This is a record! Just some 40 hours after arriving to India a man on the street in Shimla offered me to marry his daughter. Here’s how such a thing happens: As is quite usual here, he started talking to me, asking where I was from, what was my job, if I was married, etc. When he found out that I was single, he just said “Oh, you could marry her, she’s pretty!”, pointing to his daughter who was walking next to him. Of course he was joking and we laughed, but you never know what would happen if I said yes :)
Shimla is a strange city – it used to be a British capitol for each summer, nowadays it’s a capitol of the Himachal state, and lots of (mostly Indian) tourists visit it to escape the heat of the plains, and so it’s quite rich. The “Mall”, a central street, is full of expensive shops, Adidas, KFC, LCD televisions, … – which is fairly unusual in India. Most of the shops and restaurants here even have real registers and pay tax! But walk just a few meters downhill from there, and you are in a normal Indian town, with narrow streets, small stalls, street sellers and all else. It’s really strange how these two worlds exist so close to each other. You can even tell just by looking at the people: the rich ones have big bellies, whereas the poor ones are just smallish, thin and muscular like everywhere else. And they for example carry the fridges and other heavy stuff to the rich stores up the hill on their backs.
In the last few years, cellphones became ubiquitous in India. The tariffs are very cheap (a few dollars a month), and so everyone has one. Even the “priest” had a call while giving prasad (a little food blessed by the god) to devotees at the Jakhu temple at the top of hill here.
Tomorrow I’m taking the bus further to the mountains to Rekong Peo and Kalpa. I’ll maybe get to write something here once a week or so, I don’t want to be spending to much time in an internet cafe while here!