Location: Delhi to Dharamsala

As Friday came to a close, we slowly reconnected with the outside world, even if they were 9 and a half to 12 and a half hours behind. As Bryn, Maddie and I were in our room, winding down after a busy day, Fiona, Julia, John, and Uttam knocked on our door and proudly announced that SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage equality! Those of us who were awake went up to the rooftop to look at the New Delhi skyline and discuss how excited we were for the ruling. We found out a lot about each other’s hometowns and the similarities and differences between them. We started to get tired and headed down to get some rest before we left for Dharamsala the next morning.

Morning came, and so did our coffee. We needed the extra energy boost as we packed our stuff and headed for the airport. Driving in Delhi is never boring, and I’m just thankful that I’m not the one driving since I’m sure that wouldn’t work out too well. When we got to the airport, we unloaded our luggage and headed into the air-conditioned airport. After struggling with the weight limit for our bags (typical Americans), we finally were able to get through security and wait for our flight. That is when we discovered that there was a Starbucks at the airport, so we immediately went to buy something. Julia, Fiona and I decided to get the Mango Frappuccino, which we think is only available in India. The baristas had a bit trouble figuring out how to spell our names. I am now known as Ali, Fiona is Fiyona, Maddie is now Marry, and John is now Jhon. We soon left and got in a packed, hot bus to get to the plane. We finally left for Dharamsala!

The view from the plane was amazing as we approached the airport! We got off and were very happy that it wasn’t as hot as New Delhi. Once we got our luggage, we took a bathroom break, only to kind of break the sink (we think the person in front of us broke it). We loaded up the cars and started the long drive up to the monastery. On the way there Uttam started a cow count, and we ended up seeing 42 cows on the ways there. There are also lots of monkeys, and we nearly ran one over. The traffic ended up being pretty bad, causing us to have to wait there for a while. Once everyone in my car decided to get out and stretch our legs, but once we got out, the traffic started to move, and we had to run on the side of the road to catch up to our car again. We hopped in again and went on our way, with traffic still prevalent.

We finally made it to the monastery, which is an amazing place to stay. Our room had a cool framed picture of the Dalai Lama as well as a beautiful view of the valley from our room. Since it was Julia’s birthday today (her Sweet 16!) we decided to dress up for dinner. After a tour of the monastery, we headed up to eat dinner. 300 steps later, we were all out of breath (and apparently out of shape), but we made it! We had dinner in Rabsels cafe, which was amazing, especially since we were pretty hungry. The bread was really good too, and I think we all had at least four pieces. To celebrate Julias birthday, we brought in a cake and a card that we all had signed earlier (which included a pretty bad pun from Fiona and me). We were pretty tired after that, so we maneuvered through the busy streets and then back down the 300 steps to the monastery. We came across some young monks telling jokes to their friends, who had very loud reactions. We figured that teenage boys are pretty much the same everywhere you go. We’re excited to go and explore the town more tomorrow, but first, sleep.