Madam - McLeod Ganj mountain viewAs I was saying yesterday in Signage Sunday, McLeod Ganj is where the Dalai Lama runs Tibet in exile.

I was only there for a couple of days, but it’s made a deep impression on me and I’ll write more about over the next few days. I’ve even got some bits of video to share. It’s a truly lovely place.

I’ve already told you about the end of my long trip back to Bangalore from McLeod Ganj. I did not cover myself in glory. No, I ended up shouting at an amputee in the street.

Hangs head in shame.

Still, moving on. Ahem.

Let me tell you about the earlier part of that trip. Which rather explains why I was in a less than optimum state of mind for being ripped off later in the day.

So Mcleod Ganj is amazing, but it’s a rather tediously long way from Bangalore. It’s in the foothills of the Himalayas and the three hour drive down to Pathankot station at night was a little hairy.

Fortunately it was a full moon, so there was (comparatively) lots of light on the dark mountain roads – and the driver was a lovely chap who insisted on telling me all about his wife.

His exact words:

She is my world. My American, my France, my everywhere. I only need her.

Bit over the top, but very sweet.

Less sweet is that he insisted on looking over his shoulder at me while telling me all this.

That would be looking over his shoulder, while driving.

No, no, watch the road! The very bendy road, on the mountain. In the dark. Yikes!

But even with hurtling round hairpin bends and switch backs with a driver not even vaguely facing where he was going, I was in a frightfully good mood.

Madam - McLeod Ganj templeIn fact I was a bit giddy with having been in town at the same time as the Dalai Lama. Or it could have been the sudden change in altitude. Or even the prospect of imminent death over the edge of a ravine.

But whatever it was, the three hours flew by. I’d planned for traffic. Turns out the driver had also planned for traffic when he told me how long it would take.

And as there wasn’t any traffic, I got there an hour and a half early. Sigh.

But Ramesh, the driver, was a kind man and he insisted I stay in the car with him rather than wait on the chilly platform. Nice. And as he had to rest a bit before going back, not really putting him out. So I sit there and sleepily hear his tales of collecting firewood in the high mountains – and how he no longer does that and so isn’t strong anymore. But he likes driving and is probably earning more. And definitely seeing more places.

It was all very pleasant. And eventually I climbed out and discovered the train starts from Pathankot, so was already waiting on the platform and I could get straight on.

So, at this point I was reasonably well rested, hadn’t died on the road and still had the vestiges of yoga/dalai lama high thus resulting a good mood.

What on earth happened to make me so annoyed later one?

To find out more read part two of this two part post on Wednesday.


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