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Wandering around the fairly small town of Leh is a mix of Indian nationals and tourists from all over the world. Filled with craft shops from Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir, etc as well as high-tech trekking gear from North Face and Lammer, it’s a strange combination of modern and ancient. Menus from most restaurants have sections including: Indian, Nepalese, French, German, Italian, Continental, and Chinese. Although, it’s necessary to be open-minded about what you might get. Last night, Cheng’s lasagna was a bowl of layered cheese, tomato, chicken, and roti bread. He made the astute revelation, that bread is really almost the same as pasta anyway!

And everyone wears hats! The air is cool, but the sun is hot. Given the multi-ethnic crowds, there is a wide variety of traditional and modern hat choices. Cheng and I found a neat little shop selling handmade jute hats from Nepal, but we ended up buying funny animal hats with ears and tassels. And even better, we spent quite a while chatting with the proprietor, Deetesh, who was from Nepal, but had studied computer science in Singapore before opening a restaurant in Penang, Malaysia and then this store here. He had so much to say about love and relationships and was very curious about Cheng and me and what kept us together. He seemed torn about his own life, insisting on his belief in making a traditional arranged match, but also longing for that one true love, sharing his trials and tribulations thus far including a few heartbreaks along the way. It seems to me a difficult thing to mesh: a worldly education with a traditional upbringing.

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