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June 27th, 2008 – Dharamsala, India

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Today would be my last full day in Dharamsala, India and there was still plenty to do.  I first want to say hi to my cousin Judy, what’s up?  She is a very loyal reader and I had previously left her out of my shout outs from a few days ago.  So here, you get almost a full paragraph of your own shout out!

I woke up today and decided I was NOT going to my first class.  We already had the exam in that class and I had too much to do.  I woke up feeling not so good and I thought that my sickness had passed but I guess I was wrong.  So of course it was raining, but at around 825am I walked up the road in to town and stopped at the internet cafe to kill some time.  The post office and the Tibetan co-op both told me to come at around 9am, so instead of waiting till after the test I tried to go before class.  This was a mistake.  I walking in the pouring rain with my trusty, rainbow colored umbrella that just about every tourist has walking around and made by way to the shop.  At around 9am I went to the post office and they told me that they would not be open till 930am!  Those bastards lied to me.  I had wasted an hour of possibly studying for the International Human Rights exam.  I had not studied one iota yet and the test was at 2PM.  Now I was frustrated, wet, cold, and feeling like crap as I was walking to the hotel unaccomplished with plenty to do.

I got back and really felt sick.  I went to the bathroom which helped and told Sarah I didn’t feel good.  She came in to my room and took care of me.  She gave me some of her medicinal herbal crap and told me to drink water.  At this point it was time to break out my oral hydration tablets.  I had brought these just in case I got sick or couldn’t properly rehydrate on my trip and today they paid off.  I dropped one of the tablets in my bottle of water and drank it pretty steadily.  I guess since I had been going to the bathroom so often, and with my lack of drinking water, that I had been pretty dehydrated.  The tablets are basically super gatorades and fill your body with a lot of electrolytes.  After drinking the water I felt substantially better and was able to sit through my last International Human Rights test.

After class it was time to study, but before doing so I went back to the tibetan co-op to pick up my boxes and then bring them to the post office.  I had to get back to the hotel with enough time to study for the exam.  So I walked back up the hill, seeing all my homeless lepers, and vendors and tried to send my stuff back to the USA for the second time in as many hours.  The packages were wrapped in cloth and ready to go.  One of the two guys I had met the previous day helped me carry the boxes to the post office.

Oh I first went to the ATM and took out enough cash for my remaining time in India and enough to send the package home, I hope.  Then I went to the Co-op.  Oh I also took a taxi to the ATM.  I didn’t walk my fault, and I paid the 60 rupees for the short ride that I refused to pay the day before.  I was short on time and needed to get a lot done.  OK, so ATM, then Co-op, then Post office.  When I got to the post office the line was out the door.  Indian post office’s are notorious for being slow, worse than in America and quite frankly they really don’t care.  Mcleod Ganj post office is a small post office, but since it is located in such a touristy city, it has to be efficient.  I got to the post office and this monk helped me put my boxes on the seat.  I told the worker behind the counter in Hindi I wanted to send two packages, to the USA.  He asked me the weight and I responded in English.  This was classic Hinglish.  He handed me two forms, I borrowed a pen from a local and filled out the forms.  While waiting in line for about 35 minutes I struck out a conversation with this dude from Kentucky who had been traveling around the world with a buddy of his for a total of a year when the trip would be finished.  He had already been to South America and Africa and after India would maybe head elsewhere, I forget.

We had good conversation and it killed the time waiting on this painfully slow line.  At around 1225pm, the guy behind the counter told another guy standing on line to lock the door.  Even though they officially closed at 1 for lunch, they did not let anyone in past 1230pm I guess and would just finish the business in front of them.  I had no problem with that.  10 minutes later one of my professors banging on the window to be let in.  He argued that it was open till 1pm, and eventually they let him in.

For 5650 rupees I was able to send two packages, totaling almost 14 kilograms in weight, by air to America.  I really hope they get there.  I sent a lot of clothing that I initially brought with me, 10 pairs of sandals and shoes, and lots of things I bought.

After the post office I walked quickly back to the hotel to study for my test.  I had about an hour or so to study as the time at the post office took a lot longer than I had anticipated it would.   I did some high quality cramming and then it was time to take the test.  The test was 2 hours and was by far the most serious and real deal law school exam.  I wrote a lot, used my notes efficiently, and I think I did pretty well.  I mean granted it was not perfect by any means, considering I had no prior knowledge of international law or international human rights, I think I did pretty well.

