I slowly began to pack my stuff. Priya was still finishing her morning routine. There was a knock at the door. I opened it, wondering if another round of tea was being sent up. There, bright eyed and bushy tailed, stood Sachin, Aswath and Sandeep. It was ten minutes to start time. My jaw dropped to the floor. With the smuggest smile I had seen the trio asked ‘you girls are not ready yet? Let us know when you are’. And triumphantly, they marched back to their rooms.
We had an unprecedented record of sorts.
The road from Tangste to Pangong is quite unassuming till you reach the river bed. With huge, round stones strewn all around, and water beginning to trickle in, I was surprised that any vehicle other than a four wheel drive could even attempt riding on them. We watched as various vehicles began to slowly trudge their way. Stanzin was leading from the front – now dislodging the rocks, next jumping on the vehicles to stop them from sinking to the ground, he was having a busy day. Eventually, our vehicle passed through too.
Pangong was another beauty. Not as brilliantly blue as Tso Moriri, it was still impressive in its sheer vastness. With a length of 140 kms, of which about two third lies in Tibet, the lake seemed like the sea. I had never seen such large lakes at any rate and could not stop oohing. Then all of us settled to do our own thing. Which in my case turned out to be an obsessive need to throw stones into the water in a manner where they skimmed the surface of the lake at several points before sinking. I got pretty good at the game before it was time to leave, even wondering if I would be given admission into the Shaolin Chambers.
We had a late breakfast at Tangste at a lovely riverside restaurant, listening to the water tumbling over rocks. The journey back to Leh was long but had a good stop at Changla, with free tea supplied by the army helped matters and we got the unique blessings of Changla baba (see pic).
It was evening when we reached. But boy, were we glad to see the hot showers!
The plan was to try to get some new music CDs. The guys decided that the first stop would be to check with internet cafes if they could cut us CDs from their stock. Priya and I used the time to shop and generally browse. Finally we realised that one of the grocery stores that had been playing Iron Maiden when we last shopped there would probably be happy to let us cut a CD from their collection. As the rest of us ordered dinner at the Dreamland restaurant, Priya and Sandeep sat and selected songs for a nice compilation. Unfortunately the store’s CD drive was not working. We would have to come back in the morning with my pen drive. Still, the music scene was looking up.