“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land.”
Most people with tonsillitis get over it within a week. Mine, of course, lasted longer. Then instead of disappearing with the antibiotics I was prescribed (which, by the way, didn’t work), the infection spread. I ended up with swollen gums, open lesions, and a very painful case of gingivitis. I spent two weeks, stuck in a tourist town, unable to cycle. During this time, the temperature started to drop, the snow appeared in the mountains, and my time to spend weeks cycling through the Indian Himalayas came to a close- before it had even started. Then, to make matters worst, the infection in my mouth increased to the point where I couldn’t eat anything (besides a banana lassi).
I was devastated. I knew I needed to start cycling again if I wanted to make it out before the snow, but unable to eat equates to unable to cycle in my book. And even if I did magically become cured, I knew I would need a good few days of eating and exercise to rebuild my body after all the strength I had lost. I had a rough few days trying to figure out my next move. My parents were pressuring me to come home and get cured, which, besides being extremely inconvenient, would be very expensive. Or I could catch a bus to Delhi and visit the private hospital there. Sure, that would work, except Delhi is just about the worst town to be in if you are trying to recover. Or I could make my way to Kathmandu, and skip India (for now) all together. Well that didn’t sound appealing either.
I did realize though, that either way, I was going to have to take a bus, and not cycle, out of Leh. Extremely angry and disheartened, I bought my bus ticket, and spent a long 15h ride watching the mountains go passed, thinking to myself, hey, I would have slept there, or wow, that would have been a great section to cycle. Fortunately by the time I made it to Manali, the swelling in my mouth had subsided a bit, and I was able to eat a bit of rice and pasta for the first time. I have decided to stay in Manali until I can eat like a teenage boy again, because that will mean I am ready to start cycling to Nepal.
After being angry, sad, and frustrated, I have finally come to terms with the fact that sometimes, things just don’t go your way. I didn’t get to cycle the Indian Himalayas, this time, but I am already adjusting my future route so that it will take me back around to it next summer. And instead of a mere month, by doing it next summer instead, I will have a full three months to cycle, explore, and live in the beautiful Ladakh region.