When we drove in the “village” of Thukje, at a first glance it looked like a heap of rubble. we kept looking for an intact building. And there it was, quite nice, actually. In the adjacent tent a large Ladakhi family was gathering and yes, they had two rooms in their home for us to stay. We were uncertain about whether all these people were staying in the small house or if some was just visiting. Hassan, our driver, noticed our concerns and pointed at another intact building in the distance – a guesthouse: two concrete blocks on a plot of land outside the settlement, ten rooms, some with a view of the salt heaps nearby. Very, very basic, but livable.
An enterprising former nomad had them put up. Knowing it is the only place in the area to spend the night, he asks for 3.800 Rupees / 50 Euro (!) This is what you pay for a four star hotel in Leh! That it included dinner and breakfast was little comfort – it is usually around 2 Euro. Maybe we should add that there was only cold water and the ice-cold water from the sink gushed straight onto the floor. So every time we used the bathroom / toilet we waded through cold water. We did get a bucket of hot water on request, after asking several times, though.
But we were stuck. We could not drive the 2,5 hours to Tso Moriri because our permit for that area became only valid the following day. So we had tea and cookies in the restaurant and our spirits improved.
The big surprise was dinner, different kinds of pasta (!), excellent soup and fruits. They really knew how to win us over after the 50 Euro shock. Once it got dark, all the rooms were taken, mostly by French travellers. With so many people stuffed in the tiny dining room it got even pleasantly warm. Soon we all retreated to our basic rooms: you want to be in your bed, when the allotted time of electricity ends…