Thursday, April 10, 2014

My India Travels and Eats, Day 1

Hello there! Wow, it's been over a year since I posted. I got through Cosmetology school, lots of work, got my license, and traveled to India. I've been having so many people ask me about my travels and what I ate in India and I figured this is the best place to post it. Let's start with day 1!

Our first day was mainly traveling. We left out of San Diego with an 8 hour layover in London about halfway there.
 It's our plane! This is getting real.

 Us on said plane! Michael is so excited he's glowing!

British Airways has an option when booking tickets for vegan meals, which we of course chose. We were skeptical about the food. I had done some research on airline food and found mostly negative reviews in regards to vegan options. Here is what we received over the Pacific Ocean for dinner...

 They actually gave us the vegetarian meal, which some sort of cheesy dish. They felt bad and said they'd give us extra fruit. They didn't. We didn't eat the bread because we were unsure of the ingredients inside, especially considering when I looked around I noticed everyone had the same bread. The margarine and coffee creamer were vegan, though, which was pretty cool. Lame dinner though. So far, British Airways was letting me down on the food options (however not the movies. Those selections were awesome). So glad we brought some snacks.

 Donut Panic for the win!

After many... many... MANY... hours, we landed in London. Our first priority was to track down some Starbursts. Let me tell you. Starbursts are VEGAN in the UK! Go, England! We stocked up and continued to eat way too many.

We were able to get out and walk around a bit. We didn't have enough time to go inside any of these cool sites but they were neat to see nonetheless.

 10 hours of flying does not do well on my appearance.

When we got back to the airport we made sure to eat a decent meal. We ended up at Wagamama in the Heathrow airport. Luckily they had some pretty good options for vegans and even listed which noodles had egg in them. Score!

 Michael's dish was the mushroom ramen.

 I got the yasai chilli men with udon noodles.

We hopped back on the plane and slept a lot. Luckily we had an extra seat that no one was occupying so we made use of the space...

 ...well, I at least did.

Time for breakfast (yeah, the time change really messed us up with eating on the trip)! We received a cup of fruit, bread, vegan margarine and coffee creamer, and orange juice. I ate the bread this time. I looked around and everyone on the flight had a different piece of bread so I figured we were fine since ours was different. I'm glad I ate it because I was so hungry. I'm pretty sure this "checked out" (as we say) since neither of us felt sick or anything after eating it.

For dinner we got this cous cous meal. Sorry for the horrible blurry photo. I couldn't get a good shot without turning on the flash and I didn't want to wake everyone up on the flight.

We got this meal on the way home too. It was SO GOOD. The cous cous came with veggies (tomatoes, squash, zucchini) and on the side it came with a cold potato salad, fresh fruit with a raspberry compote, and a roll with margarine. I followed to same rule as before with the bread -- I looked around, saw that everyone else had a different kind of bread, and decided to go for it. This meal was absolutely delicious. The cous cous was so flavorful! I was pissed about the dinner before but this totally made up for it. Thanks, British Airways!

We slept more, watched more movies, and FINALLY arrived in India. Oh crap, we still had ANOTHER plane to catch and then a 6 HOUR cab ride into the jungle. Ugh, I was dreading this trip at this point. You know what though, going into the jungle was so worth it.

 Leaving the Nagpur airport to get to Kanha.

 The cab ride wasn't so bad. We got to see so many colors and so much culture.

We were getting to see India for the first time and boy was it different. The driving is craaazy. Everyone drives in the middle of the street and swerves around each other, letting out a honk to let everyone else know you're coming. It's the loudest place I've ever been. The cows and dogs in the streets surprised the crap out of me at first but I got used to that really quickly. Cows are everywhere -- sleeping in the street, standing still in the street, hanging out outside someone's home, inside someone's shop, etc. You really can't avoid the cows. I can't even begin to describe the smell of India. We noticed it the second we stepped off the plane (we literally stepped off. Almost every airport had us walk onto the runway). It was a spicy smell with a slight smell of poop. Honestly. Some places had more of a poop smell than others, but it was lingering everywhere. I think this must have to do with all of the animals roaming around. The smell in Nagpur, the airport we landed in, wasn't terrible but it was enough for me to notice it. Ever walk into an Indian market? The country smells like that. Even the jungle smells like that! It bothered me a little at first but I sort of miss it now. We also noticed that India seems to have ongoing construction everywhere. I knew it was a fairly dusty country in some areas but I didn't really know the extent of it. There are piles of rocks, dust, and trash all over the place. It's like someone started to dig a hole to build something and just left the remains on the street. Actually, that IS what happens. Finally, I couldn't get over how colorful this strange and new place was. So many houses and businesses here in the States are so... bland. This place is so full of color and I was loving it. The clothes, buildings, shops, items for sale, EVERYTHING, was so full of color. I couldn't wait to explore more.

The jungle is located really in the middle of nowhere and the last hour or so of our drive into Kanha was through very bumpy and very dusty roads. It was neat to see the small villages positioned randomly through where we were driving. We arrived in Kanha around 10pm or so after that long drive through nothing. The guys working there served us dinner with freshly made daal, roti, chana masala, and bindi masala. This meal was SO. GOOD. I am still thinking about that daal. I can't seem to find a photo at the moment but if I come across one I'll add it in.

Wow, what a long day. Stay tuned for an exciting day 2 in the jungle!

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