Leh July 12th – 20th
Walking John left today, alone, on a trek that will take him far from those of us who liked his company. His companions will be nomadic yaks, sheep and goats, and those other, undomesticated, beasts and birds of the Himalaya who may note his passing. For conversation he may find or even seek out Zanskari villagers and the small families following their herds and flocks. He will tell us all, or little, later. (Note: I never saw him again.)
I’ve just finished reading Daughter of Tibet by Rinchen Dolma Taring (pub. John Murray 1970), an account of life in Tibet, of noble families, Buddhist tradition as affecting family life from the turn of the century, the Dalai Lama, and subsequent flight into India following the Chinese invasion in 1959.
fr. A Journey In Ladakh by Andrew Harvey (pub. Flamingo 1981)
There is nothing whatever to do. That is Leh’s charm. There is a cinema, but it is down the hill, about a mile away, and shows nothing worth seeing; there is a gompa, but once you’ve walked round it, making all the prayer cylinders round its wall shake and stir, you’ve seen it – there are no ancient frescoes, no sculptures to be seen inside; there is a Cultural Academy, but nothing happens at it, no Dance Meetings, no evenings of Ladakhi Songs, no displays of Tankas or half-learned talks on Buddhas and Bodhisarvasi … There is nothing to do but to slow down, relax, laze, to become one vast transparent eye.
I finished a letter home to be posted in the UK by Nigel and Daphne, doctor tourists from Newcastle. They also contributed Rs135/- through my 10% souvenir sales commission. How kind!