The evening in Korzok turned out to be really bizarre… Walking around in the dark without streetlights, the tiny village did not come across as particularly picturesque: cubic houses thrown together from stones; bags and other stuff on their flat roofs; lots of rubble all over the village.
Herdsmen were driving their Pashmina sheep home and construction workers still slaving away in the dark. The village is where former nomads came to settle. Some have turned to tourism. There were two guesthouses to choose from in summer 2013: a very, very basic one in a family’s home and the nicer Lake View Guesthouse with a view that brings you on your knees. On a prime location with a stunning view of the lake, it was in the noisy process of adding another 10 more rooms and a restaurant.
This is actually exactly what the village needs! The only places to eat – dal, rice, chapatti, instant Maggi soup and momo – were three tents next to the monastery, right in the center of the village. At the most popular one, the Lasha Restaurant, a local lady handled a crowd of about twenty tourists without getting a bit excited. Hidden behind large boxes of water bottles and candy bars – the tent also serves as the local store – she dished out meal after meal using one (!) kerosene burner. Customers – chocking from the overwhelming smell – sat like sardines in a semicircle watching the spectacle. Her daughter was doing the dishes in a bucket full of greasy water, hauling in the water from the only faucet outside that served the whole village. A cheerful granddaughter in between this orderly chaos was enjoying the attention.
That evening we definitely felt like eating something else than rice and dal again, but at the same time we realized that we were witnessing something that will be gone soon. Once the Lake View opens in a few months, a real restaurant with a lake view, this ambience will be history…
Once the tourists left, the locals came for dinner. But that was not the only business. What we first thought to a separate section of the tent for the family, turned out to be the sleeping quarters for Indian and budget tourists!
Most tourists, especially the motor-bikers, stay in one of the two campsites on either end of the village, large white tents with their own “food program”.