India Found

June 29th, 2007

Hooray!! I made it to the India Subcontinent, and it already feels different. I was in SE Asia for over 3 months, and altho countries vary alot, the jump to India is my biggest jump since i left Australia.

I love India. My love is driven by the food – the tons of spices, curries, vegetables, naan, regional differences – all good quality. Its like a billion people live here, and all they think about is food. Heaven. But i also like (and dislike) the people. Communication is easier, I appreciate their businesslike manner – except when it becomes impolite. I love the colorful clothes, jewelry, and henna. Oh, did i mention the food?

Leh is great. Totally different than SE Asia. It’s basically a cool, dry, desert-like town in the Himalayas. Hardly anything green, brown rocks and dirt everywhere, snow-capped mountain peaks in the distance, and a small but bustling town center. I’ve only been here a day, but i’ve walked thru most of the town. Like many small towns, the people in Leh are more friendly than delhi and other places i’ve been in India, and hardly any beggars (big problem in some parts of India). But this is also a tourist town – a jump off point for treks in the region. The most amazing thing about Leh is … the air. I’ve been walking around with a buzz (good) and a headache (not good). There’s zero polution and little oxygen up here – It’s 11,500 feet, over 2 miles high. This makes the sky super blue, and the mountains miles away seem like they are right in front of you.

My plan is to take it easy, get used to the air – I wrote most of this blog yesterday when i first arrived and i felt almost sick – i barely slept in 2 days. Today i feel better, so perhaps try to find info on some treks. There are dozens of places leading treks, signs posted in restaurants describing where, when, and how many peeps they are looking for. There are several internet places, but connections are slow, so don’t expect many pictures for a while.

One last note – At the bangkok airport i bought this book “The Story of Tibet” by Thomas Laird. Its a history of Tibet thru the Dalai Lama’s eyes, based on 18 conversations Laird had with him. So far its excellent – good intro to Buddhism, Dalai Lama, TIbetan people and history. Might have to write more on this when i finish.

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