Srinagar some more

The other thing we did while staying in Srinagar, is drive up into the nearby mountains to visit a place called Gulmarg. It is a winter ski resort and in summer boasts the world’s highest golf course. It was also a favourite haunt of the British back in the day and retains some of that old Raj charm. Actually you’d have to squint pretty hard to find much of note there. It was very seedy, overrun with rather desperate men and their exceedingly scrawny horses catering to the tourist trade. There is about a 2 km. walk from the parking lot to the gondolas which take you in two stages up to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately the day was overcast with a lowering ceiling and so visibility was down to 5 or 6 hundred metres.

It was also “hump” day – everyone was  just slightly out of sorts, ready to see the negative – of which unfortunately there was plenty – and the day didn’t help much.

We didn’t bother taking the second gondola as the visibility at the top was nil – a pity really because on a clearer day you can see K2 apparently. Now that would have been something.

We had a boxed lunch on the side of the road which had fried chicken – likely the same chicken I saw go overboard into Dal Lake the day before! Good thing it was well cooked!

One thing which we have all been having an increasingly hard time with is the sheer amount of garbage strewn everywhere. It is especially noticeable after Ladakh which is pristine clean by any comparison. The invention of plastic has NOT been kind to India. There are piles and drifts and mounds and layers of all sorts of crap and corruption – everywhere. It accumulates in corners, blows up against buildings, is eaten by the ever present cows and very occasionally gets swept into a halfhearted pile and burned. The worst offenders seem to be the Indians themselves, especially when they are “domestic tourists” – there are some attempts to encourage neatness but I fear it will take a generation or more to accomplish much. Sad really!

My last comments on Srinagar have to do with airport security, which is both the most stringent I have run across in India and probably the least effective. We had our bags and ourselves checked and x-rayed at least 4 or 5 times, bodies patted down numerous times, innumerable forms filled in and every single item removed and inspected in carry-ons. At the end of it all I could have identified half a dozen “holes in the blanket” and so all for naught really.

On to Amritsar….

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