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Old 07-11-2010, 01:51 AM   #751
CopperLioness
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin146
Infact they were also exported to many of the other British colonies as police and army personnel due to their large physique and bravery where eventualy some stayed
And that's one story as to why there are relatively so many Sikhs in my hometown of Vancouver, BC - a group from Hong Kong who had been sent to England for King Edward VII's coronation travelled back through Canada, saw British Columbia, eventually got home and told people that BC was a good place to live. It is a very interesting religion - my parents follow a sort of offshoot of it.

Anyway, another lurker coming out to say that I'm really enjoying your trip and storytelling in all forms. Thank you.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:10 AM   #752
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To finish up India - food!


Typical Indian kitchen - may look not so clean and modern, but it produces some really superb food.


Now that we've gotten a good taste of it, a couple of words about Indian food. To be honest, we were first pretty sceptical about it - also because it is mostly vegetarian, but while in India we have learned to truly love some dishes. Indeed, the variety is great and the abundance of spices almost makes up for the lack of meat.

For example, nothing makes for a better breakfast than a parantha (pancake like stuffed bread) accompanied by plain curd. Normally it is eaten by hand - you just tear a piece of it, put some curd on it, and eat it. The fillings are different, ranging from onion to cauliflower, but we like the most paranthas with potato (aloo parantha) and unfermented cheese (paneer parantha).



Parantha with curd.

Parantha is usually served with some pickles, i.e. pickled fruits and vegetables. Often the strong vinegar smell emanating from this otherwise tasty looking condiment is almost frightening.



Pickles.

The best snack, served by almost every roadside shack is, of course, samosa - a deep fried piece of dough (normally with cumin seeds) with spicy potato filling. We had our best samosas at a random shack at a random crossroads in Punjab where we could see the whole cooking process (so they were definitely fresh). Served with a little bit of tomato sauce they are perfect for killing the hunger for an hour or two.




Samosa.


Kariina's favourite lunch or dinner is thali, a mix of everything - some rice, bread (chapati or naan), vegetables and some sort of curry. Its content differs from restaurant to restaurant, and even from day to day - probably depending on which curries they have been preparing that day. It is a really filling dish.



Thali.































My favourite is a dish called dosa. It is like a huge rice flour pancake rolled around a spicy filling of potatoes, paneer or something else, and it is served with a small bowl of spicy-and-sour vegetable soup and some soothing coconut paste. This one is rather a snack, so if you're realy hungry, better go for something else.



Dosa.













Dosa from inside.


And then there are endless varieties of curries that go well with rice and naan bread. We have found the best ones to be:



Malai kofta (soft boiled potato in a spiced tomato sauce).













Palak paneer (unfermented cheese cubes in spinach sauce):













Chicken tikka masala (pieces of chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, cooked in tomato sauce).



As I said, curries go well with bread. The best is naan bread:


Naan.






But we have also liked other breads, such as this one (baked in a random hole-in-the-wall bakery in Leh):



Fresh from homey bread factory.













They taste superb.




Every once in a while we grow tired of the Indian taste, but luckily in North-India it is easy to find also Tibetan food such as momos (steamed or fried dumplings) which taste just as good as in Nepal.



Momo.














Momos have different shapes and serving styles with diffrent sauces (sometimes without).






And then there is thukpa, Tibetan noodles, which are often cooked with mutton.



Thukpa usually served together with a very fatty soup - good energy for severe cold Tibetan climate.












An "unshaved" mutton on Leh street.





The most popular drink here is, of course, chai or milk tea (sometimes with spices), or the so-called Kashmiri tea (black tea with cardamom and cinnamon). On a hot day, a yoghurt drink called lassi (salted or sweet) is just the right thing).



Lassi.














Chai.














Kashmiri tea.






And to finish it all off - the sweets. Many bakeries here dish out tasty pastry, but the main thing is of course the milky, sweet, syrupy stuff just like in Nepal. An interesting thing to note - the sweet shops will always pack them into paper bags - an environmentally friendly option.




Indian sweets.














Pakced into bags made out of newspapers. Ingenious recycling.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:58 AM   #753
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You make me hungry just looking at those pics!!! I am off to my fridge but I know there is no Indian food there :-(

Love the report! AWESOME pictures!
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:59 PM   #754
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:55 AM   #755
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Many thanks for taking the time and effort to record your travels and to share them with us. It kind of has a "National Geographic" expedition feel to it. The way you two have photographic, videoed, recorded sounds, and interacted with the people and your environment.

Curious though, after tasting and experiencing the rich variety of foods in India, did you learn how to make it yourself? Wondering if you've incorporated the spices and techniques into your everyday cooking while on the road. If you have, what are you using and how do you do it.

Keep up the excellent work and look forward to your future posts.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:14 AM   #756
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut
Here's a video I compiled of our Indian and Nepalese adventures.

PS: if you wonder, the end part is made at over 5200 meters (17 000+ ft.) above sea level, crossing the Chang La pass.


