Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Day That Year - 17th July 2007

Day 3

Sleep eludes me at 5:00 am. D & I chat for a while, wake up people. Hospitality at the circuit house - aaloo paranthas! The drive to Leh begins. We cross Jispa & the fuel tank leaks again. This time 2 cars move ahead - us included and 1 car goes back for repair. We carry on. Manoj - a driver who dozes off at the wheel bangs us into a rock, tyre bursts! Thanks to the rock, we're alive and not down the gorge. Manoj is barred from driving. Sid takes over. Drives us through carefully. Beauty here is at its best. First a hilly drive, blind curves and then vast plains...sometimes green, sometimes brown and desert-like. I am the navigator. Reaching Sarchu is the immediate mission. Stopover at Sarchu for lunch. Discover there are no phones for the next 200 kms - till Upshi - so parents will have to wait another day for news. Stomachs full, we set off once more. D is now the driver. I remain navigator. 16 kms later, D feels ill - mountain sickness has begun! Sid takes over as driver and Runmee as navigator. Shortly Parul feels the mountain sickness as well and I am the doctor for the sick children. Sid continues driving despite a headache and Runmee and I navigate. The trail is treacherous, its dark and danger lurks. A scrape with an Army jeep, scary curves, car in water, stopovers for puking and finally the safety of tents at Pang. I attend to all the sick children, rubbing balms on their heads and making them drink lemon and honey in warm water that the tent owners say will help. I am later addressed as Florence Nightingale :) Soon we're all back in sleeping bags, lying in the tent. It's a cold night, I shiver all the while and my head continues to spin even as I try to sleep!

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