Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
32Trip End Ongoing
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Additionally, I have not come across a single other foreigner here yet, but there are plenty of Indian families who have come here to escape the heat waves of Dehli and Agra. Interestingly, as you stroll through one side of the town, it feels as though it is summer vacation and you are wandering through a carnival - there are booths and goodies and games and arcades, lights and bells and whistles
On the other side of town the roads begin to wind over the hill, down into the adjacent valley, and around the back of the mountain. It is quieter and there are occasionally families, but mostly couples, who take long walks along these ways. This is the area that Nico and I have been exploring. We walked up one of the mountains for views down the valley toward Rishikesh and came across a old, white Christian cross on a rock out-cropping, next to a bus stop. We passed through a sort of slum area where toddlers and other young children squatted in garbage and played with what they could find. We passed a wrought iron gazebo along the side of the road facing down the mountain, there an old man wearing a worn out black beanie sat with a telescope, asking for small change for the chance to magnify your view down the valley. We walked around the back side of the mountain and came to a tiny old church that seemed relatively well-cared for even though there was absolutely no one around.
We also hopped on a bus and traveled down into the valley that lays over the back side of the mountain in search of a waterfall. What we found was beautiful and also very typically Indian. These falls, Kempty falls, basically cascade down the mountain side twice. The first falls are generally ignored even though they are glorious. You reach this area by climbing an overgrown, nearly crumbling staircase the arcs off the main staircase that leads down to the second falls. The silence and privacy and beauty that the first falls possess is vividly contrasted by the second falls - they are lovely, but they are also fully teeming with Indian tourist families - naked children, women swimming in their saris, and their paunchy husbands recling on various neon-colored flotation devices
Later, back in Mussoorie, Nico and I discovered an amazing Tibetan restaurant that serves the best Momos in the world - if you don't know what a Momo is, then you're going to have to go to this restaurant to find out. Incredible. Delicious. We've been back four times in a matter of days. And yes, the food was fantastic every time - and yes, the family that runs the place is friendly and yes, the place is even clean and well-lit and comfortable. Truly, if you visit this area, this place is not to be missed.
Finally, a brief plug for "Hotel Broadway" - tucked high up in the back streets of Mussoorie and partially around the hillside is Hotel Broadway. Staffed by an eccentric but very friendly bunch, Nico and I have very much enjoyed our stay here. We were given a room that is essentially part of a little tower and that has gorgeous views of the mountains from 3 of the 4 windows. We also have a little balcony that overlooks the valley at the foot of the Himalya - a perfect spot for a pot of chai and some deep philosophical as well as spiritual conversations...
Overall, Mussoorie seems like it will be one of those places that calls to me long after I leave it, gently asking and reminding me to return someday.