Never mind the reasons why.
A hired car and driver were available, right that very minute. Before self could over-think, she heard herself say, “Take me to Dharamsala.”
About halfway there, self looked around and saw that they seemed to be approaching a huge mountain. The mountain just kept getting bigger and bigger. In fact, by the time self had actually arrived IN Dharamsala, the mountain had lost its identity as mountain and was just this huge representation. An all-encompassing I-am-in-India-having-an-out-of-body experience type of representation. (Just think: two weeks earlier, self could never have imagined that she would be in Dharamsala. In fact, she almost never used to think about Dharamsala. In fact, she knew next to nothing about Dharamsala. Until she got stuck in Himachal Pradesh. In fact, she was having a super-sized ADVENTURE with a capital A!)
“Where is your hotel, madame?”
Funny, those are probably the only words of English self ever heard the driver utter. He was from Tibet. Which is how she knew she could trust him.
“Um . . . ummm”
Self casts her mind back to the previous night. She’d stayed up, scanning tripadvisor.
She managed to dredge up a name. The driver took self to the name. It was inside a military cantonment. Oh thank God, self thought, I AM SAFE! (How did she know it was a military cantonment? Because the hired car was stopped by soldiers, a security check before entering said military cantonment)
Self was so exhausted by this whole first-time-in-India thing that she stayed in Dharamsala almost a week.
At one point, there was a power outage.
No no no noooo!
Self had been crouched in front of a portable space heater, praying it didn’t short-circuit in the middle of the night and burn her to a crisp.
But — power outage! Why had she never considered the possibility?
Self’s first thought: I AM GOING TO DIE!!!!
Teeth making loud chattering (involuntary) noises.
At some point, a knock on the door.
Geez! What next? Go away, self yelled.
Then she recognized the voice of one of the inn-keepers. “Madame,” he kept repeating, almost frantic. “Madame, are you all right?”
At which point, self decided to speak: “M-m-more c-c-comforters!”
Man returns with four.
Next morning, having survived the night, self makes chit-chat with front desk. “Does that happen often?” She means: Power Outage.
Man nods convincingly. “Oh yes, Madame. Last year, we had no power for two weeks.”
Holy Cow! self exclaimed. Two weeks! How did you get through it?
At which point, the man just shrugs.
What must be endured, must be endured.
Of course! Because, no one has any choice. Self asks the stupidest questions sometimes.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.