Tuesday, June 22, 2010

16 Hour Ride Up

16 hours Srinagar to Leh in a shared taxi with 7 others bouncing up and down, multiple police checkpoints, and multiple tea stops when I finally arrived in Leh I wanted nothing else than to be horizontal on a bed. I really thought I was gonna die the last three hours of the drive. I had gotten really bad gas that later I found out was due to an upset stomach so needless to say I wasn't a happy camper. When we arrived in Leh it was 12:30 at night, fortunately I had shared the taxi with an American girl who had been to Leh before and had a guest house already lined up.

The day started at 6:30am at the taxi stand in Srinagar, a lot of shouting was going on as there was a German guy who was insisting that he get the front seat in a newer taxi, I think the drivers were shouting about who was going to take him. The rest of us didn't really care we just wanted to get going. There were 7 in total not including the driver. I got the pleasure of sitting in the back seat with a Indian boy and another very tall German guy. It was a tight squeeze the Indian boy was sitting next to me and as the road was bumpy the first 5 hours we both tried real hard not to touch each other. After the first 5 and the road getting even worse we both decided that if our knees touched it wouldn't really be a big deal. So on it went, tossing around the back of this jeep like three beach balls.

Then we get stopped by the military and are told that we have to wait for a convoy of trucks that are coming down the mountain. We sat there for 2 1/2 hours waiting on 20 trucks to go pass. But in the mean time we sat around talking with everybody else who had gotten stopped and the soldiers who job was to stop us.

The military presence on the ride up is evident every few Kilometers with war memorials and check points. This is where India keeps its nukes being that its so close to the Pakistani and Chinese border, we had to show our passports a total of 6 times. A large military camp outside of a town called Drass where we had to stop and show our passports and register in.
Looked like something out of a James Bond movie, They didn't allow us to take photos so I snuck behind a building and took these snaps.

We stopped in the Drass for lunch, the place was no five star restaurant, and I wonder if it wasn't the food there or the food I ate with Rafi in Srinagar that got me so sick? It did however have some interesting characters to watch.

As the day progressed we kept driving higher and higher into the mountains the views were stunning and at times the road well what road? Nora the American girl asked the driver for a pee stop he stopped in a village with a toilet that I wouldn't even let my cats enter. There is a statistic in India that 60% of the population do not have access to a functioning toilet, this was part of that 60% percent. We found a truck to pee behind and took turns guarding it.

Although it was the longest drive I have done in a long time and it knackered the hell out of me waking up the following day and looking out of my guesthouse window to see the Himalayas in the distance PRICELESS!!!

1 comment:

  1. gabi - that little girl in the first photo was absolutely angelic!!!!