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Trek part II; PLUS:greener, lusher, wetter-Goa

INDIA | Wednesday, 10 September 2008 | Views [809]

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I have arrived in Goa! That had not been my plan, I know but yesterday the fligfht out of Leh was delayed, so that I would have probably missed my train to Kerala anyway. On top of that, my new friends from Bombay hinted at the fact that the train I had booked was a two day 5 hours train!! I love trains, but I didn't see that happening. So, I bought a ticket to Goa when I was at the Delhi airport. I was so cool and in, and spontaneous, and happy to be out of the cold, harsh environment of Leh. I thought I would experience something like an Oxygen shock when I got back to Delhi, but nothing of that sort happened. I MIGHT have breathed a little slower, but that also just migh be me studying myself too much, hoping for a sign:)

Alright, but let me back up and finish my trekking story real quick:

The day after we had turned back half way to the pass we got uo at 5.30am, and packed the tent and stuff and left after a cup of tea that our new friend Tashi from the village provided. He also boiled some water for me to take alomg, I had only one bottle left. I think boiled mountain water is great, but he filled into the bottle with a once yellow now brown looking cone-shaped thing, so I added one of the special Iodine tablets. :) I was slightly nauseous anyway, and I didn't want to risk it.

We started at 7am. After an hour we had breakfast and I was not convinced that I would make it this time. I was coughing, and when Tashi offered to take my (really small) bag with food that I was carrying for the second time, I was to tired to summon the pride to say no.

They told me that it would be another two hours from here to the pass and that we were making good progress. I held on to that ides: two hours is like...I though of SOMETHING that I usually walk that would be two hours. Really, I don't do enough sports, I couldn't think of anything. so I concentrated on the humming of Tashi.

A small remark on that:Humming simple but comforting tunes seems to be normal here. They do it when they work on the fields, when the7y work in the kitchen, when they walk. I was able to see the effect: I concentrated on the tune, and it almost "carried" me up the hill. I followed Tashi's heels for a while, since he has a nice and steady pace, but he was a little too fast, so I found my own pace and kept it.

We reached the pass three hours after we left, around 10am. We had some of the puris that Tashi had brought with jam, and I had bought some way-too-old Kitkat bars from Tashi that morning, which tasted like heaven.

I was really happy to be on the top! We took some pictures, but the wind was mean, and we said goodbye soon. Tashi returned to his village to do some more field work that day. Sunny had given him 400Rs, which I thought was good. I found out later that Tashi had expected me to give him some extra tip.... I felt so soory, because without him I really don't think I would have make it. I will try and send him the picture when I am back. But it will be difficult because they live in this remote village, that noone can get to in winter, and, as we found out oursellves, winter is starting!

So Sunny and I packed our bags and went downhill. I was really glad t\we hadn't done it the day earlier: The path was steep at some points and in snow we might have not seen it. Another three hours down, and we were there. I again wanted to sleep, but it didn't come. I felt quite nauseous... Of course, this family also had a kid:) but he was shy, so Sunny didn't have anyone to play with and he, too, slept. The following symptoms made me think I was just exhausted: headache, nauseousness, sensitivity to light. I was only able to sleep after I reverse-emptied the little contents in my stomach into the Ladakhi toilet.

Oh, the Ladakhi toilet: Basically a room in the house, where the floor is not covered with any wood or something, so you can still see the earth they used for the floor. The imagine a rectangular shaped hole in that floor. If you use your flash-light and shine through you see the 'room' underneath. It is open on one side, so it is well-aired. What you do is you basically squat and do your business, and use the shovel leaning against the wall next to you to take some of the loose soil that is in the corner to 'dry-flush' after your business. Hm. was that clear enough? Apparently its a great environmental way, and It is good for the water quality of the rivers, too.

Anyway, I slept after that, and I woke up around 8pm, feeling better. We had REALLY good food that night: they made some green beans in a curry, and sine I was so sick and tired of the Ladakhi food (sorry..its just the slow digestion, I think) I was happy to have something with rice. I didn’t have too much, though remembering my earlier experience. The day later we walked to Sum-Dho, where everyone was busy on the fields and no-one could give us anything to eat, so we continued to Chilling straight away. We were pretty fast, so we mad it in the time, locals would usually take. We walked along a path that Sunny had not taken before though, to make up for the day lost. That path had some mud/stone slide problems, and was the least secured of the ones we had come on. Even Sunny admitted that it was a little scary at timesJ For me it was a matter of taking it step by step, no time/place for fear. J a little like rock climbing in that wayJ

However, it DID seem, like mot parts of the path were taken by jorses/ponies before. So I figured, if it takes a pony, it SHOULD take me. What with all the weight loss and all ;)

Talking of fear: the scariest part of the whole trek (NOW I know how to spell it!!) was the way back. A car named ‘omni’ came along with a driver who didn’t have anything all day (yes, it’s ramsan!) andmoved along the road that was barely broader than the car with such speed that I actually screamed at first! After a good laugh on the dirver’s and Sunny’s side, Sunny offered to sit at the back with me. I said: “what, to hold my hand??!? – THAT won’t help”…So he told him (AND I told him) to go slow. I hit my head only once after that due to an unexpected speed bump.

My Bombay friends later told  me it is one of the first all-Indian cars. And they agreed, it does not stay in the lane when you go around curves - it SLIDES around curves. And I think that feeling is even exaggerated when you sit at the back. Anyway, we reached home, I had some tea/ coffee with Sunny, gave him a generous tip and went home.

Let me talk about my Goa-arrival just for a minute: I had a good filight with easyjet (hihi) into GOI, from where I took two buses to reach Palolem, a highly reccomended beach area. It's cool, but VEEERRRRYYY laid back. It is beach atmosphere, and on top of that the season has not even started, so everyone is just enjoying the rain and the wetness, and there is really no point in doing anything, it seems.

Goa is green, wet, lushious, palms, katholic, huimid. I vacated my seat for this one elderly lady. I was sitting on the "ladies only" seat, but people here don't care, so I was sitting next to this guy. I was rather astonished, that those people in the bus didn't seem to make space forthe lady. I would have expected that, somehow.

I am still drinking in the greenness of it all. The monsoon season is making everything look even greener. Unfortunately, no sun. If it stays like that I will maybe move a lttle further south....

Tags: chilling, goa, leh, trek

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