From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Sun May 20, 2001 3:27pm
Subject: Stealth rickshaws and breathtaking mountains
We’ve now moved on to Manali on our way towards Kathmandu. The next four days will be a continuous push towards getting us there. Our three weeks in Dharamsala were just fantastic, both relaxing and spending some very refreshing time at the Himalayan mountain range. The first two weeks we stayed at the Rishi Bhawan guesthouse (next to the Tibetan Institute of erforming Arts, or TIPA for short), this is a very calm and quiet place in the woods above McLeod Ganj village. The pine trees and the singing birds to a backdrop of snow-clad mountains, was very reminiscent of nature experiences back home in Norway. Except of course the gang of monkeys terrorizing no suspecting photographers and pillaging all the trashcans in the area. Most travelers who flock to Dharamsala are interested in spirituality or Buddhism, and there are whole ranges of classes one can attend to. I suspect many of these classes are bogus, but people are mostly happy with them – which is of course the most important thing about them. The final week we moved to the upper Dharamkot hills, to the Eagels Crest guesthouse by Shiva temple. Now that was a breathtaking spot – both literally while panting and working your way up there, and also scenery wise with the color changing Himalayas. The weather has been very nice too, and we even went swimming in the nearby waterfall one day – an inhumanly freezing experience. And finally in this newsletter, a warning if you’re heading to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj sometime: Look out for speeding cars and rickshaws ambushing from behind in “stealth mode” while you’re walking down the hills, they turn off their engines to save on precious fuel! Also – and I’m not sure how dangerous they are – look out for black scorpions!! I discovered one under my pillow one night while going to bed.