After the test I was feeling pretty good.  My real vacation was starting as I had another 5 weeks or so left of freedom before it was time to head back to America.  So here is the rest of the plan:

Overnight train to Delhi on June 28th with the law group.  One full day in Delhi on Sunday, monday morning I fly back to Mumbai.  I have a layover of about 6-9 hours depending on when I get in, how long it takes to get my baggage etc…I plan on meeting some of my friends from Mumbai when I get there to kill the time, but we will see.  Traffic in Mumbai is crazy and everywhere takes a long time to get too.  Plus if it is  raining it will be impossible to go anywhere.  Monday night I fly to Abu Dhabi.  I plan on sleeping in the airport monday night in to tuesday morning.  Early in the morning I will take a cab to the 5 star Hilton Abu Dhabi were I will be spending two nights enjoying myself.  I might do a day trip to Dubai if it is affordable and then on wednesday night, I have to go back to the airport for my 3am flight on thursday to Joburg, South Africa.  When I get to Joburg hopefully on time, I will have to quickly grab my stuff, hopefully just be able to transfer, but if not go through customs and make my 1245pm flight on British Airways to Capetown, South Africa.  I will then take a cab to my hostel in Ctown and enjoy the next few days there.  I will be spending 3 nights in Capetown and then start my 26 day trip through Southern Africa.  I get back to Joburg July 31st I believe and will be spending a few nights with this lady I met on

So the next few days will be extremely hectic, but hopefully fun filled and exciting.

So after the test I really didn’t do much.  I went on the internet, and packed up my stuff.  At 8pm we were having a farewell party at a restaurant called Ashoka which I had been too twice already.  The party was fun.  The teachers and Ann bought us the food, water and most importantly beer!  Massive amounts of pictures were being taken at this shindig and aftewards, Becky, Sarah, Rachel, Martine and I went to the bottle shop to pick up a night cap.  When I got back to the hotel I was so tired.  I couldn’t do anything let alone drink another beer.  Since I have not eaten as much the second half of India, my appetite has been suppressed significantly.  I get full really quick and last night I just ate way too much.

I went to bed at around 130am, and tomorrow we would be leaving for the train station at approximately 1pm, for a 3 hour jeep ride to the train station in the next major city called Pathankot.  The train to Delhi leaves at 7pm and missing it is not an option!

june 26th, 2008 – Dharamsala, India

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Today I rolled out of bed for the Tibetan class. Today was the day that Cait and I had to present on the Tibetan Government in Exile. I forgot to mention that yesterday. I did the preparation from 8-9 and studied afterwards for several hours until I could not look at the list of vocab and my class notes anymore. The presentation went fairly well, people were listening because Professor had told us that our presentation would be on the exam, and as it turned out she was right. Our next class only had 4 kids in it. I felt bad for this professor as that was probably a little rude on everyone’s behalf, but they were all studying for our Tibetan final that was later today, even though our Professor assured us that it would be easy. After our last class, and before the final exam then before final exam, I shoved all the stuff that I needed to be sent home in to my large backpack and ran with it down the roa, up the hill the to Tibetan Cooperative. Basically in order to send a package from India via the mail the box or items you are sending must be stitched and sealed by wax on the part of a tailor. This was such a pain in the ass, as you have to find a good tailor, that won’t rip you off and that can do a good job. This place seemed nice and they were not going to charge me all that much and it would be done after my exam.

From the co-op I came back, took the exam which was really easy. I had to guess on my last two questions, but as it turned out I could have gotten at least 1.5 of the 2 right, which I was happy about. After the exam I went scrounging around for a box large enough to fit all my stuff. Even though you could send your stuff in the cloth, as the tailor wraps it in plastic first, I felt more comfortable putting it all in a box. So I ran around the took looking for one and even after I begged a local shop owner for his box, offering him as much as 500 rupees for it (almost 12 USD), I found one that was being used for garbage, that another story owner let me use. After bringing the box back to the hotel, I loaded up the rest of the stuff I wanted to send back that I had forgotten to bring to the co-op in the first place. I tried to get a taxi at first to bring me up the hill as I really did not want to carry it back and forth yet again. The taxi driver, clearly saw how desperate I was and tried to gauged me on the price, I said hell no and decided to walk with the huge box myself.

As I was walking back and forth, first with my huge backpack and then with the huge box, the local vendors clearly remembered me as they were laughing at me, running back and forth, commenting about my huge backpack. I embraced it all, smiled back at them and kept chugging along. I was on a mission to eventually send all this crap home. So I eventually got to the co-op with the rest of my stuff. They told me that I would have to pick up both wrapped boxes tomorrow as they were about to close for the day. I said no problem, and was very happy to have this get done, fast, and cheap.

