Sarovar Portico, Manali
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Late afternoon we retreated to Nirvana cafe for a chai and token butter naan before heading to the Hangout for a pre dinner drink.
We then met the Aussies at The Lazy Dog for dinner where we enjoyed a range of cuisines from tandoori chicken to Thai red curry.
As the Hangout was just round the corner from the guest house we went for a night cap of local peach cider before hitting the sack glad to finally have a warm bed and a full nights rest ...
... four high passes, the highest one being over 17,500' above sea level. This is the second-highest "navigable" road in the world. Ill have to do a bit of carburetor adjustment to coerce my bike over that hill, but, fingers crossed, I should be in Leh in 4-5 days. After that, I'm hoping to cover some more ground in Kashmir, stopping in Kargil, Srinagar, Jammu, and, eventually, Dharmsala. After that, I'll gauge how excited I'll be about touring the lowlands ...
... and upon our return to Manali, after Leh, we stayed in Babul's
camp. Babul's family have a small camp site by the river with some
hotel rooms also. We ate with both Babul's and Rishi's familes a
number of times. It was very refreshing to see a nice calm family
orientated side of India.
After our second night in Manali we hit the road
for a two day drive to Leh (on the aptly named Leh-Menali highway)
with Babul's cousin (also not a real cousin) ...
... it and look out across the valley and despite signs saying no entry, I couldn't resist (sorry mum)! John got charmed on the streets by cobra snakes. The guys were super chill and even while the cobras were attacking them they just laughed saying 'it is safe', then afterwards wanted more money because their job 'it is very dangerous'. I didn't get near them. Then most nights we would sit for a drink/dinner and watch the 'Bollywood' Yaks come ...
... getting on his feet, he set up his cooking class business.
Sangey's story brought tears to some of us, and we just couldn't believe that Tibetans were forced to risk their lives just to have the freedom to live a free life, not a life dictated by Chinese authorities. After hearing this story the phrase 'Free Tibet' was ringing ever so loudly in our heads. We rushed out and bought a 'Free Tibet' shirt to protest against China's inhumane treatment of the 'country' ...