The bus dropped us off in the center of Sangla, a small settlement which really wasn’t anything more than a pitstop for people who were going further into the valley; where they would either stop at a camp site or towards the popular treks that line the Baspa river or the ultimate destination for Sangla, which was Chitkul – the last Indian village on the old Indo-Tibetan road.
Me? I was going to spend the night in Sangla. My aunt had helped me out with the accommodations, I was to crash at the PWD (Public Works Department) Guesthouse. The PWD guesthouses are government accommodation, which means they’re really really subsided (read cheap) and really really nice (because they host politicians and other bigwigs).
I knew this place would certainly be in the center of town, but I had absolutely no idea that it would be the center of town! The Sangla road serpentines around a small rise in the settlement, and sure enough the majestic building that overlooks the entire settlement and valley was the PWD guesthouse.
I was excited, this place looked amazing! I double-timed it to the gate when I was stopped by guesthouse’s caretaker there.
The next 2 hours of my life zipped past.
Because the caretaker didn’t believe I had a reservation there. Oh, and he wasn’t the actual caretaker, but a substitute. He was also slightly deaf, which when partnered with my rudimentary grasp of basic Hindi, meant that it was more like a deleted scene from lost in translation than an actual real life conversation.
Thankfully, I had the phone number of the DG who had made the request for me, but he also couldn’t understand why there was a problem. After all, his office told the caretaker that this guest would be coming, something which this substitute just refused to understand.
I kid you not, he even refused to speak to the DG to get verbal confirmation. That man was the embodiment of ‘Suspicious minds’.
I have no idea how it got solves, but eventually someone (not the caretaker) came and sorted the problem out. They were very apologetic about it which was a much appreciated change.
The PWD guesthouse, oddly enough, was actually rather empty – which was rather annoying. The substitute was denying me entry, because PWD guesthouses are ridiculously cheap, and literally every travel book advises you to stay at one. As a result, they’ve now become a little more closed on who gets a room. There were 6 rooms, and I was the only person there. But! Tomorrow there would be people coming (to occupy 2 rooms), and that’s why it would have been a problem to just give me a room without a reservation.
With this finally sorted out, and it just being shy of 2pm, I picked up my camera and headed out for a walk.