Had an amazing talk with a Tibetan shopkeeper by the name of Yeshi Gyatso today. He's Drikung Kagyu, like myself, but we both agreed that when you get right down to it, Dharma is Dharma and any authentic lama should be listened to, no matter what lineage, school, or country he or she comes from. We also talked a bit about politics and history, and had quite a few laughs. Hopefully this trend will continue.
I bought a few books and he also gave me a couple gratis, one for the lama I took refuge with (a copy of his publication on the Essential Points of Buddhist Practice) and one for myself (Heartfelt Advice to Carry One Along the Path). Last night I bought a small prayer wheel and a couple little rings for my 8 year old sister, and a vajra & bell set for me from a Tibetan Nepali store, and resisted the urge to buy any of the beautiful rudra statues because I shouldn't lug something that heavy around my whole trip, but rather get something like that at the end.
Oh, and before I forget, when I went to have dinner last night at my hotel they were short on tables and I had to sit with someone. I wound up having some very interesting conversation with a woman from Venice, and we exchanged stories about how each of us had come to be on our current paths (her in social work and international business, having lived in India for 3 years now, and done her thesis in 2007 on Tibetan thangka paintings). I had chicken fried rice, she had momo. We exchanged personal info so that, in case I wound up in an emergency and in Mumbai, she could help. Through her I learned of an Italian university I might consider if the International Buddhist Academy's 2 year translator program in Nepal doesn't come through. Our next conversation should be in Tibetan :)
I have a bus ride at 6 p.m., and it's now 2:30. A few more hours and I'll be on my way to Dharamsala. It's a 12 hour ride, so I should be there by 6 a.m. tomorrow, and will definitely be taking my melatonin so I can sleep on the way there. Just wanted to post this short entry before I got ready to leave. Hope everyone is enjoying reading this. Thanks for all the "Likes" on Facebook, guys! :D