Anyone who has travelled with me knows that I can be impatient. Especially when it comes to shopping. I love shopping but I also like to be quick.
My travel companions wanted to buy jewellery, pashminas and tchotchkes. I wanted to buy books. I was therefore delighted when I found a beautiful book shop in the heart of Leh village, one that had wifi, excellent tea, sweet pastries and an amazing selection of books.
I knew what I wanted but was a little shy to ask. The shop was filled with Monks and I found it quite hard to ask the book shop owner if they had the Kama Sutra. English wasn’t great and every time I tried I was bumped into by a Monk who would smile and chat and ask if I needed help.
‘Perhaps you would like this one?’
The Heart of The Buddha.
‘No? Okay . What about this one?’
The Miracle of Mindfulness.
Hmm, not quite what I was looking for.
‘What about ‘When Things Fall Apart?’
In retrospect, I should have bought that one, but didn’t.
I carried on looking. Eventually, after three teas, two sweet treats and many Monks, I managed to find the Kama Sutra. It was small and lovely and colourful but – it was in German.
DAS VOLLSTANDIGE KAMA SUTRA.
God bless the wifi in the book store.
‘I’ve found one,’ I messaged my friend. ‘But it’s in German. What do you think I should do?’
Keep looking, he replied.
Somehow the German Kama Sutra didn’t work for him.
It didn’t work for me either.
I kept looking, with no luck. I plucked up the courage to ask a local, a Monk, if there was another book store in the area.
‘I shall take you there,’ he said, adjusting his robes and suggesting I follow him.
I followed him.
And that was how I landed up in another incredible Leh book store with an amazing collection of books, including a very large Kama Sutra. In English. With the most beautiful artwork, weighing 12 kgs and a real work of art.
‘I’ll take it,’ I said. There was no Wifi and I couldn’t ask my friend and it was seriously magnificent and it cost a fortune but OMG it was worth it.
Also, because I was still feeling shy I bought a bunch of books on Buddhism and ‘How to Reach Enlightenment,’ added a few souvenirs, exchanged email addresses with the Monk, paid three billion rand in excess baggage, and that was my shopping experience in Leh.
Leh is divine. The setting, the people, the food, the shops, the books and even the German Kama Sutra.
I could spend a week there. You should.
And come see my book!