Corpse, Oxford and I split from the other three Londoners and cruised to Kasol in Parvati Valley, a three hour ride away. Kasol was like Manali, but more hippie and cracked-out. Like Oregon is to California.
One afternoon we marched for half an hour overlooking a river and through marijuana fields to natural hot springs. We elected the isolated luxury of a guesthouse's hot spring instead of the communal hot spring that was as crowded as the gay pride parade down Market Street in San Francisco.
Aside from my deteriorating eyesight and hearing, I have some sort of chemical imbalance where I sweat steadily and am habitually hot. Hot springs are as conducive to my overheated body as running a marathon is to Homer Simpson. When I immersed my big toe in the broiling water, it felt like a fire-breathing dragon was using my appendage as target practice.
I sat on the side as Corpse materialized a joint from his backpack like Merlin and reposed in the hot spring. His head bent back and eyes closed as he exhaled a volcano of smoke.
Gliding back to our guesthouse with spiraling heads and smiles, Oxford beheld a lone sign across a derelict bridge over the river.
"Maya Cafe! It's like Jesus calling to me. He must be there. Is there a halo around the sign?" He asked, his squinting eyes glazed over doughnut-style.
The arrow beneath the sign pointed towards trees. No sign of life or civilization was visible. We had originally planned on visiting the Israeli crack-den/restaurant and the cafe with the waiter who smoked bong rips the size of a factory's exhaust. Instead, we crossed the bridge and turned left into the trees.
Fifteen minutes later we faltered onto a wooden plank and identified a house through the trees. We climbed up the stairs and entered the open seating of a cafe looking like high half-drowned hobos. Tables sparsely subsidized the area with the main seating being an L-shaped Goliath-sized flat rock covered in woven blankets. Another flat rock functioned as a table. Two Indian men sniffed lines off the table as we shambled up.
Another man sat inhaling charris from a chillam. He had verbose tangled grey hair, a beard longer than my own hair, a body swathed in squalid blue cloth and shoeless feet. He had more wrinkles than a walrus' neck. He looked like Methusalah. He was introduced to us as Baba G.
We joined the circle of seven Indian men as if they were Christ's disciples and passed around bongs and spliffs like the gospel.
"Baba G he has no money. But he come here to smoke. We give him a little food and a little weed, and then he goes back to his cave. Baba G loves the charris," one of the men told us.
At this explanation Oxford's eyes ignited with light. He looked like he had just been presented with Pamela Anderson as a submissive sex slave.
"He lives in a cave?" he asked.
I didn't learn until one month later that Indians add "ji" to the end of a name as a sign of respect. "Ghandiji," for example. They weren't saying Baba G, they referred to the pot-smoking-cave-living-ninety-year-old as Babaji, respectively.