India: Leh

After a long, painful night running to the bathroom, I awoke Tuesday morning feeling exhausted, light-headed, and dehydrated. After freezing cold showers, Hannah and I, along with English Jon, decided to find a nicer guesthouse (the creepy, drunken manager had tried to make a pass on Hannah the night before). After a hot breakfast (of which I managed to put down about three bites) and much wandering about, we settled on the Otsal guesthouse, a lovely family-run place in the heart of Changspa in Leh, complete with immaculate views and hot, solar-powered showers.

It was 4:00 pm at this point, and my frail little body was beyond repair, so I took a much-needed nap while Hannah and Jon explored the town. They returned around 8:00 pm, and we soon embarked on a quest for Round 3 of my Rabies shot, which I was due to administer that day. None of the chemists in town carried the shot, thus allowing us our first (and hopefully only) Indian hospital experience. Hannah and I crept through the doors of the dismal place, fearing that just breathing the air would land us our very own beds. We found a nurse who took us through the dark, dusty corridors to a back office, where she opened a refrigerator and produced a box containing the very last Rabies shot. She looked at me and said, “You lucky! Last one!”. I sighed with relief; at the same time, I hope that no one in Leh gets bitten by any rabid monkeys or dogs for a very long time…there is no telling when the next batch of medical supplies will make its way up the twenty-hour journey to town.

We all went for a Tibetan dinner (I still had no appetite) before finally making our way back to the guesthouse. I gave myself the shot, surprised that the action of getting out of bed and turning out the light left me breathless, and eventually passed out.

I awoke this morning still feeling rather ill. I took a hot shower, got dressed, and Hannah, Jon, and I headed for breakfast…I still could not eat! That is not normal for this girl! They managed to drag me into town and up a hill (I was huffing and puffing the entire way) to see Leh’s ancient palace, which was built in the seventeenth century. The scenery from the top of the hill was amazing, with sweeping panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayas, the moonscape of the rocky foothills, and the small homes in the valley below. We sat up top for ages, soaking up the sun and the views before a strong, chilly wind began to blow and a light snow began to sprinkle across our sunburnt faces. We headed back down the hill, had a light dinner in town (where I discovered with glee that my appetite had returned!), and went to a tour agency to meet some others about the possibility of a camping trip.

This morning we signed up for the two-day camping trip to Pangang Lake. I wanted to spend the afternoon shopping for some warm woolies, such as a hat, gloves, and a scarf, but just as we were sitting down for breakfast, all the shops in town began to close their doors and board their windows. Apparently, last night a fourteen-year-old Buddhist girl was raped by a couple of Muslim men…there have been problems in town lately between these two religious groups, so the shops closed down to pay their respects and demand more attention from the authorities. Therefore, we spent the afternoon wandering around the empty streets, finally finding a restaurant that was “secretly open” for some food and hot drinks. Tonight is the England match, so I am sure we will have no problem finding another “secret” place to enjoy the game.

On a final note, The good news is that I am feeling like I am finally acclimatizing to the high elevation here, and my trips to the bathroom are becoming few and far between. The bad news is that yesterday afternoon I received an e-mail from Chris, saying that he was bored and unhappy in Manali. I felt bad about leaving him down there, but he assured me that he wanted to relax for a few days while I headed to the Himalayas, and that upon my return we would begin our real travels together throughout India. Well, it seems he does not want to hang around India anymore, and instead wants to fly to Bangkok for a couple weeks before meeting up with me again in Bombay just before the start of our yoga course next month. I was really bummed out by this news, but I understand that Chris has been working hard in Korea, only finishing his contract last month, and he is looking for some relaxation and fun before he goes back to Korea. India is not exactly the place for relaxation and fun! Therefore, I will probably stay up north longer than I intended, and just go at my own pace from here…alone! Who knew??!! I have to admit, I am a bit scared of tackling India alone, but I am a big girl and will just have to gut it out for a month. Here’s to hoping I meet loads of friendly folks with which to travel!

One thought on “India: Leh

  1. Jonathan

    Wow I was blog surfing and recognized you. It’s amazing to see other people from Waycross who aren’t still there.

    Hope the other side of the world is treating you well.


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