Attack in Mumbai

Updates are at the bottom of the post.

First things first, Thomas and I are both OK.

Remember there is a delay between our blog and where we are real time. In real time, Thomas and I are currently in Mumbai (Bombay). We’ve been caught up in the terrorist attack on the city for the last two days. If you have been watching the coverage, then you should be familiar with Leopold’s Cafe and the Taj Mahal hotel, our hotel, the Carlton, is on the road connecting the two.

Luckily, We had called it an early night and were both relaxing in our hotel room watching TV when, suddenly, we heard a series of explosions outside. Annoyed at what I believed to be another series of post-Divali fire-crackers, I walked outside on to our second-floor outdoor veranda. I noticed people running by below us, so I leaned over the railing to take a look. My brain froze.

Two men wearing backpacks and armed with machine guns were firing bullets in all direction blasting holes Continue…

Nubra Valley Through Bella’s Eyes

We’re still in Leh. A couple of days ago we walked up to a monastery with the sand mandalas I was talking about. When we were walking up we met 2 guys walking down. They and my mom talked like grown ups do and we decided to meet them for dinner. There names were Tony and Thomas, they’re about my moms age. We all decided to rent a jeep with a driver to go to the Nubra Valley. I was really looking forward to having snow after Delhi’s SCORCHING heat. There was no snow in Leh but there was enough to ski on the pass. I couldn’t wait to throw a snow ball at my moms head ” wah ha ha ha.” Continue…

Khardung La – The Highest Road

TnT are on the road once again. Thomas and I joined up with Cat and Bella to hire a jeep to take us up and over Khardung La pass to the Nubra Valley, the region to the northeast of Leh along the border with Tibet and Pakistan. You might be thinking, “Another Himalayan Valley?” But this Himalayan Valley comes with a twist, or rather the road leading to it comes with a twist, and we just couldn’t pass it up. Continue…

Cat and Bella

Cat and Bella are the first mother/daughter team we’ve met traveling long-term. When we first started talking outside Thiksey monastery in Ladakh, we thought we were chatting with two sisters. But soon we discovered that Bella, the short spunky lady, was only 11 years old (with the attitude of a 25-year old). We immediately hit it off and arranged to hire a jeep together for the next three days to visit Nubra Valley.

Ladakh was Cat and Bella’s first introduction to India. The perfect place to ease in and minimize the culture shock coming from Europe, where they spent several months traveling after leaving their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico this summer. They’ll be gone for one school year, but that doesn’t mean vacation pure for Bella – or for Cat as a matter of fact. Continue…

The Happy Horseman – Your Clicks Count

While traveling through Zanskar, we spent the night in Ichar with Stanzin Nayan and his wonderful family whose warm welcome really touched us.

Stanzin was attempting to support his family working independently as a horseman leading tourists through the region. Unfortunately, he was working without a tent or sleeping bags, quite a challenge in such an extreme environment. Sitting in his kitchen, we already started hatching a plan to help the family out. Continue…

Zanskar Pictorial

Zanskar was a real blast, but we are taking a few days to rest and, of course, EAT!!! In the meantime, enjoy a little more of the spectacular region in our “Across Zanskar” pictorial.

You’ll notice that, for technical reasons, we are using a new one-page pictorial format. Let us know if you have any problems with the new design.

Help Us Promote ContemporaryNomad.com

The vote you’ve already cast for us on bloggerschoiceawards.com was for 2008. They just started their new ratings for travel blogs for 2009 which means we are starting over at zero. You can really help by voting for us at the Bloggerschoiceawards.com. If you get lost while signing up or voting, we are currently on page 1 of the “Best Travel Blog” section (but at the lower end of the page).

It takes a couple of minutes, but it can really help us. We have noticed they have a few problems with users registering from Hotmail accounts, so it would be better to use a different email service if you have one. Every vote counts!

By the way, thanks to everybody who has already voted for us.

Padum to Lamayuru

After the first Zanskar video, here’s the second half of our trek. Follow along as we hike from Padum to Lamayuru along the turquoise Zanskar River, over eight (!) incredibly steep passes and by impressive rock formations. The video features several of the passes we had to cross, more homestays in traditional villages, and a glimpse of monastic life in Lingshed and Lamayuru monasteries. Also, witness the shocking end of complete isolation as the road construction pushes forward and has now reached Sirsir La pass just hours away from Photoksar.

Please see our note about the posting delay.

Donkeys Need Love, Too!

We pet this cute donkey while we were in Lamayuru, and clearly it was the first time this little guy had ever received kindness from a human. He followed us around gently nudging us in the back or rubbing against our hands asking to be pet again. Here he is sneaking up behind me while I was sitting on the cliffs overlooking the city.

A Different Kind of Ice Plant

When we left our campground early in the morning walking towards the next pass, we noticed all these bizarre ice formations.

There seems to be a connection between a particular plant (which, at this time of year, looks completely dry) and the icy curls growing around it. Continue…