Day 2 Monday 3 July. Srinagar

It’s light t 5.00am and after a long sleep I was ready to see some sights. Habib (Ramez’s brother) said we could use the shikara if we liked so I bailed it out, scraped out the weeds and paddled it around Nagin Lake. Dal and Nagin Lakes are the jewels of Srinagar. Men were catching fish and various tradesmen were paddling around to houseboats selling local paper mache’, silver jewellery and flowers. The still water made perfect reflections.

We plan to spend a few days in Srinagar and needed to find an internet café and change some dollars into rupees so cycled into the centre of town. It was mayhem. We didn’t have a good map and most of the roads aren’t sign posted so we had to just use instinct and our compass. Well that didn’t get us far. The traffic was intense and everyone just constantly honked their horn. We are staying at least 10km out of town and we kept losing each other before we got too far. At one stage I lost Alan and had no idea where he was, or even where I was for that matter. We haven’t even left Srinagar and we are lost. After back tracking I eventually caught sight of Alan waiting at a street corner. We were both relieved and exhausted from the heat so stopped for some chai and snacks.

After a long day we managed to find our way back to the houseboat but didn’t find an internet café or anywhere to exchange money. Srinagar is very different to Cambodia where Keryn and I were in January where there were internet cafes on every corner. There are very few other foreign tourists around the streets or on the houseboats. We had a swim off the houseboat to cool down and played around on the jetty. There is a lot of weed in the lake which probably indicates there is a high nutrient load and perhaps some environmental problems. None the less the water seemed clean and there are a lot of wildlife and fish about.

We had goat and rice for dinner and enjoyed the duty free alcohol I bought at the airport. It’s a full moon and we can’t believe we are sitting on a houseboat in India. We catch up on all that has happened over the years talking about our families, work and bushwalking.