Srinagar’s hospitality, timely treatment make French tourist’s trip memorable

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At a time when Kashmir’s tourism players are busy encouraging holidaymakers to visit the Valley, a French tourist, who underwent an emergency laser surgery during her recent trip to this region, is now batting for Kashmir tourism.
Back in her country after several days of Kashmir tour, the French national, Leroux Armelle, recounts that it was local Kashmiris, including Srinagar-based doctors, who saved her trip to the Valley and Ladakh recently from being cut short due to sudden illness. 
Speaking with Greater Kashmir from France, Armelle said she was scheduled to leave for Ladakh when she got diagnosed with a retinal tear. She said getting the laser procedure done in Kashmir was an “intuitive” decision that proved fruitful.
“One fine morning, I woke up to feel a black spot shadowing my eyesight. I decided to get some medical consultation first. I feared that my trip to picturesque Kashmir would end in darkness but was proved wrong by the wonderful people and doctors,” says Armelle.
As per Armelle, the owner of the India Palace Houseboats, where she was staying at Nigeen Lake, took her to a private eye hospital at Karan Nagar where she underwent treatment.
“On medical examination the doctors told me that you have a retinal tear for which I would need laser intervention. I was eager to know number of days I would lose to such treatment,” says Armelle.
“It was just two days of rest after laser and I was all fine after which I left for Ladakh looking forward to rest of the tour,” says Armelle.
Armelle who spent several days at the India Palace Houseboat with a group of tourists from France said they “appreciated the beautiful landscapes of the Valley and hospitable nature of people”.
“This trip was discovery of a lifestyle and a different culture. This trip allowed us a change of scenery from France to Kashmir.  I would recommend Kashmir to my friends and family without hesitation,” says Armelle.
Armelle is all praise for the “kindness and round-the-clock availability of the people of Kashmir” for holidaymakers.
“Our stay on the India Palace houseboat in Srinagar was an excellent discovery as well as the walk along the shores of Nigeen and Dal,” Armelle says.
According to Armelle her treatment for the ailing eye at Eye Care and Research Centre in Karan Nagar was excellent.
“They took great care of me which ensured that our further stay in Ladakh was possible. The enchanting monasteries perched on incredible sites, very scenic roads and Ladakhis are very hospitable too. We keep a very good memory of our trip,” says Armelle, adding that “Indian  Himalayas is to find forgiveness for our mistakes”.
For the ophthalmologist it was just another patient whose treatment was over. But for the French national, the story didn’t end there. On reaching back her homeland, Armelle consulted her ophthalmologist. The consultation back home prompted the French national to write a letter of thanks to Dr Yasfir Bashir, the ophthalmologist who had treated her in Srinagar.
“You had detected a retinal tear and you offered me a laser I was in consultation with my ophthalmologist. He told me that I had been very well cared for and I wanted to thank you because without you I might have lost the mink of my eye,” reads an emailed letter from Armelle to Dr Bashir.
“After your intervention I was able to continue my holidays without worries and since I have no undesirable effects, my vision is very clear and I have no more flashes or black spots. Thanks again cordially,” reads the e-mail.
 According to Dr Yasfir Bashir, the feedback from the tourist is encouraging. “Getting to hear from her is quite a nice experience. Such gestures are quite encouraging,” says Dr Bashir. 
In the famed Kashmir hospitality story, many go unsung. One such person is Bilal Badyari of the India Palace Houseboats who went out of the way to help the distressed tourist and took her to the doctor.
“Such gestures go beyond tourism industry and the hospitality. Guests matter for us as they are a source of person-to-person exchange between two communities. It was really heartening that the tourist could go back to her country healthy and happy,” says Badyari.

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