Day 12 [Dharamsala] A Whole New World Of Friends

TRAVEL OPENS UP OUR EYES TO WONDERS OF THE WORLD, but it also open gateways to meeting new individuals, with many of those leaving a substantial something in our hearts.

India attracts many visitors all year round, but these backpackers are definitely a special bunch, considering that they willingly surrender themselves to the complicated and diverse culture that confuses even the locals. Without a strong intent to explore, they would never survive the hardships that come along. So here, is a group of people, vulnerable yet curious and open-minded enough to choose India, out of all the countries of the world.

New friends come in the form of travelers, but they also come as locals that look modest but has depth. My short chat with Mr. Singh, my host from Amritsar, inspired me so much, and taught me an important lesson in hospitality. Geshe Sunam, a Tibetan monk of my current guesthouse, showed me compassion when I needed it most. These are the locals that stopped their daily routine and contributed time towards us, the weary traveler. These are the people that made me felt ashamed that I never tried to speak their language more, and it seems that they are the ones that had been and always will be accommodating us.

EAGER IN MAKING A NEW FRIEND, I stepped out today, walked to the Tsuglagkhang Complex, which is one of the main attractions in town. Being such an important site, the temple is considerably tiny. The biggest shrine contains tall statues of Avalokitesvara, Sakyamuni and Padmasambhava, the Inidan scholar who brought Buddhism to Tibet. Other buildings are just dormitories for the monks. However, there is a small Tibet museum that showcases the tragic story of the Chinese Communist occupation and photos of tortured Tibetans. Very limited displays, but definitely worth your money, time and tears.

Not meeting anyone yet, I went for a late dinner at Nick’s Italian Kitchen. As soon as I entered, a girl asked me if I were Taiwanese, and the rest became history. Hsiao-Pei, a graduate student from Taiwan, is by my standards, a seasoned traveler. We spent time exchanging tales of India, and talked about the ‘Indian Disease’ which she can totally relate to. She is truly a brave independent one, having traveling alone for many times, and serves as an inspiration and muse for my further journeys.

Times like these are special, because travel friends are a unique bunch, nothing like the friends you’ll find at home. Lucky for me, as long as I don’t stop exploring, I will always have time to meet more.

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