A side story. When I first arrived at the Tibetan Co-op, two of the guys there were really admiring my backpack. They asked me about my patches. For those of you who don’t know, every country I have been too I have a patch on my backpack, signifying the achievement. They asked me if I had really been to all the places on my bag, to which I very proudly responded “absolutely.” One of the Tibetan worker’s there actually took a picture of my backpack with all the patches, with his camera phone. It made me feel proud to have people appreciate such an accomplishment. They asked me how I did it and I just told them that I traveled whenever I had free time and that I have still managed to almost finish becoming a lawyer.

When I got back to the hotel, it was getting kind of late. Sarah and I went to dinner at this Italian place. I initially wanted to go to another Italian place called Jimmy’s, which is where Sarah, Grady and I had gone in week one, but this time Sarah wanted to check out another place. The food here was not that good. I wish I remembered the name so people in the future could use this as a reference, but basically if you ever find yourself in Dharamsala, India and are looking for Italian food, if you walk and see the downstairs version of Jimmy’s keep walking, and the next Italian place you come too is the one I ate at and it really wasn’t that good. I think Sarah and I both had a stomach ache leaving that place. After dinner Sarah and I did a little shopping. I picked up a black jacket, with the Tibetan flag sewn on, and on the back it says “Save Tibet.” It is a standard price and usually goes to the Tibetan cause. I really wanted the jacket that said “Team Tibet” but I couldn’t find it around the city, as so many tourists and travelers by it and my time in this place was running short. After shopping I went to the ATM to get some cash, then we went to the internet cafe. It was getting late and I had still not began studying for my International Human Rights exam which was from 2-4 on the 27th, but since it was open notes, and I felt confident in my notes and what I knew, I wasn’t worried. At the internet cafe I actually printed out my notes so that I could use them efficiently during the exam the following day. It cost me 10 rupees a page, and 250 rupees in total! That is exorbitant considering what I have bought for that much and how much food you can buy with that money. After Sarah and I got back from the internet cafe and our little mini excursion in to town, we attempted to watch a movie, but after a while I got tired and wanted to get to sleep. Tomorrow would be a big day and I had lots of things to do.

June 25th, 2008 – Dharamsala, India

Friday, June 27th, 2008
Today we didn't have any tests but I had my Tibetan Buddhism test the next day.  This was the only exam we had that would be closed exam, meaning no notes or anything.  Lucky for me it was in a ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 24th, 2008 – Dharamsala, India

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I woke up feeling a little bit better but not great by any means.  Today we had our second final, which was in the class of comparative race and gender led by my professor from Touro.  I ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 23rd 2008 – Dharamasala, India

Thursday, June 26th, 2008
Today was monday and the weekend was over and I woke up feeling like crap. The night before I went to sleep with a feeling in my throat that I could not swallow, this meant that I might be ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 22nd, 2008 – Dharamsala, India

Thursday, June 26th, 2008
I woke up at 130pm after going to bed late...I wanted to get some work done but also wanted to do some exploring so I took a taxi back to bagsu, the place where i got a falafel with ben, ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 21st, 2008 – Amritsar, India

Monday, June 23rd, 2008
Amritsar is a holy city in the state of Punjab which is a neighboring state to Himachal Pradesh which is the state that Dharmasala and Shimla are in.  Eight of us including myself loaded up in to two large taxis ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 20th, 2008 – Dharmasala, India

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008
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.  ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 19th

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008
Thursday, June 19th - I didn't mention this yesterday but as I was walking back up the hill at night from wherever I was coming from my knee started to hurt, and hurt a lot.  I wasn't sure what it was from, ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 18th – Dharmasala, India

Thursday, June 19th, 2008
Today was our first full day in Dharmasala.  I woke up to a large monkey staring in to my window.  I jumped back a little bit and it was a great way to start my day.  I then had some ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 17th – Shimla to Dharmasala, India

Thursday, June 19th, 2008
As already mentioned before Dharmasala is where the Tibetan government is in exile and where the Dalai Lama lives.  Today we got up at 5am, had breakfast and left by 630am.  Now because we got a new hotel in Delhi ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 16th, 2008- Last day in Shimla, India

Thursday, June 19th, 2008
Of course me being me I left everything that I wanted to do in Shimla till the last day which meant that it would be a long day but hopefully exciting. After class Michelle, Ben and I went to ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 15th

