Determined to avoid all day/night noise, I chose the Oriental Hotel/Guesthouse as it was a 15-minute walk from the city centre – far enough to soak up some heavenly quietness. I asked for, & received, the quietist room in the hotel, tucked away at the far rear corner with a gorgeous view up to Shanti Stupa. And a few other pluses – my own bathroom; huge (but extremely hard) bed; & a flat-screen TV so that I may actually be able to watch the end of the Tour de France!!
I’ll be here for 9 nights before joining a Photographic Expedition which will travel to other parts of Ladakh. And it’s a lovely place to chill out, catch up on some reading, & even attempt to befriend the Oriental’s 3-legged dog who runs away from everyone (managed to get him to lick my hand 3 times – making progress).
There are people coming & going every day, & being the extrovert I am, it’s never difficult to strike up a conversation here & there (even if I can’t remember their names). A most interesting discussion about business, religion & ethics was had with Christian & Michelle from Germany. Christian, an intensely cerebral twenty-something year old, is about to embark on his PhD in Christian Ethics (taking him up to 12 years of study), & so some passionate debate was had around this subject. Rudi, a wandering 52 y.o. yoga instructor from Belgium, opened up over 2 days to me pouring out his life story. I didn’t really need to say very much at all, just a few questions here & there, & he started pondering the meaning of his existence (well, this is a great place for reflection). And a woman from Bangalore (name escapes me), informed me about the birds unique to the Leh/Ladakh region & how much she enjoys photographing them.
I’m sure I’ll continue meeting fascinating people along the way…..