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A Day In Leh

A quick recap:

I stayed in Sarchu at lat/long: n32 52.692 e77 31.757 in as much I could claim to be either in Sarchu or anyone could identify Sarchu as a place at all.

Currently at lat/long: n34 10.129 e77 34.948

At the Karzu Guest House, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, IN

The plan was, then, to get a permit for the run up to Khardung La for this afternoon. Unfortunately, my early morning nasal cleansing exercise resulting in a bloody finger. This happens to me often enough in the dizzying elevations of, say, North Oxfordshire but I suspect it's best not to tempt fate with these things so I asked my man for a pass for tomorrow morning and if I'm in good form I'll head up to the pass early and if I'm not I'll head off to Kargil anyway.

I then went to the most popular Westerners restaurant on the Changspa Road for some breakfast on the basis that where ever there are masses of Westerners you can't buy any local food anyway as all foreigners eat is foreign (to the locals) food. "I want a change from rice and dal" (well, fsck off somewhere else then). As it was they sold a decent coffee and some of the other breakfasts being served looked quite very tempting -- naturally, I had my standard alu paratha and jam toast. And two coffees. And a mango juice. And watched the world go by.

I went back for a kip. The great advantage of not enough curtains for the window and those curtains being translucent is you get to wake up with the dawn.

I then set out on a little loop round some of the local towns with a view to catch some of the impressive gompas around and about. The little towns are very pretty, little green oasis in this high altitude desert (though it'd be a bit bloody miserable living there all year round) and the people seemed friendly with lots of cheery waving.

Anywhere where there is a sticky-up bit of rock the monks liked to built a gompa (some sort of monastry) leaving them perching in the sky. There is one large rock in the valley at Thiksey which has one side covered in buildings and looks very impressive.

That seemed to consume most of the afternoon leaving time for another kip...

O2 don't seem to have an agreement with any local phone companies so in the event of no updates the plan is to be in Kargil tomorrow (240km), Srinagar the next night (another 200km) then Jammu (another 300km?) and down to Amritsar to tackle the carnet issues at the border. All a bit of a rush!

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