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Topic: This is Problem!< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2003, 4:12 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

"This is problem!"
I first heard this phrase three years ago while at the airport in New Delhi. I had arrived two days previously, and now was anxiously waiting for my connecting flight to Leh, Ladakh to do some trekking on my first visit here. The 6:00AM flight had been delayed until 6:30. Then until 7:30. Then until 8:00. Then until 8:45. Then they fed us all breakfast. The flight was then delayed until 10:00. At this time, I asked someone at the ticket counter if something was wrong. I was told that there were low-lying clouds in the Leh area and that "This is problem."

"This is problem" is a simple statement that a problem exists. No solutions. No partial solutions. No hints at relief. No ideas. Nothing to ease the mind.

We finally did take off at 10:30 in the morning and had a beautiful flight to Leh... until we got up here. The pilot found a hole in the clouds and dropped through. We couldn't have been more than 500 feet above the ground; when I see planes coming in this year, I realize how far down we actually were. We were even with the cliff we had to clear to make our final turn to land when we got clouded in. The pilot immediately pulled up and announced that we would have to make another try at landing. Regarding the clouds, "this is problem."

We got out on our treks, and found a beautiful area with crystal clear streams. But no matter how high we trekked, even up to 17,000 feet, there were always animals grazing higher and we had to treat our water. The ponyman whose horses we hired simply said "This is problem."

During our stay here, we found out about the Kargil War with Pakistan just a year before and 212 kilometers away. The town was empty of tourists when I was here, and taxi drivers, hotel owners and shop owners all said in unison "this is problem."

On my last trek, I ended in Padum in the middle of the Zanskar area. I was looking at a miserable 2 day bus ride back to Leh via Kargil, followed by 3 more bus days to Delhi with only a day to spare before my flight back to America. I reached Padum to find out that that village had been on strike for 5 days already. This was due to 3 Buddhist lamas being assassinated at the Rangdom Monastery. Contemplating doing in 4 days what is usually trekked in 9 days as an alternative to get to the Delhi Road, I talked to the government tourist officer in Padum. He simply said "This is problem."

The strike, fortunately ended the same day, so I got home. Last year, I returned to Leh to teach for a year. I was thrilled to have a principal that gave all his teachers respect, students that were polite, and an administration that even built a house for me. I thought things would be different this time around. Foolish me! The next day, I got up at 9:00 to get ready for school, which starts at 10:00 here. No water in the tap. I went downstairs to ask Mrs. Basu about this, and she said that we only get water from 6:30 to 7:30 AM and 4:30 to 5:30 PM. "This is problem."

That afternoon, I got home and wanted to charge my digital camera batteries. No power. I found out that power was only on between 7:00 and 11:00 PM each day. "This is problem."

But, I can live with these kind of things. All I have to do is know what to expect, right? Wrong. In August, we had one of the unusual downpours from the monsoon that in recent years has made it over the mountains occasionally. It had rained all day and my roof never had a leak. Until exactly 15 minutes after the power went out (11:15PM). At this point, the flat mud roof saturated and I had a waterfall turn on instantly above the window sill hitting the sill and splattering onto the bed where I was sleeping. A second waterfall was over the sink in the bathroom splattering mud over my toothbrush and all my toiletries. The third waterfall was exactly over the doorway leading me to the front room and then outside. "THIS IS PROBLEM."

I wanted to post my first Backpacker article. I soon found out that at 2 rupees (4cents) a minute the screens change at about 3-4 minutes each on the computers and that internet expenses would exceed food expenses here. "This is problem."

But, I could accept internet slowness. In a remote area, this is to be expected. But, then my articles started being lost when the server disconnected at inconvenient times. Said shop owner Nawang Lhundup, "This is problem."

Calling out of here on the phone is a problem, because getting a line is difficult. "This is problem."

I found out AFTER hearing the Dalai Lama that there was an English-translation section. No one told me. "This is problem."

No one at school knows for sure which days are holidays. "This is problem."

Bridge out on a trek. "This is problem."

Cows and donkeys in my front yard eating my neighbors' gardens. "This is problem."

Sitting around for hours on end waiting for people that you need to talk with, and then having 3 or 4 different people or groups all need you at once causing you to have to rush. "This is problem."

Playing organ at church on Sundays at a service almost entirely in Hindi. I quickly got to learn the Hindi phrases needed in order to turn on the electric keyboard and get it ready to play the hymn. "This is problem."

Finding out that to ship something to America, you don't use a box like back there. You have to find someone to sew you a white cloth package to put your stuff inside. "This is problem."

I laugh at all of the above. Each one of these took some getting used to, but I learned to take things as they come. Take yesterday, for instance. I had booked my ticket to Delhi and then home back in early April. Well, now with the tourist season in full swing, I now could finally get money off of a credit card. Money in hand, I went to the Jet Airways counter to pay for my ticket. They had lost my reservation, and there was a huge waiting list for August 6th. So, I now am staying here a day longer, and have a ticket for the 7th. What did the agent tell me? That's right, "This is problem."

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2003, 3:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Keith, the post about web sites over in the trailhead register reminded me, this posting along with the last three have been added to http://www.oktrails.com, so I think I've got them all up there.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2003, 3:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great story! Quite an adventure, I enjoyed it very much.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2006, 6:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic.    QUOTE

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

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 9:39 pm Skip to the previous 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.
Keith


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I love the mountains!
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