We have just returned back to Leh after a 6 night stay in a village nestled in the Himalayas called Tar. The leaves turn brown and apples are ripe this time of year, but that is pretty much the extent of the similarities to this beautiful village, and my home in New Hampshire. Actually, in both places, momos bring a smile to everyone’s faces.
Our journey to Tar started with a two and a half hour long bus ride, in a vehicle definitely not fit for the fifteen of us. MJ and I squeezed into the passenger’s seat, with a full view of all the trucks and people we narrowly missed and a total awareness of our proximity to the edge of the cliffs. But don’t worry, we didn’t fall off, in part to our driver’s quick thinking and also to the countless road signs that read helpful phrases like “Don’t Be Silly in the Hilly” or more cryptic messages like “Life is Money, Time is Precious.” When our eyes were off the road, they were on the mountains, which we noticed with increasing alarm were covered with a heavy dusting of snow that had appeared overnight.
After a samosa and tea stop, and an unexpected road work delay, we made it- to the base of the mountain. A two hour hike lay ahead of us, but luck was on our side and so was the sun. There was no snow, but there were plenty of streams to pass and thorn bushes to whack through. When we made it to the nine house village, we were greeted with cups of warm tea and homemade biscuits. We were paired with another student, introduced to our host families and went our separate ways. We were welcomed into the homes of people we had never met, and could only exchange a few words of broken Ladakhi with. Throughout the week, we were overfed, over tea-d, over blanketed, and made over two hundred momo together. But that is a story for later, and somebody else will tell it to you.