baby trek

Departure from Kargil and from the others.
They continue towards Srinagar, I go back to Leh. The hotel staff finds a driver for me and it turns out to be the same guy whose car we fixed yesterday. His name is Sonam. The car should be fine now.
Sonam lives in Thikse but goes to temple in Hemis. He likes 70s music and doesn't like heavy metal. Learns German, plays guitar, guides treks. He thinks that he cannot be successful in any of this because you should do one thing thoroughly in order to be successful. But he is restless. Worries about disappearance of mental values. Everybody is interested in money. That's why people don't see monks flying these days. They do fly.
There are warning signs by the road. We check how much we know. Speed thrills but kills, Better late than never, Alert to life, rough to death, A cat has nine lives but not the one who drives, If married, divorce speed, If you sleep, your family will weep, Peep peep, don't sleep, This is no rally, enjoy the valley, Love your neighbour, but not while driving, Hurry and worry go together, Speed and safety never meet, Check your nerves on my curves, Safety on the road, safe tea at home, This is highway, not fly way, Drive, don't fly, Don't be gama in the land of lama. And so on.
Near Saspol I get to try what it feels like to drive with the wheel on the wrong side. Other drivers almost fall out of their cars when they see this. Driving, by the way, is not complicated.
Back in Leh I move in Dreamland hotel, have dinner, meat Americans who secretly pay my bill.
Next morning I take a taxi to Likir where a trail begins. It is called the 'baby trek'  because it is easy. No guide needed. Sleeping in homestays. I have a book of Charlie Loram with hand-drawn maps.
It is easy. Everybody I see wave me towards the right trail. Short stop in Sumdo where I arrive with a Norwegian guy. Tea. Then on to Yangtang. Unbelievably colorful mountains, silence. In Yangtang I end up in Padma's guesthouse and get a nice rooftop room. There's a celebration with dance and chang and lots of butter tea. I meet Dolma and other village women and try to converse with them in my basic Ladakhi.
Next day over Rizong to Hemis-Shukpachu. Many river-crossings. Two Americans with their guide. One of them throws his sandals into the river and continues barefoot. No English spoken in the village. I manage to negotiate a room, dinner and breakfast. Delicious food.
Last day over Meptek pass to Temisgam. People on the trail. I splurge and stay in a hotel. There's hot shower and candel-lit dinner (no electricity). I find a chapter in the book about what not to do in Ladakh: visit Kargil, visit Suru valley, eat salad, drink chang, hike alone if you're a woman, brush teeth with tap water. Well, all done already. Climb up to the temple and meet the Norwegian and the Americans.
Next morning I take a bus back to Leh and move back into Dreamland. In the internet cafe some guy is settling affairs with his girlfriend. Everyone has to listen how he can eat only pizza, there's nothing to do in Leh, there was nothing to do in Delhi, everyone are Hindus here and money is no problem.
The TV in the hotel says: This is a stupid tv, better go to sleep. Brilliant.
monasteries of Ladakh and Zanskar
trek from Phyang to Hundar

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