Trekking North India

Hello Friends and Family, and welcome to my India blog. This is where you will be able to find info on me and what's going down with me while I trek across the North of India and the Indian Himalayas. Although I probably won't be able to update this site very often, I hope to do so at least a couple of times during my trip.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Environmental Studies and Communication grad, public servant slut, music lover, intermittent DJ, avid cyclist, intrepid Earth enthusiast, and life warrior.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Delhi; the Road to Manali; Manali

Wow! How to explain the last 2 days? The past 2 days have felt like 2 weeks.

How to describe Delhi?... Chaos. The whole city is in various stages of decay and construction at the same time. Piles of rubble and garbage lay everywhere. People sleeping on makeshift cots in buildings that are more ruined than built. There are no distinguishing landmarks - at least not in the areas we were, which adds to the confusion. But the city is incredibly green. Almost every street is lined with thick and lush greenery, and tall trees. The streets are pure madness, with bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, buses and trucks all weaving and dancing around eachother to the sound of constant horn blowing. They use their horns because no one uses their mirrors, or pay attention to the lines on the road, so the horns are to let others no where you are and where you're going. Cars actually fold up their mirrors so they can have more room to squeeze inbetween traffic. Oh yeah, add to this cows, "the Queen of the Roads" as Sarju said they're called, that casually stroll down the highways, pedestrians, and kids trying to sell magazines to stopped cars.

We stayed at a guest house at Jawarlal Nehru University (JNU) our first night there. The campus is about 15 square km, most of which is dense tropical forest. It's walled off and guarded gates act as entry points to the campus. More on that later. More on Delhi later!!

The bus ride out of Delhi was the ride of a lifetime, as Nat put it. Think about gorgeous lush mountain scenery - bigger than any mountains you've ever seen - and buildings perched on those impossible ledges. Now think about a road that's barely wider than one lane, our bus barelling dowin it blaring Indian music and honking at slower moving truckes ahead. Now think of the cliffs that were always unnervingly close, oncoming traffic, cows, and people ont the bus throwing up from motion sickness. Insanity!

We arrived safely in Manali around 1pm today after 17 hrs on that bus. Really, it's a whole story in itself! Right now, I'm sitting in a tiny internet café in Vashisht, nestled on the side of a mountain, overlooking one of the most beautiful valleys. Our hotel is spectacular with an amazing view. The villagers are beautiful and friendly and children mill about in the square near where we are and where a temple and bath house are. I'm blown away. Completely and utterly blown away. I love this place!

I can't really describe it here. Think of every little crafts shop you've ever seen, cram it all onto a tiny road on the side of a mountain, and you've got an image of what this place looks like... but not really.

OK. Food calls. Now it's back down the mountain to our hotel. Oh yeah. Sarju is an amazing friend and guide! He's taken care of us and gone well above and beyond the call of duty. Without him this adventure would have been a different story so far entirely!


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