Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Out of India and back to studying

I arrived in bf's small country on Friday and returned to my usual joys of eating cow and salad, driving in German cars, and reliable high speed internet.

The last night in India we decided to splurge and stayed at a five star hotel
At the end of the day I prefer privacy to having my slippers laid out for me every night. But it was nice to try the lifestyle.

After my last post we went up to the mountains, specifically the state of Himachal Pradesh. starting in this horrible touristy town called Shimla. The views were spectacular and it was a good place to acclimatize. Every one in town was on holiday but there isn't anything to do in town except visit the monkey temple. After we did that we joined all the Indian tourists walking up and down the mall staring at each other. Cultural practices prohibit females and males from showing affection in public. However, men hold hands and hug and show affection all the time in public, which I found rather annoying. We left Shimla as quickly as possible and moved onto McLeod Ganj. After McLeod Ganj we went to Manali to arrange a trek, which we managed in a day and departed after a very brief stay. Manali was almost as bad as Shimla, although we did not venture to Old Manali which was supposed to be the more laid back area of town.

We did a five day trek over the Hampta Pass, with a full staff carrying our belongings, cooking for us and generally attending to our needs. I have never camped with so much attention before. I am fully capable of setting up my own tent, cooking by fire or small stove and otherwise dealing with camping life, but as I am not capable of carrying my large backpack over a mountain pass it was better to sign up for the full service deal. We did meet two Americans who hired one porter and were doing everything themselves. They were from Colorado and looked very hardy and we did meet them on the other side so they did come over successfully, although a few slides down glaciers caused the loss of some smaller equipment. We arrived at this roadside dhaba stop with ten minutes to spare to catch the bus to Kaza.
We completed a circle around Himachal Pradesh through Tabo, Nako and Rekong Peo before descending back down to Delhi to do souvenir shopping before flying out. All in all it was a fantastic trip, filled with interesting places, diverse people, sights and sounds. A bit too much hassle to entice me to ever live there, but enough spots to make me want to visit again.

Some more highlights:
An Indian Oil truck that got stuck when trying to cross a washed out road.
Chandigarh rock garden
Goan beach (Palolem)
And of course, the Taj Mahal
It's now time to get back to work and start on the rest of my MBA prep! I'll discuss that in a separate entry for organization purposes.

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