Ladakh Day 10 – Spring Camp to Kanji

Day 10: The Day We Used Paddycake to Build Foreign Relations

Day Begins: Spring Camp
Trek Ends: Kanji

The final day was really more a victory lap. It felt like the final day of the Tour de France when there really is no competition. It was a short and lazy three hour jaunt to the village of Kanji, the trek’s terminus. On the not-so-bright side, it was the final day. On the bright side, the views didn’t disappoint. We ambled into camp to find it occupied by a group just beginning their trip. Groups like this that make me thankful that we have Sanjeev. Not only did a guide from that trip get hammered at our party that night, the trekkers nearly bought the campsite store out of water (not a great show of confidence in your guides).

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On the final night in camp in the village of Kanji, the campsite was “the” place to be in town. As such, our campsite was swarmed with the village children for most of our stay. My favorite kid was a young monk that first tried to endear himself to us by acting cute and trying to sell us a snail fossil and a geode looking rock. The monk was sixteen. He didn’t look a day over eleven. Once he realized we weren’t the suckers, we seemed to take an interest in the strange rituals we performed in camp.

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Approaching Kanji

First up was the daily yoga routine. Since I had been banned from yoga a few nights prior for making too many jokes, Glenn, Lindsay, and Judith took their familiar positions on a blue tarp and started a series of stretches. Quickly the children gathered next to them and quizzically watched the strange white people in strange poses. Then something else happened. A few started to imitate the poses. Before you knew it, the ancient art of yoga had been exported from India and reimported to a small village in one of its northern states.

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After the imitation yoga session, Lindsay and Judith decided to see if the kids would imitate something else: padddycake (or least a variant thereof). They sat opposite one another and started to clap their hands and, in English, describe in songlike fashion what they were doing (i.e., “Down, together, left, together, right, together, down”). Slowly but surely the kids gathered around and the older girls sat down next to them and started to imitate. Glenn even got the young monk to try it out with him.

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The next ten to fifteen minutes was just kids having fun playing games. A couple of the elder women from the village, whom we suspected to be grandparents, sat close and looked on with silent approval. The entire scene made for one of the more memorable moments of the trip.

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As the paddycake was coming to a close, one of the young girls leaned over to Lindsay and asked, “Why just one song?” Apparently, they were confused why they just were chanting, “Down, together, left, together…” and were ready to move to more complex moves. Next time we’ll have to add the baker’s man.

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