Late morning sunshine dapples a small stone walled paddock; cottonwood fluff drifts slowly, incense infuses the warming air. A cow lows, already wanting her milking grain, otherwise silence.
Zeepata’s Guest House in Leh, India, exerts a gentle hold on guests: The Austrian motorcyclists postpone departure another day, for no particular reason they muse. The Eastern European/North Carolinian family of four, read and do maths and work remotely, architects, “It’s too comfortable. We have no reason to go.” The French couple return between strenuous treks to rest, recuperate, and then stay another day, and another, make plans to come back. The American bicycle touring couple delay the beginning of their tour, for acclimatization they say.
Zeepata’s is a benign Hotel California: you can come, and you can leave, but you don’t seem to want to. Perhaps the Buddhist laid back sensibility is catching, or the food is too good, the quiet village atmosphere so close to town. There is ninth-century stupa down the alley with far more ancient rock carvings to ponder, to wonder at and speculate. But, I think, it is Mom’s smile, broken English, and pampering.
We always begin our foreign tours with a few days at a guest house, rebuilding Zippy (our tandem), respecting jet lag, resting from the travel getting our bearings. This time we landed at 11,000 feet and needed to add acclimatization to our regimen. One week we thought, no more, but day ten and we dawdle, blaming it on a stomach ailment, some breathing issues, but maybe those things, yes, but more.
It will be day thirteen when we leave. No, I’m not superstitious, except we do walk around the stupas clockwise, always. Zeepata’s teaches patience; desultory days are okay, liberating. Will this sensibility follow us throughout our tour of India?
One way tickets are a good thing. . .