Friday, April 30, 2004

There's been almost constant rain since my first night - relentless, heavy rain, with lightning that seems somehow to cause power cuts. As I just overheard someone say in one of the cafes, it's like monsoon two months early.

This morning went well. Suddenly, hot water! I saw the light on my boiler and was out of my clothes in seconds. Then, after my shower, I found a clothes shop next door to the guesthouse. When I left the UK friends advised me to pack next to nothing and then buy new stuff in India. How was I to know all the Tibetan stores would be closed for a couple days out of respect to the hunger strikers outside the UN? So finally, I could buy an umbrella and some waterproofish trousers and save my trusty grey pair yet another day out and about. Yes, this morning was a good morning. Even managed breakfast before my 9.30 start.

Pema showed me around to various appointments in the area around the library, where the offices of the government in exile are. I met with someone from the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, who told me about all their research; someone working at the Environment and Development desk in the government, so I saw what a govenment in exile actually do (by necessity, not much - mainly monitoring and pressuring); and a public relations guy from the Tibetan Medicine and Astrology Institute. Also saw the monastery and the library. Pema's a bit of a joker, fun to be around. But the whole morning felt official and again I got much more of an insight into community life via their institutions.

Now Shabbat is coming in here in McLeod Ganj, this upper part of Dharamshala, and I have to make some last minute preparations. Hannah, Rob and I are planning on going to Beit Chabad where they lay on a traditional service and meal. But the rain just keeps on coming down.

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