The last country I would want to trip & loose my front tooth in is India. Of course, that's exactly what happened when Babsi and Jules were trekking in Kashmir.
After several weeks of already enduring excruciating heat, humidity and general discomfort, Julia and I finally made it to Kashmir. Aside from the military presence and the fact that we could not leave the hotel after dark, we were pretty happy. We felt like we returned to an environment we were used to. For days, we would search for the perfect trekking company who would take us into the wilderness for bugger-all really, cause we were on the smallest budget one could imagine. Julia negotiated the price down to pretty much zero and off we went in a jeep with our cook and "fat-man", the tour operator.
After having lunch on the way, we made it to the Liddervat Valley and stayed one night at a wonderful little inn before heading out the next morning. Out cook, guide and one horse-man barely spoke english and Julia and I were simply ecstatic to be back in the mountains, where it was cool and safe for us.
After a couple of hours, we build our camp right by the river and our team helped us pitch tents, tea was served, we ate cookies and laid in the sun.
The next morning, off we went towards a wonderful glacier... For hours on end, we traversed rivers, snow fields and other dangerous sights without any communication with our guide. He simply did not understand, kept smiling at us without any teeth in his mouth and just waved us on...
I can only speak for myself here but after a good 4 hours, I was getting tired and I had enough of snow fields, glaciers and massive rivers. We stopped, picknicked at the bottom of a mountain and enjoyed the view. After spending one season in Telluride together, it was the most incredible experience for Julia and I to be back in the snow and escape the deathly heat of the south.
So after lunch, we turned around to make our way back to camp... The guide led us on a tiny path through a field of slick rocks and boulders, right next to a fairly big river. The water was pretty loud and I could not hear anything but I felt some sort of motion behind me and as I turned around, I caught a glimpse of Julia, crunched in between rocks, face down, hands in her pockets. As soon as I saw her, I turned around and bolted back. There was no blood and she appeared to be just fine. Then she opened her mouth, stuck her tongue out and I saw half of her front tooth... She then cracked the biggest smile. I was speechless. The Kashmiri guide talked to us in his native language, Julia did not know whether to cry or laugh... But, she had just lost her front tooth! Split in half, clean cut, not a drop of blood.
We marched back to camp, Julia obviously in pain as her nerve lay bare. When we got to our camp, the guide had already yelled the news to his fellow Kashmiri men and all of them surrounded Jules and tried to help. The cook tried to comfort her by saying, "Dont worry Miss, you look like local lady now". We did not know what to do, dentist, Julia returning to NZ... In the end, we visited several dentists and hospitals and local experts suggested root canals, pulling the tooth and replacing it with a golden one, no problem. Jules ended up just sucking it up for another 2.5 weeks and enjoyed the benefits of the "locals look". Go Jules!