Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Day 5 – Rest day in Leh.

Down to drop off the laundry (you wouldn’t even think about washing it for the prices these guys charge) and I go to the internet café to do the hotmail thing. Leh is very traffic congested and the air is bad but it’s warm and the day is great.
I see this, and can’t believe it – an almost immaculate Yamaha RD 350 (a hot two stroke twin from the 70s and very sought after in Aus.) How did this end up here? Later I find out that this was one model that was imported but why a bike whose chief virtue was that it could blitz everything on the road big time.. Not quite what I would have thought, India needed most. They’re being restored in Delhi and exported.

Now back to non bikestuff –
When we got to Leh, I saw Buda (not sure how he even got there) was in a really bad way and being loaded into a van and taken to a hospital. We hear that his oxygen level is 32 – critical. At sea level healthy people are 100 and we could drop to 70 on the high passes ( I think).
Leh is 3524m - 11562' ) and a lot of people fly in and pick up bikes but you would need to spend a few days acclimatizing before heading north over the passes. I spoke in Sydney to one of the Moto Guzzi guys who lost one of their group when a truck turned in front of one of the riders and he was fooling around with his Go Pro, so didn’t react quickly enough. Death didn't have a very good effect on the ride morale.

The power crashes regularly and the internet goes down. It's been great being able to get hotmail along the way at the bigger towns, so when it happens, you are suddenly aware of the distance.
Near the hotel is a very well constructed stone building, being the "Moravian church", with a little park and cemetery opposite, but the gates are locked and so I left wondering what this is all about.
How did missionaries from an obscure 19th century central European state, end up here.

Behind the area the hotel is located is the Jaismid Mahal mosque with the Palace behind and a stupa at the top of the hill.

It was a great day in Leh and gave everyone a re charge to face the next two days with the two highest passes coming up, but having managed seventeen and a half thousand feet,it seemed safe to think ( with the acclimatization that we’d had ) that unless you did something silly, like taking in a lot of alcohol, then AMS wasn’t going to be a problem. However as in Buda’s case, it can affect people differently and no one knows why.
We head down to the petrol station and buy exra fuel for the ride next day to Pasong lake because of there being no fuel there, and we'll need to get back to Leh. 

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