These days spent in Manali were quite relaxed just simply hanging out and catching with my boy Maciek while hunting down some rare good wifi connection. Plus after that mentally debilitating road and ride I was hard pressed to do much more. Also it was a time to catch up on my writing. Even though all this writing is truly unquestionably exhausting the memories left from it will be worth it but I also realize I need to not spend so much time writing on what I did during the day but rather put the energy and attention towards delving into my mind and exploring my inner thoughts. In spurts I have uncovered some deep powerful thoughts but I need more time to see it all the way through. The more in nature I am the closer I get. Occasionally we went out to explore walking through the woods and orchards picking off the spare apple amidst the wet monsoon soaked greenery in the hills and mountains. Like Leh before Manali is another hipster chill spot most densely populated by the Israelis, which is a boon for me when looking for a salad, hummus, or falafel. One guy most dedicated to his store front named chicken at this hole in the wall one table restaurant has been whipping up some gourmet, time consuming salads for a shade under two bucks. Not too much needs to be said about Manali. I hope to do a trek in the area called Hampta Pass if my financials fall in line but otherwise there isn’t much to do or see immediately within the area besides finding a good place to chill and relax. Manali is known for its curation and sale of all things herbs but that isn’t my scene. It has plenty of street side sellers and annoying attractions that are deliberately posed towards the tourist like shoe shiners and fixers and cobra whispers. After the fog cleared up and exposed the upper bald portions of the mountains around Manali and especially this hippy enclave of Old Manali, I can say it is a nice place to relax but nothing more. In my ample free time besides writing and chilling, I managed a nice long walk far and away from any cars/traffic through some local towns that gave me the further peace of mind that I needed. I fail miserably in my attempts to sit still and relax. My idea of relaxation is a trek through the mountains, which is my sort of beach holiday. Hopefully my trekking plans come to fruition otherwise I find no further reason to linger. As my odds turned up thanks to the good people over at India Hikes , I will in fact be able to do my trek with the added kicker of Chandertal Lake at the end. On my last day before the trek would begin I had to sadly say goodbye to my good friend Maciek who I had the pleasure of bullshitting around with the last few days. I could not have been any luckier with the group I got ‘stuck’ with on the ride from Srinigar. Although the moment meant a goodbye, goodbyes don’t necessarily stand to last. As I will continue to say, you never know when paths will cross once again on that fateful corner of the world. In my meantime alone, I spent some time walking through the underrated nature park squeezed between Old and New Manali that reminded me of a miniaturized version in all aspects of Redwood National Park with the added element of cows and monkeys roaming the terrain. As a last added note, I had the pleasure of shutting down locals in New Manali who believed they had a special saffron deal for me. And of course I joined a few others that I had met on my frequent visits to the Salad Man for some Israeli backed tunes in the hippy enclave before officially calling it a night.
Expecting the Unexpected in India Day 244-247: Mellow Manali