Headed off at the pass…
Ok,I realize we’ve been a little bit slow, but here is update number one. Short version: we’re currently in Manali, enjoying the perfect weather and getting acclimatized to the altitude, which is about 2300 meters. Working backwards from there is less pleasant, but here goes…
Our arrival in Delhi was auspicious, with 40 degree plus temperatures and 110% humidity urging us to get back on the plane. That was not to be, and we found our taxi man who brought us to Majnu ka Tilla, the Tibetan refugee settlement in Delhi. Did I say “in delhi”? Well, ammend that to, “the left side of the trash-heap that is Northern Delhi’s suburbs.” You can’t help but feel sorry for the Tibetans, who are, if I can generalize, clean and orderly people. Their neat little green and yellow houses were a welcome relief from the chaotic rubble that 99% of Delhi-ites live in. Unfortunately, the Indians don’t pick up trash, so we were greeted by an indescribable stench the second we stepped out of the cab.
We stayed in Majnu Ka Tilla only one night, because it was too far from the center and the tourist sights we wanted to see, and moved to the Nehru bazaar and “Hotel Relax”. This place bills itself as a “luxury” hotel, and cost nearly twice what the Tibetan place did. Benefits were slim. I’ll hold off on the rant, because we’re happy to be where we are now, but my overall feeling from Delhi was that of filth and repugnance. It seemed to me that the only people who could honestly like it are that odd breed of Westerner who takes pleasure in ordering the “natives” around. It brings out the worst in everyone, from what I saw.
We arranged for the bus as soon as possible, and ended up getting scammed. First time for me traveling, truly, so that burned a bit. The great thing was, it was a triple scam! The original internet booking site was a fake – he wouldn’t deliver the tickets after all, and then the hotel booked “the same bus” at the same price, which was evidently 4 times what the actual price was. The guy who actually booked the tickets for the hotel was also in on the take, promising us an AC bus – which doesn’t exist in India. I stuffed myself with Immodium, Xanax and whiskey and tried to sleep, but it was not to be… 19 hours of bus ride later, here we are in Manali and here, for a while, we will stay!
Sweating in Delhi
A very flattering view of the veggie market in Parghanj
View from our window at Manali