Location: Dharamsala

Hands down, today was a day that will never be forgotten, no matter how cliche that sounds. According to Wen, the sun will, in fact, NOT, come out tomorrow, but it was shining brilliantly this morning, with a layer of thick fog hanging over the valley below us. After struggling to shake the sleepiness, all of us headed up the 3,000,000 (maybe) steps to get breakfast at Rabsels Restaurant, where to my extreme delight, pancakes were waiting. Including one intense Uno game after eating, we started our exploration of Dharamsala with Rabsel leading the way. Up, down, and all around, we braved the tiny dirt roads used as two-lane highways, squeezing into unnatural spaces to avoid the cars or occasional motorcycles bearing down on us. We first went to His Holiness the Dalai Lamas Temple, where some of us left offerings, and others just admired the beautiful colors, which are more than enough to take your breath away. While walking out of the temple, our group experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a celebrity on the red carpet, preferably Beyonce. At first, one woman came up to us to ask for pictures, but faster than we could realize, grown men were swarming, hoping to get a quick picture, which was thankfully funnier than it was weird. After the temple, Rabsel took us to the Tibetan Museum, where we learned about the gut-wrenching plight of the Tibetan refugees fleeing from the oppression brought by the Chinese government. Following the museum, we took a bit of a detour, heading up a path away from the main road. Nearly every free branch was draped with prayer flags, the vibrant colors flapping in the wind. It was already an incredibly beautiful sight, and there also happened to be monkeys running around all over the place, and I am pretty sure that the king of the monkeys tried to scare us away with his teeth bearing and teeth clicking. After our walk up in the clouds, we headed down to a delicious lunch, and then some much-needed relaxation time back at the monastery. Before dinner, we did some preparation for our lessons tomorrow and even had a Tibetan lesson from Rabsel, where some of us caught on much faster than others. Then for dinner Pizza. And we all know that even when its bad, its good, but luckily this was delicious! Our night so far has been filled with some interesting activities Uttam is grounded for various reasons. So excited to see what tomorrow brings.

Xoxo, Maddie