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Bhagsu, Dharamshala, India …

I’m having my daily dose of coffee at the restaurant next to the hostel where I’m staying in Bhagsu, Dharamshala, India. Bhagsu is north of Dharamshala in a latitude of 2000 metres. This has become the place for hikers and yoga lovers. Tourism is the biggest source of income for the locals. The streets are packed with shops and restaurants. Everything is accustomed to fit the visiting tourists. I drink my coffee and think of my friend Ny back home, remember some of the stories she told me on her traveling 25 years ago, what it must have looked like then.

In most restaurants here the menu will give you a selection of Mexican, Italian, Israeli and Greek food. One place I went to didn’t have any Indian or local options at all. To me, local food is a huge thing when traveling. That is a big part of the society and the culture I’m visiting.

This place is very hilly, the main road is very steep and to reach any house you have to climb up the stairs. Everyone walks slowly, up, meter by meter, steep by step.

The elderly locals dress in more traditional clothes made out of wool. The young ones has adopted to jeans and hoodies. Most women dress in sarees.

This place is humid. Especially when the fog starts clawing up the hills it’s like a cold sauna hitting you in the face. Every morning I see women hanging bed linen and duveys outside. A necessity if you don’t want the fabrics to get mouldy. There is a window of a few hours in the morning when the clothes you are wearing actually feels dry.

The hostel where I’m staying has a washing machine for the guests to use. It’s a blessing for a long term traveler. The washing machine is constantly in use and there are constantly clothes hanging to dry on the balcony, around beds, on beds, on lines hanging across the room. The dorm gets even more damp and every morning I wake up I see condensed water running down the inside of the window. There clothes never dry.

I don’t carry a lot of clothes but the few pieces I have I use a lot. So I decided to have my laundry done at the laundry service next to the hostel. Five hours later I got my clothes back smelling clean and being very dry. I’m not sure how that lady did it but I was extremely grateful for whatever she did.