Manali Exit

Let’s see, we have been here 2 1/2 days and it’s rained almost non stop since late the first day. So all the trekking, biking and paragliding is a wash. It’s also so pre pre season that not much is open except mostly the very local non tourist shops. That’s fine with me.

The main market area is full of eateries and shops selling all kinds of cloths and other wares. It’s kind of like the walking mall in Cape May except the Indian version. I even saw a soft ice cream machine with a sign that read “4 in 1”. Not that I know everything about ice cream but last time I checked the machine only had 3 spouts for 2 different flavors plus the middle one which would be known as “mixed”. How they get 4 is beyond me. I asked but still have no idea. I enjoyed talking to one shop owner that has been in his super tiny shop for 35 years. His rent is $70 per month. We compared “war stories” and after much discussion think he definitely has less stress. As an example I asked if I can look around and then tried squeezing by the front counter to get a better look of what he had to sell, well I nearly went up in flames, he had a pile of wood burning just behind the counter just to get the dampness out I guess. I asked him about inspectors, licensing and insurance and there is very little required or none. In Wildwood I live in fear of who next is coming to try to close me down or send me to the poor house.

Today I read, played some pool with other guests (yesterday was ping pong and America won) and played LCR. We had a good time with the game but I didn’t get any orders for an Indian version. When the rain finally slowed briefly today I started my walk through the forrest and into town. I’d rather get soaked than sit in the room all day. My mission was to find the guy open that rented motor bikes hoping that if tomorrow is nice we would go touring and maybe out to try paragliding. After many twists and turns I finally found the rental and told him I’d probably see him tomorrow.

Another thing I didn’t know about Manali (the guide books never mention it) is there is a Jamaican influence and Bob Marley items are everywhere and some places are playing Reggie. I asked a T-shirt guy if he knew who Bob was or ever heard of Jamaica and he had no idea!

Anyway, when I got back to the hotel I found out that our travel agent was able to change out flight out of here for tomorrow instead of the day after since the weather has been horrible. So no trekking, paragliding or motor biking, we are out of here in the early morning!!

Rain or Shine you can always play “The Tire”

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