Saturday, August 12, 2006

Please e-mail me some rupees.

This was not one of my finer moments. Since I only intended to come down the Zanskar road for one day, I thought I had plenty of money. That was two weeks ago, and I'm down to about $10 worth of rupees, and there's nowhere to change money here. Oops! There were a few Americans I ran into, including a professor from San Diego who is a nun, wears one of those funny/traditional hats, and speaks Ladakhi. I could have groveled before them, explaining my situation. But did I? No. Because I am really unhappy groveling. It's been a humbling experience to feel so powerless and still be unwilling to fix it.
But my Tibetan hotel-keeper, Lekshe, has come through, and I have $200 of traveler's checks bouncing down the 14 hour road to Kargil, in the pocket of a monk, on the way to Lekshe's wife. (His first wife, not his second wife, who he is also married to. Really.) And Lekshe trusted me enough to advance me enough money that I'm no longer in danger of being a vagrant.
Tomorrow I'm leaving for a one-week or so trek to a famous monastery, with a French anthropologist and her local friends. I'll be back in contact when I return...
There are 10 photos below:
A young monk.
These girls (twins?) are from Jammu, and their father comes here for the summer to repair shoes.
A monk inside the monastery of Tongde.
The village of Padum, where I'm staying, is in the center-right. The air is so crystal clear here that distances are confusing.
(The End)