Yesterday morning I arrived in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi international airport after an overnight flight ready for what I hope and expect to be an amazing 6 months.
An initial hiccup was my pickup not being there but after a short phone call, and a slightly longer wait eventually Tenzin arrived and we got in a car to my spot for the night in the Tibetan enclave of Manju Ka-Tilla.
I was exhausted, having barely slept on the flight and hoping to be able to get my head down by midday it was a longer journey than I expected.
This wasn’t helped by the accident we had while crossing Delhi. I was dozing on the back seat when there was a sudden bump, almost as if we had run over a dog. I didn’t know what was happening but after some waving to a car behind we pulled over to the side of the road and the other vehicle followed behind.
Tenzin and our driver were out and gesticulating at the guys from the other car for what must have been at least 20 minutes, pointing at the back corner of our car as if a huge chunk had been taken out of it.
I guess swapping insurance details wasn’t an option here but it seemed they were the ones in the wrong.
This delayed the journey even further of course and i think i eventually got to bed around 2.
Manju Ka-Tilla is a quiet part of Delhi, on the outskirts really and a Tibetan colony of sorts. I was staying here because this part of the trip had been arranged by the volunteer organisation I will be working for when I get to Mcleod Ganj after taking a bus tonight.
It is a small area with a few shops selling Tibetan gifts and books on buddhism and also restaurants with Tibetan food on offer.
One of these, just opposite the hotel where I am staying is A-Ma where I had dinner.
I went for the Tibetan dumpling Momos and the noodle soup Thukpa.
It is striking how many different cultures in the world have a dumpling dish, from the european pelmeni and pierogi to the gyoza of Japan. The steamed Tibetan variety that I had here were filled with ground beef and I’m not sure were a particularly strong example. The dumpling itself was alright but the filling wasn’t great. Yes, I know, I’m in India, what am I doing eating beef anyway? but Tibetan culture doesn’t have the same restrictions so I thought I’d try it while I can get it. I probably should have gone with the veggie variety.
The Thukpa I had was the vegetarian option with carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and spring onions. Again, its hard to know whether this was typical quality wise but it wasn’t too dissimilar to super-noodles and both dishes were improved imessurably by healthy addition of chili sauce.
Along with this I had a Fruit beer (non-alcoholic) which was sweet but tasty.
The following day was the night bus to Mcleod Ganj and so just left a bit of time to kill in the area. I went with a fellow volunteer who was going to be taking the journey with me to Wongdhen House which is a hotel and restaurant to compare the Thukpa and try something different. I had a special veggie rice dish which was pretty underwhelming but full of nutritious carrots, baby corn, mushrooms and greens. The Thukpa looked slightly better than the one the previous night.
Anyway, this is clearly a rather delayed post, uploading photos is not as straightforward as I first imagined, but I’m getting there and have Internet access now while I’m working at The Tibet Post – check them out…. http://www.thetibetpost.com/
Things to look forward to reading about include…
Bhagsu Waterfall and some amazing views, the Tibetan museum and temple complex, a Tibetan evening with local garb, food and music and a class where I learn how to make Momos myself.