I arrived in Ley, Ladakh!! yesterday... coincidentally, so did the Dalai Lama... it is good to be in good company. I saw him speak with a couple thousand exiled Tibetans this morning in a field outside town. Truely, truely... this trip has been one pinch of sweet luck after another... The drive from Srinigar/ Sonamarg was what inspired the title to this post. I have had some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world burned into my retinas by the intense rays at 12,000 ft bouncing off of the areas in of the mountainsides that were not covered in drifting cloud shadows. I will post pics just as soon as I can. promise.
On the way to Ley I stopped in Sonamarg, Kashmir... where I was promptly harassed by a man at the dirtiest guest house I had ever been in... I scoffed at his 1000 Rps price ($20) and turned around when he followed with an offer for a 'free' room... I laughed out loud at this one, as I thought he was making a joke... hah ah... he then grabbed my boob and tried to shove his dirty Kashmiri tongue on my face to lick my cheek or something... I am not making this up...
I ended up finding a great place to stay down the road where I was only slightly harassed (we'll call it pampered) with a trip to the Thalegewas Glacier on horseback by the guesthouse manager, then given countless bottles of orange soda and mango juice in an effort for the young manager and his helper to try to catch a glimpse of my in my night clothes... no harm no foul, I guess. I will call it.. frighteningly endearing?
I am so so glad to be out of Muslim Kashmir and into Buddhist Ladakh. It is glorious. Kashmir was beautiful.. caught 5 brown trout and hiked some amazing forests, but was asked if I was married by EVERYONE (men) that I met, as I did not meet any women, despite the fact that I am wearing a fake wedding ring to stave off the crazies (Thank you Dave Griffin for that idea... where would I be without you, I do not know)
I have also concocted an elaborate story regarding my husband... this has been fun... dare to dream, I guess... true love in my mind... I digress.
So, I have made some friends finally as there are actually tourists in Ladakh.. however, my first friend I made here was actually my age... and local.. and promptly propositioned me as well... love those tantric Buddhists... :)
One of my new friends is a rather interesting Slovenian fellow and an equally cute German dude whom I have persuaded to hike Markha Valley with me in 4-5 days. Tour groups do it in 6-10... Alaskans do it all day long and in the dark. (my new bumper sticker... pretty clever... would have been more clever, but I am tired, cut me some slack).
I ate at this guesthouse in Changspa with a couple from Vienna and my new hiking partners tonight.. the owners make food all grown from their garden. Delish!
Everything about this place suits me... I was told yesterday by my tantric Buddhist friend that I must have been from the Himalaya in a past life.. by the way I walk and how I carry myself and my way of thinking... who knows.. it brings a smile to my face to think so though, and it feels good to be home(ish). hmm... writing that last last sentence just now made me think of something I once told someone very close to me... that I could feel at home anywhere in the world with that person... oddly enough... they could be here now, but aren't and it still feels good to be home(ish). great actually. a nice full circle closure to the long evening/ year... to bed with me... with a smile :)