Monday, April 11, 2011

So I’m sitting in my bed for my last night of my homestay. It’s the usual day before leaving situation in which I’m not fully packed and  still have a list of things to do tomorrow before I leave. Except, I have no idea how the next month will go. At 4:30 tomorrow I leave on an overnight train for Dharamshala (home of the Dalai Lama) to live by myself for the month doing my independent study project. I don’t have a confirmed seat for half of the ride yet (unconfirmed Jaipur to Dlehi, confirmed Delhi to Dharamshala), and I’m 38th on the waitlist. My program director’s advice was to find a nice group, a family maybe, and ask to sit with them until a seat opens up. I asked if I would get thrown off the train if I don’t get off the waitlist. He said no, you might just have to pay a “fine” of 100-200 rupees. Assuming that all works out, I get in at 6:30 in the morning to a town called Panthakot, which is four hours away from Dharamshala. The only options for getting there are buses or shared taxis. One teacher told me the buses start at 10 am and to hang around Panthakot until then. The other told me that the buses will revolve around train arrivals and if not, find a trustworthy group of Indians and share a taxi with them. The bus station is 4 km away from the train station and there’s no guarantee I’ll find a ride there either. Assuming that all works out and I get into Dharamshala, I have two phone numbers to call. One is my guest house, and the other is for the head of the organization who is providing me transportation to some mountainous villages later on during my project. After that, no idea. Food I could get at the guest house, but Indian food gets a tad monotonous since it’s all the same mushy texture and who knows what kind of guest house this is. No idea if I have a kitchen, so maybe I could cook, except I don’t know how to cook anything but eggs. No one knows exactly where I’ll arrive or when. And so begins the second part of my Indian adventure.

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