Saturday, September 18, 2010

Manali-Leh; The Story (Part 6)

The ride to Zing Zing Bar went smooth as I was busy looking outside searching for the river that troubled many cyclist and drivers that trying to cross it. Until we reached the dhabas for breakfast stop about 8km from Patseo, I still haven't found it.

While walking around the place, I met with the kids from Delhi whom I met in Patseo. According to them they have reached Pang but had to turn back because there was no access to Leh. So now they are heading back to Manali to catch their bus back to Delhi.

Dhaba at Zing Zing Bar

Since there was no telephone line or the internet, our source of information were from other people who traveled along the highway. In this case, trucks & taxi drivers. But no one actually saw the destruction at Upshi. Someone told us that the military has reported that there were no more bridge there as it was destroyed by the flood. The fact was, most the information that we received were merely hearsay; they heard it from someone else. So we thought maybe we still have some chance that by the time we reached Upshi, the bridge might be already repaired and accessible.

So we moved on to Baralacha La. On the way, I finally saw the river; the water was very fast but our driver whom I called 'Colin McRae of Manali-Leh' drove it through like it was just a small stream. I thought..Bloody Hell..LOL. I knew that I'm going to have hell of a ride with him as a driver.

Then we reached Baralacha La, the scenery was magnificent. And I can still see the snow everywhere. But it was too cold to my liking. I thought, if I continue ride to this place that day, I will definitely get very sick. And as I expected, the descent from Baralacha La to Sarchu will be very slow for cyclist as the road were very bad..mud packed. I suspected that my friend must have reached Sarchu after sunset.

View at Baralacha La

When we reached Sarchu, we received another news about road closure ahead, so we were forced to stay overnight in one of the dhaba. So seven of us from the vehicle shared a room for Rs.100 per person. After dinner at 7.00pm, I went to sleep.

The next morning, after we received green light from the military, we were allowed to move on. After less than 1 hour on the road, we were stopped by road works that were working to clear off the landslide.

Police checkpoint at Sarchu

Then we climbed the Gata Loops & Nakeela La. When we passed through Whisky Nallah, I saw a jeep with bikes in front of the dhaba. And I knew it well that it was Ron & Annette's. But our driver did not stop there but keep moving to climb Lachulung La. Suddenly, I saw Thomas and Lucie on their bikes. I can see on Lucie's face that she was struggling with the rain & bad roads. And the road descending to Pang, could be the worst that I've seen on the Manali-Leh highway! At that time, My thought was for Thomas & Lucie. I hope they will get through it.

Road to Pang

Then again we met with another road works. It was massive because we got stuck on that road for almost 3 hours before we were allow to drive through. While waiting there, I met Ron & Annette. Apparently, they have stopped riding because of the bad roads and I can see that Ron was having problem with his health too. Then, I saw Thomas & Lucie pushing their bike through the traffic jam. I felt relieved that they have made it through so far.

Traffic jam due to road works

When we reached Pang, I saw Ron Jeep's and the driver. I approached him and he greeted me by saying 'Come, let me take you to meet up with the gang'.. Then in a tent, I was greeted by Colleen, and I saw Ron & Dave as well. Annette was having her rest in her tent as I was told. Then Colleen 'cheerfully' told me that the military has closed the access road to Leh, and many people has died due to the flash flood' and continue saying with a smile 'And they has closed the airport so nobody can go back to their country'..hahaha I thought, Ok if they have closed the airport, then all flight will be delayed. Great! I can got time to catch my flight then! That's what I thought.

Dhabas at Pang

I reached Pang on the Aug 7. And due to the road closure (again!), we were forced to stay overnight there. But I need to reach Leh by Aug 8, so that I can catch my flight of Aug 9. And at that time, I thought my friend was already at Tso Kar (as per our original plan). So I thought we were still on scheduled!

While in Pang, I went to the Military Hospital for my cough. The doctor told me that my lungs was clear and gave me some free medicine (again!). Thanks Indian Government!! And the military doctor who treated me was very nice and professional. And I thought, his tent was the warmest & coziest tent in the Indian Himalaya! Later Colleen told me that DiPankar has been admitted into the hospital as well due to altitude sickness. I can see why. And she also told me that at previous night, there were about 3000 people staying at the military camp as they too got stuck in Pang due to the road closure. I can see that there were telephone line available for use courtesy of the military for us to call our embassies. But looking at the long queue, so I passed. Later on, I saw Thomas & Lucie in front of the dhaba. They have finally made it! Yeahh!

Police checkpoint at Pang

The next morning, I met with DiPankar who were eager to continue his ride to Taglang La alone but he was stopped by the military/police checkpoint. I also saw many cyclist who got stuck in Pang- the French & the Swiss cyclist. I was informed that Colleen & Dave managed to get a lift for themselves and both Thomas & Lucie on the military convoy to Leh via the alternative road bypassing Taglang La. Colleen challenged me to a bet who will arrived in Leh first. So I smiled and confidently told her that I will despite not knowing what was in store for me later. But in my mind I knew that I have 'Colin McRae' on my side! haha!

'The Gang'

So, after received green light from the military, we were allowed leave Pang and head to Morey Plains & Taglang La.

7 comments:

Gillion said...

are you getting better now? Pei Pa Koa (www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm ) is one of the few Chinese natural cough remedies that have been scientifically studied. it's something like herb plus honey, and it's sweet, thick and black in color. If you have a cough, look for it! It used to be one of my favourite natural cough remedies.

if your cough persists, seek professional help such as traditional Chinese medicine physicians - I have had very good experiences with them.

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Rob Marrs said...

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RCM

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