Tuesday 2 October 2007


The day began very late, in order to catch up on some much needed sleep. Lhasa House hadn't been very conducive to good nights sleep, so being able to sleep without being woken by unexpected loud noises or screams was a welcome change.

After breakfast at the hotel restaurant, we ventured out in Shimla. Contrary to our expectations, we were not greeted with idillic mountain views, but rather with scene of abject poverty. The traffic, noise, beeping and street commotion were as incessant as in Delhi. Our confidence that Shimla would be a relaxing experience shattered.

However, we managed to find a nice restaurant where we had the pleasure of having a bottle of coke, which refreshed our body and spirit.

My cold was getting worse, so we retrieted to our hotel. After a (cold) shower (hot water is a rare commodity here, almost as rare as toilet paper), and a lively discussion between me and Wala about not going on a short trek around Shimla, we agreed to go out to the central roads of Shimla, aptly named The Mall and The Ridge.

There we found the the Shimla we expected. Lots of people doing lengths up and down the road, watching each other and chatting to each other, all in a pleasant and lively atmophere.

We resisted the temptation to visit the many cute little shops and went into a restaurant that was recommended by our travel guide, where we enjoyed top notch service (for Indian standards) and succulent Chicken Tandoori (a whole chicken seasoned with spices and cooked in a stone oven) and Chiken Tikka.

Then, we bought a cheap film camera to replace our temporarily missing in action digital camera. We also tried to use the internet (in the first internet both we had seen in a week), but unfortunately we were informed that the internet was down (which I take it to mean their connnection to the internet was not working).

Monkeys and dogs were everywhere. We saw a bunch of monkeys climbing up and down a building, using ridges and window sills as walkways on the vertical walls. At one stage, a fight between a handful of monkeys erupted over a piece of scrap food. Lots of neighbouring monkeys heard that and used the gutters to slide down the building like firemen responding to a fire siren call, and joined the fight.

My throat and runny nose screamed bed. We took the adventourus jorney back to the hotel, down a narrow, steep path through shaks and tiny cubicles made of mud and rocks where people lived.