Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Foot In The Mouth

Slow chat in my favorite tailor shop in Manju ( which deals mainly in framing thankas ) while I wait for my new Macbook case ( which raises the first laughs : just like a pecha case ) . The one guy makes a joke that I don't get, and gets both a great laugh and a loud slap across the arm .
"Yoru're supposed to be peaceful , not like Khampas"
Hilarity ensues , of course ( I had no idea ) all three come from Kham.

Common interests

Monday, November 22, 2010

From Leh

Loong time since I set foot on the airport in Leh ( last time it still was just Leh Airport , not the Kushok Bakula.) Bigger, and with supporting wooden pillars painted in Ladakhi style.At least the airport buses haven´t changed much... It has become much more a part of a Kashmir though, as in long repeated security checks : at the second level the apples I got as a parting gift are deemed to dangerous to carried on to the plane(...?!), as well as the external Ipod battery . The kerosene burner is spotted immediately on the X-ray check , but I´m not made to open the pack after I´ve pointed out that it has been aired dry for 24 hours , and that I hardly would have packed the fuel bottle without a cap otherwise.
I do my now regular routine of becoming the group photographer for some young Ladakhis , first in Leh and after arriving in Delhi. Plane filled with Ladakhis in traditional and latest teen fashion ,Sikhs , some southern Indians .. and one other angrezi. Ladkhis giggling and holding on to one another as the first rolling walkway in their life starts.
The ticket office for the HRTC buses : pure Terry Gilliam stuff.We are around fifteen people hanging around the birdcage sized window , waiting for it to open, with the constant din of two angle grinders cutting thru stone just behind us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Voyage Of the Blue Bag

In reverse : flight from Stockholm to Istanbul, arriving less than forty hours from Haga Sofia in Istanbul to Manali with a night bus in the Himalayan foothills, waiting out for the road to be cleared after more than a half meter of snow in Rothang pass and two hundred vehicles stranded,waiting for the car for an hour in Vashisht outside the the Shiva shrine before being invited for coffee by the baba, arriving in Leh and finally in the Tibetan refugee camp Choglamsar. ( "Solja don" , the honorific term for take tea - first time I've heard that in real life )

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Where did I put my down socks ?

Cold season in Ladakh comes in three different comfort zones : most rooms never get anywhere near warm in daytime , the south facing shelkhang room with large single pane glass windows quickly become about as cold as on the outside at night , but quickly heat up in the morning sun, and a few places , like the SECMOL campus , with solar heating it´s surreally warm long in to December : sleeping with a single blanket , and your hands on the outside.

When you start to have to sleep with the laptop in the sleeping bag it´s time to shift from sleeping in the shelkhang.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Severe Weather..

Enduring the mind numbing cold in Skampuk , Nubra , on November 15th.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ecumenic Cafe

Ladakhs peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Buddhists at it´s best : four table tea stall in Leh with panorama views of the Kaba in Mecca and the Kyi Chu river in Lhasa , Tibet.

Warm Night...

... and cold morning.Breakfast at SECMOL , after the first night with my hands outside the sleeping bag ( or in this case the blanket ). Tea with ngamphe/tsampa , and a quick trot to Phey , just catching the morning bus to Leh. On the dashboard : the 19th and 20th Bakula Rinpoche.