26 April, 2017

Teaching Tango in a University

Big groups of tango students. (Do notice the kiddo who is learning too). It is endearing to see their interest in tango. They also organise practica (practice sessions) and soon hopefully will graduate to milongas. 

24 April, 2017

Teaching Tango to university students

It is fun to teach tango to university students. There is a big batch of students and they are all enthusiastic to learn. These young students of same age are real quick learners and put their heart and soul to learning.

Review: Zen Hotel Ladakh and Leh as travel destination

Most of you who are seeing my Leh Ladakh pictures like these are mesmerised and think that it is a beautiful place to visit. My friends, who are speaking to me have got my real advice and I would like to give it to my readers too. DO NOT plan a trip to Leh. The place is not as good as it appears.

Now talking about Leh Ladakh 

Leh in itself is not such a great place as it appears to be in pictures. The roads are terrible. If you have to reach any destination- say Nubra valley or Pangong lake, you drive for hours on bad roads and bad cars. (Leh does not have four-wheel drive- which ideally they should). You reach a point and stay there for 15 minutes and start your journey back. You can see my video below.



To reach Nubra, it took me 7 hours and Rs.8000/- by taxi. Because it is a one-way road, in the morning, cars start from Leh to Nubra. Then in the afternoon, cars start from Nubra towards Leh. If one car stops, a line of cars stops behind it. We would drive for 15 minutes and then again stop for 30 minutes. There were no bathrooms etc. Women would be peeing on the roads. After enduring such a tough journey, there in Nubra all I did was a camel ride for 15 minutes (for Rs.200), some pictures on sand dunes and that's it. Overnight stay in Hunder resort and start the journey back the next day.

To reach Nubra, you have to cross Khardongla Pass. which is at 18380 ft. It is the World highest Motorable road. It is a task to reach there. Below are the pictures of what you get to see there. 

We drove 5 hours to reach Pangong lake. I had heard so much about this lake and seen it in movies like 3 idiots. Yes, it is a beautiful, majestic and picturesque lake. But the drive for 5 hours was killing. There you stay at the lake for 15-20 minutes and start your journey back. There is nothing much to do or see there. 
My advice, drop Leh from your list. There are better places to visit. Save your money. Don't go. 
The oxygen levels are very low. Everyone gets sick. People have to get oxygen cylinder at least the first day. Or else take a medicine. You get a headache, nausea, etc. See my picture with an oxygen mask. With the lack of oxygen, you get a headache and loss of appetite. The sun is killing there. You get dehydrated. That is real truth of Leh.  It is a place where you cannot breathe, roads are bad, no place to pee even, food supply is limited, no phone connectivity- few basic needs are not met. Yes, it has beautiful snow covered mountains and people who think they are "adventurous", "toughie", "can rough it out", like to go there. I would not like to kill myself ever again to go there.

Review of hotel Zen Ladakh.

I normally have a tendency to choose the best hotel of the city (not even the second best).
I saw very good reviews on TripAdvisor for Zen Ladakh hotel. It was the most expensive one. So I booked it. And was I disappointed? Big time- I should say.
The hotel has a good infrastructure and location. You see a view of mountains from the room. The reception is nice. But that was about it. 

The bathrooms got clogged. See the image below. The moment, I took shower, the water came up to my ankles. 
Read more under each picture about the terrible hotel.

Most of the times it did not have a wifi. The breakfast and dinner that was a part of my package was not a buffet but could be ordered from a limited selection of ala carte. It did not include starters. They offered to book my hotel in Nubra valley. It was Hunder resort.  I got to know that they charged me double what the actual tariff was. I felt cheated. The taxis have a union there. Hence, a fixed rate card. Sometimes they offer 10% discount on that. The hotel, on the contrary, would charge 10% over on that. Again it was strange for me. The taxis are expensive. The fare to Pangong and Nubra was about Rs. 8000/- each. If I had pre-booked a package for each place, the hotel had quoted me an exorbitant price of Rs. 47,500/- for a taxi for 6 days. So make sure you do not book your hotel or taxis through them. I asked them for an oxygen cylinder. They gave me an almost empty one that did not work for more than 15 minutes (it was supposed to work for 4 hours) and charged me for it.
I was told by each taxi driver and the locals that the hotel- The Grand Dragon, is better and offers better facilities. I went to check it and it definitely seemed better. I regretted not choosing it for staying.
Hunder resort, in Nubra valley, had no electricity, bad shit pots with seat cover smaller than pot, super limited food options, no wi-fi, no connectivity by phone, sleep overnight and start another gruelling, tiring, journey back next day for another 7 hours.

The drains under the sink were filled with filth.

The bedroom was big and spacious and that is why I say it had nice infrastructure.

The toiletries provided were quite sub standard.

Nice view from the room.

Nice reception area

Restaurant Review: Jom Jom Malay

Jom Jom means "go go". So it is a very apt name for the first Malaysian restaurant in India and not just Delhi. It is located in Ansal Plaza that was the first mall in Delhi and soon became dead. Now the mall is being revived.
As I entered, I noticed and got enchanted with very nice interiors. The interiors are subtle and relaxed. Yet, very modern and minimalist. I was told that some of the artefacts were handpicked by the owner from Bali. There is a very cosy vibe that you get in this restaurant.
The staff is courteous and very helpful. They explain you in detail the concept and food. 
The menu has different bao’s (like dim sums), satays, Murtabak (pancake, salad and kambing curry. (mildly spiced and flavorful). Soup (laksa – like coconut milk)- like Khowsuey.
Nasi- rice- lemak, ulam, dagang, goring, ayam.
Mee- noodles
There is a liberal use of coconut in everything.

You can relish the Baos with different sauces like chilli garlic sauce or shrimp sauce or even make you own one at the table. They provide you with various ingredients like garlic, green chillies, 
onion, spring onion, peanuts, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, and lemon and chilli oil. Here you go, choose the right ingredients, wishful quantity and make a yummy condiment on your own to savour.

Next, we tried the Satay Platter serving each of vegetarian or chicken, lamb, prawn and fish. Served along with an amazing peanut dip, crispy prawn wafer, spicy cucumber salad, laksa – meat curry and roasted peanuts for that extra crunch. 

Laksa, like in genuine Malay cuisine, is served hot with kari (curry) and a choice of noodles/rice/vermicelli. Alongside, you have the bonus toppings – basil leaves, fried vermicelli, fried onion, fried garlic, spring onions, peanuts, lime and chilli oil. Phew! It’s a crime if you miss having this heavenly plate of cooking.

Don’t miss Nasi Goreng and a plate of Rendang with Roti Canai (Malabari Roti). Roti Canai can be a bit heavy on the stomach, but it’s a no miss, still. 

Desserts need a special mention. Give your sweet tooth a delightful bite of Coconut Cheesecake– true to its name and Bannofee – rare magic of banana and toffee. Simply incredible and the best way to finish a scrumptious meal!

Out of a lot of places I have lately visited, Jom Jom Malay is a place I would love to revisit for its mocktails. I loved Mentah Manga – ripe mango. The chefs are playing sinfully well with the flavours and creating some magical drinks to accompany their eclectic food preparations.
The food blend is well stabilised with lots and lots of fresh herbs and spices. And, the abundant use of coconut milk just makes the dishes light, yet creamy thick in texture. It sits pretty well on Indian palettes.

Jom Jom Malay is a delight and transports you to lovely gastronomic journey with an off-beat culinary experience.