Published: July 16th 2012July 16th 2012
So, lots to tell. Left Manali at 4:30am in a minibus to drive to Kaza in the Spiti valley with Dr Verghese, Jenny another med student, a dutch film crew and a driver. The drive took 10 hours. Went over the Rohtang pass 3978m (means place of corpses) and the Kunzum La pass 4590m on roads that were only intermittantly paved and literally just bumped around for about 10 hours through the most amazing himalayan scenery. It is literally indescribable.
Kaza is a small town about 3000 people (i think) with the worlds highest petrol station and a few guesthouses. there is a govt hospital which is pretty poor and does no surgery. And then the Mission hospital run by Dr V. Its in one building and when he arrives word spreads like wildfire an dthen everybody in the whole valley comes to see him. He is something of a legend so they all wait til he gets here to present with anything and everything. Today I did lots of ultrasounds myself and in the afternoon assisted with an open Cholecystectomy and got to close myself which was good, though it was with a pair of foreceps about
12 inchest long so was a bit clumsy. All this was done whilst the Dutch film crew from a christian tv channel in holland filmed, asked questions and filled the rest of the small theatre. There is no anaesthetist so Dr V does everything under spinal anaesthesia keeping an eye on the obs himself.
Call it whatever you like. Ki, kee, Kye its one of the biggest monasteries and at real altitude too. It sits on top of a rocky outcrop above the villiage of the same name. They were having a special dance when we got there and we just wandered around, seeing the dalai lama's bedroom for when he visits (every 4 years) and the monks going abou their dailiy business. We then walked past 3 of the biggest buddha statues i've ever seen and got the bus to Kibber, previously the highest motorable town in the world, but i think it has since been deposed by some other place.
ChanderTal Lake(moon lake)
we got a jeep 4 hours back to the Kunzum La Pass and then walked 3 hours (mostly down) towards the lake. It was a great walk and me,
jen, flick (english nurse), Debbie (swiss nurse) and Dr Josie (local doctor) had never been before but followed a rough path that was for the most part pretty ok, but a bit hairy in places until we reached a very very blue lake. It was crystal clear, obviously all glacial run-off and perfectly calm. There was an outing of school children at the lake as well as some other indian tourists. The jeep drove to the lake via a different route from Kunzum though it can only park about 20minutes walk away. We went back to the jeep and were just leaving when we found a lamb in the road all by itself. Its flock was nowhere to be seen so debbie ran out, picked it up and we put it in the front of the jeep!!!! It was so scared it didnt even make a sound. We simply found the nearest farm with a flock of goats (near enough) and our driver picked it up and simply ran across the field (at 4200m), dropped it with the goats and we left. It may have been the wrong shepherd, but we saw snow leopard tracks on our walk so we
thought it was better wth some goats than a definite meal for snow leopards. Yes we probably starved a leopard, the people on northumberland street would be furious!!!.
I dont know what else to write about. We take turns to cook (mine hasnt come yet) and play cards int he evening, though i've heard Dr V is a mega film buff.
I dont know what else to write, i'm sure this will probably go really quickly, but i'm here for another 2 weeks and then back to manali on the 30th of august with Dr V. Everyone else is gradually leaving before that. Dr Josie and Flick wen ttoday and the dutch are going wednesday then debbie and jen in a week. Then it'll be just me and Dr V plus a nurse for a week! I'll probably have more stories to tell, more photos (if they ever upload) by then. My mobile actually isnt working here (it is pretty remote) so i'm on the internet every few days.
There are more photos below