After missing out on the opportunity to visit Tibet due to the pre-Olympic riots in Lhasa months earlier, I was excited to finally reach McLeod Ganj in Northern India.
Home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the largest community of Tibetans outside of Tibet, it was the perfect place to rest my weary bones for a few weeks.
It turned out to be one of my longest stops on the whole trip around the world.
I explored, I trekked, I learned, I meditated, I shopped, I reunited with friends from Nepal, I ate delicious Indian curries and Tibetan dumplings, and dropped out of a Tibetan thangka painting class (because I'm such a rebel).
Making My Way to McLeod Ganj (epic 24-hour journey from Agra)
A Teaching by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (priceless experience)
Arranging a Trek to Indrahar Pass (7-part trekking series)
It wasn't all fun and games. As with the rest of India, there are the poor and destitute seeking money on the streets.
In McLeod Ganj's case, those people were often lepers, missing one or both of their hands.
It took the daily encounters with the poor to a whole new level.
I'm not sure I ever got use to seeing them hold out their arms for change.
My Daily Life in McLeod Ganj (food, Khana Nirvana Community Cafe, Ex-Political Prisoner Talk, Public Audience with 17th Karmapa, Euro Championship 2008)
Marie Arrives (Reuniting with a friend from Nepal)