…continued from A Statement About Kashmir
It was high time to flee Srinagar for Leh to cleans myself of that dismal place.
A Portuguese couple I met at Hotel Swiss felt the same so we decided to hire a jeep together.
Using my previous jeep rate of 500 rs for the 184 miles drive from Jammu to Srinagar (2.7 rupees per mile) I estimated that the 256 mile ride from Srinagar to Leh should cost around 700 rs.
The drivers, however, demanded 2000 rs.
We tried negotiating for a fee closer to the figure I came up with but we were only aware of one jeep stand in Srinagar and all of the jeeps seemed to be owned by the same company and were firm in their demand for 2000 rs.
We held out for about an hour, refusing to get into several departing jeeps, until we conceded that we had no choice. Finally we were able to get the rate down to 1600 per person if we sat in the back (third row) seats (aka the worst ones).
I’m still not convinced this was a fair price. However, I soon realized that the road to Leh was tougher on the vehicle than the road from Jammu as much of it is unpaved, which accounts for the higher rate. Though, I imagine we still paid a higher rate than the locals did.
When the jeep was loaded and we were ready to go a by-standing old man inquired about our trip and when we told him where we were headed he sighed and said, “oh…Indian roads is always jumpy and bumpy”.
And as we drove out of Srinagar the driver turned around and exclaimed, “road is good. Driver is rough and ready!”
But I wouldn’t fully realize the Indian propensity for rhyming about the road until we were well on it.
“Deep Valley, Don’t Make Rally”
“Drive With Care, Make Accident Rare”
“After Whisky Driving Risky”
“Speed Is Knife That Cuts Life”
“Safety On Road, Safe Tea At Home”
“Do Not Be Rash And End In Crash”
“Don’t Dream Otherwise You’ll Scream”
Sometimes the Border Roads Organization prefaces it’s signs with it’s acronym instead of it’s mountain logo making the rhymes read
“Bro, Speed Thrills But Kills”
“Bro, Blow Horn, Don’t Get Torn”
Occasionally there are non rhyming safety signs such as
“If Married, Divorce Speed”
“Mind Your Breaks or Break Your Mind”
and “Love Your Neighbor, But Not While Driving”
I was hoping to capture more of these signs on camera but we whizzed by them too quickly. Another blogger has had more luck though. Click here for more Indian road signs!