Ah, the quiet
Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
115Trip End Mar 21, 2008
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Not that many tourists though, we find out. Our preferred accommodation is the Hotel Maharaja, a small motel-style place set back from the road. Two small boys, no older than 11 or 12, greet us and check us in to our very simple room. Our neighbour is a chatty Irish schoolteacher named David who warns us gravely that there is no electricity
As mentioned, the village of Mandhu is very small and all concentrated on two main streets. The children are quite accustomed to white folk and each one yells out a big "Hello!" or "Bye Bye!", both used as greetings. Some of the bolder ones will approach with an outstretched hand and demand "one rupees, sir!" Even the adults are very friendly. As you get near them, they appear very stern and stony-faced, but a simply "Namaste" or "Hello" will immediately elicit a huge, broad smile and a happy "Namaste" in return.
There are only two or three restaurants in Mandhu
One of the boys who seems to run the hotel is also in the bicycle rental business so he convinces us to hire a couple of rusty, one-gear, no suspension bikes; this seems to be the best way to get around in the absence of any rickshaws or taxis. Our first bike excursion is 50 metres or so to the Sunset Point. Here a lovestruck couple can watch the sun go down through the stunning valley scenery that Mandhu overlooks. Our romantic moment is interrupted a little by the arrival of a bunch of chatty teenage boys but the view of the valley is breathtaking. Just as we are leaving, a minibus screeches to a halt and a load of disappointed tourists stare at where the sun had been 15 minutes before.