Travel experiences during the pandemic are different from what they were prior to COVID-19. A few images and experiences from my travels during this time.
My earliest memories of travel outside of the city involve bus and train rides. Bus rides would be in the ubiquitous “Red Bus” or “Semi-Luxury” or “Super Deluxe” out of the city. In those worry-free days, the travel plans were out of our hands and minds, as was packing and logistics of the journey and destination. We were expected to show up, stay in sight and out of trouble. I never had a problem with meeting those expectations (at least as far as I can recall, my mother may have a different story to tell). The Red Bus journeys were the most adventurous – finding a seat and retaining it was always atop priority. As a kid, I was happy to help. Squeeze in among the rush to get inside, put a handkerchief on a seat and spread the hands out wide as far as I could, waiting for the family to join in. I can only imagine the thoughts
The new day dawned with the sun out in all its glory. Life seemed to be so much happier and I thought we had all recovered very well after the arduous trek the previous day. I had been through the final night of sleeping in a bag and in a tent. 3 nights in that cold is enough. I couldn’t wait to get back to sleeping on a bed and being spoilt with the comforts of a modern day city life. We were asked to clean up any and all debris lying on the ground after we had finished rolling up the tents and sleeping bags one final time. We started on the descent at 9:00 a.m. The first 5-6 kms of the descent was fun as everyone was in good spirits and a round of Antakshari duly followed. Post lunch, the group split up into smaller chunks as those that were energetic sped down quickly and reached the point
A poor night’s sleep for all those going on the trek. We were up at 3:00 a.m for some hot breakfast and tea. We set off at 4 a.m, in the dark. It was quite an experience, walking uphill in the cold and the dark as we made our way through on some stones and a meadow to reach our first halt at about 5:30 a.m. At this point, 8 of the 20 in the group decided to take up an offer to go and visit Kuari Pass, which was a much easier trek compared to scaling Pangarchulla. At this point, I decided to leave my head torch (a bulky and powerful one) underneath some stones, to be picked up on the way back. Then, we set off onwards towards Pangarchulla. Walking in those mountains is quite an experience. Yes, it is tiring and you do wonder why even bother with all this torture to the body. But then, you
The next day dawned bright and early for me. I wanted to be up early so I could finish my business before there were too many people wandering about. Although the trek organizers had setup toilet tents, they were almost always occupied. Plus, the stink in those holes after a few people had visited it, was something else. Nature was calling and it was time to answer it! A quick, small trek uphill in the cold and I was in a secluded enough for doing what was necessary. Then, I was back down, changed into a fresh pair of clothes for the day’s trek, and ready for tea and breakfast. Trek The Himalayas (TTH), the company organizing the trek, were outstanding in the planning, organization and execution. The food that they cooked, setting up the tents, packing up and being ready for us when we got to the next campsite with hot tea, water and food – they were very,