So after a remarkable feat of sleeping on day 1 in Leh, I wanted to go see a thing or two on day 2. But as it's still unwise to exert oneself when one is acclimating to high altitude, I rented a motorbike. (questionable? perhaps.)
A few monasteries (or "gompas") of Ladakh presented a nice day's schedule. Shey on the way out at 10km, Hemis at 40km, and then Thiksey about halfway back.
The biking was good: I at least sorta remembered what all the controls do, I turned corners well enough, and only once did I stall out in the middle of a busy intersection. So much more fun than cars! Arguably safer, or at least easier, too: the main road here is about wide enough for a bike and a car, but not two cars.
The gompas were also good. So I thought I might be sort of religiously interested in these, 'cause they're Buddhist and all, but it turns out that the kind of Buddhism that builds statues like this:
estranges me about as much as any other religion. Still, the fact that they did have statues like this:
is cool on a "big statues are neat" level. Also:
(there is a body to that statue too. It is some 22 feet tall.)
At one point I wandered into a room where these monks were sitting around reading a thing, with occasional breaks to play discordant drums, cymbals, and these sorta oboe-sounding horns.
Finally, they look amazing on the outside. Hemis: