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Visit to Srinagar

Fatigue was setting into the legs after a few days riding.  With no new snow, the crew decided to head into the capital of Kashmir - Srinagar to stock up on supplies and explore the local sites.  Srinagar was chaotic like Delhi but not as crowded.  Some parts of the city felt like remnants of an apocalypse.  The locals were curious of our presence and greeted us with open arms.  We met up with Suhail who kindly took us to a restaurant to sample some kashmiri wazwaan.  The local cuisine was delicious and any qualms we had about the food in India were quickly forgotten.

Dal lake

Kashmiri boy

A Kashmiri man who recently returned from his travels in the US

Kashmiris are known for their generous hospitality

Fried pilau rice with mughlai curry chicken

All this for approximately AUS $7.50

Sporting our pherons to blend in with the Kashmiris

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Phase 2 of the Gondola Opens

Ski patrol finally get their hands on some explosives from the army and they manage to bomb the weak layers up top.  1pm and the gondola starts shipping bodies up the mountain.  We hike along the ridge to find some fresh lines while taking in views of the Himalayas in the background.  The breathing gets heavier with each step at 4000+ meters but the powder rush was worth it.

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Arrival In Gulmarg

Doesn't feel like we're in India anymore.  The tall alpine trees and snow capped mountains remind me why i'm here.  Just as I was starting to get a good vibe from the mountains the smell of kerosene from the hotel corridor engulfs my head sending it into a dizzy spin.  I soon learn the heating and hot water system is run by a generator powered by kerosene.  Apart from minor quirks which can only happen in India we're pretty happy with our suite.

Day 3 and i'm hit with altitude sickness.  A pounding headache keeps me from heading up the mountain.  The elevation at village level is 2650 meters and phase 2 of the gondola tops out at 4000 meters.

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Arrival In Delhi

As soon as I stepped into the taxi to head to the hotel, Delhi blows me away.  There is no order on the roads, it's every man for himself to squeeze into every possible gap on the tarmac.  Horns blaring, that's how you let that truck know you're only a couple of inches away from it.  Getting into the heart of New Delhi, it's a vibrant and chaotic city.

I met up with Jim tonight.  An english lad who will be my snowboarding and travel companion for the next 6 weeks.

Over the next day we start exploring old and new delhi via auto rickshaw.  We meet up with Rahul and Saurav who kindly take us to sample some mughlai chicken and mutton curry.  It's been a while since I ate with bare hands.  The food in India never disappoints... with regards to taste anyway.

Pahar Ganj

Trying out guitars and sithars


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Departure Day

In a few hours i'll be off to New Delhi to start my adventure.  Feeling pretty excited, apprehensive and nervous at the same time.  Quick check on indicates the snow pack is still pretty unstable at this point.  A couple of skier triggered avalanches were set off yesterday involving skiers from 2 guided groups.  Luckily everyone was accounted for.

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Work is done…

Once work finished up I flew home to New Zealand to spend some time with the folks and soak up the laid back lifestyle of kiwi country before heading off to the Himalayas.  A brand new basketball stadium housing 12 indoor courts was build recently and Tom, Sean and myself met up for pick up ball just like the old days.

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