We woke up to a beautiful morning and since we had already decided to stay on another day at Kaza- for repairs and visiting the monasteries- we decided to take it easy. We first went for breakfast at the German Bakery and had some scrumptious "exotic" stuff- croissants, pies, strudle an a rather interesting sandwich with yak cheese, tomatoes and onions! After a rather lengthy breakfast, while Beni went to the interwebs, Dev and Bijoor san went to look for mechs and I went to the circuit house. Seeing running water, I was tempted to wash all the dirty stinking and wet clothes in my bag and wash them. The really bright sun was specially encouraging. Taking my lead, everyone decided to follow suit and soon the lawns of the circuit house started to resemble a "dhobi-ghaat"!!
It was little wonder that the caretaker asked us to move out when he found out that we were not checking out today and that we would be staying one more night! Actually, he was expecting to have more legit guests tonight because there was some fair in the village from tomorrow onwards. When I say "legit", I mean government officials or the sort, for whom these circuit houses have been built all over the state- people who don't have to pay more often than not! So anyway, we found refuge in the hotel right across the road and just walked with our stuff till there. We even transferred our load of drying clothes - thankfully, most of them were dry- mainly because we made sure they were!
|Distances from the circuit house|
Anyway, around 1 we decided that we should head towards the monasteries and get back before dark. The Enfield people took off before us Pegu boys. Suku found himself leading us and very soon we found ourselves on the way going back to Tabo! We even saw the Mumbai bikers still packing up at the new Circuit House to go to Lossar.
Asking for directions, we turned back to the right direction and continued to follow Suku. This time Suku started to climb up the road to Key monastery though we all had planned to meet and lunch at Kibber! While Beni decided to take some photos, I went after Suku, right to the top to fetch him! We now headed back to Kibber but not before Suku picked up a monk (who had changed into civilian clothes midway somewhere!) as pillion. After climbing up the mountains non stop and crossing some bad stretches of roads, we reached Kibber where we found the other three waiting for us. Instead of going up to the monastery, we decided to go back near the entrance of the village and get some lunch. The view was, to repeat a cliche, astounding! The sky was gorgeous and it was what sky blue is really meant to look like! As we waited for our modest lunch of guess what, rice and aloo matar (!!), we all took pictures and tried to escape the burning sun- Dev's iphone version of NFS Shift helped pass boredom for a few minutes.
The women who were preparing lunch for us were actually teachers but it was summer break at the moment in the valley so they had taken this occupation in a guest house as an experiment. When they found out that we were headed towards Lossar and beyond, they said they would have loved to go there with us- I think the comment was probably directed for Suku? ;) Meanwhile, I only managed to break one of their tube-emergency lights but reimbursed them instantly.
As we headed back on the road, we stopped for many pictures till we reached the road that went up to Key. Bijoor san was having problems with his bike in climbing inclines, so he decided to park his bike at the foothill and ride pillion behind Suku. We were behind these two and when we got there, we learnt that Bijoor san's helmet had rolled down the hill when he had parked his bike on the centre-stand and some mountain kid ran down and fetched it for him in a matter of minutes. That slope was not mild by any sense! The helmet lost the cheek pads somewhere and was scratched up. The visor also took some beating but in essence, it was still okay!
|Entrance to Kibber|
|Another Bajaj Ad!|
We got a guided tour of the monastery by one of the monks. I couldnt help think the irony of the Buddhist religion- Buddha never wanted his teachings to be a religion in the first place! And yet we believe what we have been told and been a student of history, I am aware that everything from history is generally conjectural and can be debated on end. We were offered tea and it was soon prayer time at 7pm, when a lot of women got off a mini bus and walked towards the monastery- Suku started making his own scandalous speculations on the spot!
|The entrance at the foothills of the Key Monastery|
|Beni tries to get Golden Buddha in blinding sun!|
|The beautiful can in which our tea came!|
|The eight symbols of the gate have their own significance.|
As we headed back, we saw these two white kids hitch-hiking- I and Suku picked up a pillion each and rode towards Kaza. These kids, Phil an David, were third year geography students in the UK- and were going to go to Ladakh eventually. My bike's headlight (it was the choice of the bulb I guess) woes from many months ago was showing up again- I could only hope for the best esp by trying to avoid night riding! We dropped them off in the middle of the town before we started to look for dinner. Bijoor san was worried about his bike not being able to climb so he started to make phone calls to find a truck to carry the bike on- and as a improvisation, a cab to pull the bike in times of need! Meanwhile, I tried to check mail and make some calls.
The internet and the ISD phone service continued to suck big time. The lights went out in the town so after weighing our options and after asking around, we landed up in Dragon Bar where we saw the same kids! We also met a guy who had rode from Gujarat via Manali to Kaza. He's with an NGO called Ecowater or something and he made the comment "Bullets makes mechanics out of bikers" on hearing Bijoor san's bike. It was a very polite comment steeped in denial about the truth which most Bullet riders probably believe in! To each, his own! The food at this place wasn't great- trying to go for exotic, we ended up with mediocre pasta and pizzas while Beni's chowmein was definitely the worst!
Beni's knee was hurting a lot by late evening. Suku diagnosed it as lower back pain so he made Beni do some standard lower back exercises which apparently increased Beni's pain, now migrated to the lower back! Beni was not sure any more if he could carry on like this any further. He was actually thinking of putting his bike on the back of the truck if Bijoor san managed to find one! Was his trip really over?
Total distance covered= 40 kms approx.
Total cost= Rs. 640
[Breakfast= 100 + Lunch= 100 + Damage = 100 + Dinner=190 + Stay=150 ]