Sunday, September 25, 2011

McLeod Ganj: Damn, It's Nice!

Dharamsala is a name you may have heard of: the HQ of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, plus a tourist hotspot. Really, all the action is in McLeod Ganj, which is maybe 10km outside Dharamsala. I guess Dharamsala proper is big, cranky, and dusty, but I wouldn't know, as I've been in McLeod.

Life here is reasonable. It's a pleasant temperature all the time, kind of damp and misty, but pretty as all get-out. You can actually get coffee here, and you can even go to a coffeeshop that has wifi. (I'm kinda convinced that this is a cornerstone of every good place to live.) There are classes to learn all sorts of things, from yoga to music to cooking to jewelry making. Plus, there is good food all over the place, it's hilly, and it's full of white people from all over. It's rather like Seattle.

(okay, there's a difference: the coffee's no good. Oh, and the Tibetan government thing. Also we're in India. People are super friendly; you can make friends just talking to them. And the number of roads is in the single digits, and you can walk to really breathtaking places from your house.)

But the similarities lull me back into old routines. Wake up whenever, lounge around drinking coffee and reading stuff all day, using perhaps too much internet. Sometimes even join some friends for a beer at night. It's been a good break so far from my quick travel schedule, and I feel rather like myself again.

The difference between these routines and the rest of the month of September has been profound. I've had no coffee and almost no alcohol until I got here. I've slept early and awakened early, eaten almost no meat, even eaten few desserts or unhealthy foods. Internet has been an hour every couple days, not multiple hours in a day. In short, I've lived really a rather virtuous September. And it's been easy, due to environmental factors: no social pressure to indulge in anything. I've enjoyed the chance to try life without all my old mini-vices.

You'd think this line of thought is going somewhere, but really, I'm not sure which way I like it better.


  1. I love your last line....

  2. Sounds like you had some time to reflect, and enjoyed what you saw. Good for you!