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A Visit With the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama and Walter Russell Mead in India, August 2019. PHOTO: KALDEN LODOE

A Visit With the Dalai Lama

Walter Russell Mead

Jet-lagged and under the weather, I hoped my trip from the airport here to see the Dalai Lama would be a short one.

I was disappointed. The journey would take more than 10 hours along a narrow mountain road, often only one lane, half washed out by monsoon rains, sometimes covered in mudslides, and occasionally requiring us to ford streams where bridges had washed out. As is the case all over India, cows had the right of way and knew it, ambling placidly along the center of the narrow roadway while cars and trucks piled up in both directions.

This high in the mountains, goats, sheep, feral dogs, small children and even the occasional yak all kept our driver alert. This was not the worst traffic I had seen in India. I remember the bottleneck caused by an elephant going the wrong way on the main road during rush hour in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Nevertheless, I was struck by the good-natured patience of Indians coping with such extraordinary disorderliness on a major national road.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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