This morning started early- 5 AM to be exact. I needed to pack all of my things before it was time for us all to leave SECMOL and get on our flight back to New Delhi. While packing, however, I realized I didn’t have something very important: my phone! I didn’t use my phone other than for its camera within the past week, and even then seldom took it out of my room, so I had no idea how I could have lost it. I searched all over the campus for it, but came up with nothing. Although defeated, I finished packing because I knew I had to continue on. I got over it by accepting that it’s a funny story to say I lost my phone in the Himalayas.
After we all finished packing, we put all of our belongings onto our bus which was going to take us back to the airport. I then said goodbye to all of the new Ladakhi friends I had made during this time, and it was a very emotional goodbye. I’m so happy to have gotten to know such amazing people in such a short amount of time. They’re definitely a group I will never forget because of the huge impact they’ve made on my life.
We all piled on the bus and waved goodbye to our friends. On the way to the airport we sang our favorite songs in unison like it was an elementary school field trip, and it felt great. Once we were back at the airport I was reminded of the heavy militarization of the area by the abundance of men with guns that I saw, but they didn’t scare me like they did when we initially landed.
I got onto the plane and slept for the whole flight. When we landed, I could already feel that hot, sticky New Delhi air again. After further inspection of the weather, I saw that it was 106 degrees outside. This was in great contrast to the perfect 70 degree weather that we had in Ladakh. We pushed through the humidity to get back to our familiar hotel, the Mantra, and ate Domino’s pizza for lunch since we had been eating lentils for the past week. (Honestly, I’d have to say I definitely prefer lentils to New Delhi Domino’s…)
After a long, long nap and a meeting with our cultural geography group, we then hit the town again for dinner. This time, we decided to go to a South Indian restaurant. Previously, we had only eaten North Indian food, so we wanted to mix it up a bit. This food was much different than anything else we had eaten before. It was very bread and rice based, rather than meat or vegetable based like North Indian food. Although the food didn’t necessarily taste bad, everyone agreed that we liked North Indian food a million times more.
Once we got back to the hotel, we all went to our rooms to relax for the rest of the night. I borrowed one of my roommates’ computers to message my family on Facebook to tell them about how I lost my phone and then got a shower. I showered for what felt like forever, and I’m pretty sure I ingested some shower water during that time. I also realized that I forgot to take my malaria pill for the day, so overall my health was doing GREAT!
I went to bed very late that night, tired out from my day of travel. Even though I was in the comfort of the large hotel beds, however, I could not help but think of the amazing time I had in the Himalayas and how much I missed my friends back in Ladakh.