At 2 o’ clock this morning, cursing the stray dog below the window which once again has been howling since about 10pm, and with noses poking out above the heavy blankets blue with cold, we reached the decision which had been looking inevitable all day and at 7am we had our bags packed and were standing at the empty and darkened reception desk waiting to tell the guesthouse owner that we were checking out. The high ranking on Tripadvisor casts further doubt on the reliability of the reviews there.
So we’re now at the Welcome Hotel on the Boulevard, inappropriately named in the light of the miserable, unsmiling and dismissive chap on reception. But, apart from a vista across the waste ground, used as a toilet by the waiting taxi drivers, the taxi parking lot, the waste ground where the boys are playing cricket, to the canal leading to Dal Lake where the houseboats are lined up, and beyond to the mountains, the main recommendations are a spacious room and central heating! And …. the England vs Wales rugby match is about to be broadcast on the room’s tv!
Some rain this afternoon, but no complaints as apart from that brief spell in Chennai we haven’t seen any since leaving the UK five weeks ago.
This evening we returned to Stream, a restaurant with terrific Kashmiri food and whose waiters, Iqbal, Shabir and Hafeez, have been so friendly and welcoming that we thought they deserved to feature in the blog. Here they are, looking a little like police constables in their blue sweaters.