Kashmir is so pretty you could puke
May 18, 2008
Jul 20, 2008
....and breakfast-taking. As soon as we landed, Sarah threw up our yogurt, banana, and cornflake breakfast (you're welcome for the details) in the airport bathroom because of the altitude, tried puke again on our walk to Old Ladakh Guesthouse over some masala #2.5 orange (see Sarah's blog for key), and successfully regurgitated some apples into a trashcan at lunch (even more unnecessary details). The point is, everyone gets sick for the first 24 hours or so if they fly into Leh, so the first day is usually spent sleeping and drinking lots of water. That's pretty much what we did though thankfully I didn't feel too bad except short of breath and tired after walking short distances (also from only 2 hours of sleep). Around dinnertime, Sarah started feeling a little better so we went out, had some food, and planned our next 4 days with a travel guide. The beautiful plan: Friday- rent a motorcycle and drive to nearby cities to see gumpas (Tibetan Buddhist temples) and palaces; Saturday- take motorcycle over the highest motorable road in the world to the Nubra Valley, stay in a guesthouse overnight, see the sand dunes, and return Sunday; Monday- Himalayan white-water rafting. We went and got a motorcycle in the evening so we could leave by 6AM, find the gas station, and catch the 7AM prayer and butter tea at the biggest gompa in Ladakh, Hemis Gompa. We brought our bedding up to the roof and slept under probably the most incredible night sky in the world- yes, even brighter than in the desert in Rajasthan. Like in most Rajasthani cities, a palace sits high above the city, but Leh also has 2 mosques and 2 Tibetan Gompas on the horizon.
Sarah and I got tickets last night for a 5AM flight to Leh. Right after I bought them, I called Ram and he said that we picked the worst airline and might not even get to Leh. Apparently, Air Deccan is cheaper because it gets the old planes that have trouble navigating in bad weather. Anyways, we tried to stay positive about the flight despite the possibility of flight cancellation or delay and having to get up at 2:15AM. "It will work out, we're lucky people" says Sarah at times like this, and so far, she hasn't been wrong. We had perfect weather flying into Leh and the view of the Himalayas from the plane was breathtaking...