INDIA 2
We finally left Amristar having serviced the bikes and changed the tyres and headed for Dharamsala, the road out of Amritsar was quite good and at this stage we were thinking that Indian driving was not going to be as bad as we had been led to belive, ( how niave we were ) however the closer we got to Dharamsala the worse the roads became, and as the Dali Lama has chosen to base himself in Macload Ganj we decided we would do the extra ten kilometres from Daramsala and go there ourselves, the road twists and turns its way up the mountain and is wide enough for one car only, so when a bus comes around a corner you head for the safe side ( the one without the big drop ninto oblivion ) and stop and hope that it can get past !!!. We settled ourselves into the Khrisna Guest House and then had a wander around Macload Ganj, Macload Ganj maybe in India but it is really tibet with Indian, Japanese and European thrown into the mix, so the atmosphere here is really good and relaxed, and you can get almost anything to eat, though Mcdonalds has not made it here yet.
The Dali Lama's monestry at Mcleod Ganj
The next day we had a look around the monestry, did a bit of prayer wheel spinning (for good khama ? ) and watched the monks learning the benifits of passivity, this involes deliberarly trying to provoke your fellow monk to make a response, the idea is that no matter what is said you never take the bait and just sit there in a passive state (Christ that would spoil friday night down the pub) .
The monks doing their provoking and as they are still in training most of them appeared to us to be responding
Having spent a couple of days sorting out our khama and having been advised that the road to Shimla was better we set off thinking we would do the 250 kms without problem, we should have known better, we learnt ages ago that when a local says "10 kms Mr", it is going to be 25 kms, and if they say the road is good then it will almost certainly be very bad, and so it proved to be, the road was very bad and we only managed 150 kms, and gave up in a place called Mundi. This was actually a bit of a result as Mundi was a pretty interesting place, so we stayed for two nights
A view of Mundi and the old bridge
We spent the next day just wandering around the streets, looking in the shops and at the many shrines, (according to the lonely planet there are about eighty of them ) . In the evening as we were having a beer in the Royal Standard bar a wedding party stopped outside so Jenny went out for a look and then joined in with the dancing, having returned to the bar we were later joined by another English couple, this was a bit of a suprise as we had not seen any other tourists in Mundi, finally we returned to the hotel for a late Whisky, but they had to leave as the man wanted to lock up his hotel, we would tell you their names only we can't remember them. (think it might have been John and maybe Julie ? )
The square in the centre of Mundi, surrounded by loads of small shops
We headed further South and down from the mountain roads. This was a relief initially as the roads became straighter and not so pot-holed. However, our relief was short lived as it became apparent that the Indian drivers now drove at maniac speeds, overtaking absolutely anywhere. Jenny had a large wobble moment and was sure that she was about to wake up in hospital but managed to get out of the problem.

We have since found a passage that EXACTLY describes the driving in India in our Lonely Plant guide -

"SOME INDIAN RULES OF THE ROAD"

Drive on the Left. Theoretically vehicles keep to the left India - as in Japan, Britian or Australia. In practice most vehicles keep to the middle of the road on the basis that there are fewer potholes in the middle than on the sides. When any other vehicle is encountered the lesser vehicle should cower to the side. Misunderstandings as to the status can have unfortunate consequences.

Overtaking. It India it is not necessary to ascertain that there is space to complete the overtaking manoeuvre before pulling out. Overtaking can be attempted on blind corners, on the way up steep hills or in the face of oncoming traffic. Smaller vehicles unexpectedly encountered in mid-manoeuvre can be expected to swerve apologetically out of the way. If a larger vehicle is encountered it is to be hoped that the overtakee will slow, pull off or otherwise make room for the overtaker.

Use of Horn. Although vehicles can be driven with bald tyres or nonexistent brakes, it is imperative that the horn be in superb working order. Surveys during the research for the last edition revealed that the average driver uses the horn 10 to 20 times per km, so a 100km trip can involve 2000 blasts of the horn. In any case the horn should be checked for its continued loud operation at least every 100m. Signs prohibiting use of the horns are not to be taken seriously.

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