Our Shikara Trip On Dal Lake

on Monday, 22 March 2010

We were up fairly early, expecting our boat trip of the lake to begin at about 10am. I am relieved to wake up feeling much better after feeling worse than I have ever done before. Hassan arrives with some breakfast of boiled eggs and toast and jam, and says our boat trip won’t actually start till about 11am. After breakfast he brings in his bag full of scarves and carpets, that we have to politely browse and then decline, he is very worried about us telling anyone that he is trying to sell us anything and swears us to secrecy. We are shown to our boat and the owner is apparently eighty years old, although he doesn’t look this old. We are slowly paddled around the lake and down some rivers, we had expected to be shown some sights, but rather we just get hassle from people trying to sell us clothes, flowers and seeds. Parts of the river are heavily polluted and the smell is just unbelievable, we see several dead animals slowly rotting in the water. We have to stop at a local honey shop, which according to the owner Mick Jagger visited, I am somewhat sceptical of that. Tom tastes some of the honey, including Cannabis and Opium honey, obviously we don’t want to buy any and Tom finally conveys to the woman that we are not interested. We have a bit of lunch on the boat, including more boiled eggs and stale jam sandwiches, then return back to the houseboat. We had not had as much time as we had expected but were relieved to get off because we were not really seeing much. We have dinner back at the houseboat where I query Hasan on my passport which I have still not received back from Mustafa our tour guide, which is a bit worrying. He also has said we are being collected at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning for our trekking, when we had expected to be picked up at 8am. He says he will see what he can do and he says he will get us breakfast at 8am, I am not very confident in us starting any earlier and we will probably still be waiting around till 10am