The journey from Dharamsala to Jari was long.. very long. I left before dawn, and arrived just before sunset, after catching an all day bus (no frills) and a few others of similar quality.
It was worth it though.
The Kullu and Parvati valley areas are amazingly beautiful - mountains everywhere, streams and waterfalls, and people who seem to just be getting along with life. Shawls are big business here - and every other shop in the bigger towns seems to be selling them.
The other big business here, of course, is marijuana cultivation. My guest-house owner was happy enough to explain how they produce it (a process of massaging the plants with one's hands), before offering to sell it to me. However, apart from that one offer, it's been very hassle free - a pleasant surprise. I was expecting to be shoo-ing drug-dealers away as I've had to do in other cities - but here, they seem content to let customers come to them - and so don't bother you if you're not out to buy.
There are plenty of stories of tourists being shook down by local police/etc - after all, the drug business attracts many unsavory types. It's the off season here, and so for the most part, that isn't something I've seen.
I'm staying in a guest-house about 15 mins walk uphill from the village of Jari - really, just a few shops on the main dirt road. I paid a nepali porter to carry my bag up the hill the first day - money amazingly well spent once I realized how unpleasant the walk is. And since then - i've relaxed.
We're in the middle of the parvati valley - a very quiet and beautiful place, with farmhouses here and there, but for the most part, quite rural. Birds seem to hover endlessly overhead - and today at the tops of the mountains surrounding us were cfovered in dense clouds. No Internet, no places selling thai-backpacker pants, no falafel - just an indian family running the place, and a couple other tourists. The father/owner proudly told me that there were no non-hindu's living in this part of the valley - however, the bus I took seemed to be full of tibetian-looking people and monks, so they've gotta be living somewhere nearby.
It's very relaxed, cheap, and were it not for the cold the last day or two - it'd be a great place to explore the outdoors.
Food poisoning hit me again yesterday, and then it rained most of today - so I've pretty much given up on doing too much here. However, for now, i'm content to enjoy the heat of the tandori oven, catch up on my reading, and recover from my various ills.
I'll be here for a few more days, probably leaving on the 18th or 19th. I had to travel an hour and a half by bus to use the internet, so I doubt if i'll do it again before I leave.