Alchi, Rafting the Zanskar, HHDL Again!

Sorry about the lack of posts – internet in Leh is unreliable and overpriced (90 Rs/hour – twice the usual price), and we’ve been rather busy these past couple days. We’ll be in Leh for another two days, then back down to Manali, and then onto Dharamsala. Yesterday we went rafting on the Zanskar River, some Class 3 rapids but nothing too difficult, mostly amazing scenery straight from the planet Mars. We managed to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama a third time, in a mass gathering outside Leh in a small village. As foreigners we had front row seats, and got plenty of photos and videos of HHDL, although the English translation was once again quite lacking. We also did a one-day monastery tour, with the definite highlight being the village of Alchi, where four small chapels were covered with amazing 11th century Buddhist wall-paintings, plus enormous two-story clay Buddha statues. Pretty impressive, amongst the best art we’ve seen throughout India. We’ve met a lot of Americans, a couple from California, and a few single male travelers from New York, but we’re more excited about our friends from college, Will & Jeanne, who are flying into Leh from Delhi tomorrow morning. Hopefully we’ll get to see them, its been a few years, Leh seems a great place to meet up!
Overall the climate is rather dry, the altitude is taxing, and the scenery is spectacular. We are all breathing heavy, and drinking as much water as we can – how fun. The food is good here, though the nightlife is a bit lacking. We did go see a rather strange Hindi film, a psychological thriller full of murder and violence – rather different from the Bollywood action flicks we are accustomed to.
So that’s about that, details and photos will surface once we’ve escaped the altitude and are back in Dharamsala (at a low elevation of 2000 meters). Hope all is well –

Peace
A&E&Reannon

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