I have read lots of literature (mostly British fiction) that discusses or touches on the use of a hot water bottle for bed or travel. I understood the basic concept but thought it was a quaint historical, yet most likely minimally effective, heating aid.
Boy was I wrong. The hot water bottle saved my freezing ass and made me love the houseboat (I already loved it’s charm but was extremely clouded by the fact I was constantly freezing and the aforementioned paranoid delusions). This was not just a Kim gets cold easily–Kris was also up shivering with me when we both had about 5 or 6 thick blankets on our beds. There is something about being on the water when you are cold that gets into your bones.
The people at the houseboat had been extremely solicitous since we arrived and if it was possible after our confrontation with the travel folks they were even moreso. Constantly moving around the sole gas heater to the kitchen or living room, bringing us Kashmiri tea, coming to check on us when we weren’t out or doing things. After our freak out the first morning they upped the ante even more and offered their cell phone numbers free of charge so that Ryan felt more comfortable about contacting us. They said we could use them to call him free of charge, they walked with us to the Internet cafe so that we wouldn’t feel unsafe, they brought us hot water bottles for our beds.
That did it. That seriously made the houseboat an amazing treat because staying here is pretty fantastic. I was warm all night. I could finally take off the 4 layers of clothes I was wearing to bed and throughout the night I woke up being warm so I peeled off another layer until I was just wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. Who knew such a little thing could change my life. I am now a devotee. Words cannot express how much it changed our experience here.
Every day we have a guided adventure, breakfast and dinner prepared and served to us and amazing sights and sounds. We have our own bedroom/ english style bathroom, kitchen and living room to share with our fellow travelers, they even installed a wood burning heater in the living room so we could spend more time hanging out there without constantly moving the gas one.
Don’t get me wrong. To some extent Kris and I are very aware that we could be screwed on the travel arrangements but frankly we can always cancel/deny the charge later. We know that this isn’t Shangri-La and that we always need to be aware and cognizant of who and what is happening around us but it’s not as bad here as the Internet makes you think. We’ve seen hundreds and possibly thousands of Indian (non-Muslim) tourists here in busses and on planes. We’ve encountered British, Greek and various European tourists in our adventures around here many who came through the same company and are very happy with their experience.
We have an adventure today, we are celebrating Eid with Bashir (our main travel guy) tomorrow in his home with his family and some of the people who’ve been guiding us and then we head to Dharamasala. If things continue for the rest of the trip to be as awesome as they have been here then I think it was worth both the massive freak out and the money we paid. If not we cancel the charge and start our plan anew. No big deal.