Rally bussing to Manali

Pssst…..In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Ann has been having full reign on the blog, writing all kinds of things that I have no control over like the case of the man flu (which is a totally legitimate thing as proved by science). I feel like I am working with the “Great Firewall of China” here where information is always one sided. If I do not write another blog again then either I have been banned from writing…….or the much more likely scenario, I will be incapacitated by late nights from the upcoming World Cup viewing.

After our amazing time in McLeod Ganj had come to an end we made our way to Manali via a 10 hour night bus. After our initial taxi from Delhi we were prepared for a long and bumpy ride….and our driver didn’t disappoint. Between driving through windy roads at 50-60km/hr, sudden braking to avoid hitting herds of goats and an unexpected 2nd break stop where our driver went missing for 1.5 hours it was our least favourite trip.

Arriving in the early morning with quite some jet lag we spent most of the day relaxing and getting our bearings of the new landscape. Like Dharmasala, we were surrounded by Himalayan ranges and forests sprouting off the side of the mountain. Unlike the hot weather of Dharmasala, we were much more comfortable in Manali with the only uncomfortable aspect being our 1km steep upwards climb to our hotel everyday.

After spending our first day recovering from motion sickness we managed to sleep off any ill feelings we had in preparation for our next challenge…..Zorbing. We weren’t sure what exactly to expect, Ann had previous experience from her holiday in Gold Coast but something told us that it would be a little different here. After a 40 minute taxi ride we arrived at the top of the plain which had available a variety of activities from paragliding to quad biking and even archery and snowboarding. We elected to stick with the Zorbing which contained 2 men pushing up the giant ball before strapping us in and then pushing us down while we flopped around inside. We did have footage of this from inside however even that makes me nauseous on playback.

Following our roll down the mountain we stopped off for a quick bite at the local riverside restaurants where we also had a go at what can only be described as rope bouncing (it’s official name is River Crossing). This involved being harnessed into a rope stretching across the river and being bounced up and down with the aim to make you both nauseous and wet at the same time. Being the forward thinker I am I decided to really go for it and see how much of my body I could get underwater. It turns out that most of my body can as I was soaked from head to toe with my odd technique of whipping my head back to dunk my top half. Ann similarly had a go but with much less dramatic results.

As we were walking back we got some funny looks from the locals who were wondering why I was walking around drenched,most people believing that I was mentally challenged (including my wife), believing I decided to take a bath in the river. This started a great few days where I came down with a cold and began to have instances of man-fluesque symptoms to Ann’s detriment.

The following day after recovering a bit we went on our next challenge of an Indian cooking course by a lovely lady named Navada. The cooking class was situated in the outer skirts of Manali across the river in the orphanage run by Navada, here she has up to 20 children she looks after at any given time and we were also helped out by her daughter who is undertaking medical studies with the intention of becoming a doctor or nurse. Here we learnt the basics of cooking a good curry (most use the same spices) and had a good go at making allo pratha and chipati. The food was incredible, unfortunately I was still experiencing the hypothermic effects of river crossing saga, so spent most of the time shivering rather than eating as I normally would.

Following the class we took the rickshaw back and embarked on our marathon 14 hour bus ride from Manali to Delhi. Thankfully the bus was more comfortable than the taxi and smaller bus and we managed to make it to our flight to Goa with plenty of time to spare.

Until next time
Jason and Ann

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