Sunday, November 06, 2005

Safe in Kashmir

I think I'll start this one off by saying that where we are right now is very safe and everyone should not worry about us. That being said the minute we stepped off the plane we saw so many soliders with guns it was totally scary. I think we freaked ourselves out a little as I think neither of us knew what we should expect. We walked out of the airport and we knew we had to go to the prepaid taxi counter and thats what we did. We beat off the touts like they were flies and we cruised to the prepaid area without any troubles. lol thats where the fun began.

We arrived in Kashmir on the end of Rammadan which meant everything was closed. Yikes that can't be fun and it wasn't. The prepaid taxi counter was open and we had no problem paying the 300 rs to get into town but when we went to pay they didn't have chance for us. This sent off alarm bells, we thought dam this is another scam but we didn't see anything around so we decided that we would go into town and pay the dude when we got to the location that we were going since we knew how much it was supposed to cost. We cruised into town and we wanted to go to the tourist info place because we wanted to stay in a house boat. As soon as we arrived at the tourist info place we realized that we were going to have a long day because the tourist info place was closed because of the massive holiday. Great we were super pumped now we have to figure things out by ourselves. We were attacked by touts "You stay in house boat?", "Come with me I show you", "I have boat house...come..come...very cheap", "you need taxi?"

As you can imagine we were totally put off by these people and we told them to leave us alone because we weren't going to use them. We started walking around the town but everything was closed so we just went town a random road and tried to find a hotel. We knew that we wouldn't get house boat today because of the holiday so we thought might as well spend one in a hotel and figure things out the next day. We found a hotel without much problem but let me tell you the lonely planet map I have for the town that we are staying in is useless so I guess we had an idea of where we were. The hotel that we got had a tv which was good but it only had two blankets one for rob and one for me. Hey we are in India why do you need more blankets? Why do you need blankets at all? Well let me tell you the hotel as well as the town gets super cold at night and the hotel didn't have heating. What no heating? Ya thats correct, picture this Rob wearing all his clothes and me wearing everything I have hiding under our blankets watching tv. We were freezing. Rob told me in the morning that it was the coldest he had ever been. He later retracted that statement but I'm still holding that against him because he was grumby for the first two hours in the morning.

More fun with the hotel. Rob fell asleep at 9pm so I decided that I would read for a while because I totally hopped up on chai tea and wasn't ready to sleep. Well at 10pm the power was out in our hotel and it didn't come back on until 8am an hour after we got up. Oh how was the nice warm shower since you were in a hotel? Today is Sunday and we arrived on Friday and we haven't had hot water since. That is correct we have not had hot water in three days so as you can imagine we haven't showered and Rob stinks (just kidding) I don't think I would be able to smell him since I'm sure I smell just as bad.

A missed out describing walking to the hotel the first time. Think of a fortified city with solidiers outside of every important structure and these solidiers have guns are scary looking. There is razor wire everywhere and you are told not to take any pictures of any solidiers or anything fortified as they don't like it to much. It is a crazy city because of the solidiers and the kashmirry people don't really like the army being here. They talk about them being Indian and themselves being Kashmirrie. (check pics because as I'm writing this I"m uploading more pics)


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