Yesterday, enlisting the guidance of the gardener, we trekked for nearly three hours through apple orchards and very tiny aggregations of houses, which they refer to here as villages. I am not certain if the Brits planted the fruit trees. The region produces most of India’s apples. I had one. It was good.
On the way down the mountain, we came across a small herd of cows and one sheep led by a shepherd woman. A cow charged us, but we dodged it. On the way up the mountain, we got drenched pleasantly in a downpour.
Lunches have now become 100% vegetarian and are unbelievably delicious repasts of northern Indian dishes: Cauliflower, dal, okra. Dinner last night was “chilly chicken,” and it was. Very.
Today I was enlisted to go to Simla or Shimla, the hub of the English hill stations and after 1947 a seat of Indian power. In its center, stretching 5 km, is The Mall, built by the British, on which one sees a big church, city hall, and many Tudor-style houses. Also, monkeys. Lots of them.
Just past the town center is the Indira Gandhi Hospital and Medical College. huge, red roofed, and surrounded by ambulances and death wagons. Imagine the death wagon arriving at your door. “Mrs. Singh, good news and bad news. Good news, we’re here. Bad news, you’re dying.’
In the center of the mall a group of South Korean evangelicals stood over sick volunteers and made wooshing sounds while caressing the air around them in a stated effort towards curing them. Actually, not an effort, per se, but “an ability.” Perhaps this would be good next week when North Korea unveils “nuclear deterrence.”
Many strolling, well-heeled Indians mingling with beautiful Tibetans in town.
A main, tony avenue (Mall) and below it a funky bazaar.
I bought kulcha, fried peas, a toy Indian taxi, and a bottle of local gin.