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Topic: #5 To Darcha< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1

PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2005, 5:26 am  Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

In one or two days, I will be shifting to Darcha, which is the starting location for my trek. I have called my friend in Ladakh, and he has given me of the name of the restaurant and owner name of my contact there. The three horses will arrive there on 4 July, and we will start trekking on 5 July. So, this will be my last new post until at least July 23rd. Those next posts will be a series of trip reports for the Zanskar Trek, one of the premiere treks in the world. Just me, a Tibetan ponyman and 3 horses. If you wish to comment or advise about this post, email me or send a letter postmarked no later than 25 July to me at:
Keith Koepsel
c/o Moravian Mission School
P.O. Box 7
Leh 194 101
Ladakh, J + K State

My return to Ladakh is something of a quest anyway. Years ago I taught school on a Pacific island. It was my personal Bali Hai. Upon visits back there years later, I found that one cannot return to Bali Hai. It just wasn't the same. Now, I am returning to my Shangri La in the Himalayas. My hunch is that it is also not possible to return to Shangri La. But, I have to see for myself. If I am wrong, I may not be returning home. There is a Korean lady who was a friend of mine in Leh. She has been in Ladakh for 9 years now, speaks the language, and has a heart for the people of Zanskar. But, the organization she is involved with will not allow her to open her clinic working solo, and she has been frustrated. I met with a leader of her organization 2 years ago in Colorado, and found out that her family has been pressuring her to get married - but it must be a Korean man. Yesterday, I met with two Korean friends of hers here in Manali, and they said this is not the case. She is looking internationally. So, the question becomes, do I give up everything in order for her to finally go where she feels called (if she will have me)? As I am of the opinion that love and romance do not truly exist, I am tempted to at least do some good for a friend. Whoever I end up with, whether here or America, I will treat with much kindness and compassion, as everyone deserves, and this person is someone I really respect and admire and could grow to love.

My stay in Manali is a good one, and I have been relaxing and resting up after my rigorous sight-seeing schedule posted in earlier posts. While it is raining (2-3 storms lasting 1-2 hours each day), I have been reading, napping and watching televison. I have long finished the Garrison Keilor book "Wobegon Boy." And, I am halfway through Bill Cosby's book "Time Flies." My next book will be A Passage to India, which looks to be a mystery novel.

In between storms, I have been exploring Manali. On my first day, I found a great guesthouse a half-kilometer's walk from the nearest road via a cliffside trail up a side valley. I am staying put, but only because I have a lot of trekking luggage and food and because of the 4AM bus when I head out of here. But, my next stay will be at that secluded place. Very peaceful.

Up in Old Manali, I found a place with a good exchange rate for travelers checks, as well as a German bakery with an excellent apricot crumble. The saffron boys also found me. It is like they are selling drugs.
"Sir, you want saffron?"
I reply that I do not need any.
"But, you looking."
Then they show it to me, and it is a rich deep red color. It is 100 grams - about $110 at store prices in America.
"Sir, smell."
And, it has the fragile scent of saffron.
"Sir, you buy?"
I tell him no.
"Sir, where you from?"
"America; USA"
"Sir, in America saffron is very expensive. I give you good price."
"How much?"
"Sir, 10 grams only 250 rupees."
This is half what I would pay back home. I can do better.
"I am not interested."
"Sir, how much you pay?"
"How many grams in your entire box?"
"Sir, this is 100 grams"
He takes out a small scale with weights, and yes, it is 100 grams.
"Sir, entire box for 2000 rupees."
"I cannot afford."
"Sir, how much you pay?"
"200 rupees."
"Sir, that is not enough"
After much bargaining, we settle on 400 rupees for 100 grams. I have promised to buy saffron for three friends. Purchase complete.
Soon after, his friend comes after me with more saffron.
The above conversation is exactly the same until the part where he says:
"Sir, how much you pay?" the first time.
My answer?
"5 rupees!"
He sees I am no longer in the market and walks away.

 Post Number: 2
Lamebeaver Search for posts by this member.
trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2005, 2:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Keith,

I'm glad you're posting these here, as things quickly move off the page on the TR forum quickly.

I hope you know what you're doing re: your Korean friend. I agree that you can start off with friendship, trust and respect, with love and romance coming later, but it also go the other way. I hope it works out for you.

As you are on your trek now, I'll look forward to reading the next installment in a few weeks.

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 Post Number: 3

PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2006, 1:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

I'm bumping these to the top so that I don't lose them when the new software kicks in.

 Post Number: 4
burntfoot Search for posts by this member.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 10:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm bumping all of these India stories to the top, so they won't be lost when the new software kicks in.

I love the mountains!
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 Post Number: 5
QCHIKER Search for posts by this member.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2014, 9:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

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5 replies since Jul. 05 2005, 2:26 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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