Arriving at Shandar
July 7th – Staying at Rinpoche’s home – so grateful!
Today we woke up early for our drive to Shandar. The mountains here are spectacular – rugged and tall, surrounding us on every side. The “Long” river moves along with us, curving and winding its way along the road.
Shandar is a dusty town filled with motorcycles everywhere that weave in and out of people walking. It is some kind of ordered chaos that surrounds us somewhat like a suffocating glove. Pigs and dogs and laughter and popsicles and so many men standing around in their fancy jackets in the dusty heat.
Rinpoche’s home is close – and lovely. A large old silver gate opens to a graceful and colorful home, which is only reached by passing another two barking dogs (there seems a theme here). We are taken to a large kitchen with colorful tiled floors, a ceiling of cloth patterned with large dorjes and furniture etched with a multitude of colors. More salty tea! We begin then the long search for directions to Dechenling, but first we much check in at the police station – for protection. Fortunately, Rinpoche’s sister is a police person!
Where is map quest?
Dechenling. This place seems that it is telling me that this is not the right time to go here. Rinpoche thought the road had been paved, but alas, we are told that it is either horses or scooters. We are told that the road is very dangerous and now, 30 minutes later, the only option is scooters. God, sometimes this is so hard! We are hot, have not showered in days, have been met with challenge after challenge. Most of the time all the blessings far out way these things, but right now I am worried that all of this is for naught. How to get to this place? Then dear Jeffrey has an idea. Let’s go the Gebchek first. Suddenly is seems obvious! If it is so hard to get to Dechenling, it will be too hard for Tashi to deliver and pick up the malas, of course!
Nema saves the day
At dinner, Tashi’s friend Nema meets us and knows the way to Gebchek. It will be a long and hard drive on a road that is dangerous. Our driver, Mr. Jain begins backing out, worried about his car. There is no map, no road signs and he is worried, as is Tashi, that we will be very lost.
Nema will try to get the rest of the week off. We come back to Rinpoche’s home and prepare for bed. The outhouse boards that surround the hold seem very wobbly and I have a momentary thought about what it would be like to fall to the ground. Yikes!!!