Friday, July 22, 2011


Okay, the title for this post is quite appropriate because I find myself thinking this all the time upon embarking and arriving in Mussoorie. ARE YOU FO REAL...????? There are so many things about this environment that make my jaw drop so I thought I'd give you a taste!

Before I get started, here is my address:

Katie Erickson
Woodstock School
Landour Cantt.
Mussoorie, Uttarakhand
248179, India

Okay, here we go.

1. The drive UP.
On our way to Mussoorie from Delhi, everything stays on the same plane until you get to a town called Dehradun (DD). DD is at the base of the foothills and is like any other average city that may have a hill or climb here or there. But once you begin to go north, you really have kissed normal human habitation goodbye.

It. Is. Crazy.

For one thing, the road we take from DD to Mussoorie has 150 switchbacks as you snake your way up the mountain. Dramamine for everyone!! On your route you are greeted by little shops and restaurants vying for a perfect view of the Doon Valley (where we had just retreated from). After about an hour and a quarter of precarious YET experienced driving, you arrive in Mussoorie, about 7,500 feet above sea level.

2. "Vertical campus."
This term was not used to describe Woodstock to me in any of my prior experiences with past staff, attendees, fans, etc. I do not think I understood just what my Grandpa Don meant when he quoted, "Only 2% of Mussoorie is flat ground..." in his splendid presentation about his research of Woodstock for my relatives.

We are not just talking about a flight of stairs here or there and rolling hills.

Woodstock LITERALLY IS a VERTICAL campus. To get ANYWHERE on campus you may walk a few feet and then begin the steep trek UP or down to the next building. Gentle inclines are your best friends. Just when you think, "Oh, I'm doing alright, I'll get to the top soon," (somehow forgetting THE MOUNTAIN you live on) you look up and see you've only hiked a tenth of the journey. Shoot. The campus is quite large (HUGE compared to Northwestern...haha!) and it most definitely will take all the fortitude in your hammies and a back/face-full of sweat to get least for now.

3. The Monkeys.

I'm not talking about the band here.

Currently, I am sitting outside a residence dorm that has wireless and a Reeses monkey is just about 4 yards to my right, scavenging in the trash bin. A typical day in Mussoorie.

This morning I decided to see the sunrise since I was awake long before 5 am. I was making my return home when I noticed some noise on the overhang above me (many walkways are covered due to the monsoons). "Monkeys," I grimaced internally as I began conjuring every tip I'd been told about our symbiotic relationship. "Don't look them in the eye...act like you're grabbing for a rock if they start heckling you...monkeys can sense fear so be careful what your pheromones are communicating"...AND SO ON AND SO ON! Typically they will not bother you if you do not bother them, but I was lucky to catch these shoots just before they noticed my observation. After that, one of the pack was headed my way, as to which I promptly about-faced and walked determinedly home...picking up a rock on my way...

The monsoon's rolling in (I am literally in a cloud of mist) so that is all for now. Cheers!

Check out this video (at then end of the page) of Reeses monkeys playing on the roof...they have quite a playground out here.

1 comment:

  1. Katie - this is Tonya, Julie's daughter. We and Berdella are on your blog trying to catch up. They love your postcards. Mom and Berdella want you to bring a monkey home for the nursing home since they don't have a dog as of yet. :)