Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reporting from Leh – 14th July 2012

Day breaks really early here. Woke up @ 5:30 am. We were just tidying up the bags when we received a knock on the door and in came our trek mate Kamal. Athletic guy…. We soon got talking and came to know ‘bhaisaab Marathon daudate hai…..’ (now I know why he looks athletic….). This quintessential marketing & sales guy had also written a novel. That’s what really inspired me to write this blog. He made a very pertinent comment….. says Kamal, “yaar, I thought I would meet interesting people if I come here…. In today’s world, if someone is ready to spend 40K (the approx cost of our trek including air fare) then the destinations would be Bangkok, Pattaya, Singapore, Dubai…. So it would be really a character who would choose to come here in the mountains to climb 20000 ft” . The two characters listening to him nodded in unison. :-)

We then went for an acclimatization climb to Shanti Stupa which was close to our guest house. We met 3 more trek mates there. You get to see a really good view of Leh from Shanti Stupa. If the sky is clear then in fact one can also see Stok Kangri, our ‘Lakshya’. We were not lucky though as it was cloudy.

Shanti Stupa - The acclimatization climb

The Stupa

View of Leh from Shanti Stupa & the clouds covering Stok Kangri in the distance

We returned to the guest house and went to the market. Bumped into Hari there. Another athletic guy and I started wondering then that perhaps 8.5 kgs I had lost before wasn’t good enough. :-)

We had lunch @ the guest house. By this time, almost everyone from the IndiaHikes trek group had assembled. So, spent some time introducing ourselves. It was, of course, gonna take some time before we remembered each other’s names and trades. So the communication was in universal language….. i.e ‘esmile’ :-)

We finally met the “Brahma”, our trek leader, at around 5 pm when he came to collect our medical certificates & declarations in order to ensure that he had permit for all of us. He said that he would be back in a while to brief us on the trek and next day’s action plan. Thus we broke. Some guys went shopping and Hrishikesh & I went to Jeevan Café to have a cup of tea.  Its another good eating joint located on the Karzu Officers Mess – Shanti Stupa road (now you know how vague I can get so don’t ask me again…ok?) :-)

That ‘a while’ of Brahma was after 5 hours…. (when I was a kid, they told us that one day is like one second in Lord Brahma’s watch….. our Brahma was definitely faster then….what say?..... :-) jus kidding….) by that time everyone was done with dinner and almost in bed, after all… most of them had flown to Leh that day and were really tired, so….you know, you don’t expect to have a briefing @ 10:30 pm….

A quick briefing (which lasted for an hour) and we were fast asleep…. Maan….was really excited to start the trek the day after…….

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