Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Manali-Leh; The Story (Part 5)

So I'm back in Keylong again, the only town on the Manali-Leh Highway where the rest are settlements and villages. Keylong is one of my favourite place on this highway because living here was like going back in time..the 60's. Moreover, the hotel food is great and I can have my shower after 4 days of only brushing my teeth! There is nothing special about the hotel other than the staff are very friendly & helpful but also, it is Dalai Lama's hotel whenever he stop at Keylong.

Valley View Hotel

They have 2 banks but no ATM (maybe they have it IN the bank). Dhabas & groceries shops are really old-fashioned. The main roads through the town is very narrow but not busy with traffic because there is an alternative roads that are for trucks, buses and other big vehicles bypass the town centre. And most of the buildings are on the slopes.

Buildings on the slopes

Keylong is located at 10,318ft high. So that means I went down for another 3,000ft from Patseo. The main reason for me to return to Keylong is to recover from altitude sickness as well as to get a transport to catch up with my friend. In fact, the first thing I did when returned to this town was to get some moisturizer and sunblock cream. Unfortunately, there is no pharmacy whatsoever. So, I went to see the doctor to get some treatment for sunburn. And courtesy of the Indian government, I got antiseptic cream for skin & lips and anti-allergic pill for free! Yea..

While in Keylong, I spent the day by hanging out at the hotel garden overlooking the 'King of Keylong'. The view was simply breathtaking. The air was cool and fresh. The difference of 3,000ft really made me feel better. My breathing is not as deep as before. And the most obvious sign that I was making good progress was that I didn't pant heavily when walking up and down the ramp/ slope. I still have the dry cough, though.

The King of Keylong at the background

With the help of the hotel staff, Dave. I finally got a ride from a vehicle that was coming from Manali heading to Leh. I was told that he has 1 more seat but to sit at the back. I was so desperate to get a ride, so I quickly agree with it. The next day at 6am, I went to the bus station waiting for the vehicle. Due to some technical problem, it came late. By almost 8am, we left for Patseo to collect my bike.

Keylong new bus station

Initially, I had hard time to adjust myself sitting in the jeep. Actually, it is a Tata 3.0L Diesel, a 4WD that was cramp with 11 people. I used to feel suffocated or nausea when sitting at the back of a car but in this case, I have no other choice but to quickly adapt myself with the situation. What I did was I open the window behind me a bit for better air ventilation and it worked! And there were 4 people sitting at the back including me and fortunately they were nice and friendly English speaking Tibetans who thought that I was a Japanese. LOL ..and 2 of the Tibetans- Yeshi & Kesang became my good buddies from then on.

Fortunately, the road from Keylong to Patseo via Jispa & Darcha was not so bad. It's still bumpy, though. And definitely not a fun ride.

View from the Keylong-Jispa road

Keylong-Jispa road (at some stretch)


When we reached Patseo, I quickly take my bag from the tent and said goodbye to the Hozer's family. Mr Hozer helped carry my bike to the jeep. It was quite sad because I have become quite attached to them after staying 3 nights in their tent. I gave them some of my stuff; food supplies, tent, some tools and my duct tape thinking that I would not be needing them again.

Hozer Cafe at Patseo

After my bag & bike is securely tied on the jeep, we made our move to the next stop- Zing Zing Bar.


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