Published: August 7th 2007June 9th 2007
Hi Guys...Hope your all well :)
Wow...where do i start?.... Delhi!!!...Its as i imagine India to be!!!...Extremly HOT, SMELLY, NOISY and so much Hustling & Bustling. You have people approaching you from all angles. Although i have been in india for almost 4 weeks and you think you are just getting use to dealing with everything, Delhi somehow leaves you feeling you cant trust anyone that talks to you even at the tourist information desk.
I just wanted to get away from it all and especially with the political problem and road blocks in Agra and Jaipur, i was easily persuaded to fly up to Kashmir to do some trekking in the Himalayas.
I must admit i felt like i was part of a carefully planned scam in getting people to go to kashmir as i was approached by many others after offering the same thing.
From being approached by a young boy whilst i was on my way to book my ticket to Varanasi. He insisting that he is studying English and is happy that he is able to practice his English with me and then informing me that i cant get tickets from train station and
that i needed to reserve them at the Government Tourist Office...I was cautious of him as i had been told by my Hotel manager that i can get them from the upstairs office for foreigners.
So i thanked him and said i will try here anyway, so he showed me the entrance and left me....Phew i thought!!.. only to be stopped at the entrance door and was asked to show a ticket which i said im here to try and reserved and was again informed i needed to go to the office to reserved and that the rules had changed... i didnt believe him but he shown me his ID card that he worked there. So i jumped into the Auto rickshaw which will only cost me 10 rupees as i didnt fancy walking in the scorching heat to this damn Office to get my train ticket.
Arriving at the office which seemed very professional and organised, i thought ok seems ok...so i sat down and said i needed to get a ticket to Varanasi but thought whilst i was there i might as well try and get some travel distant and time and try and plan my remaining
2 weeks carefully but somehow i ended up booking a week in Kashmir. hehehe...must admit his good or maybe its because i already wanted to go trekking in the Himalayas so didn't need much persuading.
Got to say it wasn't cheap...but it included flight and all inclusive 7 days in the house boat, the flight wasn't untill the next day so they also arranged a taxi to drive you around delhi site seeing for free but i think was already added on the cost.
I must say it was quite nice having everything arranged for you from being picked up at the hotel and dropped at the airport to having someone waiting for you at the otherside.... although funnily was waiting for a while looking for my name card, think oh oh!!!... where the hell are they?...and my phone had no reception so i couldn't phone Iffy the guy who organised everything. Finally i was approach by a Faisal with the tinniest name card ever...hehehe he apologies but said i looked Indian so he didnt think it was me. OK i let you off!!!... as i had the same problem inside the airport..the Singapore couple i was chatting
we had a good Laugh at ourselves!!!
with was stopped to be given i form to fill and i wasn't and they themselves had to let me know that i needed to go fill this foreign tourist form and that the officer must have thought i was Indian.
Arriving to my Boat House i was Kindly greeted by Hameed the owner and i had already spoken to early that morning. Got to meet all his family his two girls was really sweet tried to teach me Kashmiri but then later found out they gat it all mixed up and was teaching me the wrong words...BLESS!!!...
That night i got chatting to Ben another guest at the boathouse, It was funny as we was trying to have a conversation but Faisal (the owner son kept interupting ) ...we felt like we was been constantly watched and had a personal bodyguard with us at all times. Wasn't sure whether they was genuine just wanted to be with us to chat or spying..... sad to be such a sinister...but when we did finally got the freedom to chat he admitted that he felt the same about Delhi and how he felt he was carefully manipulated into doing the
Ah He was a great trek guide...he had many stories to tell.
trip to Kashmir....we laughed about it and in fact i think it made us both feel better knowing we wasn't the only one who fell into their trap.
The way i see it is, yes i did feel like i was some how manipulated into it and possible paying a higher rate but as long as i get what i want from it and so far it seems a very pleasant place, i didn't mind as long as its in my budget.
Well it has turn out perfectly!!!...i went on a 4 day 3 night trek up Mount Naranag and did some Trout Fishing in the lake and River...Absolutely stunning!!!... and suprisingly caught loads of fish 46 in total (ok not all by myself but between 3 of us) :)
I've been taking it easy and enjoying the tranquil Nigeen lake the last two days preparing for my 2 day trip to Dharamsala tomo which i hope to see the Dalai Lama if his home heheheh :) Its hopefully wont be too bad as i will be travelling with Anke (German Girl who is also staying at the boathouse). We both not looking forward to the heat
that will await us. :)
There are more photos below