Very well made video!! You are very lucky to have such a devoted travel (and life) companion! I'm still a bit in a debate if i will be able to do nay filming while on my usual solo outings.. very good! Best of luck to both of you! Thank you!
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:03 PM   #757
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altitude sickness

Made me curious ... you had altitude sickness in Bolivia at 4,000 meters but did not have in the Himalayas at a higher level than that?
In Peru and Bolivia will visit in January but Jeep. That recommendation to avoid this give me altitude sickness
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Old 07-15-2010, 05:54 AM   #758
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bergsteigen
Curious though, after tasting and experiencing the rich variety of foods in India, did you learn how to make it yourself? Wondering if you've incorporated the spices and techniques into your everyday cooking while on the road. If you have, what are you using and how do you do it.
Kariina was considering taking a cooking course - they are widely available in major backpacker hangouts such as Leh or MacLeodGanj - but since we are now in serious savings mode (saving to go to Africa), she skipped it. When she took a class back in Indonesia, it was a great experience as she learned techniques she did not imagine even existed.

The one thing that we do the Indian way now is tea - took some fresh cinnamon bark and cardamom from Kashmir, which mixed with tea leaves, make great Kashmiri kehwa. Warms you up when camping in those Himalayan heights.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jipijapa
Made me curious ... you had altitude sickness in Bolivia at 4,000 meters but did not have in the Himalayas at a higher level than that?
In Peru and Bolivia will visit in January but Jeep. That recommendation to avoid this give me altitude sickness.
It's all about adapting.

In case of Bolivia we ascended to 5000 meters too quickly. The day before we had been on the shores of Pacific ocean (which is zero meters) in Chile from where we rode to San Pedro de Atacama in one day, and having spent there just one night, in just a few hours we crossed the border into Bolivia which is already the high plateau.

In India we spent a week at 3500 meters in Leh before we visited any passes above 5000 meters and thus had no problems with the altitude sickness.

When preparing for the allegedly highest pass, Khardung La, we also took acetazolamide pills which make you breathe faster and thus absorb more oxygen. Aside from the side effects (tingling in the fingers) it makes you feel better.

So make sure you take it slow and let your body adapt with the growing altitude. Above 3000 meters when altitude sickness cases usually start occuring, it is recommended not to ascend more than 1000 - 1500 meters per 24h and sleep lower than the highest altitude that you've reached during the day.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:56 AM   #759
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiklonaut






Yup close enough thank you, the MOTO Gods were looking out for you. Glad it's just a nother phenomenal post and nothing else.................

How was the gas situation during the rides out, especially the Zanskar area.

Just fantastic

Thank you
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:05 AM   #760
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How was the gas situation during the rides out, especially the Zanskar area.
The only fuel you can get is in Kargil where the road begins. Zanskar is basically a dead end ride with some 240 kilometers (150 miles) to Padum and then back again, so you need around 500 kilometers of fuel autonomy. From Padum you can take a 30 km side trip to Zangla on a paved road, but we were not sure about our fuel reserves so we skipped it.

We heard that it might be possible to get fuel in Padum from the taxi union, but I would not count on it.

Most of other places (Tso Moriri, Pangong Tso) it's no problem if your tank allows more than 300 km range, which most of travel-purpose motorcycles are well capable of.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:38 AM   #761
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Pakistan

Crossing from India to Pakistan you immediately see the difference between the two. Sure the landscapes look the same - sunbaked plains and chaotic towns, but the Hindu temples have been replaced by mosques and unimaginably colourful trucks and buses ply the roads. So it kind of is like India, but at the same time isn't.

There was a time when India and Pakistan were one country and there was only one Punjab, but from 1947 when Pakistan gained its independence from India, there are two - one Punjab in India, and one in Pakistan. In the latter, mosques now dominate the cityscape, as back when Pakistan separated people were given the opportunity to choose the country in which they wished to stay. A massive (and bloody) migration took place as many Hindus moved to the Indian side and many Muslims moved to the Pakistani side of the new border. One of the proposed name candidates for the new born country - today's Pakistan - was Islamistan.

Thus there is a great difference between the Indian and the Pakistani Punjab, at least when it comes down to interaction between people. In India or Nepal for example, I do not remember anyone expressing their impatience or anger, because in Hinduist and Buddhist cultures it is considered embarrassing even to raise your voice. What I remember is people being positive minded and (sometimes extremely) curious.

In Pakistan, however, the first impression was that of cheerlessness and indifference. And edginess. Which is strange, because so far we had thought of Muslims as of very warm and welcoming people. Maybe it is just the distrust towards the westerners? Or maybe it is just because we have arrived fresh out of a totally different mind set and the contrast is just too big? Or is it because we are simply over heated in this climate of over +40C (+104F)?

Even the A/C power socket in our hotel room could not take the pressure:



Thank God it didn't happen in the night and didn't burn down the hotel.





The people that work in the services sector are somewhat absent in anything they do, and the menus in the restaurant are only in Urdu which we fail to understand. It has been a long time since we last felt unwelcome in a strange country.



Menu in Urdu language.

In Lahore we were intending to go and have a look at Sufi (Islamic mysticism) rituals, but the meetings had been suspended as a couple of terrorists had blown themselves up at a Sufi meeting just a week ago, killing 42 and injuring 175 people! Had the Manali road been opened earlier, we just might have been one of those people.

