After class today, Sarah, Arrindum and I went to go out for some lunch. Originally we were with a larger group but after they took much longer than expected we decided to just go on our own, so we did. We weren’t sure what we wanted, I pesronally didn’t care but Sarah and Arrindum were deciding between each other what to get. After spending some time walking around we settled on a place called Ashoka. Apparently Arrindum had heard from someone else that the place was good. We decided to try it out. The place offered a lot of different types food. Sarah and Arrindum wanted to split dishes and share and I hate doing that so I told them that I was not interested in doing that and I just wanted to order my own thing. Eventually I gave in and we split three dishes, one of which I really could eat.
After waiting about 45 minutes for food, it came, first my pineapple lassi and then the food. For some reason I guess we all misread the menu but ended up ordered two of the same types of dishes! Oh well when can never go wrong with schnitzel! After lunch, Sarah had to go off to meet Becky for a massage, arrindum went back to the hotel and I stopped at a coffee shop to get some reading done. Even though I was full I felt obligated to get some tea since I would be using their establishment for the next couple of hours. So I ordered some Assam tea, which is very good tea, which always comes with milk and sugar unless its a special kind of local tea which does not take milk.
I really didn’t want it but again felt obligated so I had a little bit. I ended up reading for the next few hours. I had to be back at the hotel before 6pm ready to go because tonight a bunch of us would be going to Shabbat dinner at the Chabad house in Dharmasala, India. Now I’m sure your asking yourself “why the hell is there a chabad house in Dharmasala, india?” Well my friends according to reports 3 out of every 4 tourists/travelers here is Israeli! I have no idea why, I guess since it is cheap, relaxing and full of fellow Israeli’s word has spread and Israeli’s are flooding South East Asia and India like crazy.
After reading and tea I saw Michelle walking up the hill and we decided to do some walking around/shopping. I first had to stop at an ATM to get money and ended up seeing a British guy and telling him about the shabbat dinner. I ended up becoming friendly with him later on, so I think he already knew about this service and dinner and planned on going anyway.
So Michelle and I shopped around, I ended up getting a Tibetan Buddhist prayer wheel and Michelle picked up a necklace for her mom or someone. At around 545PM I got back to the hotel, jumped in the shower quickly and a bunch of us headed off via taxi to an area called Dharmkot. This was where the Chabad house was and the area seemed chill and was swarming with Israeli’s. After saying hi to the Rabbi at the Chabad house and individually lighting candles, we decided to explore and come back when it was time to start the services. I ended up buying a really nice blue cloth bag that goes over the shoulder that I had been searching for since I arrived in Dharmasala and I was happy to find one here. Before I headed back to Chabad I saw that British guy, Lee and his girlfriend and we began to chat. They had met a few years ago in Israel when Lee was living there doing Ulpan. Even after doing Ulpan intensively for 9 months his hebrew was not that good and he seemed to understand a little and speak back a little less. Anyway, we had a great convo and then walked over to Chabad just in time for services. Only Sarah ended up coming with me to services, but like any orthodox service she sat with the women and the men sat with the men.
This friday night service was my first in months. I had gone just about every friday for well over a year but just before the new year I stopped going because I was unhappy with my Temple and wanted to go to a new one. It is hard to switch especially since I have gone to Beth-el since I was born. I expect to go to another one in the fall and continue going to friday night services. I love going because it is a great end to the week, giving one time to reflect and pray.
After services many more people came just in time for the free dinner (of course). Since the rabbi and mostly everyone was only speaking hebrew, after the blessing over the wine and bread and after we had some soup we decided to leave and go to a restaurant on our own. At one point, Cait took a picture at dinner when the Rabbi was speaking and I personally felt embarassed, how gauche!
We ended up going to this restaurant with israeli food as well as other types. I wasn’t that hungry but got a crepe with nutella and banana. Again it was so good and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
After dinner it was getting late and since some of us were going to Amritsar including myself to see the Golden Temple, which meant wakign up at 5am, we wanted to get back asap and get some sleep. Unfortunately since it was so late and night and Dharmkot is up on the mountain outside of Mcleod Ganj, getting a rickshaw hope would not happen. We got one for three of the girls which left Sarah, Rachel and I by ourselves walking! Luckily Rachel had brought a flashlight and luckily we met this Israeli couple who also had a flashlight to walk with because we basically walked several miles in the pitch black along the side of the mountain. It was a beautiful night to walk though, probably the best night we had so far in India. The moon was out and so bright that it lit up the path we were walking on, the temperature was down, and the view of the city below was magnificient. It ended up taking us a little while to get home, but was worth the walk.
Tomorrow 8 of us would be getting up to leave hopefully by 6am for a 5-6 hour journey to the state of Punjab and the city of Amritsar home of the Holy City and Golden Temple.
Stay tuned for more!