We start the day with a visit to Sacred Heart School, a catholic prep school nestled in the mountains and sporting a menacing guard with a rifle. Or what seemed one: a head nun whoís been there half a century informs us itís just an air gun to scare off monkeys.
We leave Dalhousie bound for Dharamsala, site of the Tibetan government-in-exile and everybodyís favorite wacky religious figure, the Dalai Lama himself. We take the scenic route, with scenic being an understatement: this is a two-way road thin for even one car, and turns are taken as acts of faith involving horn blasts and hoping the other guy doesnít whack into you. If the other driver makes even a minute bump into you, thereís a good chance youíre screwed: falling off the edge basically means plunging down a cliff. On the upside, thereís not really any question about it: go off the road and youíre dead. Not like those boring roads where paralysis or other lesser consequences are possible, right?
Just because the road isnít exciting enough already, we run into a few bands of nomads, complete with cows blocking the way. And a huge sacrifice: I donít participate in a village wrestling match that we happen to pass. It was basically these dudes in their underwear in a pit of mud; their moves looked almost identical to what I did in high school. I was set to throw my clothes off and show these lightweights a thing or two, but it gets a veto from the powers that be after the driver informs us that one of their moves is pulling your ear as hard as they can and theyíd take it personal if I were to start winning. It hurts to pass it up, but it may have hurt more to have my ears pulled off; after all, they are big targets...
Our arrival at Dharamsala is a few minutes before a windstorm hits and right after the power goes out. Dinnerís made interesting by the lights going on and off every few minutes, and we learn that the price of flashlights triples during a blackout. By the time we return to the guesthouse, the powerís back on, letting us finish the night with a few hours of crimping network cables to use in our upcoming lab installs.
Strange: this areaís attitude towards sexual expression. Tantric sex, the kama sutra, and cave paintings depicting people intimately engaged are all part of Southeast Asiaís history; in comparison, whatís the United Kingdom done for sex? Yet, today itís considered taboo for Bollywood stars to so much as lock lips onscreen, and anything more physical is likely to incur the wrath of the state censors. Girls canít even straddle motorcycles behind guys without being labeled pariahs! On the other hand, I suppose itís really easy to be a model here. So what if you gain 50 pounds? None of the clothingís revealing enough for anybody to tell!