It only took a great night’s sleep along with hot showers (muscle relaxants didn’t hurt either) to forget about all of yesterday’s road rage (ours). I listened to Steve mutter, complain for 16 hours one day, 8 hours the next, “We’re crazy to do this at our age. Why do we put ourselves through something like this over and over again! We could have flown from Los Angeles to Singapore in less than 16 hours…yadda, yadda.” Now, the man had changed his tune to, “Perhaps we should come back to Ladakh again next year.” That’s travel for you. The bad is forgotten while only the good remains.
And yes, we will be back in Ladakh, staying at the Deskit Villa in Leh, even as you read this series about Zanskar. He is continually receiving new travel permits into formerly closed areas and scouting out new treks. Deskit Villa #2 should be completed by this time and we look forward to new experiences.
While Lobsang sat with us in the Deskit Villa garden rehashing what went wrong, and what went right, a French couple from Rennes traveling with their four children walked over. The father floored us by saying they had come to Ladakh and stayed at the Deskit Villa Guesthouse strictly because they watched Travels With Sheila’s YouTube videos while searching for Ladakh information! Stunned, I asked how their 16-year old son recognized me. (It must be all the “bad hair days” that make me so recognizable!) What a surprise! And I am so happy that my articles, and videos do help travelers in the constant search for information.
May I also repeat that Travels With Sheila receives no payments, discounts, freebies from hotels, airlines, restaurants, tour operators from recommendations? (I won’t lie. It would be nice if an airline ever wanted to throw in two free tickets.) All the hard work involved to make the daily articles (as well as videos) informational, interesting and truthful, paid off in spades when this French family complimented my work. Merci beaucoup!
Time for a walk into downtown Leh down side-paths leading past little Sankar Monastery, crumbling stupas, across fields, and roads.
A wrong turn across the road led us into downtown Leh on a small road we’d never taken in the past. This small area was filled with little hole-in-the wall bakeries making breads. The bakers would take the dough, stick his arm down a big oven, and plaster the rounds on the sides! I’d never seen that before and stood mesmerized.
There was a sacred tree at the end of the street that said something to the effect, “Sacred tree known as Datun…the great prophet in this place by his sacred visit during the year 1517…he put this huge tree into a place where there was no tree…and is well known among Muslim and Buddhist for its sacredness.”
There is always a new discovery to be made around the corners of Leh as well as in Ladakh itself. Just repeat to yourself, over and over agin, on the extremely long journey to India, “It will be worth it.” And it will…