Our task? “To find a a special delicious thing to eat in the Muslim part of old town”.
Was it easy? Not really. Was it gruelling? You bet. We were expecting to stroll our way down town, and serendipitously happen upon the perfect treat waiting for us like a message from God herself. Instead, we found a pashmina store owner who was kind enough to explain to us the history of the mosques in the area, and point us in the direction of a “lonely planet famed” snack shop. Inside, we happened upon an employee who was clearly confused by our oddly specific questions and requests for a “special treat”. No luck. Further down our path and hunt for a yummy snack, we were introduced to “Wazwan”. “Aha!” we exclaimed, our first lead. We were finally onto something. However, after further investigation via strangers and shopkeepers, we soon learned this dish was much too meaty for our majority vegetarian group and a true feast, not fit for takeout.
After wandering through old town for a little more time, we saw a blue and yellow sign that read “guest house”. Our beacon of hope. We hurried up the steps and knocked on the big, wooden door. A man leaned from a window and peered down at us. We stood awkwardly and yelled up, “Do you speak English?”. As he pulled his head back in the window, we were certain that he was disregarding our question all together and we got ready to turn around, when suddenly he appeared in front of us. He held the door open and we walked in cautiously. We were guided up a long flight of stairs that ended in the cozy living room of the guest house. We sat down and began to ask this new “friend” of ours the questions we had been tasked with answering. He answered them in detail, but soon interrupted himself to grab us traditional Ladakhi cookies and water, and we smiled and replied “juley” a million times. Although we still have little to no idea what traditional Muslim desserts are, we made a new friend and learned to navigate our way through the side streets of Leh.
Ruthie, Maddie and Belle:)