my two favorite cuisines in the world are indian and thai. i love the paneer and spices and teas of indian food (especially the paneer - love it blackened, and in a spicy curry - http://picasaweb.google.com/rabidog/I... ), and the chilis and seafoods and wide rice noodles and basil and fish sauce of thai food (i love me a pad kee mao basically incorporating all of these things!).
last year i ate my way through a pretty diverse cross-section of india, catching trains, flights and rides at random and going 100% off the word on the street (what words i could interpret, anyways) and it was the best experience of my entire life, hands-down. i had a paneer/vegetable biryani from a local at a small stop on an overnight train from jaipur to ahmedabad that quite possibly changed my life. paneer dosas in an odd back alley restaurant outside of jaipur. unfamiliar dark breakfast curries involving fried egg at a place filled entirely with muslim men... and me (slightly awkward!). more excellent biryani in hyderabad. a goan fish vindaloo dish. paneer tikka masala on a seaside hotel porch. masala tea and sugarcane juice and sweet lime drinks at every turn. amazing amazing amazing food. i was so happy. i want to go back, i loved that country. i could eat paneer and little else for the rest of my life.
anyway, it seems silly (to me) to go back to the same places when so much more of the world remains unexplored by me so i thought of indulging for a few weeks back in some of my favorite spots, benaulim beach in goa for sure (which is total and complete relaxation via: freshly caught fishes in strong curries and indian beer served oceanside by a cute indian waiter, friendly tamed stray puppies in your lap, beautiful and colorful (polluted!) sunsets, and QUIET compared to the rest of the country!), and then possibly heading out (via train?) to some other countries in the area.
then while browsing the map i noticed thailand is not THAT far, via bangladesh and burma. and THAT got me thinking (i've had a lot of time on my hands lately) about how there is NO cheese in thai cuisine. and i wonder where, exactly does the cheese end, between india and thailand? (i also got stuck on a similar tangent about where the last natural palm tree occurs on the US east coast, but that's irrelevant to chow) so what i'm wondering from chowhounds... would that make for an entertaining/delicious/educational/possible travel itinerary? has anyone wondered the same (about the cheese line)? is anyone from this general region who could shed some general light on the cheese situation? has anyone done this or something similar? does anyone have recs about how to travel (i'm open to train, or buying a cheap scooter or bike - i just don't know about the roads)? this is the first place i'm seeking out information and haven't done much research yet, haven't looked into visas, so forgive me if any part of this is totally unfeasible!
some background on me; i'm unemployed right now (who isn't?!), i've saved a bit of money, and i've got a few months to play around with. i'd probably look to spend about six weeks grazing in india and traveling across the continent and maybe back via a different route (open to suggestions). possibly leaving in late april. i'd be traveling solo, i'm 26 (as of tomorrow!) and female. i get around very well on my own (i prefer that style of travel, as i find myself interacting more with locals than if i have a friend to accompany me). i don't speak any other languages but i'm pretty good with communicating in pictures and gestures and via translation books. i travel light, and cheaply, and i don't look for comfort (i looked to spend between $5 and $10 a night on hotels when i was in india last year, and the conversion rates work more in my favor today, at least for india). give me some ideas, hounds! i have an itch to get out of philadelphia for awhile. thanks!
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