The heavens are colored a passionate blue and the earth below is draped in a jagged blanket of white. All sense of time has melted away as we glide in a dream world through shimmering skies above snow-capped peaks. I snap out of my trance when the aircraft rolls sharply to the right and banks around a stony summit. As the world tilts and gravity pulls me toward the window, I feel as if I could reach outside and scrape a piece of Himalayan rock. Then a valley materializes and the plane leans forward in a precipitous descent. We see a city sprawled before us. A Tibetan city wedged almost magically into the mountains of northern India, with China on one side and Kashmir on the other. Before I can ponder this, the plane abruptly taps the ground and skates to a stop. And so we emerge from our metal cocoon into the sun-soaked and oxygen-deprived air of Ladakh, 12,000-feet high in the Himalayas.
Photo credit: Pipimaru via Wikimedia Commons.