged race, bested only by one pair of Tibetan boys. In a post-race interview, H stated, "we just weren't hungry enough for the win." Nonetheless, H and her Aussie mate's now-patented hop-and bounce technique was the talk of the event. We also took a Tibetan cooking class from a man who had served 5 years in a Chinese prison for his efforts to keep the Free Tibet message alive. He was so kind and helped us learn to make various kinds of momos (Tibetan dumplings) which we intend to prepare for our friends stateside.
The trip to our current locale (Manali, jewel of the Kulu and Parvati valleys) was in relative luxury - a bus with individual seats that only broke down 3 times on the 12-hour journey. H prepared peanut butter, jelly and banana sammies on Tibetan bread, which made us the envy of all aboard. "How American," they said, their envy thinly veiled.

Manali is renound the world over for their natural hotsprings, scenic beauty and lush hillsides covered with all the herbal inspiration the local holymen (and itinerant hippie travelers) can consume. It' has been a great place to hike - yesterday to a remote waterfall, the day before through ancient villages ringed with orchards, all in the company of a pack of 13 dogs who joined us for the day (eat your heart out, Jesse Jane!). We will catch a bus today to another village where we want to check out a castle, and from there to the trailhead of a three-day trek to some hotsprings. We are both in very good health (knock sandalwood) - H has emerged from her food phobia, with the hekp of an occasional brick-oven Pizza (a la Jim Brown!). We are loving our time in India, as well as looking forward to the next adventures in Vietnam and beyond. We hope you've enjoyed some of the pics we posted recently, and intend to include a couple more as soon as we reach the next town that has the technological capacity. Mike's chai is served and the bus leaves soon, so we'll be in touch again sometime soon...

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