Jullay from Leh

Welcome to Prue and Ian's blog of their cycle tour of India

"Soaring thousands of metres above the rush, heat and chaos of India's plains, the Indian himalayaare a world apart. prayer flags snap in the wind on high mountain passes, immense yaks thresk barley at harvest time and the colourfultata trucks crawl up the hairpins like ants. The people, especially in Buddhist Ladakh, are cheerful, honest and gentle. The landscape is a reflection of their religion - white chortens line the roads and approaches to villages like pawns from a giant game of chess, burgundy-clad monks hitch lifts at the side of road, gompas perch on spectacular crags and everywhere the air is alive with the flutter of prayer flags Here is some of the most starkly spectacular mountain scenery you will find anywhere in the world"

Laura Stone Adventure Cycling

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blog 4 Settling in to life in Leh

Since our arrival in Leh two weeks ago, we have had some wonderful experiences and met a diverse group of people.
 Although there is a vegie market on Main Bazaar Rd and a friut and veg on Old Rd, and many convenience stores we have been eating out on Leh experiences for our nourishment.
Therefore I present the      

 Menu for the Jullay Cafe

Starters - Little snippets that  make us smile / get angry or are just very confusing
  • The P.O. Experience (On the menu again) The parcel sent from manali still hasn't arrived. "It could be 2 - 3 weeks Sir" then "It could be 3 -4 weeks Sir". Apparently the mail doesn't go manali - Leh. Instead it goes manali - Chandrahdad - Dehli - Jammu - Leh. A bit like Wang - Melb mail going via Hobart.
  • Drivers. Occasionally a driver will drive past without blasting you with an air horn.
  • Shop Owners 1. "Jullay", "Where are you from?", "Would you like to rest in my shop?"
  • Shop Owners 2  We have become very friendly with some and they are extremely helpful ( Most shop owners are seasonal and from Kashmir. Local Ladakis tell us not to trust them.)
  • The religious Diversity. The Muslim call to prayer is gently blown across the valley by the same wind that flutters the Buddhist prayer flays. A Christian school with Czech missionary origins is prominent in the centre of town.
  • Living at 3500 metres. One minute your body is in control but the next you are huffing and puffing putting on shoes!
  • Indian. Interestingly, leh has been a town without beggars until recently. indian beggars from other states have moved in for the tourist season - really frustrates the locals.
Main Course - core experiences that define Leh
  • Tibetian Buddhism. The powerful visual statement of Buddhism's living history - stupas, gompas, prayer flags, monks amd prayer wheels dominate the scenery.
  • Ladaki - Although there is a degree of urban ugliness on the outskirts of Leh, the central area, old town and villages in the Changspa and Upper Changspa areas all retain a faithful historica feel. New houses are generally built in traditional design. The old town, with the former Leh Palace, Monastery and fort dominating the skyline, is a rambling mudbrick and stone 3D jigsaw puzzle. Australian OH&S rules would have it all taped off creating a no - go zone. here you get to explore (read I have bumped my scalp on 5 ft high doorways) climb dubious ladders, get lsot in a labyrinth of hallways, stairs, rooms, roof tops - all for Rs 100!
  • Ladaki Dish 2  Although we are experiencing Leh at its tourist summer peak, we are already being lured to return in winter. To experince the challenge of living off summer product, closure to most of the outside world and perhaps to walk the infamous Chadar - the frozen Zanskar River.
  • Australian. Apart from the odd "mate" heard in conversations our menu item here was meeting up with Barb and John Griffiths from Whorouly. Our 3 days together visiting historic sites, sharing meals and stories, and the smelly cyclists using their hot shower, were wonderful. Barb and john were also kind enough to bring over some extra clothes for us. Barb, the jar of apricot jam is still being enjoyed.
  • Hippie, Hippie Shake! Leh attracts it fair share of hippie culture.  A room at our guesthouse is filled with didge-playing, drum banging, dope smoking, tattoo-creating, incense-burning, motor-bike riding, yoga-positioning, flowerpower beautiful people. Individualism always makes us laugh. Hippiedom has its own very defined rules- no zip-off pants here Lachie!
  • Seasonal produce. Leh's fertile valley gives way to the stark mountains within metres. The snow-melt creates a water supply that transforms the valley's trees, vegie gardens and orchards into a productive growth spurt. The apples trees in our guesthouse garden have just had their laden limbs propped up for the rest of summer.
Desserts - are sweet events that make Life very rich indeed.
  • Discovering Lardak Guesthouse.(even though Stu Pengelly had recommended its charm)
  • Meeting locals - Kunzes Dolma and her husband Rinchen Tundup who have welcomed us into their home
  • Meeting fellow travellers. Tomas from Czech Rebublic, Julia from Germany, Tatianna from Siberia, Geoff from UK via Dubai, Paul from Sydney and Daniel from Dandenong. Shared meals and stories have been fun.
  • Comfort food.  After a particularly hot uphill ride/walk to Hemis Monastery, Prue's only wish from the parachute cafe's menu was ...banana custard!
  • School. The New Millenium School is on a 2 week holiday so we have had an unexpected extra 2 weeks to explore Leh and surrounds.
  • The Leh Cafe. It didnt take us long to find the best cake shop in town! Mango pie, plum crumble, chocolate banana pie are current favourites.
  • No alcohol has passed our lips
  • Mint tea - go out into your garden right now and pick a sprig of fresh mint. Infuse in hot water and dream of being in Leh! Lattes are sooo last year!
  • mango juice and apple juice from Kashmir and Kulu valleys are always menu favourites.
Photos can be viewed on   http://picasaweb.google.com/106588479237837990839

1 comment:

  1. What amazing experiences you are having! My news is that we have become grandparents - Naomi and Steve's baby girl arrived last week. Elizabeth Violet and parents are all great. All the best as you start teaching.