Ladakh 2

Tak Guest House
Sat 15 June

I’ve started the slow process of acclimatising to life at 4,000 metres by climbing to the gompa (monastery) above the old Palace.

My lunch of a honey-filled brown bread roll produced instant trots.

The earth closet here, although environmentally sound, precludes examination of one’s stools.* All in all though, I feel physically and mentally sound.

A Dutchman sharing our ‘dorm’ has just returned from attempting to climb one of the barren mountains behind the old gompa. He suffered some altitude sickness so had to come down. He’s a keen mountaineer, long distance runner and seemingly fit beneath his all-over tan, so what hope have I of trekking through to Manali?

He claimed, however, to have hallucinated on the joint of Kashmiri we shared last night, whereas I was just pleasantly stoned, so maybe his condition is internal and cumulatively chemical.

I’m listening to Tomorrow’s Just Another Day by Yukihiro Takahashi, ex-Yellow Magic Orchestra, courtesy of the Japanese co-habitee of our dorm. He speaks very little English so has communication problems. Sharing recorded sounds is one way to get along.

Part of a traveller’s indispensable luggage is a Walkman and a selection of cassettes. With so many distractions outside needing a constant state of external awareness, mine are proving comforting because I use them in order to switch off; I feel more the need to wallow in contemplative moods, so there are few songs.

The collections of my dorm mates seem to be livelier. The Japanese’s is mainly reggae, and the Dutchman’s is garage rock, the B52s etc., which he uses to speed up.
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* Being built on the side of the hill, the actual front door of the guest house is a street higher than the foundation. The toilet is a basic a hole in the floor and one’s dietary discards drop to an area set aside for it below. This matter is covered with earth to cut out smells, and is regularly carted away by a midden man and eventually gets used as fertiliser.

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About Jakartass

A Brit Abroad
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