Thursday, October 6, 2011

See that?  Three layers: bottom layer honey, middle layer strips of ginger, top layer hot water with lemon juice squeezed in.  With a teabag on the side.

I've had about five of those today.

I decided to move east from Dharamsala/McLeod-Ganj to Manali last night.  Easy enough to do: I booked a ticket on the bus leaving that evening, packed up and checked out of my hotel, and voila.  The bus left early and the drivers sped over the bumpy roads, tipping and tilting the bus around each hairpin turn.  It was horrible.  I heard something electronic crunch about a quarter of the way through and spent the rest of the trip clutching my purse and cursing the driver.  At one point another passenger was literally flung from her seat onto the floor, where she cut her leg on a piece of rusty metal.

The bus was scheduled to drop us in Manali around six in the morning.  Instead, thanks to the reckless driving, we arrived at four in the morning.  It is not good to arrive in a new town at four in the morning!  We all stumbled off the bus, bleary eyed and rattled, only to find a hotelier waiting with a minivan and an offer we couldn't refuse: go with them, or sit around in the dark at the bus station until the rickshaw drivers woke up and arrived on scene.

So we piled into the minivan and looked back with sorrow at the pair of French girls who remained behind in the pitch-black parkling lot, unwilling to be conned.  The hotel turned out to be out of the way, a five minute walk on little dirt footpaths away from Old Manali's tiny little main road, and nice enough, but the whole episode left a foul taste in my mouth.  I suspect the hotelier had made some sort of arrangement between the speeding bus driver.

I ended up splitting the cost of a room with the poor girl who'd cut her leg on the bus for the remainder of the night (my share added up to about $3), dragging myself out of bed again at 8:30 and finding a different hotel.  I imagine inertia was supposed to keep me in place, justifying the hotelier's time and effort, which is why I was so prompt about leaving.

I'd been developing a mild cold in Dharamsala and the miserable, sleepless bus ride made it worse so I've been nursing my sore throat with the delicious concoction pictured above.  It's available almost everywhere here.

Below is the view from Manali - the mountains are getting bigger and look at those trees!

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