Thursday 28th, 7am
We went to Leh airport yesterday morning for our Air India flight back to Delhi, but the flight was cancelled because of a pilot strike. We were re-scheduled on Jet Airways the following day. An extra day in Leh rather than the noise and chaos of Delhi was no loss. Now we are waiting for our departure, already delayed from 7:25 to about 8:00 am. Check-in was pure chaos, mixed with intensive security screening (2 separate x-ray checks, 3 personal scans and frisks), bureaucracy (each scanned bag individually tagged, numbered and written by hand in a register) and a check-in procedure which took about 10 minutes for each of the three people in our party. Jet Airways had a poster for their staff, but in full view of passengers, exhorting their staff to make eye contact with “guests” since “eye contact exudes warmth and sincerity”. How about trying warmth and sincerity itself? And what’s wrong with us being called passengers?
The last day in Leh was a gentle wandering round the markets. Lunch at a multi-ethnic restaurant with a menu including Tibetan, Nepalese, Indian, Korean, Chinese, Italian, Russian and Israeli food. The proprietor was Nepalese, and his uncle married to a Korean woman. Always ready to try Korean food as it takes shape in different countries I ordered sujebi (it’s a soup of small dough strips or shapes), which came with the hottest kimchi I’ve ever encountered – made with a locally grown radish, cabbage and ginger).
We seem to be ready for boarding.