Day 3 — Manali
It’s our second day at Manali and we were housed at a supposedly luxurious hotel that costs USD 400 per night (EDIT by Samuel: It’s a package for 3 nights). Of course, we did not pay that much money to stay there, as our India counterparts are able to get a discounted price, as they are partners.
Nevertheless, the stay is pretty decent. I felt that some of the interior designs are over-done. We didn’t have any physical activities today as we felt that we did not need to go for an acclimatization hike. In other words, we are tourists today!
The hotel was situated on a hill and the restaurant overlooks the valley. We were treated to a picturesque view of Manali over breakfast. We went back to our rooms after breakfast and spent our morning watching movies till it was time for lunch.
Walking down the hill from Manuallaya
We are here for an exchange!
Unsurprisingly, we had lunch at our favourite restaurant: Frontier. They serve delicious Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken. It’s almost becoming a tradition to have that before leaving for the mountains. We had a huge gathering for lunch as it also served as our introductory session. The Indian guides and Liaison Officer from the Indian Mountaineering Federation were also present. His name was Vinoth (as how we pronounced it, we are not sure how it’s spelt) and his role was to document our journey and write a report to ascertain that we did summit the unnamed and unclimbed peak. He was a tall and well-built man and I guess that he is from the Indian Air Force as he was wearing a t-shirt with the air force logo at his chest. He greeted us warmly and turned out to be friendlier than he appeared to be. I could tell from the atmosphere that we were all excited about the expedition.
Waiting outside our favourite juice shop
Tandoori Chicken Feast!
The food arrived and we emptied 5 plates of Tandoori Chicken within 15 minutes. After having the dry Tandoori Chicken, we dirtied our hands with Butter Chicken and Naan. We ate to our stomach’s content, as we knew that this was going to be our second last meal of meat for the next 2 weeks.
After lunch, we hung out at New Manali. We have all been here before and there is nothing much left for us to explore. After a short tea break at Chopsticks (another of our favourite food haunts), where we ordered Mango Lasi, Lemon Lassi, Hot Ginger Lemon Honey, Honey Tea, Crispy Chilli Honey Fries, and Rice Pudding, we decided to head back to the hotel for some rest.
Time flies when you are doing nothing. Soon, it was time for dinner. We weren’t even hungry, as we had stuffed ourselves with so much food. During dinner, we got the news that we are supposed to set off at 0430 hours the next morning due to possible road closure at Rohtang Pass. We needed to avoid all possible delays, as that would delay the whole schedule. It’s always better to have more time in the mountains, as you don’t know when the bad weather will come.
Sadly, no more buffet dinner tonight
We retired early that night, as we wanted to enjoy the last few hours of sleeping on a warm bed. The time has come for us to head back to the mountains. I believe most of us can’t wait to prove ourselves again, after 2 months of intense physical training in Singapore!
Sunset from the Hotel