Bye Bye McLeod Ganj

We stayed in McLeod Ganj for nearly 2 months — and it was 2 months well spent!  Teaching English turned out to be a really rewarding experience.  It helps that we had students who were beyond appreciative for our time and attention.  I know that teaching is now always like that.

On our last day of class, our students and fellow volunteers threw us a party.


Jampa and Brandon in the decorated classroom

The class with the cake they got us
Even more special were the cards we received from the students.  Everyone wrote us a personal note, many in both English and Tibetan.  They are so beautiful.  And the class gave us katas – white scarfs as a gift of honor.  We were totally spoiled.  If we get a chance, we will definitely go back to Gu Chu Sum. 

A few of us went out that evening for a goodbye dinner and some wine.  A real treat. 


Amanda: tutors English from 9am to 8pm, with only a few breaks.
Only 5 hours after dinner ended we began our 48 hour journey from McLeod Ganj to Varanasi.  We caught our bus, which left on time, and trouble began about 2 hours into our ride.  We sat in the bus for a while and then the driver yelled, “Everybody off the bus.  FIRE!”  We had been snoozing, so I jumped up and frantically grabbed my stuff, grabbed Brandon, and ran out of the bus.  It wasn’t a fire, it was a fall tree that had held us up.  The driver must have mixed up his potential disasters. 

We got on another bus on the other side of the tree and started moving again.  This bus was not nearly as nice and as an added bonus, it was leaking water (it was raining) from the ceiling and windows.  Sweet.  It’s ok, we’re troopers and we got seats, which was better than lots of other people.  We made it about a half hour until the bus stopped again.  A landslide!  That took about 2.5 hours to clear and we finally got through.

The bus stopped in Pathankot – which should be around 3 hours from Dharamsala- about 8 hours after we left.  We were told a new bus would come in 1.5 hours to take us to our destination, Amritsar.  We couldn’t wait.  We found another bus, which we had to pay for (different company, our other tickets to Amritsar didn’t work), and made it there with just enough time to spare to grab dinner.

We got to the train station and found out the train was delayed 5 hours.   We sat in the waiting room until it came, then boarded the train and slept like babies til the next morning.  Finally, at 48 hours after we left McLeod Ganj, we arrived in Varanasi. 

The next post… more about the oldest city in India.   

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