I sit several floors up, looking down at the courtyard of the Dharma Guesthouse.
A bra-less girl with a shaved head is flipping batons in the air and catching them between two sticks. She bounces them back and forth, back and forth, and then lobs one to the dread-locked guy across from her. He catches it and twirls it up in the air, doing a quick spin of his own for good measure.
Nearby, a young man with a receding hairline is playing with a crystal ball. I want to chalk him up as just another hippie playing with toys, but then I see that he is actually quite good. Mesmerizing, in fact. He’s like David Bowie in Labyrinth, rolling the crystal ball back and forth on his forearms until I am lulled, hypnotized.
Pink roses climb the stone walls, and below, just out of sight, water burbles from the hot springs where men splash themselves clean. They bathe in the open, celebratory. But behind a higher stone wall, concealed from sight, brown-skinned women scrub their arms, legs, and necks, and children sit in buckets of hot water.
On a rooftop across the way, an Indian woman with a scarf on her head squats down and dips her hands into a flower pot. Or perhaps it’s a basin of laundry. It is impossible to tell, but beautiful to watch. Her colorful scarves flutter on the cold mountain breeze, and the Himalayas rise up majestically behind her.