Traveling up a mountain on a crazy donkey in the Himalayas
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I have starred death right in the face and death could sure use some breath spray. It was August 2014, and I was about 16-and-a-half. We were on the edge of The Himalayas Mountain Ridge, near the Northern Indian town of Shimla, the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, a town a couple of hours by train from my family's ancestral home in Punjab. Shimla could’ve actually been quite a nice town, advertised as a “smoke-free city” – it receives fresh, clean air from the mountains that it is nestled around. However the city stinks of diesel fumes from all the cars that travel around it, and litter from cigarettes is still an issue in certain parts. With a population of just over 170,000, it is one of India's smallest cities. The architecture is superb, with beautiful buildings such as The Christ Church, the second oldest church in Northern India, and a stunning Public Library. We decided to travel up one of these mountains. I personally wanted to walk, but this wasn’t allowed. Apparently, this was too dangerous. The only alternative was to ride a donkey. I was sceptical before I even got on, as these donkeys looked really skinny. In some, you could see the bones around their stomachs. However, looking at the path to the mountain, the floor was littered with donkey turds. So, I didn’t really have much say in the matter. What I wasn’t prepared for is how absolutely loopy the donkey I was riding was going to be. Not long after I got on, he started tilting to one side, causing me to become unbalanced.
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