Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Leh day 2

[Ed: this post is not for the sqemish]

I managed to get some sleep. I woke up at 7AM, the sun flooding my room, and the signs of a sore throat/cold coming quickly. A bit of vitamin C, and back to bed. I assume that was the 2 days of travel, the lack of sleep, the temperature difference, and the night of A/C + fan in Delhi.

2 hours later, I woke up with cold sweats, and the symptoms (which you never forget) of Delhi Belly. Moments later, I was clasping at the toilet seat under me, shivering, sweating, swearing profusely at India, any deity I could think of, and any of the food merchants whose tasty yet evil wares had put me in this state. A piping hot shower helped things, followed by paracetamol, vitamin C, and about a liter of water.

More than likely, i'll be repeating the scene tonight and tomorrow morning. How I love India.


It took a lot of work, but I finally have a SIM card for my phone. Due to the terrorism, SIM cards are a complete pain in the ass to get in this state. Just like gmail, and other web 2.0 services, you need to be invited by someone who already has the service. Since I've been here for one day, I don't really know anyone at all - let alone someone who has been an Airtel customer for 3 months.

Lucky for me, Leh is full of Kasmiri traders. Due to terrorism, Kashmir isn't getting much tourism, and so lots of them have come here to sell their wares to tourists. I'm generalizing somewhat here, but Kashmiris are natural born used car salesmen. They'll lie, cheat and sell their own grandmothers if it seals the deal.

Within a few minutes of asking random kashmiri traders, I was able to find someone who was willing to vouch for me, and state in writing that he knew me personally.

3 passport photos later, I now have a SIM card, which should hopefully be activated tomorrow.


I don't know how long I'll stay in Leh. It's beautiful for sure, but it's also very very touristy. It's impossible to eat at any restaurant/stall where the locals are eating. It's essentially a controlled environement for a captive audience. Shops everywhere, all offering trecking, hiking, trips, etc...

My options are to either go into Muslim Kashmir (in Srinigar), where there are beautiful house-boats on a lake, or to the Parvati Valley in HP. The only thing that will change my choice, is rain. I need to figure out where it is raining the least.

Due to the altitude, Leh is dry as a bone. Which is perfect. No humidity, no rain. Anywhere downhill will be wet, as it is monsoon season everywhere else in India.

More later...

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