XVI: Mountain Stuff

So the old lady has popp’d it at last – I knew I should never have left the continent. An England without the Queen Mum will be like an England without spam!

Got to Almora yesterday, but no sign of the acid, tho’ that’s probably a good thing. I left Naini Tal following the Holi Festival. After taking myself on a walk round the delightful lake, I was persistently assaulted by paint splattering Hindus. They would wish me a happy Holi then proceed to throw paint dust over me. To top it off, the kids would throw water on me as I passed their house. These are no conditions to compose poetry in, so I set off the next morning. However, I got my revenge by throwing water from my balcony on the kids next door to the hotel – great fun.

The Himalayas are weird. As soon as the sun drops behind a cloud or mountain the temperature plummets. By night it reaches as low as 13 degrees! I’ve had to shell out for a jumper, but it’s OK as I’ll be home soon & I’ll need it. Also, I’ve only got a pair of sandals now so I’ll probably have lost a toe or two by the time I get back – if anyone comes across some spare shoes I’m a size eleven.

The bus from Naini Tal wound me further & further into the Himalayas, & after a couple of hours I won my first glimpse of the mountains & my first real snow since Xmas. They are very cool indeed, rising out of the foothills & reaching for the heavens – a sight to wonder at. The valley mist soon reclaims the skies so you can only see them in the morning, but I think I’ll take a trip closer to them one day this week. I’m in Almora now, & it’s off-season at the moment (it gets busy in the summer when the rest of India tops 40 degrees), so I’ve got an entire hotel to myself. For 150 rupees I’ve got a double bed, colour TV, my first towels since England & a great view of the mountains – perfect poetic conditions.

31/03/2002
Almora

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