Friday, January 23, 2009

Snow Curry

After my mom headed off to return to the US via Finland and London, I met up with a fellow from the continent of Oceana and we caught the first train we could out of Delhi, sleeping on an empty car til we got up into the mountains. Due to a late arrival, it took us a day and a half to actually arrive at the snowy ski town of Joshimath, where due to the weather, most things were closed, but the skiing wasn't exactly open. We were unable to stay up on the slopes at the unheated government housing we had counted on and the 'ropeway' gondola ride up there only ran twice a day, but we did manage two days up on the snow peppered mountain. The first day they were reportedly out of skis, but we walked up and caught a show by the military personnel training, most likely for positions out in Kashmir. I jumped off a rock into the snow, but of course, and we trekked back down to the ropeway station for some terrible fried noodles and a long wait to return. That night I tried to cook up the chocolate cake mix my sister had given me for the holidays, and ended up with some warm chocolate pudding via a small titanium stove and pot. Better than nothing, we watched 'Dostana' (terrible Bollywood) on Rob's laptop (decked out!) and then went up to the mountain again the next day. We found skis, carried them to the top of a hill, and slip-slided down a 15 degree slope, nice for Rob, on his first skiing outing, but quite boring for myself. I was courageous enough to hike fifteen minutes up to the top, rewarded with a difficult but slow three minute descent, as the snow was hard and my boots didnt actually fit in my skis...
Returning to more popular tourist destinations, we visited Rishikesh, where the Beatles wrote part of the White Album and every western male sports a huge beard. We didnt quite fit in. But we did follow Lonely Planet's suggestion to hike out to some waterfalls, paying a fee to tire ourselves on a steep but unrewarding climb to see some cascading H2O. Almost in shape, we hopped on yet another bus, out to Ramnagar for a chance to see tigers at the Corbett National Park. Supposedly here, despite having less tigers, the animals are quite used to people, increasing your chances of seeing such an elegant beast. We were not so lucky, so with ten dollars less in our pockets, we continued bruising our butts on hard local buses to arrive at Nainital, a British hill station.
We discovered decent beer (ie Kingfisher, not 'Super 20000'), another ropeway to a 'snowview', video games, and a pretty little lake, dotted with boats, including the magical dragon paddle boat that Rob barely talked me out of renting. Armed with hard to find train tickets back to Delhi, we wandered town, mingling with the Indian tourists on winter break, eating ice cream, losing at Tekken to 12 yr olds, and watching a game of cricket - I almost understand the rules now. Next stop - Delhi and some friends from US and Beijing to show around.

1 comment:

Deborah Edward said...

Still no tiger sightings? Oh well,, maybe there are a few Indian parks/preserves still awaiting.