Rather depressed, we went to try out a local dessert - falooda, which in Lahore comprises ice-cream and vermicelli. It looked nice when it was brought to table, but the waiter told us to mix it well, so that it became rather an interesting looking soup. I guess our desserts would look weird to Pakistanis, too. In any case it tasted good and we would definitely go for another if we find one.



Kariina and falooda.
















Also worth mentioning on the culinary side - there is a chain in Rawalpindi, the sister city of Islamabad, that has the best ice cream milk shakes that we've ever tasted so far. Very recommended!




This small place in Rawalpindi serves the tastiest milk shakes!


Some more moments from our first days in Pakistan:







Colourful minibuses with 2-stroke single cylinder engines!














Pakistanis prapare their evening meals.















Melons for sale - bought one and they are tasty indeed!















Boy with a donkey.



By the way, the constuction of Islamabad only started in 1961, so it absolutely lacks any historic ambience. The blocks are numbered and the streets are straight, but the traffic is not flowing freely as there are barricaded police check posts stationed right in the middle of the road. It might look like a garden city, a civilised place to live, but it is not meant for people without their own means of transport. It has a kind of sterile feel to it.

There are not many tourist attractions in the capital of Pakistan. One of the very few is the Shah Faisal mosque, largely sponsored by king Faisal of Saudi Arabia. It was completed in 1986 and ity can hold up to 100 000 people. According to some rumours, the CIA asked to inspect its four 88-metre minarets suspecting that these might be missiles in disguise.




A muslim returning from prayers, beneath the Shah Faisal mosque.















Shah Faisal with its rocketing minarets. Mosque is modelled on a desert tent and can hold up to 100 000 muslims.














Mosque's top with its crescent.















Minaret in full length - see the man below to scale it up. No wonder CIA blamed them hiding ballistic missles in them.


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Old 07-16-2010, 10:39 AM   #762
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Minaret in full length - see the man below to scale it up. No wonder CIA blamed them hiding ballistic missles in them.
LOL!
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:06 PM   #763
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Welcome to Pakistan Margus and Karina ! Although I joined this forum not a long time ago but it is my first post as I am silent reader of the wonderful RR from all over the world.

You just unfortunately entered Pakistan at the worst part of the year, I mean weather is so hot and humid now a days that you simply can't enjoy your trip here especially when travelling with full kit but hope you would enjoy the riding in wonderful mountain chains north of Pakistan if you intend to travel there. As you know three of the world's largest mountain chains Himaliya, Karakoram and Hindukush meets in Pakistan.

Sorry that you are facing problems at restaurants where menu are not in English but you may find several good restaurants where menu are available in English language as well.

A small correction that mini buses in pics don't have single cylinder two stroke engines. These are Suzuki vans and engines are either 800cc three cylinder two stroke or four stroke. These mostly run on CNG.

Any plan to travel the centre of Pakistan ?
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:36 AM   #764
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hey guys, what kind of tent are you using and how does it perform at those extreme altitudes?
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:58 AM   #765
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Originally Posted by targetplayer
Welcome to Pakistan Margus and Karina ! Although I joined this forum not a long time ago but it is my first post as I am silent reader of the wonderful RR from all over the world.

You just unfortunately entered Pakistan at the worst part of the year, I mean weather is so hot and humid now a days that you simply can't enjoy your trip here especially when travelling with full kit but hope you would enjoy the riding in wonderful mountain chains north of Pakistan if you intend to travel there. As you know three of the world's largest mountain chains Himaliya, Karakoram and Hindukush meets in Pakistan.

Sorry that you are facing problems at restaurants where menu are not in English but you may find several good restaurants where menu are available in English language as well.

A small correction that mini buses in pics don't have single cylinder two stroke engines. These are Suzuki vans and engines are either 800cc three cylinder two stroke or four stroke. These mostly run on CNG.

Any plan to travel the centre of Pakistan ?


You are right, I guess any time would be better that right now for visiting Pakistan, especially the plains. The heat is truly opressive! But what can you do, it is difficut to have the timing right all the way around the world as there are better and worse seasons everywhere. We got it right in the Americas, so we could visit both the southernmost tip, Tierra del Fuego, and the northernmost tip, Alaska at the best time. From there on, Australia was a tight squeeze before the sweltering hot summer, Indonesia was during the rainy season, Thailand was all hazy just before the rainy season, etc

But those small Suzuki buses - I swear I've seen couple them whose sound is unmistakable single cyl 2-smoker! Beyond any doubt. Maybe some have replaced their engines with scooter ones?

What exactly do you mean by the centre of Pakistan? We are doing the KKH right now, after that we'll return to Islamabad, and from there it will more or less be to Iran, the traditional overlander route. But on the plains we really didn't feel welcome by local people, so we probably will just rush trough as quickly as we can. Not much fun with the escorts anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by blackcap
hey guys, what kind of tent are you using and how does it perform at those extreme altitudes?

We are using Hilleberg Nammatj 3 tunnel-type tent and we are very happy with it. Altitude does not really affect a tent's performance, but so far it has kept us relatively cosy with the temperatures lingering around zero at those high altitude nights.
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