Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I cannot believe I only arrived in India about 36 hours ago. I was met by a Tibetan travel agent, a friend of one of the Longsho (Tibetan youth movement) leaders, and he took care of everything: transport from the airport, guesthouse in Delhi, bus to Dharamshala. I spent one hot day in ugly Delhi (although the red fort, the enormous former seat of Moghul power, was very impressive) and one uncomfortable night on the bus and now here I am, in this strange town in the hills. On the one hand there are Tibetan monks and cows wandering the streets and Tibetan prayer wheels spinning by the road-side. On the other, it's crawling with travellers and lined with restaurants, chai-shops, ethnic clothing stalls, notices for yoga courses and cinemas - all designed purely for the tourist. It has a very unreal feel, as if they copied it off Boombamela or something. Actually, Boombamela is probably bigger than Macleod Ganj, as this upper part of Dharamshala is really called. First building I entered after my guesthouse was a restaurant in which I bumped into Hannah Freedman, Jon's sister. So I've been hanging out with her and her boyfriend all day... the Longsho offices, cups of chai on the hillside, a movie. My Tibetan Jewish Youth Exchange induction to Longsho begins tomorrow morning. I have lost all concept of time and have not fully registered that I've arrived.

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