chocolateisfromheaven

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Donating an hour of my time

In Social Entrepreneurship on May 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

There are a lot of people doing a lot of good in Dubai. There is a strong wave of volunteerism that twitter and facebook have helped expand. I came across one such organization recently and got a chance to volunteer at Karama Kanteen. Karama Kanteen is something like AdoptaCamp but they focus mainly on providing food, toiletries and clothes to the laborers working in our city.

We set off at 8 in the morning on the weekend to one of the camps in the city, to provide breakfast to around 450 men. The men stand in line as soon as they know that you will be distributing things, but some did cut queue and there was one particular gentleman who came back in queue 3 times! ­čÖé With about 10 volunteers, we managed to serve breakfast in around an hours time which to me was surprisingly fast. Looking at how happy some of the men were to receive a free meal, I just wished we could have served them a hot meal and chilled juice rather than the luke warm juice can we were distributing. There is nothing like a chilled drink on a hot day!

Here are some pictures of the event:

Smiling faces waiting patiently

Smiling faces waiting patiently

Line moved along at a good pace

Line moved along at a good pace

The subcontinental breakfast that was served

The subcontinental breakfast that was served

Food in Nepal!

In Travel on May 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

I will simply post the pics…

When I would ask what is the local dish here, I would always get this reply: Dalbhat! So I had dalbhat, many times...

When I would ask what is the local dish here, I would always get this reply: Dal bhat! So I had dal bhat, many times…

Momos!

Momos! These dumplings came with various stuffing; veggies, egg, chicken… Was nice with chilli sauce.

Cornbread... wasn't a fan of that. Was too dry. Needed an accompaniment...

Cornbread… wasn’t a fan of that. Was too dry. Needed an accompaniment…

Egg curry. This was good! Specially after a long day of walking uphill!

Egg curry. This was good! Specially after a long day of walking uphill!

More dal bhat. The soup always varied a bit. Sometimes green lentils, sometimes with beans. So did the veggies, spinach, potato... This was also good after a long day.

More dal bhat. The soup always varied a bit. Sometimes green lentils, sometimes with beans. So did the veggies, spinach, potato… This was also good after a long day.

Gurung Bread. Loved this! Was freshly made and is supposed to be fried but was not really heavy. Or maybe I was just really hungry....

Gurung Bread. Loved this! Was freshly made and is supposed to be fried but was not really heavy. Or maybe I was just really hungry….

And somemore dal bhat... Soup, veggies, rice, poppadom, pickles...

And some more dal bhat… Soup, veggies, rice, poppadom, pickles…

Had this at a lovely restaurant in Thamel called Thamel House. When you walk in the peaceful atmosphere after the chaotic streets of Kathmandu, takes you by surprise.The dish on the right is Chatamari. And the bowl on the left contains roasted and marinated soybeans called Bhatmas Sandheko. The white stuff is called Chiura and is roasted rice beaten flat. The chatamari was absolutely delicious! I didn't like the other dish much.

Had this at a lovely restaurant in Thamel called Thamel House. When you walk in, the peaceful atmosphere after the chaotic streets of Kathmandu, takes you by surprise.The dish on the bottom right is Chatamari. And the bowl on the left contains roasted and marinated soybeans called Bhatmas Sandheko. The white stuff is called Chiura and is roasted rice beaten flat.
The chatamari was absolutely delicious! Would love to be able to cook that myself or find a place here that makes it. I didn’t like the other dish much.

 

Exhausted but worth it; Gorepani to Gandruk

In Travel on May 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

I will jump ahead to our day of trekking from Gorepani to Gandruk. Our day started off before dawn for our climb to Poon Hill to catch the sunrise over the Annapurna range. It was chilly, we were sleepy, and were quite surprised to see the hordes of trekkers, all with the head torches on, marching like zombies in the dark up the narrow path, up and up to Poon Hill (3,210m)! We made it, but just, as the sun rose over the beautiful snow capped mountains.

On the way up to Poon Hill - This was built in memory of a person

On the way up to Poon Hill - This was built in memory of a person

Sunrise at Poon Hill - 3,210m

Sunrise at Poon Hill - 3,210m

Descending Poon Hill... Rhododendrons and white capped mountains

Descending Poon Hill... Rhododendrons and white capped mountains

But these weren’t the best views. Sunrise at Poon Hill is rated as one of the must sees/dos if you are doing the Annapurna circuit. But in my opinion, it’s not the best view that you get of the Annapurna range. The┬átruly┬ábreathtaking view comes on the way from Gorepani to Gandruk. I thought it was many times more magnificent than the Poon Hill view and it makes you go ‘wow!’.

After Poon Hill, we set out for Gandruk and after an hour or two of climbing up, we reached a clearing at the top. We had the Rhododendron forest below us, clear ground around us, and an amazing view of the Annapurna mountains in front of us. Photos and videos do not do it justice. We dropped our backpacks on the ground and just sat there taking it all in. Now sunrise sitting here would have been amazing. Having a hot cup of coffee at sunrise here would have been even better!

Getting to see this made me want to trek higher up

Getting to see this made me want to climb higher up

Couldn't capture the entire Annapurna Range on camera... needed the 360 app

Couldn't capture the entire Annapurna Range on camera... needed the 360 app

Part of the Annapurna Range

Part of the Annapurna Range

On our way to Gandruk we had to cross a Robin Hood-esque forest in Tadapani (not sure if it’s in Tadapani, our close to it) but according to our guide, we had to stay close, as this area was notorious for robbers ambushing tourists. But in his ever positive manner he assured us, “It’s not going to happen.” And then he added “but stay together”. As we entered the forest, a silence descended upon us and you could see everyone was looking left and right into the trees, trying to spot if there was anyone hiding in there! After around 45 mins, we walked out of the forest safely, and I think the group, although relieved, was a little disappointed to miss out on an extra bit of adventure.

Oh one more thing about trekking in the forests, there are loads and loads and loads of  ladybugs! Lots of them; everywhere. And the other thing that you see loads of when climbing up is animal poo. Those ponies, donkeys, mules, whatever they use to transport items up the mountains, drop a lot of it on the way. So while I was trying to will my legs up or down the trail and cursing myself for not being fitter, I had to step like a ballet dancer sometimes (quite difficult with boots on) to avoid stepping in natural fertilizer or squishing some red/orange ladybugs.

Ladybugs are everywhere in the forest!

Ladybugs are everywhere in the forest!

Fruit seller

Fruit seller

Going back home
The locals are fit

The locals are fit

The lead ponies had bells on them so you would know they are coming and make way

The lead ponies had bells on them so you would know they are coming and make way

We also got a rainbow

We also got a rainbow

I think in my last post about I will share some of the food pics! I tried to try out local dishes and local food in the mountains was always fresh!

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