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Day 25 of The Candid Odyssey

If you remember, we started from almost the southern side of India. So, reaching the northern side is obviously a big feat. Today, we are making that happen with our journey to Leh, Ladakh. Glad to see you are still with me, and congratulations on making it so far. Challenging times ahead, hope you will keep up the spirit. Yes, you will, you always have been! That's why we are going to catch a bus at 7am. Luckily, there is a direct bus to Leh! We will be traveling 10 hours for around 400 km through the mighty mountains, with no access to food or shops in between. Let's pack up some apples before we leave. We have a high-class bus for our trip today. Large window panes, air conditioning, and music system too! It's going to be a very long journey, so it would be nice to make some acquaintances. And that's when I realized there were three other guys also from my native place. All these passengers that accompany us solely come for the Kashmir-Ladakh trip, usually for less than a week. We are the only exception, as always :)

Moving to the outskirts of Srinagar shows us wooden houses with apple orchards and a peaceful atmosphere that's totally different from the city center. As we move away from Srinagar, the intensity of that peacefulness increases. It keeps increasing to a level where we can't see any more houses, any more trees, and any more people. All we see is mighty mountains covering our entire sight. The red, brown, and gray mountains are beyond our imaginations. The Sind and Indus rivers are dancing with full energy, with silver-colored water flowing strong and swift. This entire view is breathtaking! The rugged mountain passes add to the thrill. The pass is so narrow in some places that part of the wheels go outside the road, facing deep valleys that will kill us for sure. We can see lots of trucks falling down there in those valleys along the way! Meanwhile, the driver is making his own adventures. He is taking shortcuts in which we cross streams on the bus. Interesting, huh? Also, one time when the dust increased, he stood up from the driver's seat and went to close the opposite window glass, all while the bus was moving in the mountain pass at an average speed! What confidence! Or was that reckless driving? Confidence is of course a good quality. But overconfidence? I don't think so. No matter how good our intentions are, if our actions can harm others, they will backfire one day.

Not everyone is up to Leh. Some do drop off in between. To explore other attractive places like Sonamarg. While we saw only barren land and mountains along the way, there are still people who live here in smaller towns. The population is very low, near to a thousand maybe. One foreign couple dropped off at such a place taking another person's luggage by mistake. The victim was one of the three guys I mentioned earlier! Anyway, by evening, we reach Leh. We can now start seeing more people, and get to eat something, while still keeping mountains in our sight. Our stay at Kerala House dormitory ensures that.

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