Angolan delight- The most adventurous Lunch

Who does not want to have a delicious, lavish lunch followed by a fine scotch or a glass of red wine . but the question is, How much one can pay for it ,Especially at the place where you don’t have  much chance to get the ambience you want ,or variety of cuisines your taste buds long for. Most importantly if you really want to have  your favorite scotch at a comfortable place  after a long tiring week.

It differs from place to place ,but a country like Angola in the “ west African region” which is considered amongst the poor one. I mean Angola is the country where you can get the foreign exchange on the roads  even in front of the Banks, Where you can see the unhygienic eating  joints on road side  along with the well established food shops. Where you  can witness the old buildings just at the verge of destruction, just parallel to the air-conditioned commercial complexes. At the place like this, we did not expect to spend more than 50 US $ per person in any kind of place. This place proved us all wrong, or it would be better if I say that was a awful  experience followed by a surprise, happiness and above all real adventure of its kind.

One day ,after a long tiring week, had a chance to visit the city  “Luanda” in west African country Angola, and Getting a good place was first on our bucket list to relax and have some peg of ‘Scotch’. Just around the corner we noticed a 3 star hotel where we could get it all, though back of the mind we all knew place is going to be costly, But as per the environment of roadside and current rate of “Quansa’ against US $ made us fall for the bet.Just in a minute we were in  the lobby of second floor of the Hotel.

Where we could see the Bar at one side ,without blinking our mind we just magnetized towards the bar sections ,asked for the Menu the Drinks were really cheap .we could feel the amusement inside all of us , but nothing comes free and here we were, the bar had only drinks. They did not had any thing to offer as snacks. We Indians can drink loads but not without something to spice up our tongue. So here was  inevitable question” where can we get something to eat along with these drinks’. The  Answer gave us a hope and we just rushed to the indicated direction .

“Oh my god” that was our first impression  just reaching the section, No one had the opportunity to witness so much variety of delicious cuisines before. it was like food heaven , you name the variety and you have it on the buffet , be it Asian, Chinese,  Continental, Arabian, American or European. The place had it all, from squids to octopus, from prawns to lobster, from green leaves to  any vegetable of the season, sweet dishes, cakes, fruit salads .

Just after scanning the whole place , it seemed costly to me but another chap just cleared the web and said if I am right whatever we can eat ,at the end would have to pay around 300 US $ for all, and that’s not an  issue . well it was a new experience for us, we just  went along and tried everything which looked good, We Indians only experience  the “never tried’ cuisine by their look and smell , we tried it all and  it was an awesome experience for me .

The time came  when we needed to pay the bill, Here we found our ghost .The payment time, having food for five people  was 56,460 quansa that means around 545 US $ as per the current exchange rate.

We Were like numb , we could not believe it. The strangest part was ”the cost of same drink on the same floor in the Bar section was 4 times lower than having it in the buffet lounge on the same floor’

It was like bringing the drink from bar to buffet was as hard as it were being brought from the moon.

The food was just for 300 US $, and for 5-6 pegs of small drinks  we had to pay 200 US $ which we could manage in 50- 60 Us $  if we would  have been in the bar section.  We had only 300 US $ in cash including all, the place had extra rule of deducting 2 %  if we  would have wanted  to use cards.

The last resort was to rush to the ATM and grab the money, fortunately the HDFC  ATM was  very near by , but how we could get smooth ride for the first time, ATM did not workout, we rushed to other one, after consecutive trial it did not worked out either, Now we had last chance to go for another trial and wait for the  Card to be blocked or  clean the cutleries through out the night  against our bill.

At the last trial we got the cash ,we got the sigh of relief now no one had to clean the dishes. we rushed to the counter paid the bill.

It was really most expensive lunch of my life where we had to pay around 550 US $ just to eat and have a glass of scotch. We were lucky enough to experience this  and experienced it successfully otherwise most of the  world population does not have the capacity to pay the bill 0f around 550 us$ at once .

Nomad

The dark night, where all went wrong.

Every place has its own story. every person who went on exploring  places are bound to have different experience for the same very place and The story starts being unfold which depend upon various thing like the weather, the tuff rides ,timings and specially the mood of the traveller.
For the person, who actually feels that its an adventurous experience, for them who just read or hear the experience its just another story.

So here I am sharing my experience ,which might be a story for all but it was indeed an unforgettable experience which i am proud to have.

Some  years back group of friends were ready to explore Gangtok  ,capital of Sikkim in India. Like any another guys we never wanted to settle for a pleasure trip, for us it was beyond that, for us this journey was to explore the places ,the culture , the cuisines and above all having fun with friends.

