Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So Long Dharamshala, I Never Knew You

When I called the hotel this morning to confirm my reservation for the weekend, they seemed surprised that I was requesting an airport pick-up. Apparently, the one flight between Dharamshala and Delhi doesn't fly this time of year unless weather permits. And the way the hotel manager spoke, it rarely permits. So what was supposed to be my first foray into solo traveling and solo trekking in the Indian Himalaya is but an afterthought. I canceled.

Dharamshala is the seat of the exiled Tibetan government and, more famously, the home of the Dalai Lama. In hindsight, the fact that I couldn't shake Christopher Walken's voice in my head when he says, "Not just any Buddhist. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama" in Wedding Crashers probably indicates I'm just missing out on some good trekking, two digit temperatures, and a weekend in the mountains (and not any sort of major spiritual revelations).

Among the things people at work said to me today when I asked their thoughts or advice, "Don't go unless you're prepared to extend your leave." Basically, if they close the airport due to weather it's anyone's guess exactly when it reopens. A second person said, "You just want to be safe, you know, it's a small airport with small planes. Plus, there will probably be landslides." Small airports and planes I can deal with; however, having seen the residual effect of landslides in Nepal, being swept away in a moving piece of mountain doesn't sound so super.

Of course, all of this means that I'm a lot less adventurous than I like to think I am. Basically, I'm a pansy. If I were any kind of traveler, I would have just gone, at least checked it out, and worst case caught a bus or hired a car back to Delhi. However, for some reason, ten or eleven hours in a bus or alone in a car didn't sound like a great way to spend what would become a major part of a two-night adventure. Especially if you've ever ridden in a vehicle in rural India.

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