Sunday, 9 December 2012


Sunday 25th July 2010
We were taking a bus from Delhi to Manali, half way to Leh, and where we hoped to meet other members of the 'Learning from Ladakh' programme. We procured the last two seats on the bus - later I wished we hadn't. As we drove out of Delhi I saw a woman with a huge pile of thin, dry sticks on her head - just balanced there as she walked along with her hands by her side. Over the tops of the buildings, I saw many small kites flickering against the pale of the evening sky - like in the film "The Kite Runner".
In India not many people smoke cigarettes and the first person I saw smoking since I arrived was a young guy with dread locks and wearing a T shirt with a rainbow on it.
As the bus drove out of Delhi I felt that although it was very unusual, the place felt familiar to me!
The road to Manali is very busy. Many, many lorries. The road is narrow and the edge of the road is RIGHT on the edge of the mountain. The drop from the road is all the way to the bottom. I wouldn't mind that usually - but the drivers go so fast , and they don't have enough room to go round the bends with the bus because of the oncoming traffic. NO ONE slows to let another pass, they just all power on. I can say it was the most frightening journey I have ever been on. One stage of the journey passes a cement works. The main road is the access road for the cement works. It is a hell of dust, lorries, diesel fumes and confusion. Just after the cement works we pulled in to refill the bus with diesel. As we drew out of the car park, I looked down at a parked lorry - around the orange painted wheel hub were the words 'OH GOD HELP ME"

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