August 19, 2011
I always smile when I look at this photo. It was taken many years ago, but it feels like I snapped it yesterday.
It was early morning in India in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Lots of climbing, steep grades, and snow on the ground. I pedaled up to this tiny roadside store to buy a cup of hot chai to warm my hands and get my daily sugar rush.
The four girls in the photo were walking to school and stopped at the store as well. They all bought candy and quickly unwrapped the sweets and popped them in their mouths. I already had my camera out. As I was about to take their photo, some of the men outside began to joke with the girls that they shouldn't be spending all their money on candy. Three of the girls are reacting to the teasing. But one of the girls looks right into my camera. Her gaze has intrigued me over the years.
Looking at this photo, I can feel the rock I was sitting on. I can smell the wood from the fire built to boil chai. And I can still hear the girls' laughter.
Many a journey's details are lost over time. But some travel memories never fade.
Photo by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.