Friday, October 19, 2012

(From my journal): Around Kaza (and a short poo’ story)

Today is cold.  I woke and opened the door to find the owner of the guest house emerging from the bathroom.  He pointed to the sky and mountains across the river that had been so sharp yesterday and said “snow on pass.  Very difficult.” Indeed, all is cloudy and the high rocks that had been brown and gold yesterday had a layer of snow on them.  So perhaps that is it? Rohtang is closed for the winter? If so, my change in trip was a great decision.  Now I wonder about the southern pass I don’t want to be trapped here! How must the locals feel? Used to it, I am sure, but the pinned down feeling of “so this is winter… I guess that’s the end of warmth and the freedom to travel freely and the beginning of survival mode,” might drive me mad. 

I found breakfast in a back-alley shop, a very local joint, where a short, smiling older man with graying hair parted on the side served me parantha and delicious tea.  While doubling down, I watched the man across from me try to shoo a dog that sat at the doorway to the shop.  “Go away!” I imagined him say in Hindi.  “NO FOOD HERE!” The dog’s reply being, “Yes-huh.  I can SEE it!” The dog stayed.  Panting.  Happy.  Steamed, the man grabbed a stick to prod the dog off.  Dodging the swing, the dog bounced off but was back as soon as the man sat back down, and both agreed to disagree. 

After breakfast, I hiked up the hill behind town in hopes of getting to an elevation where I could frame all of Kaza and the valley in one shot.  At first, my route was cross-country up an unpredictable scree slope, but later I found a footpath with water-pipes exposed running down to the city.  Up and up I walked until I came to a point where 20 switchbacks of the road climbing out of the valley were visible, and behind me sat all of Kaza.   Warm.  Peaceful.  And… guuuuuurgle.  God.  No.  Guuuuurgle.   Please.  No, no. 

Yes, the exercise had stimulated my cemented bowels.  And wouldn’t you know, I was out of paper? Agh! But life has taught me: When you’ve got to go.  You know the rest.

I choose a perfect squat rock.  270 degree views, all of Spiti before me.  Red berried bushes and grass clumps pop from the rocky landscape.  A thread of bushes – golden from season – trail down a mountain wrinkle (water there).  The occasional bird twitters.  A cool breeze blows, the sun’s rays passing through unhindered.  Ahh.

As for the paper… it ended up not being such a big deal.  I’d brought along my Lonely Planet guide book! I tore out 1.33-(bar) pages from the “INDIA’S TOP 20 MOST VISITED SITES!”-section, worthless as far as I am concerned, and recycled it. 

There you have it…

Most epic spot to poo: High above the Spiti valley

Most versatile guide book: Lonely Planet

Thanks for reading!

I love you all (but especially you, Michelle!)


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