ok folks... time for installment #2. In an insane new twist backpacking badger has recently been spotted traversing some extremely high and precarious mountain passes in a thoroughly unsuitable vehicle on thoroughly unsuitable roads... but first...time for that list:
Paying homage to the ridiculous amount of road travel I've done in the last few days - I'll share some Indian road safety signs - these ones are the gems:
1. Go slow on the bend my friend
2. Drive on horsepower not on rumpower
3. Don't gossip - let him drive (my personal favourite)
4. Overtaker beware of undertaker
5. If you drink whisky you won't get frisky
Leaving Delhi was a real joy, even if it was on the most uncomfortable overnight bus journey I'd ever had... Arrived in Manali, a village in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a relief to see greenery, I can tell you. Could barely see past the end of my nose in Manali due to the local phenomenon known as 'Purple Haze'...
Left Manali at 2am for the immense 17 hour bus journey to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, a Buddhist region locked away in a remote valley in the far North of India. I quickly forgot about my 'most uncomfortable bus journey ever' the previous day, this one is going to take some beating. We immediately headed for a 5000m mountain pass which made my head go all fuzzy and my stomach unsure of its whereabouts. The following 16 and a half hours followed a pretty similar pattern, although some back pain, vomiting co-passengers and an insane driver were also thrown into the mix.
The journey was incredible - breathtaking and staggeringly beautiful. Snow capped mountains transformed into arid, rugged desertscapes as it felt like we were travelling back in time, or to another planet. The terrain is harsh and unforgiving and it amazes me that people live in these remote villages miles and miles from electricity and warmth. The sky here is something else - blue just doesn't seem to do it justice. (Have taken plenty of photos but seeing as it was going to take 7 minutes to upload each one, I'm going to hold out for a better internet connection...)
Leh is a charming city, full ofTibetan monasteries, temples and traders. I'm going to kick aroung here for a few more days to give my lungs a chance to recover, then off on a trek into a remote valley. More updates to follow soon...