18th : Spice

Spice! I don’t think I associate India and Nepal with anything else quite as strongly. The highly flavoured food, the warming depth and strength of the teas. After a while my love can wane from the issue of ‘same, same but different’ however give me a brief respite with a variety of fresh salad from somewhere ‘safe’ (washing uncooked veg is not my things, especially now) and I will happily rekindle my ardour for all things hot and multi masala flavoured.

In recent days there appears to have been a spate of weddings in the areas which I have been cycling through.

Colourful fabrics on swaying bamboo structures in the towns, boughs of freshly cut jungle greenery in rural areas. All have the highly decorated ceremonial fire place dripping in ribbons and tinsel (the closest I feel to festive right now).

It also appears that as a result of the celebrations none of the chai shops and dhabas (local cafes) which have played host or are in fact the families of the matrimonial pair, in the jungle at least, want to fire up their gas stoves and make the chai I crave after a long haul up a dusty road. A waved hand from porch seating indicated ‘not keen, not really’ to the call from me of ‘Namaste, chai/char melega’!

Through eastern Nepal, especially in the more hilly areas, it has been easier and more common to get delicious refreshing black, cardamon chai.  In western and more southern areas its usually already made when I ask, in bulk and with milk, a much more Indian type of chai.

In order that you never feel the pinch of going short or the pang of not having experienced ‘real’ chai, click the image above and read the experience of one Indian woman’s vegan’s version of Delhi’s famous Cutting Chai