“Live simply, travel lightly, love passionately, and never forget to breath.”
Though it took us a week of walking to arrive, we finally officially arrived in Zanskar once we met up with the river after our third pass. Though we had brought a lot of food with us, we did run out which meant that we would be relying on homestays every night throughout the rest of the trek to keep us fed. Since there was a constant water source and no huge passes left to Padum we figured there would be a few more villages than in the previous region, and thankfully we were indeed able to find somewhere to stay every night.
Our first homestay in the region was a bit different than usual but suited us perfectly. We ended up eating with the family for dinner and breakfast (and a snack of tea and curd when we arrived starving in the afternoon), but then had our own place to stay at night instead of sleeping in their home. The man obviously owned the building we stayed in as well, though it was unclear as to what exactly it was. It had a “kitchen” as well as an empty room for people to hang out in, and a third room which resembled a classroom. Though we though for a second that we may be sleeping in their school, in a village this small (composed of only four homes) it would be very surprising if they had their own. Usually the children who go to school live away from home in a larger village where there is a school.
Here is the village, which, with only four houses, is the smallest one we stayed in. It was very peaceful and beautiful and the type of place I would have enjoyed spending a week alone with a few books.
You can often tell a family’s wealth in these areas by their collection of pots and pans.
Here they are preparing the donkeys for an expedition to who knows where, possibly getting supplies from another village, or going out with westerners on a trek.
And of course, the toilet!
Though it seemed with our last homestay that the family had never (or almost never) had westerns stay with them, here it was obvious they were use to catering to tourists. They fed us an enormous amount, served us an early breakfast in order for us to start walking in the morning, and even packed us with a lunch (chapati and boiled eggs) as they knew we wouldn’t be able to find food until the next evening.