Dha, Ladakh, India
Hey, all you back-to-nature, organic, mother Earth types. Ever want to live in a village with no electricity (only a bit of solar power), no running water, no roads, only composting toilets, no stores or commercial enterprises, no use for cash money, no hotels and no telephones? Have I got a hamlet for you!
I just returned from spending nearly six days in a village called Dha, in Kargil district . I had to walk half an hour to the nearby Indian Army post to charge my camera battery. That's my major memory...that and the pristine turquoise-blue Indus river running down the narrow gorge. And, the guy who runs the guest house (cook, janitor, and host all in one) openly picking his nose while he was discussing what I wanted for dinner. And the crisp golden and red trees against the blue sky. And the smell of urine that hit me in the face when I walked in the guest house door. And the flawless golden bundles of freshly harvested millet. And the continually screaming baby! A mixed bag, for sure.
The occasion was a once-in-three-years (I think the technical term is triennial) festival of the Brokpa people who live up there (better known as "the Aryans"). It started off like a Nat Geo TV special and somewhere in the middle threatened to turn into Deliverance.
Anyway, I am still getting over the changes in altitude. From Leh (about 12,000 ft) I went seven hours on the 1970s bus up to Dha, which is only about 10,500 feet. Every 300 metres (1000 feet or so) will mess with your altitude. Fortunately, anti-nausea medication is over the counter here and is now part of my regular travel kit.