(Taken from a guy’s shirt at Observatory Hill)
Sitting atop Observatory Hill, a sacred Buddhist and Hindu site full of stupas, temples and exploding with prayer flags, and I find myself so at peace and so happy, tears fill up my eyes. It’s the happiness I felt on my birthday and a calmness I never want to lose. Being in Darjeeling alone, I have found myself very anxious and always planning my day in my head. But here I feel peace. I can feel the power, the spirits, Gods, whatever you call it. Something I never felt in my days in church. I’ve never felt connected to a higher power until I came to India and in Darjeeling I feel the strongest connection. Maybe because my Great Great Aunt Pearl lived and died here over 80 years ago, maybe because I’m experiencing this on my own, or maybe it was the blessings from both a Buddhist and Hindu monk, I don’t know but I wish this feeling could last forever.
Since I’m in such a high place I should catch up and write about Happy Hampi. Though I don’t like to compare the places I’ve been, it’s definitely a contender for number one. Here is greenest green I’ve ever seen. Stretching through the city and surrounding villages are endless electric green rice paddies, large boulders that appear placed, and ancient ruins dating back thousands of years ago.
The Goa crew came together by bus and once again found neighboring huts at the Sheesh Besh guest house. Sheesh Besh is Hebrew for backgammon so of course we find ourselves surrounded by Israelis who I’ve deeply enjoyed getting to know. Our friend Adam’s gf headed back to Israel for school and since Mikaela (an Aussie we met in Manali) met back up with us I shared a hut with Adam. We spent our mornings walking 100ft to our guest house’s restaurant where we hung out for hours a day, meeting other travelers, eating, drinking, and playing Shithead, backgammon and chess. During the day we’d take our kick-start scooters through the villages to the lake, temples, or random roads where we’d get lost in the rice paddies. One day we spent on the other side of the river where the ancient ruins and temples spread out for 5kms. Cliff jumping in the cleanest lake I’ve seen in India was probably my favorite. Even there in a secluded spot, Indians would come to sell us beer, soda, and snacks. Most places closed by 10pm so every night we’d be hanging in Sheesh Besh where I swear I’ve never laughed so much. From making fun of each other’s accents (Adam would say ass instead of ace) to nonstop games of slap jaw (a staring contest where you relax your jaw) my abs got a serious workout. I even cried for a solid 5mins I was laughing so hard, I can’t remember the last time that happened. Adam and I would stay up for hours talking about the differences between our countries. Americans go to college and get drunk while they are forced in the army (min. 2yrs for girls, 3 for guys). Their army is the third largest in the world yet their country is maybe the size of Texas. He’d talk about the everlasting joy he saw in Katy’s smile and say Israelis don’t have that. I can’t imagine growing up in Israel but with as many friends I have made, I look forward to visiting their country in hopes of understanding more. A week flew by and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to head off on my own adventure. I could have stayed there forever, it was truly heaven for me. I’ll never forget the endless giggles and the lifelong friendships I made. If you ever end up in India, promise me you’ll visit this place and feel what it’s like to be lost in time.
This all may sound cheesy but these words come from my heart. As always I love you all dearly and I’m thankful to have you in my life.