To India with Sofie: Day 9

Sunday September 9, 2012

Going to Manali market with Grandma really is an amazing experience.

Earlier Tenzin led Grandma, Sofie and me to the Manali Nature Park, a large patch of deodar trees, on the bank of the Beas river, just next to the centre of Manali. The park stretches upwards into a wildlife park, but here in town, it is not much different from any park, a playground for kids close to the entrance and a set out path to walk around. Like yesterday, we also encountered the rabbit-women, but Grandma speaks the native language, so we changed from being a customer, into a family member of a local; we became a subject instead of an object.

The folowing signboard made us smile:

After a short while, Tenzin has to go, and he leaves Sofie and me with Grandma as our guide. I don’t speak Tibetan, or local vernacular, and no Hindi, and Grandma does not speak English. But that is not a problem. Grandma is a master in ‘sign’ language, and does not need words to tell us where we are going, and what is happening around us. In fact, we have a great time. Grandma is 90 y.o. but faster than I on the slopes, she’s kind of funny and leads us through the market . She’s also coughing, and visits a local pharmacy to buy some coughing syrup. We get spoiled with coca-cola, cookies, and a 30 rupee rainbow spiral toy. She buys fruit and vegetables and some other stuff.

In the centre of Manali, a place called ‘Van Vihar’ (sanskrit for Jungle Pleasure), is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. The woodwork is interesting:

One thing still disturbing about Manali is the lack of a view. Most of the time you see something like this:

While what i’m really interested in seeing, is hard to get, and you need a tele lens:

In the afternoon I go back to market, this time on my own, to buy some souvenirs for those left behind in Europe. Back in the house, I have to scold the children for abusing my laptop. Peace returns easily, the room turns back into a state of order and they start playing outside.

The evening falls fast. We get momo dumplings for dinner, and make plans for tomorrow; if the weather turns out better than today, we might go to higher places like Solang Valley.

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