Dal Bati in Old Manali
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An overnight ride on a sleeper-bus took me from New Delhi to Manali. It would be my last overnight bus to take ever since. I decided so, or better said... my guts told me so. From then on, only overnight trains and single-day bus rides.
At the time I was stying allready far too long in touristic Old Manali. I couldn't leave, couldn't board a bus (the only public transportation in mountainous north of Himachal Pradesh - Himalayan foothills). Why so? well, that place will go down in my memory as the ONLY place in 2 years of backpacking rural India where I got my diegestion system poisened. I couldn't board anything that didn't have a toilet attached... and Indian public buses, unlike trains, don't.
I split my time between my Rajasthany tailor friend, joining them for Dal Bat they cooked themselves under the cashier desk at their shop or back in their room across the street. They had a seasonal shop in Old Manali market street and off season gone back to their native Rajasthan. After a day in Jaipur (rajasthan) on my way north, they were the first Rajasthanies I could call friends.
My other retreat, laying and trying to heal from my stomach instability, was the Anti-Drug Home run by an Israeli non-profit to create a drug free meeting place for traveling Israelis who tend to be constantly engaged in Marijuana (charas) especially in it's native habitat up north. The main activity in this two story back yard building was watching Israeli movies, while laying on the carpets and cussions or eating meals ordered from the in-house kitchen. There was also a nice garden and a cyber cafe.
It was on the here that I noticed a small yellow note tacked onto the message board telling about an Ashram not too far (9km) that leads various meditations.
At that time I was allready healing after giving up my natural ways (let time and immunity system run they're rolls) and been through a package of antibiotics I got from the Manali public hospital. So I was pretty safe to take this 30 minutes auto rickshaw ride.
I said goodbye to Old Manali, my few friends were the Rajasthanis and the others I got to know had allready left ahead of me, being in good health.
Also by Etan Doronne
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