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7.30.2010: Last day in Dharamsala

Refugees, Sushi Rolls, and another long bus ride...

We woke up to our last day in Dharamsala and headed out to the Tibet Museum.

One of the main reasons that we handpicked Dharamsala as a stop on our trip was because it is home to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. He chose Dharamsala as the capital in exile of the Tibetan people, after fleeing Chinese tyranny in 1959 and ever since his move, Dharamsala has drawn people in search of divine enlightenment from all around the world.
McLeod Ganj harbors several organizations committed to raising funds for the Tibetan people and promoting and preserving Buddhist culture.
The Tibet Museum is a great educational facility to learn about the struggle of the Tibetan people and we were dying to immerse ourselves in it.
"A long look homeward" is the main exhibition inside of the Museum. It highlights the brutalities that have been carried out against millions of Tibetans during the Chinese domination as well as focuses on the whole History of Tibet. It is an emotionally taxing but educational exhibit and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Life in McLeod Ganj revolves around the Buddhist temple, Thekchen Choling Temple Complex, located next to the Tibet Museum. This temple is linked to the exclusive private residence of the Dalai Lama.
Although there were many robe clad monks roaming the complex, chatting and joking, his holiness, the Dalai Lama was not among them.
We walked around the temple, prayed alongside the monks, and took turns spinning the many prayer wheels.
After getting in touch with our spiritual side, we decided that it was time to eat. We decided on a Japanese sushi spot that was recommended by one of the girls in my cooking class.
We ordered a set lunch of vegetable sushi rolls, Miso soup, boiled potatoes with carrots, and pickled green beans with fresh lemon iced tea.
It was healthy, delicious, and filling.
We headed back to our hotel, packed up our bags and reluctantly said goodbye to Dharamsala. We had such an amazing time, it was hard to leave. Dharamsala was, hands-down, my favorite place in India, and it’s no wonder the Dalai Lama chose it for his home. It is peaceful and gorgeous, the people are respectful, helpful, and friendly and I would recommend it to anyone who visits India. It will definitely not be my last visit.
The day we arrived, we traded our sleeper train tickets for bus tickets in order to spend more time in Dharamsala. Although we were told that we were getting a state of the art tourist bus where the seats reclined, we were wary as to the extent of the comfort. The ticket salesman assured us that, although the bus was not air-conditioned, we would not need it traveling down the cool mountain roads. We crossed our fingers as we waved good-bye to Dharamsala and headed to the bus station.
With no organizational structure whatsoever, the bus station was no more than a dimly-lit, unmarked parking garage. Armed with a ticket that only stated the name of the bus company, we asked several random people where we should be headed. They pointed us over to two parked busses sitting side by side. As we walked by the first one, we noticed that one of the windows was busted out and in its place sat a piece of cardboard that was, barely hang on for dear life. Noticing the duct tape flapping around, we joked that with our luck, it must be our bus. It was.
Luckily the seat with the taped-up window was not ours, however, we got the next best option, the one directly behind it. As we pulled away from the station my biggest concern was being too cold. Having brought only a thin fleece, I could just picture myself shivering the whole way to Delhi. I was way off. It was smoldering hot. The open windows did not do much to help and the overhead fans were broken, as were the lights. I sat in clammy shadows in a seat that barely reclined as we made our way down the twisty mountainside.
It was a harsh night of slumber.

I wish I could be there to watch it with all the hardworking people at AMS :( but at least I will be back in the states by then and watching intently from my TV at home :) You guys rock!

Posted by emichele 20:23 Archived in India

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