Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to get to heaven and what to do there (Part 3)

Alright, let's get down to business. You are here for the snow. You've heard stories about it, you've seen it in hundreds of movies, you've always dreamt of throwing snowballs at everyone, especially at the Bangalore drivers who cut in from the left.

You hire a cab to Sonamarg, it's a ninety minute drive from Srinagar. The family starts cheering when you spot the first blob of snow on the road. It's a brownish-white muddy mess, but you stop and take a dozen pictures. Your driver points at you and laughs helplessly.

The terrain changes quickly. You see more of white, less of brown. You arrive at the foot of a snow covered hill. There are tents, small houses and hundreds of Kashmiri guides all around. 

You get out of the car and try to go with the least intimidating bunch. You do need to rent snow boots anyway. You are not sure if you need a guide though, you try walking up. You cover thirty feet and stop, legs aching, gasping for breath. 

The guides come by again, they tell you that they can take you up the hill on their sleds, they can show you parts of Sonamarg that you wouldn't be able to see on your own. The lead guide is all of seventeen years old. He says he will need to wait five hours till he gets his turn again. It's a token based system, apparently. You agree, he and his friends start pulling you and your family uphill. It's not the proudest moment of your life. 

Then again, it's probably one of the most spectacular. 

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