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July 31st, 2014

Sleeping bag. Check. Hiking boots. Check. Prayer flags. Check

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“Tomorrow I start a month long journey to Chamser Kangri (inshallah) via Leh, the Markha Valley and all points north. I have packed and repacked my kit bag, and will re-re-pack today for the 3rd time…”

 

 

I wrote the above earlier this morning, before I went off for my last pre-climb physio session with the brilliant folks at B2F.

An hour later, I emerge having been pummelled to within an inch of my life and having said my goodbyes, I check my email and discover that the climbing permit for Chamser Kangri has been refused and that instead, [...]

Click to continue reading Sleeping bag. Check. Hiking boots. Check. Prayer flags. Check

July 29th, 2014

And why ever not?

This tantalising little gem was in my Sunday paper in Goa.

 

 

The use of the word “attempted” left the story inconclusive. Had almost an ominous sound to it.

Did he succeed?

How long did it take him to cycle 100km like this?

 

So, I googled it. As one does.

And he made it!

Azad Singh has, and I quote, “set a new record in the Limca Book of Records for cycling the farthest distance with a bottle of water balanced on his head.”

 

Utterly fab stuff.

 

[...]

Click to continue reading And why ever not?

July 29th, 2014

Photo of the day. A glimpse of Muslim Ladakh

Ladakh is overwhelmingly Buddhist (both literally and metaphorically) but in and around Leh there is a sizeable Muslim community.

On Eid, what better image to share with you, than these pretty little muppets we met on the road near Stok village?

They were walking home from school, and giggled shyly when I asked them in my funny Hindi if I could take their photo.

What you cannot see here, because I didn’t document it, was that as I was chatting to these little girls, a drop dead gorgeous young Ladakhi woman in tight leggings and T shirt who was out [...]

Click to continue reading Photo of the day. A glimpse of Muslim Ladakh

July 28th, 2014

Goa + a brand new car + new friends = great weekend, thank you very much

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I just spent the weekend in Goa.

Test driving a car. (Well, 2 cars, actually).

And meeting an amazing bunch of people.

And making some new friends.

And running on the beach at dawn – a great feeling after 12 weeks of ankle injury. Almost a tick on the bucket list moment.

And (for me, at least) making a big discovery. That this blogging that I enjoy so much need not be such a solo occupation.

Let me explain.

I am part of an online blogging community called blogadda.com who are very proactive in getting people to talk and interact [...]

Click to continue reading Goa + a brand new car + new friends = great weekend, thank you very much

July 28th, 2014

Round and about in Delhi. Literally.

I have been hitting the Delhi roads at dawn most mornings, in a last ditch effort to (a) break in my new boots and (b) to knock myself into some kind of shape for my big adventure, which kicks off next week. (Gulp.)

As I have mentioned here in a couple of recent blog posts, this city where I now live is a very different creature in the (relatively) quiet early hours of the day, from the aggressive, noisy later-in-the-day version.

Thus it is that at dawn I can happily potter across blissfully empty avenues that are otherwise hectically busy [...]

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July 25th, 2014

Pomp and circumstance at dawn

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If ever proof were needed that it pays to get up bright and early in the mornings – especially in our cruel Delhi summers – then Wednesday morning provided exactly that proof.

Setting off bright and early (but oh so overdressed in this heat, with woolly socks & hiking boots) I went for a lovely 13km yomp through Lutyens Delhi.

And it was just one fabulous thing after another.

Early mornings are super special in a noisy, overcrowded city like Delhi – you have relative peace and quiet, and, oh joy of joys, there is space to walk along empty [...]

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July 24th, 2014

Photo of the day (& resolutely NOT thinking that a month from today…)

…but the truth of the matter is that I cannot in all honestly overlook the fact that a month from today will be – inshallah – summit day on Chamser Kangri.

Or Shamser Kangri, as I saw it on the fabulously detailed map of Ladakh at B2F, my valiant phsyios who are doing all they can to get me summit ready.

 

And now, before I start stressing, let’s move right along.

This fabulous view (below) was from last year’s ascent of Mentok Kangri, and was taken on the way up to our Base Camp.

How well

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Click to continue reading Photo of the day (& resolutely NOT thinking that a month from today…)

July 24th, 2014

Now about all this ‘ere black magic…

My mornings are always made when one of these flyers comes drifting out of my newspaper. I know it is sad verging on tragic, but I really do love these flyers, mainly because they reaffirm my faith that India isn’t changing beyond all recognition.

If I had the courage to go meet Pt. M.K.Shastri, I would ask him about the following question about Black Magic. Namely, why did I trip up and fall yet again this morning? (Yup. Seriously, a week before our departure for Ladakh. ) Is there some kind of black magic thingy on this trek of mine, [...]

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July 23rd, 2014

And your Hindi word of the day is…

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“Raah” means road or path

“Giri” means, literally, a kernel. But in the popular usage of this-giri and that-giri it means, I think (and I am so so open to correction here, my Hindi speaking friends) the essence of a thing/concept/idea. The central core of an idea.

After a very popular Bollywood film, for example, the tern “Gandhigiri” was coined and if you check this word in Wikipedia, this is what you get :

“Gandhigiri is a relatively new term in India which is used to express the tenets of Gandhism

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July 22nd, 2014

“Only God can prevent rape”

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There are days when you thought it was bad as it could be. And then it gets worse. And today was one such day.

As if the rape of a little 6 year old in her school by an employee were not horrific enough, the school saw fit to describe her as “a girl with different thinking ability.”

How dare they do this? Defaming a wee little mite, dobtless to “save” the school’s reputation. Despicable cowards, the lot of them. Such crass callousness is truly sickening, and if I were a parent of the school I would withdraw my child [...]

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July 22nd, 2014

It’s a dog’s life in Bollywood

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This post is actually meant as a bit of a wake up call for Yoko, our galumphing 18 month old Golden Retriever (the very fellow who has sidelined me for 2 months, by bowling me over).

As in, come on, my boy, and exactly when are YOU going to make it big in Bollywood?

 

I predict a boom in Golden Retrievers, if this movie is a hit -> a flurry of ads/commercials/films all (naturally) starring Goldens -> surely someone, somewhere will need footage of a Golden rolling in the mud, which is Master Y’s

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July 21st, 2014

Photo of the day. The ascent of Mentok Kangri begins in earnest

This was the start of the really serious stuff last year on Mentok Kangri. The fixed lines.

A real moment of truth.

Between you and me, it was a teensy bit intimidating to see the crew fixing the lines and thinking “Oh crikey, I have to go up those soon,” but it was also very exciting.

I understand we will be roped up on Chamser Kangri next month – inshallah – which is yet another experience awaiting me.

 

 

And, true to my word, no count down.

Absolutely no ticking off the days…

No thinking about

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Click to continue reading Photo of the day. The ascent of Mentok Kangri begins in earnest