Please G-D Save Me

Trip Start Apr 02, 2009
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Flag of India  , Himāchal Pradesh,
Sunday, May 3, 2009

The title comes from the words that were printed on the bus that I took to my next destination, Kasol.

But let me backtrack a moment.

My last day in McLeod Gange I spent much like the previous two. I did go for one last conversation lesson. It had a strange mix, a few monks, one sorta punk ass guy and his two friends. One of the younger monks was wearing aviator sunglasses (hence his nickname, aviator monk) and didn't act like a monk at all! I'm pretty sure someone forced him up here.

The others were cool, the conversation dragged a bit but we managed alright.

Right after class we went to Djoma's house for a home cooked Tibetan meal.

We watched her cook and we all sang some songs from our home countries. I'm reading that last line and it sounds kinda lame but it was actually really nice! Djoma sang some traditional songs and the Tibetan national anthem, so we all sang ours. Actually it was Israel's Independance Day so I sang the Israeli national anthem.

I went out for a smoke and her balcony had these lovely views and of course, more monkeys. She told me to shut the door because sometimes they come inside the house.

The meal was great and then I helped her with her English homework. It was a lovely way to end my stay there.

The next day we headed out to this little village called Kasol, the views are supposed to be beautiful on the drive up. We had a choice; take a 'deluxe' tour bus overnight for 6 hours or take local bus for 10 hours during the day. The price was about the same but we wouldn't be able to see the views if we took the night trip. The local bus day trip was on a pretty hard seat that remained on a 90 degree angle and the seat didn't recline. Guess which one I picked?

We left at 6am and as we drove I noticed a sign for where we were going and it said "237KM". It took us 10 hours to go 237K! Seriously.

Since it was a local bus, it stops many times along the way and we made some really interesting stops. You wouldn't believe where people get on and off. Picture the middle of absolutely nowhere. The roads are windy, narrow and often had sheer cliffs...where were they going exactly? The ride was beautiful, as expected, unfortunately I was sitting on the wrong side of the bus so I had to strain myself to see out the opposite window. What was frustrating was that it was all locals on the good side and they were all sleeping, they weren't even enjoying the view! I was very close to asking one of them to switch with me but I just couldn't find the courage....

At one point we had a flat tire and so we all got out while this got sorted. One of the things I love about this country is that when stuff happens, they just deal, it's "No Problem". All the men on the bus help the driver change the tire like it's no big deal. In Canada (or any western country that I've ever been to) this would never happen, the driver himself wouldn't dream of doing such work never mind the passengers! After about an hour or so we're off again like nothing happened. Done. I love that. This is also when I notice the sign in front of the bus says "Please G-D Save Me". This gives me pause, I wonder why a bus would have such a sign...hmmm

The driver was also quite cranky to say the least. When we made a stop at a bus station Barbara notices that he lights up a J. I've heard that in Kasol they have some of of the purest stuff in the world and I guess that's what he must have been smoking. Barbara was worried that it might not be the best idea for our driver to be stoned on such narrow, windy roads. I on the other hand thought the dude needed to chill out and perhaps this was a good thing...but then again, I Am Canadian.

After a brief stop in a little town to change buses, a dodgy meal and the worst bathroom experience of my life (poop on top of poop in a public squat toilet that looked like a dungeon), we got on to our next "semi-deluxe" bus. In India, deluxe and semi-deluxe are very loose terms. 'Semi-deluxe' means that it was once a deluxe, maybe 50 years ago... in Afghanistan. But it did have reclining seats and the chairs were much more cushy. Barbara and I couldn't help but crack up when we sat there, we kept saying "semi-deluxe" and laughed hysterically.

A little boy got on the bus while we waited for more passengers. He begged for money and I gave him some food instead. I took a picture of him and then he started posing for me.

He was a really sweet boy.

The last 2 hour bit to Kasol went by quickly. We had a one lane road this time with some serious hair pin turns. I held my breath when I saw an oncoming car make a turn towards us. But I was the only one! We were 2ft from the edge and I'm freaking, Barbara is sleeping and everyone else seems bored.

There was also some yak traffic. A yak herder and his herd were blocking the road and within a few minutes he had all the yak lined up looking over the edge. Then we passed this young woman carrying a goat in her arms. I really looked at her because she seemed like something right out of National Geographic. The young nomadic woman carrying a goat in the Himalayas. Cool.

We finally arrived at Kasol, which is a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere. This place is also known as "little Israel". An appropriate name considering that Barbara and I may actually be the only people not speaking Hebrew. There are some nice walks around here, prettier views, lotsa internet shops and restaurants. Every day Barbara and I want to go and do some walks and yet we haven't managed to really leave our little village.

Yesterday it was raining so we spent the day mostly sleeping and eating. Our new room overlooks the Paravati river and it's quite loud. We couldn't even hear the rain but it was pretty. I finished reading my book....

Barbara: "it's pretty late, we should get up"

Me: "ya..but we're on holiday"

We go back to sleep.

Today we really were going to go out! We packed a day pack and we were headed higher up for a day trip but then the weather got dreary, now it's raining again. That's o.k, there's always tomorrow.

Tomorrow we're gonna go for sure!
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