En route to Manali
Trip Start May 04, 2009
13Trip End Jul 30, 2009
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It was many hours later, and dark outside, when the trip took an interesting turn. Its possible that I was dozing, or not paying particular attention, but suddenly it registered in my brain that we were in the mountains
"You've got to laugh eh?" I ventured with a smile.
"Well no, actually, I don't think its very funny at all. Its against the law" he answered, in all seriousness I might add
"Its a real drag, I'm in the aisle seat. I'd be ok with a window or someone to rest my head on, y'know?"
Now, most of you know me, and in a way I pride myself on being tolerant. Of course I had no problem with this fine young American gentleman, whatever his sexual preference. I will hazard a guess though, and this is only a guess, that the Northern-Indian locals (predominantly a Muslim population) do not share my liberal views on the matter and so, decided to make myself scarce lest they get the wrong idea and have me hung, drawn and quartered or worse, imprison me. (Trust me, the jails are dreadful) "Yes... Quite" I said as casually as possible, slowly rising to my feet. I took a step.
"Where you goin'?" he inquired. "Christ" I thought, "Norman Bates meets Deliverance" Not missing a beat, I muttered "Oh, y'know, the apple juice needs..." and deftly scarpered without causing too much of a scene. Having gained sufficent distance from the unhinged individual, I sat down again to concentrate on my Chai. Eager not to end up as a lampshade, I kept my distance throughout the journey and thankfully avoided being..
When we finally arrived at Manali, I'd forgotten about my new friend and simply gawked in awe at the scenery. It was arresting to say the least. Having stepped off the coach, I headed into town to find some accommodation. Seeing that the prices were steep and many hotels full, (many Indian tourists also visit Manali this time of year) my heart sank. It was then saved thankfully as I happened upon a small town 2km north of Manali called "Old Manali". Here I found very decent accommodation for 2 pounds a night, and settled on the balcony with a cold beer from the kitchen. Seeing the sun set behind the green mountains, the distant Himalayan peaks... Well, in the distance... I was once again overcome with a sense of relaxation and happiness.
I coulnd't wait to explore the towns and entertain such possibilities as fishing in the nearby Beas River.
As was becoming the habit, I found myself recovered by the calmess of Manali, and the memories of Delhi began to empty from my brain.