31.10.2007 -17 °C
Hello all, and Happy Halloween! I am definetally thinking of home and all the pumpkins and decorations, and adorable little kidlets wandering the streets dressed up! Halloween in india was uneventful, as we are still recovering from last week's trip. We (as a class) went up to Dharamsala for about a week. We weren't actually staying in Dharamsala, but we were staying in McLeodGanj - a smaller part up on the mountain. The area is where the Dalai Lama's Tibetan Government in Exile is located. We visited alot of tibetan government stites and learned a whole lot about their education system. ( tomorrow our group will be writing an email to SFU International about all the visits and everything in Dharamshala, so I'll just paste it here when I get it. For now, I'll just write what I thought of the area). Over the week, we spent alot of time with tibetan refugees. I don't feel comfortable writing alot on here about their situation, but I've learned alot and would really like to share it. Email me, or we'll chat about it when I get home. What I was really touched by was how the Tibetan people live. They have been hurt very badly, don't have a country of their own, and yet are some of the nicest, warmest people I have ever met. I think the story that touched me the most was that of an older lady who lives at the tibetan refugee center and does art therapy with the children wo have just escaped. Her story is phenomenal. She wrote a book (that was sold out in McLeodGanj) That I am really excited to read, and share. i think what really touched me was the amount of suffering she's been through, and yet, instead of dweling on it and being angry, she is able to give so much love and care to others. This is the way most tibetan people I met live their lives. It is inspiring, to say the least.
Things I love about Dharamshala, besides the people: the monkeys everywhere, how cold it is, the places to eat that aren't Indian food (i love the food, but it was nice to have a change), and our massive hotel room (somehow Amber and I got a double room).
We had a free afternoon, followd by a free day in Dharamshala, so four of us decided to go for a hike up to Triund.
it's basically the first mountain of the Himalayas. We started at about 1800 feet, and the camp was at 3000 feet. We booked a room in one of the little cabins up there, but when we got up, we decided to sleep outside since it was so beautiful. First, we watched the sun set - studding because of all the dust and pollution in the air - and the moon rise over the mountains (while drinking fantastic chai). We the made dinner (Tibetan bread that we brought up and soup) and ate around the fire. We the set our sleeping bags up by a rock, and cuddled together to keep warm. In the morning, we woke up just was the sun was about to rise over the mountains. It was definetally one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen We stayed in our sleeping bags for a while, playing cards and listening to music. We then had breakfast (Tibetan bread and peanut butter), then each took some alone time. I found a great rock to sit on, and journaled. That journaling spot definetally rivals my spot at Cowichan that i love so dearly. We had some lunch (tibetan bread and apples and peanut butter), then headed down the mountain. That night, we had a lovely dinner (with no tibetan bread, thank goodness) with all the people who had helped us during the week. The next morning, we had an all day drive to Manali. It was super wondy road through the mountains. I'm surprised I wasn't sick. The next day, we visited a TRAS project nearby, the 5 of us went up to Rotung pass. The drive up was crazy - the skill of drivers here is mindblowing. The whole way up, it is a one lane road, with big cliffs. At no point, did I ever feel like we were going to fall off the mountain, which is more than I can say for driving up Vancouver mountains. When we got up there, it was damn cold, but really nice. I think the elevation was 4000 meteres, but I'll have to check on that. We had some chai up there (there are chai shops everywhere, even on tops of mountains!!) Then headed down, all huddled together in the car, belting out backstreet boys (even the driver was singing). The next day, we drove back to Chandigarh, and here I am now!
Well, that is all for now. there's only 3 weeks of the program left (where has the time gone??!!??!!) So I'll be working hard on school work for the next bit.
Hope all is well,