Some things that happened on the bus ride from Delhi to Manali

1. We picked up some Tibetan monks at the Tibetan refugee colony in Delhi.

2. We picked up two Indian ladyboys- cross-dressing males in bright red lipstick and saris- on the side of the road before dinner time

3. The driver drove in the breakdown lane at 20 kph for 2 hours so he could talk on the phone at the same time.

4. We actually did break down at 3 am in the middle of nowhere., whereupon the two ladyboys fled into the abandoned darkness.

5. Two hours until Manali: One of the Tibetan monks opened a bottle and I heard a loud gun-pop and all of a sudden was covered in a sticky, foamy juice that had exploded all over me. The two surprises were: 1. The monk was a “she” and 2. She spoke perfect English. I found this out when she exclaimed, “Sorry, I have bought fruit juice and it has turned to champagne!” From all the bumping, humping, rocking and rolling of the 16 hour bus ride.

I found it ironic that the bus driver would perform an elaborate puja to Shiva god before embarking on a reckless, suicidal drive

I found it ironic that the bus driver would perform an elaborate puja to Shiva god before embarking on a reckless, suicidal drive

But I’m here! Settled in Vashisht, a small village in the Western Himalayas. I arrived alive but drenched a fermented foam that smelled like wine gone bad.  Sat down for a chai the minute I arrived and started hanging out with a 47-year-old German hippie that has been on the road for 26 years and whose stories trump every other traveler’s I’ve met.

Vashisht

Vashisht

you are not hallucinating

you are not hallucinating

Martin, the 47-year-old German hippie on our hike to the waterfall

Martin, the 47-year-old German hippie on our hike to the waterfall

climbing in Vashisht

climbing in Vashisht

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~ by ceciliabien on July 26, 2009.

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