Sunday, June 8, 2014

India !

India ! What an amazing place. There is nothing I can compare it to. A land of poverty, wealth, and culture. Since arriving a few weeks ago, my senses have been continuously heightened, along with some i was never aware I had. I have completely changed my ways since being here. The importance of a shower is contemplated a lot more when it is now common knowledge that you will be dripping with sweat once you walk out the door. There is more strategy used when choosing clothes for the next day than attempts to match. No longer am I wondering if the shirt matches the pants or if it came from the clean clothes pile. The more important question is if it smells too bad or if it is appropriate enough for the temple we will visit tomorrow. We have visited many MANY temples. Most I cannot pronounce. We have travelled throughout northern India by bus, car, and train. There is nothing like being the only group of Americans in an area where people may have only heard of an "American". As they stare at me unashamed I stare back (with more and more confidence every time) and wonder what they are thinking. The number one question, and in one occasion an assuming statement, that I've been asked is if I am African. They cannot believe that such a diverse group of people are all from the same country.

Today was an amazing day in McLeod Ganj. Waking up in the Himalayas is unlike waking up anywhere else. Although it is a bit hotter at 100 degrees by 9am, there is some nice shade and breeze that makes the heat bearable. Our day started with a trip to the cafe up the street from our hotel for a quick breakfast. Unfortunately quick needed to be real REAL quick because we left the hotel at 9:15 and we needed to meet the group,at 9:45. Of course it took us a while find the entrance of the cafe
and the language barrier did not help us keep to our schedule when attempting to order. After
canceling the majority of our orders and receiving cold pastries we had four minutes to get back to
the hotel to meet the group. Our morning was full of learning about the Tibetan culture and my attempting to meditate. I realized today that I have no attention span and was ridiculously distracted by the sights and sounds. We soon had a nice surprise by beating able to watch the Dalai Lama leave the city. There was so much excitement among the Tibetans as we waited to see him pass by in his heavily guarded car.

After a great lunch after so much excitement, we took a cool ride to a hostel named Tong-Len. We spent hours and hours playing, dancing and talking to the children that live there. It is so refreshing to see that children are the same no matter what country. Our day ended with some much needed food and shopping in the market (India version of retail therapy). I can't wait for the next adventure tomorrow.....and some more shopping.

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