Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Drinking in Ladakh

Next stop Siachen

In keeping with the landscape, getting a drink in Ladakh is a forbidding task.
Beer in a China Cup

In Leh, 100 Oceans, near a parking lot doesn't look appealing, especially as our group has a bunch of kids. We ask along the way, and finally the friendly folk at Metokling (recommended by Lonely Planet, as it says outside), tell us that if we bring in our own booze, we can drink it discreetly. We hop across to a retail outlet near the Post Office, and pick up 4 bottles of Kingfisher. Back again to Metokling, where we are given 3 china cups of differing shapes, and sizes, one of them with a grateful Winnie the Pooh, with his arms wrapped around a pot of honey. The cups are small, and necessitate frequent refilling from the bottles placed below our feet. We appear to be the only people drinking alcohol here, as the rest of the crowd, largely foreign tourists, are content with their food and conversation, and besides a screening of the Hangover is about to start. 

Winnie the Pooh & Me

The day before in the Nubra valley, my pal and I had walked for half an hour, from our hotel (Yereb Tso) in the town of Tiger, to a larger adjacent town, called Sumur, in search of a drink. It was an amazing walk in the moonlight, with the high mountains of the Karakoram range around us, and the road frequently interrupted with streams flowing across. Hardly any traffic, except the stray biker, making his way onwards, possibly to Panamik, one of the last points before the Siachen Glacier starts.  In Sumur, we climbed a bunch of stairs to a restaurant called Larjan, where Psering, the owner, set a couple of chairs for us on his roof top, and brought us a couple of Godfather Beers and some hot Maggi. The sky was amazingly clear, and as we finished our beer, a group of 4 men trudged across the roof top, past us, the last of them, carrying a bow, and on chatting with him, we found that he had gone for an archery tournament earlier in the day. 

Bring your own booze is my recommendation. Camping on the banks of Pangong Tso, we rued that we had not brought some Single Malt with us. Would have been perfect to combat the biting wind, and the rain.

On the banks of Pangong Tso

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