Friday, October 14, 2005

Economic theory

Finally , the sun reaches our jeep and the frosted cage rapidly thaws. We are eleven people in the Indian Tata : thee czechs, me and seven Indians who have been sitting some hours near the 5000+ Tanglang La while the people up front have been trying to repair the truck that blocks the single lane road. Finally, after a lot of scurrying up and down the line of vehicles with batteries, making up fires under the truck etc., we can all set off.

The 15-hour run from Leh to Manali has about as much contact with the real world as modern economic theory : sure , it should be posssible , being less than 500 klicks. Only this time... if it wasn't for the broken bridge, the truck that couldn't start, the army convoy... if only reality didn't come in the way.

Other realities also make themselves clear in the process : I sit in the front , sharing my sleeping bag with the guy next to me, as do the Czechs in the next row. The four Indians in the last sideways seats share .. closeness and very little else , with chattering teeth. Along the road we meet the Bihari roadworkers with thin blankets and thin clothes, living in the tents the military wouldn't have : they earn less in two weeks than what I've paid for my jeep ticket.

In the end we arrive in Manali , 23 hours after starting , including a very short break in Darcha , which I used too share the heat from a burning coal bucket and a ginger tea with the same family/dhaba as last time I was there.

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