India

From Triund to Venus via the tenth dimension

There are dense toxic gases and bacteria the size of buses, but apart from that, unless you’re able to see in the tenth dimension, there’s not much on Venus. Some call it the ninth dimension, some the eleventh, some the first, some say it isn’t a dimension at all. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, except to the Venusians for whom it’s very definitely the tenth dimension, and they get quite offended if you suggest it isn’t.

With some Venusians in the Milky Way cafe

Up on Triund there are not enough memories to fill the time that passed. I was awake the whole night. I may have slept an hour, but certainly no more than that. A trippy hippy danced around saying we are all organic gardeners, we are all one, we are all one organic gardener. At the time there were three of us. Four including him. Twenty or thirty around the fire, and maybe a hundred scattered across Triund in caves and shepherds’ huts and chai shops. In the present tense a woman asks an old man the time. She points to…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

There are rumours that the Dalai Lama arrives today. Although this is supposed to be his home he doesn’t seem to spend much time here. People say he’s just coming to destroy a mandala, and then he’ll be off again. His movements are supposed to be posted on www.tibet.com but I can’t find where.

The last chai shop before Triund

Walking up to Triund at the last chai shop before the top a guy in uniform with a gun (police or army, I’m not sure which) and someone in a checked shirt stop. Namaste. You are from which country? asks the plain clothes one. England. Let me see your passport. I don’t have my passport on me but I show him my driving licence. Two guys walk past and they are asked the same question but their English isn’t good and they don’t answer, they just keep walking. At the top I’m told there are a number of police hanging…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

The moon is almost full. It’s hanging over the hills in the East, above Triund. The seas are clearly visible: three dark patches. If I squint I can see a face that’s either happy or angry, but not really. I’ve ordered French onion soup and Veg. Mushroom Curry Rice. I’m in Dharamkot. This is the Israeli occupied part of McLeod Ganj. Israelis here outnumber all other nationalities, including Indians. At least that’s how it seems if you go to any of the cafes and restaurants. Many signs and menus are written in Hebrew. I don’t know why there are so…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

There’s an article in the free Dharamshala community magazine, Contact Mag, about life in England. It’s headed: So you want to go to the west? and starts: What about England? It’s a small island situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea with a population of 60 million. You could live a long life as life expectancy is 80 for women and 75 for men. There are 78 cell phones per 100 people. It goes on to talk about the animals that English people kill in their gardens and homes, shops full of sprays and insecticides, how expensive a…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

In the bar yesterday evening an Indian guy, slightly pissed, was saying all you Westerners you come over here because you’re empty and you fill yourself up with anything you can find, like a rubbish bin, you take it all in, you don’t reject anything. You come here with no God, no belief, and you go away full of rubbish. You’re all looking for the void. If we’re empty we don’t need to go looking for the void, do we? I agreed with a lot of what he was saying, but I didn’t like the way he was saying it,…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

Yesterday people were talking about a German woman who died. She had been missing for two days and they’d just found her body near the waterfall. She must have slipped. The body was laid out in Bhaksu on a bamboo stretcher, covered up and guarded by police.

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

Spent Saturday night up on Triund, a ridge 1000m above McLeod Ganj, 2800m above sea level. It took about four hours to walk up there, five if you include the breaks in the chai shops on the way up. On Triund there are three chai shops, some shepherds’ huts, some caves, some very basic rooms you can rent, but no toilets and no showers. I wasn’t so bothered about a shower but after the thali we had when we got to the top I felt like I needed a real toilet. Previously I’ve always tried to get back to the…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

Sitting in a cafe. Thunder rumbling. Stomach also rumbling. I went down to the LHA the other day, a Tibetan education place, where they can learn English from volunteers and also computer skills and website design. I know some people who have been doing English conversation groups there, and thought I could offer to do something. I told them I had website building skills. I was asked if I knew Dreamweaver. I said yes. Good, that’s what we need. I was shown numerous pages handouts for the students and as I glanced through them I started to think that I…

1 of 6
123456