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Samstag, 29. September 2012

Riding in the most important car on my route.

This day was one of the best I ever had on a trip, and it all started so bad:
- I was camping on about 3900m in the Indian Himalayas and caught a cold. The night before, I decided to hitchhike to Padum, the next town. I simply was too sick and weak for cycling.

I got on the road and started stopping cars. The first cars friendly waived back but didn't stop. Finally a cab stopped. The passengers were three ladies with their driver. As they heard of my sickness, they welcomed me on board.
I was glad I brought some rope, otherwise it would have been hard to mount the bike to the car rack. 
The women in the car explained me, that they were heading to Padum, where the Dalai Lama will give a public blessing. 

What happened next, was kind of strange to me. In the next village, the people had been waiting for our car. We were welcomed and given tee and cookies. They had prepared carpets on the lawn to sit, and small tables to eat. I didn't understand it at this time, but found out later at home, that one of the women is very famous. She is Rinchen Khando Choegyal, the founder of the Tibetan Nuns Project. She is also the wife of Tendzin Choegyal, the Dalai Lamas younger brother.

This was the last village before we headed to the 4400m Pensi La. "La" means "mountain pass". After the pass, we had this magnificent view on the Drang Drung glacier.

This is the whole view:
On the way to Padum, we stopped several times, for visiting people and villages, all of them happy to see us, and confused about the bike on the car. On this day, I drank the most tea in my entire life. 
These guys belong to the Buddist Association of Padum, and went 50 kilometers ahead to welcome us with softdrinks and cookies.

The three ladies were staying at a nun monastery located on the hills near Padum.
On the way we drove through some villages and got a lot of tea. Mrs. Choegyal told the villagers about things like how important it is to educate their children and about the equivalent rights of men and women.

I got to see Padum from the other side of the river
The children of the villages
At the end, the nuns of the monastery welcomed us to their monastery, and Mrs. Choegyal organized me a ride to Padum. 

The car with the guys from the Buddist Association took me to Padum. We first drove to the location were the blessings from the Dalai Lama will take place, and drove by a monastery to get some food. I got a delicious plate of Chomin, fried noodles with vegetables. After that, we drove into Padum, the inofficial capital of the Zanskar Region. They didn't found an accommodation for me, so one of the guys invited me to camp in his backyard. Later in the evening and after I had put up my tent, he invited me over for dinner, which was a great ending of a great day. 

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