Hockey in Leh, India

I finally arrived in Delhi, but I only had half a day before leaving to Leh. Due to the demonetization here in India, money is more or less in short supply. After trying a few ATMs in the airport there was no money so I had no choice but to go for the currency exchange desk. The desk had a horrible exchange rate (like most of them in the airports) but this one only let you exchange 84 USD due to the limited amount of money in the country right now.

I took the prepaid taxi outside of the airport which was reasonably priced (more so compared to Finland and Canada) in comparison to arguing over the prices with drivers and then be ripped off. I did not have the Uber app, although I would have used it but from what I am told there is some confusion for the pickup spot at the airport. That afternoon I went in the for a walk around the park, some of the more peaceful places in Delhi and then for some good food.

The next morning, I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to catch my Air India flight to Leh, which left at 5:55 a.m. but delayed until 6:15 a.m. The flights to Leh are only in the mornings and the Leh airport is only open until 12 noon, this is because of the winds that come about in the afternoon, making it difficult to land on such a short runway. On the flight there were a number of trekkers and hikers going on 15 day and 9 day treks through the mountains, so the flight was fully booked. Usually, upon arriving at 11,000 ft you need to take a day to acclimatize to the environment before exerting yourself. Unfortunately, I did not have that opportunity, so once I landed I filled out the registration card and made my way to the taxi. The driver took me to the ice hockey rink where I changed and played back to back games in the Indo-Canadian ice hockey tournament.

The tournament is run by a guy named Tony who has been up to Leh around 15 times in his career. There are only three teams this year, The Hockey Foundation, a team from the Canadian High Commission in Delhi, and the local Indian team which is pretty much their national team. I am playing for the Hockey Foundation and we have players from Canada, America and Germany. We won all of our games by quite a margin and took home the trophy in the friendship tournament.

I was staying at a place called Zik Zik the first night and I think it is the coldest room I have ever stayed it. I was given a heater but that still did not do the trick, plus the electricity frequently goes out here so often times the heater would turn off and there was no heat at all. So the second night I paid the extra money to stay at the luxury hotel called The Grand Dragon, which is substantially more in price but it was worth it for getting a good night sleep, hot shower and two free meals which are included in the price.

Today we leave for Secmol!


Overview of the rink
Traditional dance for the halftime show
Rooftop interview with Tony
Next year we will try and set the record for the highest game in the world

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