Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Power of Yes

This past week since finishing up at Seva and leaving Udaipur has been an amazing immersion into madly different geographic, cultural, linguistic, culinary, climatic, architectural, mental, and emotional environments.  Plenty to say in time, most on language, words, and intonation, but first a massive slideshow!

From the deep humidity and then monsoons of Rajasthan, I arrived in Amritsar, Punjab to a tearful evening spent circumambulating the Sikh Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib.

And since I don't like restrictions, so of course the next night, along with some new hostel mates, I headed to the Indo-Pak Wagah border to observe the gate ceremony...what a spectacle!

Literally, grand stands for visitors.  We are in a small, specified section for foreigners.
Pakistan is so close! 
Jai Hind.
The gates are open!  Then comes a flag ceremony shared between each country's border officers.
After a very homey, hot, and overall incredible few days in Amri, my Uncle ji dropped me at the airport, but of course not without first meeting his family-in-law and chai.  Stepping off the plane in Srinagar to announcements and signs of "This is an active military airport. No photography is allowed." was interesting, but the cool air met with the crisp, afternoon sunshine woke me up to the beauty and freshness of my surroundings, assuaging any hesitations. 

Maybe an hour later I am out wandering and strolling through this Nigeem Lake-side park.

The next day, yesterday, I headed out early for the Zojila Pass, the connecting mountain road from Amritsar to Leh.  

Naturally, chai stop early on the trip.

Two hours or so later, stopped on the pass.  Immaculate Himalayas.

Setting out to hike from Sonamarg...yes, that is snow.
All for the Chaco shot, and of course the Thajiwas Glacier.

Today held many wonders among the wanders.  I don't have any pictures from the morning, but I walked from my guesthouse to the Kashmir University.  What a gorgeous campus.  Please look up images online.  I don't know anything about its resources or strengths, but I learned from three 2nd-year engineering students it doesn't quite compare to the IITs for engineering.  These three did me a major solid and helped me to find wifi from another friend in the library so I could coordinate a meeting for the afternoon.  All set.  Pointed towards the bus and Nishat Gardens, I was off to learn about interpreting and translating for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jammu & Kashmir.  Apart from hearing about life in ICRC, probably the best meeting spot, ever.
Dal Lake sprawling beyond the terraced gardens of Nishat Bagh.

After the walk through the gardens, conversation, and chai, I was left to just soak in the mid-afternoon sun bouncing heavily off Dal Lake.  In no time more conversation found me along with the offer to go to Parimahal.  I didn't know what Parimahal was, where it was, what goes on there, or really even how to say it two seconds after I heard the name, but after talking with these two gentlemen for a second about Srinagar and their Delhi jobs, all I could say was yes.

And what a powerful yes.  The Kashmir Valley below.  Dal Lake absorbing the setting sun.

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