Tuesday, September 26, 2006
If anyplace is the opposite of Delhi it is Ladakh. It is much quieter and the air tastes much better. We're staying in the city of Leh which is at 11,000 feet. I felt fine the first day, but after that the sickness came. I spent two full days in bed, as did most of the group. It was probably a combonation of altitude sickness and food poisoning. I am feeling good now, though. The people here are very friendly and their favorite word is jullay, which means just about whatever you want it to. You will even see people walking by themselves just muttering it over and over again. We are staying in a guest house (small hotel) just outside the main part of town. It is nice, it has toilets and electricity (sometimes). The town is mainly little shops, restaurants, and trekking offices. This is probably just about the most beautiful place I have ever been. The mountains are magnificent and the scenery is scattered with stupas and prayer flags because most the people here are Tibetan Buddhists. Foriegners didn't really come to Ladakh (which by the way is the region that Ley is in and itself in the state of Jammu & Kashmir) until the seventies when they built the road. So the culture here has been very preserved. It is often called "little Tibet" and is considered to have the purest form of Tibetan Buddhism. It has modernized rappidly, though and there have been a few problems. It is much dirtier now, and people's living conditions have declined. Right now we are waiting for the group to recover so we can start our trek. Until then we are just hanging out enjoying the town, last night we saw a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in Ladakhi. Hope everything is good in the states.