Our journey started with real adventure, we never knew the remotest city in north east India is also influence by the Bollywood, and our driver  was so smitten by Mr. Salmaan Khan, that eventually he loved to be called as Radhe  ,it was quite amusing for us. Just down the Road when we all were settled down ,one of our friend lit the cigarette and here goes our first surprise, Mr. Radhe told us “please, don’t smoke otherwise  I will take the cab to the police station. we were really shocked.” why he was reacting that way” when we asked , we got to know, In Gangtok smoking was not allowed in public. We were really intrigued. Smokers can understand what its like when you have to smoke and you are not allowed, well some how we managed to persuade our driver ‘Mr. Radhe ‘ and our ride went well till the time where all the shit started.

Just after some kilometres ,we left the Gangtok city ,and we were on the highway to our destination to “ Gurdogmar” at 19k feet  via Lachung & Yungthaam  Valley. Gurdogmaar where we could see the white beers ,white silver peaks of mountains and probably we would have experienced the deficiency of oxygen in the atmosphere but our ride had to be adventurous and we went out there for that only. So here it starts , heard the news of massive land slide and the main road to Yungthaam Valley was closed  for god knows how many days. Roads were packed with cars and cabs and not a single one was moving and here comes our real hero Mr. Radhe “ he just took a less taken road , which was full of dust ,mud and uneven elevations. My God, we really felt that no matter what is gonna be next, though  we were sure we will reach” Yungthaam Valley’. Being on the window side I could see the serene beauty of mountains very well. apart from that, being on a less driven road ,it was not maintained well moreover due to rush, cabs were crossing each other where a single cab cannot pass,  I was really awestruck as sometime the half of the outer wheels used to be in the air. I was awfully scared and jammed my fist on the handle of cabs door, but we never knew there was a lot more to come ,it was just starting .God has another plan for us, like he was telling ,you are here to feel the thrill now feel it like u have never before.  Cab  was jumping and moving ahead to uneven elevation and we did not know even when the car’s radiator got burst and Mr. Radhe had to take it to some safe  house.

Now believe it or not, but we were at the place where we should not be ,on a less driven road ,where getting the  help is the remotest possibilities, over all we did not know for how many hours we have to be stuck there, But Mr. Radhe assured us that he will arrange another cab in 3-4 hours, we did not know on what basis he was telling this but we did not have any other option. well we were stuck so we could not stay there and just wait for the cab, we went there for adventure and  at every step  we were getting that, so how could we wait, after getting basic info we came to know  that “Tista River Dam project  ” was going on down the road. We decided to go there to have some stuff and also to explore the valley. Four of us  just  started walking towards the Valley and rest three decided to stay there and wait for the cab. Just down the road we felt ,on mountains distance is actually more than what it seems. But we had to reach there so we tried to take the lift from a ‘lorry” . It was our first hand experience on a empty lorry ,where we did not have any thing to hold and the lorry was moving on the road which  is covered by the mountains on one side  and other side was deep valley. After reaching the place we bid thanks and rushed into some small shops where we can get some thing to eat and drink. Really  all this effort paid it off when we had the best “Maggie” of our life, which any one could get in the mountains only .after having our Maggie and beer ,when we started returning back, already 4 hours had passed and we had to decide in which direction we had to move to catch our friends. As MR.Radhe had assured us that cab will be there in 4-5 hours ,we could not communicate to them as due to land slide and bad weather cell phones  networks were also  dead.

Now we decided to move back the way we came in order to have maximum possibilities to meet our friends .we are on the patchy road in a dark night where we could see the pollution free sky but we could not see the clear road ,where on one  side it was mountain filled with trees and wild animals and on another side it was deep valley, just one wrong step and we would have been lost in the valley where no one could ever find us . we had only one thing to help moving on the road was a Nokia 3310 enabled with torch, that also not fully charged, So we had to use it cautiously. we could listen the voice of cricket(jhingoor) and see  the fireflies  everywhere. Waters which peeped down from the mountains were searching their way on the roads and making it slippery to make our movement quite adventurous,, but we wanted more all this was never enough for us and then one of the friend started telling the stories of ghost.

Now if one can assume ,four guys on a slippery and solitude road filled with darkness, where  one can only see the fireflies and listen to the crickets. Where you can get all kind of creature one can think of and in midst of that we were started the stories of ghost, which some people avoid at this kind of situation. We started and kept listening and tried to scare everyone and after some time we were really scared, scared like hell, our legs were started trembling ,we stopped the stories but still we were feeling like ghost is coming with us or we were going to  have the encounter with that . At last we had only one solution which we had heard through grand parents and some mythological books. In this kind of situation we should start Chanting “The Hanuman Chalisaa” and literally we started doing that, and  in some minutes we really calmed down ,our fear got evaporated ,and from the back we saw the head light of a cab, we took the lift and came down to the place we started our so called “Adventurous night journey’.

We got the cab from there and started the journey for the Yungthaam valley though afterwords we had lots of experiences in that journey but not that scary.

Still I feel goose bumps when I think of the day, think of the experience but somewhere  in the back of mind I feel that  someday I  should be part of such experience again.

Nomad