"If you keep coming to the mountains long enough, one day when you get old, you will realise that those who keep coming here, are closer to the Gods." - Mr Sethi's parting words to me who I'd met on the bus to Kaza.
A strange early morning exit from Keylong at 3:30am, through non-lighted streets and rugged fields of scented flowers, a torchlight, hotel assistant and clear star-lit pristine skies.....
Caught the bus to Gramphoo.....slept.....and awoke to mist. Waiting for the bus to Kaza at 6am at Gramphoo...... and a lucky bus came along.....empty army bus.....with only us, two ladhakis carrying their wares, and the elderly 60 yr old Sethi couple. Most friendly company.
Journey into Spiti valley - breathtaking (complete loss of adjectives!)
Change of landscape and the feel of Ladakh creeps in. Very interesting to meet the Sethi's - they drove to Kaza in a Wagon R from Shimla, travelled to Leh via state bus and are now back heading to Kaza. Young at heart!
And peeing in the wilderness is getting trickier.....!
27 July '09
Headiness. Altitude sickness....did nothing but laze and visit a government hospital to get pulse and O2 levels checked. Walked to the market in the evening...ambled but faced breathlessness. Lovely breeze and gentle drizzle.....people wondered looking at me walking alone.
German Bakery of Kaza! Saved the day with a brownie and postcard shopping...ambled on across the homes and the lanes of Kaza town.......
28 July '09
Headed to Ki monastery and sipped tea with two friendly monks inside......and then onto the village of Kibber. Crossed a group of foreigners hitching a ride on a tractor - and spotted our Slovenian couple again - waving like crazy!
Rest......more lazing and reading......and doing nothing in Kaza......in the middle of nowhere.
30 July '09
2 days of a lot of driving - Pin valley and Chandertal today.
I leave Kaza tomorrow at 4am for Manali. Kaza is such a small place.....I can see foreigners in the market who simple seem to belong here. Sometimes, hanging out at bohemian places in India, makes me feel......I'm sort of invading or visiting their territory.
Locals are really friendly....men play chess all the time while women carry children on their backs, lots of labourers from Bihar here and lots of new constructions taking place.
Never ending Landscape.
It is hot, dusty.....but I look at rivers that keep flowing.....is it too cliche to say I see a meaning of life here.......?
William Dalrymple mentions (In Xanadu) - Oriental ism of Europeans during Colonization.... so true on this journey....... Westernization of us?
No Indian Woman traveler in these parts!
No Indian Male traveler in these parts!
Except for bikers and army men.......!
31st July '09
Back to Manali - rain and the gurgling Beas. After a 12 hour bus journey from Kaza at 4am.....
What a bus ride! Crowded, packed and shaky as ever, bad roads again, blinding mist, blinding curves, rain, people sitting on the floor of the bus.........
Another interesting couple (I seem to meet only couples on this trip!)....from Scotland and England - archaeologists Helen and Paul......on a 5 month sabbatical from their firm due to the recession.
Heading to Delhi tomorrow but everything about a city feels alien.....after watching the glory of nature untamed, unbound for the past 10 days.