It was 20+ hours on 2 trains followed by 10+ hours on a bus before arriving in Rekong Peo, from Dehli. Luckily the major land slide that we encountered had happened a few hours before, so while we did have to find another way to complete the journey after crossing a treacherous bridge and walking a few miles, no one died. I’ll call it a win. Peo was suppose to be the village where I could catch a bus directly to Kaza, which is where I’m spending the next few months volunteering for an organization called Ecosphere (www.spitiecosphere.com). I’ve never been one for planning to far in advance, or at all, so with the new friends I made in Peo the only logical decision was to spend a couple days and let the good times roll. To be fair I just didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Checking out the villages in route to Kaza can be a lot to take in, there are any number of places to hang a hammock, plenty of mountains to be climbed, and what I thought would be a two day detour turned into nine.
The man in the brown corduroy jacket above is Jag, he oozes knowledge from his beard (I think its scientifically proven that knowledge turns hair grey) and also his mouth. He is a cloud physicist turned vagabond, 74 years old and sharp as a tack, he even came on an impromptu hike with us. The way Jag started a sentence was a sure sign if he was about to lay some serious knowledge on you, his favorites were “See…” and “Listen here…”
Below is Mr. Kali Ram. Jolly as could be and one of, if not the most, sincere law enforcement persons I have ever come in contact with. After he made sure I got settled in with a place to stay we grabbed a coffee and cookies for breakfast. I also learned that this guy has one of the most badass names, Kali being some super badass goddess and Ram, please excuse my lack of Hindu knowledge, the king Arthur of Hindu in that he was the only one who could life Shiva’s bow. Now this may not be the most accurate description but my access to the internet and therefore knowledge is extremely limited in Spiti.
Mr. Kali Ram
If my memory was better I would be able to share the name of this Shiva Squad rider, but there was something funny in the Bidi that we shared and then the King Fisher didn’t help. I was stranded for a few hours waiting for a bus so he called a friend in Peo, the village I was heading for, who owns a guesthouse and was happy to save a room for me – hot shower and balcony included…jackpot! This is a part of solo traveling that I have really come to appreciate. Traveling alone provides no comfort zone so speaking with strangers becomes second nature and the best part is that there is something you can learn from everybody so striking up a conversation with an unknown is the fast tract to making a new friend, learning something new, or both.
Kali Ram insisted that Kalpa would be the best way to spend the afternoon, so Jag made the bus ride up there with us, theres not too many silent moments with Jag but its never filler, the guy always had some interesting knowledge to share. Anyways, Kalpa did not disappoint, heres the view, and a shot of the first prayer wheels that I spun in India.