Around the World 1+1
Now a wife, with her share of responsibilities that she barely understood , she takes off with H (husband) to see the whole wide world. The sights, experiences and oh! the things she ate.
So there we were married at the grand old age of 25 and exploring the world in a series of holidays. For a time it seemed as if we just worked between vacations – beautiful times, those.
Leh'd Up and Knocked Out!
A couple of months after the honeymoon we embarked on a new adventure – and this time it was Leh and Ladakh in a way that it had never been seen. My father in law was top brass in the Army and Leh fell under his purview. We are one of the lucky few who have actually been out on a boat in Pangong-tso Lake. But that’s not what we are going to talk about.
Being the family of the boss in Leh meant the red carpet was perpetually rolled out. Our road trip started in Srinagar and went through all the famous places – Kargil, Drass etc. And every place besides the red carpet there awaited a buffet. No, not only a buffet but the kind of buffet you would find in a typical Indian middle class wedding. By the second day, I was sick of seeing the sight of those burner-warmed dishes, white China and a courteous officer escorting us to eat.
On the third day we arrived in Leh and I could barely wait to dump my bags and take off for the nearest restaurant. I was craving non buffet food and how! ( you know how I was used to travelling – no plans go with the flow- this regimented eat all you are forced to was just killing me)
So H and I took off for a restaurant – had really nice roast chicken – and he fell ill. Whether it was the altitude or the food we don’t know – but sick he was and for the first time in my life I was responsible for a sick person! My Mom In Law expected me to do my duty and there went all dreams of eating good food flying out of the window!
We spent the remainder 12 days dutifully eating khichdi and buffets and I returned so relieved from that vacation that I wouldn’t have to EAT so much anymore. For a month after that I would almost gag if I heard the words Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!
Cruising Through Our First Year with Caviar
A lot of shorts trips but nothing memorable in terms of food and we suddenly were one year old. H sprung a big surprise and booked us on a cruise from Mumbai to Land at Islands, Lakshwadeep and back. Again as wide-eyed first timers, we spent the first evening exploring the ship. Dinner was formal at one of the restaurants – delicious but nothing to remember. I spent most of the time imagining an Alistair MacLean novel – I am a huge fan! The next night was the Captain's dinner with a show preceding that. At the show we were served caviar - my excitement of tasting it was only superseded by my disappointment in its taste. Plebian – did I hear? Yeah well, maybe but it is an acquired taste after all – I didn't acquire it!
Fly Buy Dubai
Our next noteworthy trip was to Dubai to celebrate the wedding of H’s cousin. It was a whole new experience – the way weddings are done there. The bride was a charming girl originally from Pakistan so that made everything that much more interesting. The warmth and hospitality we experienced surpassed quite as few Indian weddings. One thing that stood out for me was the ginormous cake. Remember this was in 2008 and India wasn’t so big on tiered cakes. So there we are at the reception with the cake almost dwarfing the gorgeous bride! It was decorated with real flowers and all I could think was how are they going to pluck those out without smashing the cake!
Eating out in Dubai is an absolute pleasure – the food is well flavoured, seasoned and cooked – the biryani even at the most humble joints were out of this world!
Havelock Islands – Was That Chicken or a Giant
The next big trip was to Andamans with the in-laws. Food in the Andamans is just regular. Except for this one shack kind of joint in Havelock Islands. They had a party that night and with live music, booze and breeze flowing it was gorgeous! We ordered a roast chicken breast with mashes potatoes and salad. I kid you not the size of that chicken breast was two of my fists held together. We looked at it and then asked the waiter if he was sure that it was chicken breast. It was just bloody huge! The two of us put together couldn’t finish it! I don’t know what’s happening down there but I know this for sure – that chicken would’ve been crazy to see alive!
And Then Beef Claimed Me
The last and most spectacular trip we had before settling down to a baby was to the US. US of A is an orgy when it comes to food and portions size. Even the most basic restaurants behave like a typical Indian or Italian mother – feeding you till you pass out. The first day we reached, H crashed out but I was too excited. We were traveling with my sister, brother in law and baby nephew. My sister and I took off for one of her favourite Mexican joints in L.A. Pink Tacos was a loud, cheery energetic place filled with women – I loved that! What I also loved was the fact that they gave us a big bowl of nachos to munch on till our order came. A seasoned traveller and worldly wise now, at that tine these things were new and amazing.
I remember going out for dinner with friends one night in L.A. and with the most amazing pizza -thin crust wood fire oven baked- they served a salad. The whole concept was so alien to me – why eat healthy with junk! But that’s a nice way too.
Vegas was a revelation – everything was larger than life – the hotels, the entertainment and the buffets!!!! The army buffets looked like a basic dip spread in front of these. Here, there were just counters filled with every kind of food imaginable. Desserts - atleast 20 types, Sushi - dont even ask how many times and how pretty!!
While on the go more often than not we ended up eating Subway. I loved them there- they tasted perfect! Towards the end of our trip we went to another Mexican joint in San Diego and my brother in law ordered beef. I was a little taken aback – and then H dropped a bomb on me. The Subs were better here than in India because these had beef in them. ( H owned a Subway franchise in Delhi) Well after 10 minutes of shocked silence I conceded that my morals were loose and I too wanted to have beef. How these guys laughed! Of all of them I am the most regular beef eater now- how the mighty have fallen.
The best part about the food in US was we didn’t think about Indian food AT ALL! From Denny’s and I hop to Chinese even Dominos – we loved everything!!!
Well, I’m kind of tired now- but Manav is going to be happy – he likes everything longer than it should be! And if again you feel any of the titles or things going crazy please remember it is his fault. Not mine. Never mine!
Until next time when I shall tell u all about the travelling with one and then two kids!!!