It felt great to meet up with Steve again after having first hung out together in Pokhara, Nepal back in April. Since then, I'd also kept in regular contact with Marie. As a reminder, we all took the same 3-day meditation course. Since I had control over my schedule, I decided to give myself a few days extra in McLeod Ganj after she arrived to enjoy her company.
On her first night in town, Steve and I introduced her to Khana Nirvana, which was holding its weekly open mic night. A few nights later we returned to Khana Nirvana for a beat-the-monsoon blues benefit concert. Dara, one of the owners, gave a solo performance. She had played a few songs at the open mic nights I'd attended so I knew she had a knack for writing good, fun lyrics.
On my last day before leaving McLeod Ganj, Marie and I met up for lunch, made some travel arrangements, and went for a walk (the long way) through the pine forest to sacred Dal Lake and The Tibetan Children's Village (where I previously saw HH the Dalai Lama). We then snaked our way back toward town, stopping for tea and a bathroom break inside the Vipassana Center.
While I had decided to put myself on a plane to Bangkok July 1, Marie would be starting an intensive 10-day Vipassana retreat which entailed around 8-10 hours of meditation per day, complete silence, two vegetarian meals/day, and even a rule which disallowed eye contact with the other participants. She was a bit apprehensive, but I envied anyone's ability to commit to such an experience of their own free will.
And yes, you heard me right. I finally decided it was time to leave spiritual India for the full moon parties and beaches of Thailand!