Dadu Aur Madak

Back to the Beginning
We had planned to go on to the own of Nako, which is just a few miles from the Tibetan border, but the intel we were getting was not promising. First of all there is no gas between Rekong Peo and Kaza--a distance of over 400 kilometers. We definitely had no interest in going into the Spiti Valley beyond Kaza, because the reports on the roads were pretty negative, and the terrain was much like Ladakh , which we had already seen. Nako was only 120 kilometers, so the 240 round-trip was doable barring any problem, but the hotel we were staying at in Kalpa had a tour group from France that was heading there that would have strained Nako's meager accommodations. We decided to backtrack, and possibly visit Sarahan on the way out. It was a fateful decision that brought us to the point in our journey that I mentioned on the first page.

The road through the valley on this portion of the loop crosses back and forth over the Sutlej River. This plank bridge just below Kalpa had hundred and hundreds of prayer flags tied to it. Perhaps we should have added one.


There is an international consortium with plans to build scores of these "mini" turbines along the rivers here. These shots are of the spillway of the one near the turnoff to Sangla. There were several more along the river that were being worked on, and these were our biggest driving concern. The constant flow of trucks would hammer the gravel into powder, and of course they would water the roads to keep the dust down. In the low areas this would turn the road into a muck that was slicker-than-snot. It was shortly after this spot that the  clothesline incident mentioned on the first page occurred.
How we are treated as foreigners.
With our plans of going to Sarahan scrapped, as I have mentioned, we returned to Rampur where I got my hip x-rayed. There had been no doctor on call, as the orthopedic surgeon was in Shimla at a conference, but we met a doctor in the parking lot who said they would be back the next day. I'd just like to say a word here about the people who grouse about immigrants getting medical treatment in our country. On the first day we went into the emergency room. They took two x-rays. My bill for that was 50 Rupees each, or a total of $2.50 for both. When we asked them to call us a cab to take us to a hotel, they promptly backed an ambulance up to the door and drove us to the far end of town to the hotel of our choice. They then drove Karen back to the hospital so she could get the second bike. For this they charged us the exorbitant fee of 150 Rupees or $3.75--almost double what a cab would have cost. On the following day we went in to see the orthopedic guy to have him look at my hip and read the x-rays. There was a sea of people around his door, but because we were foreigners they ushered us to the front of the line. Nobody complained. We ended up getting charged the same thing Indians pay for that service. Nothing. When I had the motorcycle accident in Arizona, my ambulance ride cost me $486.00. I wasn't hurt as bad as I was this time. We were moving to California, and the guy who "read" my x-rays then waited 4 months to send his $280.00 bill to the wrong address causing a screw-up on my credit history that took me a year-and-a-half to straighten out. If you really need to bitch about something, bitch about the system that perpetrates that kind of thing on all of us.

I was advised to stay off the leg for a week, but Rampur is not the place you want to hang around. After a couple of days we took a walk down the road a bit to get some exercise, and to make an offering to the Monkey God. I figured it doesn't hurt to touch all the bases.