As I lay in my wooden bed trying to shrug off the congestion and aching of my 3-day-old cold, my father bursts into the room and nearly shouts, "The Dalai Lama is coming this afternoon! They are hanging up flags and getting ready to welcome him out on Temple Road!"
I muster up all the strength I have in me, down vitamins, tylenol, and antibiotics and suit up my video camera for the event. We leave around lunch time for the unknown time when His Holiness will pass through McCleod Ganj. Around 3 o' clock, the sides of the street leading to the Palace began to fill with more and more of the town's local residents. Many of them held either a Tibetan flag or a white kada.
At 4, the sound of the horns filled the air and everyone stood up and bowed down (except for us foreigners). His Holiness was in the second car in the entourage. When I caught my first glimpse of him, I had the sudden impression that I was looking at Santa Claus. His Holiness had his hands together and was nodding vigorously in response to the crowd's offerings of kada and prayers.
In less than 30 seconds, his entourage had passed, but everyone appeared pleased and content.