Monday, June 16th, 2008
Even G-d rested on the 7th day and so did I.  I had work to do and did some of it, but I managed to get side tracked with packing up my stuff in my final days in Shimla as ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 11th, 12th, 13th, 2008 – Shimla, India

Friday, June 13th, 2008
This last few days really haven't been exciting.  What do you expect when you are staying in a small hill station at the foothills of the Himalayas.  So with that said I am skipping to June 12th - Today there was a ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 10th, 2008 – Shimla, India

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Today there was a mandatory trip to the University Law School in the state we are staying in India.  Basically from what we were told some professors were going to speak briefly on a topic of Indian law that we ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 9th, 2008 – Shimla, India

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Today was just like any other monday, back to school and back to work.  This will certainly be my shortest post probably of my trip since nothing really happened worth noting.  I bummed around, did work and went to bed. 

June 8th, 2008 – Shimla, India

Monday, June 9th, 2008
So the rafting trip was rescheduled for today and the weather appeared to be cooperating with us so far.  I got up at around 715pm, got ready for the rafting, packed the necessities and went down for some breakfast.  We ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 7th, 2008 – Shimla, India

Monday, June 9th, 2008
I awoke at 7am and started to get ready for whitewater rafting or at least I thought.  From the bathroom I hear the phone ring and Cait get up to answer it.  30 seconds later she informs me through a ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 6th, 2008 – Shimla, India

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

At 2:30PM today I have arranged to meet my local friends.  They arranged a car to take me and whoever I bring to a city near Shimla called Kurfi.  Apparently they had some nice ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 5th – Shimla, India

Friday, June 6th, 2008
Today would be a special day in that the group would be visiting a girl's ashram.  An ashram is like an orphange where caretakers provide for girls.  This particular one had 46 girls ranging from 2-3 all the way up ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 4th – Shimla, India

Friday, June 6th, 2008
Today it rained virtually the whole day.  Since I had a lot of reading to do, I had to get to work after class, put some time in and hope it cleared up.  After lunch I headed off to the ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 3rd Shimla, India

Friday, June 6th, 2008
Today it rained as usual, same time as it does every day.  After doing some work I decided I needed a Josh day of wondering around and hopefully having some good local experiences.  I decided to venture off the beaten ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 2nd continued – Shimla, India

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
After leaving the internet cafe Sarah and I headed to my secret coffee shop all the way up the mountain in Shimla.  This is where I will do the majority of my studying I think.  It appears many of the ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 2nd – Shimla, India

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Today was the first day of classes.  I got up at 7am so I could shower up, get some food and get ready to do work, be on the ball.  I did all of that and then got my palm ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 1st – Shimla, India Continued

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
The reception with the governor was a tad boring as I really couldn't understand him that well but the guys standing at the entrance way to the reception hall made the point for him.  It last about two hours and ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 1st 2008 – Shimla, India

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Today was my day to sleep a little bit, or as much as I could as I did NOT have to get up at 5am or anything crazy, it was a day to move at your ... [Continue reading this entry]

May 31st Delhi – Shimla

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Today was our 13 hour bus ride to Shimla, which included bathroom stops, lunch stop and a late snack/bathroom stop.  The bus would be long and since I had forgotten my cell phone under the bus ... [Continue reading this entry]

May 30th – Agra to Delhi

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Today we woke up at 445am and started what would be a long journey to delhi.  The bus was a long ride and we arrived in Delhi after stopping several times for the food and ... [Continue reading this entry]

May 29th 2008 – Agra, India

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
Today was a day that was long awaited in my life.  I have always wanted to see the Taj Mahal.  It seemed so grand in the pictures and for many years I thought it was made of all these bright ... [Continue reading this entry]

May 28th Overland from Delhi to Agra

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
May 28th Overland from Delhi to Agra I was supposed to get up at 645am to get down to breakfast before our long drive to agra.  Instead I was up at 445am because I felt like I was being bitten by ... [Continue reading this entry]

May 27th 2008 – Train to Delhi

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
 I awoke really early in the morning to blaring music and people telling us to get up to eat breakfast.  Apparently indians wake up early, but I'm not sure why they would want too on a train.  It took me ... [Continue reading this entry]

May 26th continued

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
 After leaving the internet cafe it was time to head back to the apartment and make sure I hadn't forgotten to pack anything to take with me on my journey.  During this frantic state I usually end up leaving chargers ... [Continue reading this entry]