I definitely stand-out here in McCloud Ganj. It is not because I am American. Or Western. Or even a tourist. It is my use of the standard issue Washington, D.C. uniform: khaki-pants and navy blue sweater. That and the short hair, the recent bath and shave, lack of tattoos, nose-, lip-, tongue, eyebrow-, belly-, or scrotum-piercing and other forms of so-called body art.
McCloud Ganj is one of the many homes of his Most Serene Highness, the Dali Llama. When he not is being wined-and-dined in Beverly Hills, attending intimate gatherings in the Hamptons, or hobnobbing in Mayfair, he is sometime seen in McCloud Ganj. I even walked by his palace - of course I could only peer through the gate at the manicured, well-tended lawn, the large, Edwardian main house, the two-story guesthouse, the cabana with pool, tennis courts and a cricket pitch, and the flower garden. The gate had a large sign reading, "Private Property. No Trespassing" in several different languages. I tried to get a picture but I was continually harassed by the poor and homeless Tibetan beggars who also live in McCloud Ganj.
As a result, McCloud Ganj attracts the sort of people who, armed with an incomplete education, Daddy's credit card, and a baggy full of weed, seek out 'spiritual oneness.'
Of course, the actual natives do not dress this way. Oh, there are a few monks walking around with their shaved heads, red robes and designer sneakers; however, most of the natives wear slacks, sweaters - usually with Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger.
Of course, I am being completely unfair. There are a fair number of people who come here out of a genuine interest in helping the Tibetan people and in learning more about the philosophy of Buddhism.