Maybe it was the fact that we got to bed early because of the lights out by 10pm situation or because our curtains were so thin they let in the sun early in the morning but I was already up and wide awake by 7.30am – which is more than what I can say during a normal work day. I struggle to even get up after a good 8hrs of sleep. Anyway, it was probably because I was on holiday as well and I was looking forward to seeing some sights around Leh.
We had a very simple breakfast of toast, butter and jam and very sweet milky tea. Much like the daily dal and rice combo, this too was to become the breakfast item for the rest of our stay.
When we walked out the dining hall, our driver Sonam was waiting patiently outside the gate and after exchanges of “good mornings” and “thank you’s” we piled in the 4×4 and turns out that we were traveling with none other than Miss India Earth 2008 and her cousin! Woo hooo. So 4 girls, a 4×4 and one-happy-go-lucky driver were off towards Nimmu, the place where the two rivers meet and together flow off towards Pakistan and into the Arabian Sea. We got the chance to walk down to the river bank and dip our toes in and unsurprisingly, it was freezing. Definitely meltwater from the Himalayas – no doubt about it.
We went to a couple of other places (Magnetic Hill and Spituk Monastery) but the day’s sightseeing was pretty chilled out and we were back in Leh by the afternoon. Since it was conveniently lunch time, we decided to stop by at some local restaurant in Fort Road and have some momos and thukpa, a noodle soupy kind of thing.
Then it was another round of walking around the city… I mean, town. My friend, lured by some green eyed Kashmiri pashmina sales guy also managed to buy herself a scarf. We also scored some free tea from him while we sat in his shop looking through all the colour combos. Turns out it is also a small world after all – after exchanging some stories, we found out that he knew of the same travel agent in Delhi who helped organize my trip back in 2008 to Rajasthan and Kashmir. I also later found out that he has the same name and surname as person with whom I had come to India with which was kind of a freaky coincidence.
Anyway, two pashminas and a couple of thousand rupees later, we walked out the store and up towards Shanti Stupa again.