We rolled into Mcleod Ganj, up in the mountains of Dharamsala, at around 7am, shattered from the draining journey and in need of a place to stay. The first guy that offered a hotel with hot water and a bed within walking distance of the main Tibetan Temple was taken up on his offer, and then drove us up the mountain, through the seemingly serene main shopping streets, past the Temple, then back down a few minutes walk away.
We both felt pretty rank and worn down after thirteen hours of bumping around and little sleep, and I took a second to rest on the bed, which turned into three and a half hours by the time my eyes rolled around making me aware of my disappearance. We enjoyed our first hot shower of the trip, I didn’t even scream once, or sing in my usually stuttering shower soprano style that came with the cold bursts of cleanliness that I had become accustomed to. The mountain town is not too far from the Himalayas, and you can tell by the temperature, so a bit of warm water went a long way.There was a bath too, but unfortunately it looked dirtier the than the prolapsed arse-hole of the street cow that I witnessed shitting in Varanasi.
Too physically drained to mission up the mountain, and a few rupees later, the short drive up the mountain side found us at the Tibetan security branch office with a few hours spare before their sign up period ended. I walked into a room full of Buddhist monks and fellow travellers, chucked 10 rupees and two passport sized photographs of my happy mug onto a table, and it magically manifested itself into a pass to join the Dalai Lama, who was doing a teaching in his Temple whilst we were there, which started the following morning.
We bumped into Jess from the bus ride who mentioned a decent place for lucheon ten minutes’ walk up the mountainside, so we went off in that direction but didn’t find it. A place called The Jungle Hut which hung off of the rock face, and looked like it was made completely out of bamboo, drew our hungry attention, and saw our starved shells served a healthy lunch. By 3pm we descended the now misty mountain, extremely light rain gracing our faces, buzzing despite our ailments as we admired the peace that India had yet been able to offer us. Everywhere and everyone seemed extremely chilled. A young American guy with dreads and a warm looking shawl returned my smile and said ‘Hi’ as we walked in the opposite direction. I greeted him back in passing, thinking to myself that this was definitely my kind of place. Just as we reached our hotel the sky fell, catching us with very few of its’ sizeable sploshes as we ran in and up the winding stairs to our room. Tummy’s now full, and the days’ mission complete, our cracked shells twisted together to reclaim some more sleep that the bus ride had robbed us of.
We awoke around 7pm, and smoked a joint on our balcony as we stared across to another mountain peak; the distant, infrequent house lights looked like lanterns layed along its face, going up to the highest light of all, near the top. I said I wanted to be the man that lives there, as he’s always really, really high, probably smoking a Jeffrey as we speak. We discussed the idea I have for my next book, ‘The Freewheelin’ Troubadour’s Book of Faith’, which chronicles a journey of love, loss, and love again in a collection of already completed poems.
We ordered room service and were delivered a ‘chicken’ curry, which was more comparable to a bunch of fingers that had been cut off at the knuckle, chopped into three and stewed for a few hours in some lemony sauce. More bones than a greedy dog. I showed Sarah one of my favourite comedies as a kid growing up, a spoof hood movie called ‘Don’t Be A Menace To South Central, While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood’, which kept us in good spirits for an hour and a half, before rubbing each other’s poorly tummies until Sarah drifted off again. I wrote and wrote, and the night disappeared.