Four disheveled travelers climb out of the Jeep taxi from Manali and ignoring the locals' advice to just walk into town, we heave our bags onto 2 auto rickshaws to drive us there. 15 seconds later, we arrive at our hotel. Next morning, we set out to explore MacLeod Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama, many other exiled Tibetan refugees and countless foriegn hippies who just can't seem to leave. Dalai's temple is full of monks in maroon robes and shaved heads, who you see all over town talking on cell phones and eating at nice restaurants. The rooms inside the temple have these ornate Buddha decorations interspresed with earthly offerings on display such as Oreos, packaged soup mix, biscuits and other cheap general store staples that alter the mood of the shrine from holy to kitschy. The temple also has these giant bronze prayer wheels that you get to spin in a row as you walk by. Almost like the big wheel people spin to get to the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right, except these spin horizontally and have Tibetan symbols instead of dollar signs. More people at the temple tried to take pictures of us than vice versa.
Later, Beau & I attended a yoga session where the teacher was singing all the parts of the body and telling us to relax our kidney, however one does that. Beau boycotted the cooking lesson later that evening. Michelle, Lija and I showed up to class, which turned out ot be run by a couple of Tibetan refugees in their ratty apartment. They didn't seem particularly prepared or qualified to run a cooking course. Like, for example, they only had 1 knife. And they'd run off to go cook something without showing us. Nevertheless, we shredded carrots and potatoes by candlelight (as the power kept cutting off) and watched as they pointed and laughed at our poorly formed momos (dumplings) that tasted really bland, by the way. I kept trying to talk about Tibet, their families there, when they are going back as Lija is elbowing me, whispering: "Spred, shhhh. They are refugees, they aren't allowed to go back!"
Soon, it became time for us to return to hellhole Delhi so Lija could catch her flight. Michelle stayed behind, missing the absolutely insane rollercoaster "luxury" bus ride back. As we careened down almost vertical drops against a cliff, I was almost certain the driver was drunk and that the brakes must have failed. I had to push so hard against the footrest not to fly forward that my legs were sore the next morning. Instead of doing any sightseeing whatsoever with our remaining time in Delhi, Beau, Lija and I stayed glued to the pool at the Sheraton for the entire day, only leaving for our last dinner (which was brought out on flaming swords). In fact, on the comments card after the meal, I requested "more flaming swords", to which the manager chased after me as we were leaving to find out exactly what I meant.
With Lija and Michelle gone, it became time for Beau and I to continue fumbling through India just the two of us...