NOTHING CAN STOP A BULLET
In the North-west of India in the state Himachal Pradesh are a few place you have to see. After leaving Rishikesh you move up to Shimla after which you can choose to go to Dharmsala, Manali and Kasol. These are the places where a great number of foreigners stay in the summer. After march Goa gets too hot for most westerners and the villages in the Himalaya are flooded with westerners who like the simple lifestyle and impressive nature these places offer.
Manali is the big city at the end of Kullu Valley, the Valley of the Gods. It consists of three locations, new Manali, old Manali and Vashist. New Manali is a nice little town with many hotels. Mostly Indian tourists are staying here. It has a shopping market that consist of a few streets and a busstop. When you arrive at the busstop, at the other end from the market, there is the road to Old Manali.
Old Manali consists of a steep road with a lot of shops and restaurants. It’s a place where in the seized after the rains stop many people gather before they go up into Ladakh and Leh. The environment is stunning. The old village is getting more and more modern. It is a great location to start trekking. Old Manali is more expensive than Vashisht but has a more vibrant nightlife than Vashisht.
Vashisht is on the other side of the river, 3 kilometers away from New Manali. The village is old and many people are keeping cows at their house. You really feel you are inside the life the way people lived for thousands of years. The temples with the hot water springs are the centre of the community where old and young are bathing during the whole day. Every few days a God is carried around with a lot of drumming and loud horns. The tradition is kept close to everyones heart and great powers are believed to be part of the Gods. You can feel the ease and strong community the people live in. I stayed in Damini Guesthouse. I came early, after the first rains, and got a room with a great view on the top floor for Rs 200 a day. Now with more people coming the price went up to Rs 300. I am cooking on a little kerosine stove on my balcony. The local food is lacking some nutricians and when you stay a long time you might want to have more control on what you eat.
I came to sell my Royal Enfield. When I arrived in Kasol on 4 of April, it was empty. Not many people arrived yet. I like the time before all the tourists move in, but there was also none to buy my bike. I hung posters everywhere and decided after 2 days to move to Manali. Everyone said that was the place where people buy motorbikes to go driving into Ladakh and Leh. It is not far from Kasol and the ride is nice. Kullu Valley is a place I always wanted to go to. I went straight to Anu’s Enfield shop. Evelyn told me he might want to buy my bike since he rents out a fleet of Royal Enfield Machismo’s. Unfortunately he just ordered 35 new ones… His shop is on the way to Vashisht and I ended up there in a nice guesthouse Damini with Bino and Shiva, who just started to run their grandfathers place.
I decided that if I would go to Manali I would start smoking hashies again. One of the best Charas are made here in Manali and I planned to get the best I could get. I found it all right. The stuff smells like buds and the kick is mellow. Manali is also one of the best places to get high. Everyday I am hiking into the mountains and yesterday we found a small beach in a dead end valley that ended in a gorge. The river was running fast but I had to go in. I put my shoe’s on to get a better grip on the stones and pushed my way against the strong current. Drying in the sun in paradise with noone but me and my new Canadian friend. Smoking, swimming in the icy cold water and laying in the sun listening to the river.
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