Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dharamsala

I am truly blessed with an indestructible sleep cycle. I felt asleep on the 14 hour bus ride from Dehra Dun to Dharamsala. Indian buses are infamous for being nosy, bumpy and animated. Long distance travelers sit while short distance travelers stand -- or sit on the sitters' leg. But despite the chaos, the babies never cry. It is an amazing display of the Indian character.

You will never believe me, but I had a good time on the bus. I kept conversation about Indian politics with a lawyer from Dehra Dun who was on his way to a court case in Dharamsala. I listened to lot of new music -- thanks Chris! -- through my invincible earplug earphones. It also helps that the bus makes regular stop in rural Indian villages. They provided many good leg stretches, good roadside Indian snacks (20% beans, 80% herbs and spices), and an astounding star gazing opportunity.

Small talk with the India is a bit different. It goes: what's your name, where are you from? Are you married, why not? (Because every one of my five girlfriend left me and I'm not bitter. Please give me an Indian arranged marriage now). Then they ask, how long in India, where, how much are you making? That one is a surprise too.

Dharamala might be a dream city. For one, it has no cars, or very few. I often dreamed that Montreal had resisted the appeal of cars during the 20th century. Dharamsala seems to have have traded the Indian's busy-bee activity for the Tibetan calm, and its rhythm fit me. It is a city-style village. It has only 20'000 people, but it is dense like a town.

I have attended a candle vigil for the Tibetans left behind. I have also started to volunteer for the education center. I am calling upon my little experience as an English teacher for the sake of the Tibetans here. One of my student trekked 25 days to flee Tibet and come here. His family is still there.
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