Did I mention I am going to India? Because I am IN India.
After years of talking about this trip and anticipation, my parents, sister and I made the trip across 11 and a half time zones to India. This is the furthest any of us have ever been from home (yes, even me).
With the help of my mom and a travel agent friend of Dean, this trip has been planned to a tee. This is a little different from the way that I travel but at least this way we won’t be wandering the streets of foreign country, where you don’t speak the language, with nowhere to stay. It might be my style but they like a little more organization.
Our first day was one of the only ‘free days’ in our schedule so I went to get SIM cards and go to the chemist. After being overcharged 5 times the regular price for our cell phones and getting followed while trying to find the chemist, I remembered that I was no longer in Canada.
We then all went out as a family to sight-see aka shop in Delhi. After fighting whether we would go with the safe-overcharged-hotel taxi or the fun-slightly sketch-street taxi, we were off.
The sketch taxi won. My mom wasn’t too happy about that one. But one thing that I learned is that anyone that is providing a service to outsiders is mostly slightly sketch. Yes, they all want commission for bring you there but that what happened when you want to be a tourist.
[When I come back to Delhi, I will no longer be a tourist, but a journalist so I had fun acting the part for a day.]
And, who doesn’t like a driver who tells you he loves Resident Evil movies and his favourite band is the Backstreet Boys?
Quick note: for those of you traveling to India, many of the national sightseeing things are closed on Monday, well that’s at least what we were told.
We also happened to have our tour around Delhi on the 100th anniversary of the city.
We also did some shopping.
Now, being in a clothing shop with three girls is not the funnest thing for my Dad. After talking with some of the artists, they asked him what he wanted to buy. He said he wanted a beer. So, they brought him one.
I am not one to be left out.
The next day, we caught a train to Jalandhar, a region north of Delhi.
From there, we took a six-hour drive north to Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama and just east of the Himalaya Mountains. It’s chilly here and I only brought shrugs to India.
The whole town is focused around the Tibetan people who have been exiled since 1959. We visited Tibetan museums, the temple and stayed in a guesthouse supported by the monetary to protect Tibetan culture. Our room was ‘Tibetan Mystical Creatures’.
When we were leaving our hotel in the morning, a staff member told us His Holiness would be arriving that morning at 10:30. At 9 am, the streets were lined in preparation for his arrival. People wore white scarves and lit incense that made the streets full of smoke.
Although his car was driving fast, I was still able to snap a couple of pictures.
Later, his security guard told us that his arrival is usually not as big but since the Dalai Lama is teaching lessons next week, many people had traveled from Tibet.
My visit to Dharamsala was such a crazy experience, I feel like I have been gone away from Canada for years. It was surreal to be in the temple at the same time as the Dalai Lama, someone who I, and I guess the world, admires so much. There are few things in life that could beat it.