Acclimatisation in Leh and the Dalai Lama

August 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm 2 comments

Our days in Leh introduced us to the altitude, the Ladak food and hospitality and one  happy world spiritual leader.

view from our room

view from our room

We all felt a little light headed when we arrived, and  the scenery around us did nothing to help bring is back down to earth. The mountains were made of rock and in the distance a few had glaciers sitting on top of them. We were told  that they were usually bigger and that the mountains were usually covered in snow at this time. The enormity of the glaciers made it difficult to comprehend that they should have been much bigger and the snow abundent.

fixong up the bikes

fixing up the bikes

Our hotel was a little haven on the hill.  Cooking dinner each night with the food grown in the front garden. The grandmother of our host family watched us as we built our bikes and there was a friendly greeting of jollay nearly every 15 minutes.

The first night was a test of our acclimatisation. I woke early in the morning with a head that was on the verge of exploding, I tried sitting up, lying down, standing on one  leg but nothing seemed to tell the jackhammer in my head to disappear. Soon Gavin was awake, I think because he could hear the pounding in my head. We went walking down the hill to try and drop the altitude. The morning was gorgeous and really it was quite spectacular to see the mountains light up and the local people, donkeys, goats and cows start their day. Except for the pounding head and nausea. Eventually we made our way to the hospital at the bottom of the hill, and for the grand price of 2 rupee (approximately nothing in any other currency) a lovely man told me to  poke my tongue out, drink lots of water, take some pills and rest. When we walked out Gav said he wasn’t worried, except maybe when my lips turned blue. I spent the rest of the day asleep and woke the next day feeling human again.

A wave from the Dalai Lama

A wave from the Dalai Lama

Which was good, because as soon as we woke the next day we walked towards the the airport road with nearly everybody else in Leh. The local men and women were dressed in traditional clothes, bright colours, tall hats and proud faces. We lined the street on either side and soon a calvacade of cars came crawling up the road. In the the shiniest one sat the smiliest person ever. The Dalai Lama was greeting everybody with his friendly smile and loving presence. He drove by us and our although our moment with him was fleeting we all felt like it was a special morning and hopefully a good omen for the rest of our journey.

Tomorrow we were starting the riding, FINALLY!! We had eaten well, acclimatised and got the nod from the worlds spiritual leader. Anything we else we had forgotten to do didn’t matter.

Locals waiting to greet the Dalai Lama

Locals waiting to greet the Dalai Lama

locals and the Dalai Lama

Locals and the Dalai Lama


Entry filed under: cycling, himalayas, Trip Preparations. Tags: , , , , , .

Kathmandu-New Delhi-Leh, flying with bikes CYCLING!!! Leaving Leh. Stupas, gompas and temporary perfection.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Caitlin Chessell  |  August 31, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Best wishes for the next part of your journey! Cxx

  • 2. Tony Emmerson  |  August 31, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    keeping up with the adventures guys, sounds brilliant and of course for that part of the world not without its geographical and social obstacles. enjoy the altitude, and enjoy the ride. Gav you’ll be glad and probably impressed to know i did my longest steepest bike ride with nicki the other day, don’t think it would be anything compared to your rides, but for me it was pretty impressive. take care guys, savour every moment, and to quote john steinbeck when he was quoting POSITANO but lets use it for your adventure, “this trip bites deep, its a dream that isn’t quite real while you are there, but becomes beckoningly real once you have left.
    later guys
    Tony Emmerson


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