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September 9: The Ladakhi World in Northern India.

On August 22nd we boarded a minibus at 2am to ride 20 hours through the world's WORST road (extremely bumpy and goes over 2 5000+ meter passes) to get from Manali up to Leh, in Ladakh, where we were supposed to have met two friends. Unfortunately, technicalities rendered them unable to come. So, on September 5th, we got aboard a Jeep at 2am to re-trace the roads from hell and get back down to the warmer plains.

A map of our journey. Yellow shows where we'd been already. Light blue shows where we've just been. Dark blue shows where we plan to go next. Note: Those light blue lines aren't very long. Yeah - a trip of less than 600km took 20 hours! And the math breaks down...

Christi in front of the minibus in the Ladakhi highlands. "It feels soooo good to stand up!" -she thinks. Starting at 2am, every second of the journey was the bumpiest thing imagineable, quite often involving butts flying from seats and heads hitting the ceiling!

"Oh look! A hotel. I bet it got a five-star rating."

"Ooooh, and they have a restaurant. Let's eat!"

Mama and daughter whip us up some chowmein and chai. That Israeli guy is admiring the chefs at work.

"Okay, enough of this yurt town!" Tauru cries. "Let get moving. Onward! To Leh!"

Tauru feels studly modeling his personalized attire in front of this Buddhist prayer wheel. (Ladakh is up on the Tibetan plateau, and the people are far more similar to Tibetans than Indians.)

To get in shape for this mountain we were supposed to hike with our friends (who never came), we hiked up a pretty big hill to this gompa 3 or 4 times a day. At the least, it allowed us an excuse to indulge on all the apple pie down at the bakery in town!

A Yak Fashion Weekly centerfold.
(Is that paneer or panirs around your middle, Tauru?)

The beautiful view of Leh (3500m) from the gompa (some few hundred meters higher).

Christi gives a shout out to her dad in her NY Yankees logo hat in front of the gompa.

The view from the top looking in the other direction - not much out there!

"I wonder if I could park the van somewhere down there..." Tauru contemplates. The mountain we never climbed can be seen behind him.

"Hello, stranger!" Every September, the Ladakhi people put on a big festival for tourists. You can ride a double-humped camel through town. These fellas were left around from the silk road days.

"My humps, my humps, my lovely camel lumps. Check 'em out!"

"After this festival, I promise I'll give you a whole bushel of apples and not make you do this again until next year."

"Okay! I'm doing this for the apples. And check out my beautiful mane! Tauru's hair ain't got nothin' on mine. I'll be on the cover of next months issue of Yak Fashion Weekly!"

All that talk about apples made Christi hungry. "One kilo, please!"
She's shopping at the Ladakhi SuperFresh.

It was time to leave the Himalaya and return to sticky India. The only road trip worse than our ride to Leh was our ride from Leh. We were stuck in the back of a Jeep. Imagine sharing the space behind the back seat of a Jeep Cherokee with four people. Now imagine bumping up and down like that for 20 hours. Now imagine that you're at 5000m and shivering. Now imagine that you get a flat tire and have to stand in the rain while the driving borrows a jack from a random guy on the road and fixes it. Yeah- it was intense!

Oh, the road to India. Wasn't it just a month ago we were lounging on a beach in Thailand?




  • 10: China Part I
  • 16: China Part II
  • 26: China Part III

  • 6: China Part IV
  • End: China Part V

  • 5: China Part VI
  • 9: China Part VII
  • 12: China Part VIII
  • 24: We Make it to Tibet

  • 2: We Arrive in Kathmandu
  • 25: Back in Pokhara, Nepal
  • 29: A Hotel in Pokhara

  • 4: Back to Kathmandu
  • 31: Trekked to Everest Base Camp

  • 21: To Calcutta, India
  • 25: More of Calcutta

  • 12: Quick Trip to Thailand

  • 8: Back to India
  • 10: The Golden Temple
  • 12: In Dharamsala, India
  • 21: Marijuana in Manali

  • 9: Northern India
  • 22: More of Inida

  • 3: Aswan & The Pyramids
  • 4: Abu Simbel (Egypt)
  • 7: Onward to Luxor
  • 13: White Desert in The Sahara
  • 20: Egypt's Awesome Beaches

  • 30: 40 Days in the Desert

  • 13: Jordan & Syria
  • 18: Then Turkey