India 2008 # 10: In Which The Magic Stick Is Sadly Missed and the Rewalsar Diving Monkeys

We walked around the lake with Ernie and Leisa and had breakfast at a different monastery. There were a couple of wallahs across the road selling little round things that they poked holes in, put a few chickpeas into, poured some kind of spicy liquid in and this you toss down in one mouthful. I have no idea what these things are called but they’re quite an interesting taste.

Sadly, Ernie and Leisa left today, so we went to see them off on the bus. They’re really brave, in my opinion. This was their first time in India and they were off to find their way back to Paharganj in Delhi and then to the airport by themselves. Well done guys.

We later walked around a little and I found a tailor shop where I dropped off my trousers to get mended. Thank goodness their English was non-existant, so I didn’t have to explain how the rip got there in the first place. I wandered over to “Goldie’s Cloth Shop” while I waited to see if he had any dupatta (large scarves). I had seen a photo of this shop on Flikr on the net, so I was curious to have a look at it. It turns out that Goldie is a really nice young man and he and I and Paul had chai together and he gave us his card and told us if we had any problem to give him a call. There really are some nice locals in these little villages.

Ernie and Leisa – since you took your magic stick away, we have had monsoon rain like you wouldn’t believe. (We’ve had a running joke while we’ve been in India with them. We advised them to buy an umbrella, but every time they brought it out with them, the rain stayed away. Thus named “The Magic Stick” and also known as “The Monkey Basher”.) Come back you guys! We’re getting drenched here!

There had been an influx of women from the Women’s Self-Help Institute or something like this, from Ladakh (also very high in the hills). In the evening, they danced in our monastery courtyard, singing and giggling and having a wonderful time. That was great to watch – beautiful sounds and interesting cultural dancing.

It’s Thursday now and the last few days have been reasonably quiet. We’ve basically been lazing around eating, sleeping, monkey watching, indulging in the odd gin or two and just keeping away from anything that could be described strenuous at all. Yesterday I just wasn’t well, so I saw most of the day through closed eyelids. Later we amused ourselves watching Hindi ads on the t.v. They’re absolutely brilliant and a lot of them are so corny they kept us laughing for ages.

Observations –

  • Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this already, but I was having a shower when I realised that the plug for the ‘geyser’ is just below and slightly to the left of the shower head. Permanent hairstyle change for no extra charge?
  • There’s a lama here who wanders around with a huge prayer wheel in his hands and a cowboy hat on. Quite a classic combination.
  • Most of the Tibetan people here are very smiley. It’s very easy to have a good laugh with them, even if we don’t have each other’s language.
  • Yesterday I was looking down at the courtyard watching a monk riding around on a child’s scooter. He was having a great old time. He looked up and saw us watching and had a huge grin on his face. It’s great to see adults remembering how to play.
  • This morning I was sitting in a nice place looking at the lake. This appears to be a secret monkey hiding place. We sort of looked at each other and decided that if we ignored each other we’d get on just fine. Further around the lake, some monkeys were leaping from high up in the trees into the lake. Having discussed this with Paul, it’s apparently pretty unusual behaviour.

Last night we walked into a different eatery across the road from our usual one. It’s decor was mustard-painted wall till half way up which was then complimented by screaming pink painted wall. I almost rued the fact I’d left my sunglasses back in our room. The woman from the one across the road came in and we thought we were well and truly sprung for abdicating. She came over and had a chat, borrowed some noodles from the cook then wandered back across the road. Her husband sat at the next table chatting with the owner. We’ve noticed that they all cross back and forward getting change from one another, borrowing ingredients and generally acting more like friends than competition. Considering they all have exactly the same menus as each other, this seems rather a wonderful and friendly approach to things. I showed the boy working there one of our pop-balls (half a rubber ball that you turn inside out and put on the table – after a while it pops way up into the air). He got the giggles and had a great time with it. As did the owner and the guy from across the road. I think this is one of the best toys ever invented.

Most the eating places here have giant photos on the wall of Lhasa. It’s a much bigger place now that the Chinese have taken over.

Last night, in the temple up the road, there were horns blowing for hours on end. I don’t know if they swap players every now and then or what, but I know that when my son played didgeredoo his mouth went numb after half an hour or so.

There’s a dog here that sort of bounces when it walks. It’s obviously terribly unwell and I feel so sad watching it and wish someone could put it out of it’s misery. But, as Paul pointed out, this is a Buddhist place and that’s just not going to happen. The dog will just live out it’s life and go when its time is come.

I went up onto the roof earlier and got rather a nice photo of some lamas sitting around reading newspapers while one was talking on a cellphone.

Today is an important Lama’s birthday, so all the Tibetan shops are closed and the temple up the road has big marquee up for celebrations. It could be an interesting day. Over breakfast we had a perfect view of a pack of monkeys fighting and running around all over the temple gate. One in particular was having a real bad-fur day. It thumped onto the roof just below us then looked around and spat at us. Geez, sorry for existing dude… It chased several other monkeys all over the place and some of them looked really scared. I can still hear them screeching at each other now from this cyber cafe.

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