“If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”
*Since I haven’t had internet the last few weeks, I will post the entries I have been writing along the way every day or two until you guy are caught up! In the meanwhile, I am now making my way to Nepal.
After a three week break from cycling, I found myself, once again, planning a bit of a ridiculous warm-up to get back into the world of touring. I decided that a 55km climb, up a pass with a 2,500m gain, sounded just about perfect. And it was. Though I could feel my legs had lost most of their strength, I climbed 40km uphill the first day through the beautiful lush landscape. Unlike the high mountains in Ladakh, the ones surrounding Manali are much lower, making a green, rather than dusty gray ride. Most of the road was paved, though there were a few difficult sections that were dirt packed and rocky, which left me pushing my bike through ankle deep mud.
“A child on a farm looks up at the sky at the passing airplane and dreams of far away places. The man on the airplane looks down at the farm and dreams of home.”
After working in the field with the ladies, we headed back to one of their house’s for tea. The house was absolutely perfect. Downstairs was for the cows, including a week old baby cow who was one of the cutest animals I have ever encountered. Then upstairs consisted of one room with a bed and some cushions on the floor to hang out on. There was no clutter, in fact, besides a few blankets, there was nothing. Up from there (after the most amazing tree stairs I have ever seen) was the kitchen. Outside the second story there was a balcony where some food was kept, and some clothes were hanging to dry. The house was small and cozy, and unlike most houses in the west, this house had character. It truly felt like a home.
“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”
Today was the perfect example of why I travel. In the morning, with an English friend I met a few weeks ago in Leh, I headed up into the hills in order to meet six local women who were working in the field. The English gal had met them yesterday as they worked, and had promised to come back and help for the afternoon. We spent the day helping these ladies cut grass and plants that are then dried and stored as food for their cows in the winter. The work was all done by hand, with small machete like knives, and I think my knees and back will feel it tomorrow after spending the day squatting. Though it was hard work, the women laughed and gossiped like girls anywhere, and took many tea breaks in order to make the day more enjoyable. A few of these women were sisters, and the others, (my guess) were relatives of some kind. They were extremely friendly, and though only one spoke a few words of English, we had a great day laughing and working together.