I'd forgotten about bus travel in this country - they don't charge one quarter of the price and allow 14 hours of travel time for nothing.
Indian roads have improved unbelievably but better roads do not quieter drivers make. The trucks and other buses and other vehicles with horns didn't simply poof or shush- they moved onto the highways a-beeping too. And we fended off ALL of them last night - our driver sort of sat on his horn and that's how we made our way north.
His horn-leaning energy was fuled by chai, which we stopped for every few hours. Chai on Indian roads comes from 24 hour, florescent lit, invariably turquoise, dabbas - Indian chai and cheap eats places frequented by bus drivers with midieval bathrooms. Wherever and whenever we pulled over to one, no matter if it was the 9pm chai stop or the 4 am one, out we emerged. Whole bus disembarks, another 15-20 for the whole bus to re-embark, head-count, locate the straggler and we're off again.
No one paid the least attention to me. Not even a "madam from which country". They were in family pods, I was in my personal space bubble - so it was. Maybe Maharashtrians and Bengalis are more/chatty curious?
Anyway - all worth it to arrive here this morning and find the air cean, the fumes minimal and escapable and temp near perfect. In a valley and, all around, snow capped peaks.
For real, this was worth it. Now need to get my bearings.
Love from Vashisht (backpacker hangout) across a small river from Manali