Day 16 Tuesday 17 July. Lamayuru - Nimmu 84km

We are into a good routine and got up early and packed. Mama knew we were up and about so called us for tea and chapattis with butter and jam. Mama and her husband wished us well as we set off on the next leg of our journey.

We had heard about an old road which is an alternative route to the next town. They say it is hardly used as it is long and winding and more dangerous for trucks and buses than the new road. People have suggested it would be good for a bicycle with no traffic. It was 26km of winding bends they call the Jalebi Bends after a local sweet that is a winding mass of coloured sugar. It was a spectacular ride of hairpin loops and bends mostly downhill. We passed through the villages of Khalste, Nurla, Uleytokpo and Saspol.

At Saspol we expected the usual tea stalls or a restaurant but there was nothing. It was 30˚C and besides the Jalebi Bends it was all up hill with atrocious road conditions. We ended up just walking our bikes. We must have looked wrecks. Two young men sitting out the front of their tiny mud brick home looked at us with pity. I asked if they had any tea or food. They beckoned us to come over. We entered their one room abode and they asked Alan to lie down and rest. With sign language they offered us some rice and vegetable masala. They were from west Bengali and had come up the mountains for summer work. Probably as labourers on a road construction gang. Their home had no furniture and they just slept on the floor on old blankets. In the corner were sacks of rice, potatoes, onions and chickpeas. Their clothes were slung behind the door over a timber beam. After resting and eating we needed to move on. I offered them the going price for a meal and they embarrassingly accepted it. They were so poor but they just wanted to help us. Refreshed we cycled on until 6.30pm making it a 12 hour ride to Nummu where we camped out the back of a restaurant/ guest house on hard packed gravel and dirt. It was an 84km ride and we could not wait to lie down. We were kept awake for most of the night by roaming packs of dogs howling and barking.