Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Kashmir – On not walking across Leh

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Hitchiking - the driver hadnt slept three nights ....

Hitchiking - the driver hadn't slept three nights ....

We traveled to Leh, in northern Kashmir, a few years ago. Good sample-the-local-culture tourists that we are, we traveled on crowded buses, hitchhiked on trucks, and once, memorably, on a fully loaded gasoline tanker truck driven by a dozing driver. One thing we did not try to do much was hike. It was not the lack of detailed maps that held us back. India is crowded enough that finding someone to ask the way to a nearby village is usually not a problem. The problem was estimating how long it would take us urbanites to walk across the hills and mountains of Leh to our destination. Actually, the problem was the set of short conversations we had with the locals one fine day, which I reproduce below.

Likir Village

Likir Village

Me: “How long do you think it would take us to walk from here to such-and-such village.”
Villager 1 (carefully examining me from head-to-toe, and then examining my backpack with equal thoroughness): “Oh, about six hours.”
Villager 2 : “pfft, forty-five minutes maximum.”

Hmmm, I thought, best of three, ok?

Villager 3 (glances at me): “When do you want to arrive there?”
Me: “By the evening.”
Villager 3 starts laughing.

It was buses, trucks and jeeps after that for us.

Written by Sachin

June 12, 2009 at 2:09 am

3 Responses

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  1. […] Not walking to Leh (link to article): We traveled to Leh, in northern Kashmir, a few years ago. Good sample-the-local-culture tourists […]

  2. […] Not walking to Leh (link to article): We traveled to Leh, in northern Kashmir, a few years ago. Good sample-the-local-culture tourists […]

  3. […] a comment » A combination of lack of detailed maps, the locals’ flexible notion of distance and time, and the thin mountain air, made us drop our grand plans to wander across Leh on foot. But every […]


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