Monday, July 26, 2010

day 51

For 5 days in Manali nothing happened and then, everything happened at once. This is what happened. As promised I went back to Amigo's and after I shook off my stage fright I played a song on Vikram's guitar. By the time I was finished there was a small crowd that insisted I play another song (encore! encore!) so I decided on a song I couldn't possibly mess up. To my delight, Vikram and his band knew it and joined in beautifully, as if we had rehearsed it a thousand times. It was a surreal and magical experience and I couldn't (though I tried very hard) stop smiling afterwards.

I was still smiling like a lunatic when a really cool couple approached me and asked if I were South African. They were from Cape Town (like me!) and they were going to Spiti Valley the next days, riding their bikes and camping all the way. I hung on their lips and agreed when they said that Leh (I decided to head up to Leh because Spiti Valley had become ‘impossible’) had more tourists than Manali and they wanted to avoid crowds and just be in the Himalayas. Murray and Anna and I liked each other immediately and they invited me to join them. They were planning to spend one more day in Manali and then leave for Spiti, giving me just enough time to get a tent and some camping supplies. By the time we said goodbye we were as giddy as children and I left feeling grateful to these Capetonian angels that I was going to get to ride through Spiti Valley after all.

Strolling back to my guesthouse, playing over in my mind everything that happened, I passed a bike mechanic. He was speaking to an Italian guy who wanted to rent a bike and wanted to know whether a Yamaha was good or whether he should rather rent an Enfield. I felt obliged to offer an input. Soon the charming Italian (is there any other kind?) and I were talking and, by now totally ignoring the mechanic, decided to have dinner together at Shiva's Place, right next door. After weeks of speaking only elementary English, broken Hindi and sometimes miming to get the point across, having a real conversation with this Italian man was bliss.

We talked for hours about life, love, travelling, India and Italy until our waiter, not so kindly, asked us to please leave. We didn't realize how late it was and when we stepped outside it was clear that the whole of Manali was already sleeping. We were reluctant to say goodnight but it was very late and so the Italian walked me to my guesthouse and kissed me goodnight.
'Ciao, Bella'.

The next morning I woke up feeling on top of the world and couldn't tell whether it was due to my brilliant musical debut, my impending Spiti-Valley adventure or the dose of Italian charm I experienced the night before. The Italian and I deliberately did not make plans to see each other again and both felt that if it were meant to be then we would meet again. Later that day I ran into him again but that, is another story.


  1. I love your wrighting skills! awesome:)

  2. Go Olga!!! Don't let us just "Hang". Detail girl, detail!!!!

  3. olga, ek is baie beindruk dat jy voor baie mense kan musiek maak!wanneer jy terug kom hou ons konsert!
    wat 'n wonderlike dag... sien vreeslik uit na elke post.
    dankie! x