Sunday, September 20, 2009

ok I didn't plan on doing this but I will because I know I won't ever get around to a super detailed post about India.

sorry for that long title.  but it summarizes what i am about to do. which is try to compress India into a post.  i am wishing myself luck.  (BTW sorry that the pictures are bad quality-- i dragged them off my album on facebook :D)
Still in New Delhi, we went to Humayun's tomb.  It was soooooooooooooooooooooo sooo sooo beautiful. The Taj Mahal was in part based off it's design.  The first double dome (i think that's what it's called) in India.  It's really beautiful place, sandstone, with a garden.  Also, we went to the National Museum. and the Craft Museum, which I like more than the National Museum.  A couple carpet shops (ergg) and of course, Professor Butt, who ensured that I will never forget that hand knotted carpets are in fact NOT the same as hand made.  We went to the Gandhi Museum, on the location of his martyrdom.  The stuff downstairs was really interesting, and the stuff upstairs was too.  But th
e stuff upstairs was a little trippy.  Like something from a sixties movie...but still interesting.  It was odd to be in such a peaceful place in the middle of New Delhi.
Flash forward through the super nice domestic terminal in Delhi, to hopping off the plane in Varanasi, possibly my favorite place we went.  It's a holy Hindu city, and also a holy Buddhist city I think.  It's one of the worlds oldest living cities.  It's considered a "small" city.  Small being a population of about 4 million. :D  It's a lot different than New Delhi, which is much more urban.  Varanasi is located on the banks of the river Ganges. The monsoon this year was bad, so the river was kinda down, but not all the way.  While we were there, there were a lot of pilgrims, dressed in saffron clothing, which has a special meaning, that escapes my mind.  Might be sacrifice.  They walk from their homes, and take water from the river, because it is holy.  A lot of people are cremated in Varanasi, because of its h
oliness.  There are two main crematoriums, and one electrical one.  The two main ones have around 200 crem
ations a day.  We took a little boat out on the Ganges, and made our way over to the crematorium.  The people there don't mind if you watch, you just can't take pictures beyond a certain point.  It was really...I'm not sure the word to use...interesting? I'm not sure.  The atmosphere made it so that it was macabre or morbid at
all.  Death there is treated a lot differently than it is here, so the dead bodies wrapped in their cloth didn't seem scary or bad.  They seemed more peaceful.  We took the boat back in, and watched the evening ceremonies, which are to honor Mother Ganges.  Those were really cool.  We were on the banks of the river, seeing the moon rise over the Ganges.  It was really indescribable.  We went out on the river again the next day, at around 4 in the morning, which was no biggie, since I was already up.  We then went to temples, museums, and a couple historical locations.
Back to New Delhi.  Into the car.  Onto the road.  Holding onto my seat.  I was told on multiple occasions there, by multiple people, that there is a say
ing in India that goes "to drive in India, you need three things: brakes, a horn, and luck".  SOOSOSOSOSOSO true. All the way to Agra, there were cars coming down the other side of the road, animals and people in the street, yadayadayada.  I fell asleep, woke up in the middle of the night, looked up at the spedometer, and saw the number 100.  I flipped out for about 10 minutes before I realized that it was 100 kilometers per hour.  Not miles.  Whatever- it felt like it.

We checked into out hotel in Agra around 9 hours after we left New Delhi.  I deci
ded to order fried rice, and my dad ordered
 paneer.  I had had paneer in other restraunts and it was ok.  This stuff my dad got, I might have puked a little in my mouth when I saw it.  Too bad my dad has never mastered my technique of making it look like you loved the food you actually hated.  It really works.  He got a little sick.  But not too bad.  ANYWAYS.  The next morning, we got up, and went to the Taj Mahal.   WOAH.
So, everyone has seen pictures of the Taj Mahal, and heard of it's astounding beauty.  Ok. The pictures, the descriptions, they don't come anywhere near the truth.  I was literally left speechless by its beauty.  Me, speechless, that is qui
te a task.  It is such a beautiful building, with the gardens and reflecting pool.  Only bad thing was the breeze (that OH SO AMAZING breeze) rippled the water in the reflecting pool, so you couldn't see the reflection.  It's just amazing and wonderful and breathtaking and.... great.   After that, we went to Agra fort, which had some seriously cool stuff.  But my dad has a terrible fear of heights, and almost got a little sick in one
of the towers.  But that's ok, I liked it.  :D
Onto Jaipur, the pink city.  The hotel there was super nice.  Had a really big pool.  :D
First, we went to the Amber Fort.  My method of transportation: elephant! That was one awesome ride.  I really liked it.  But then, after, I felt bad for the elephant, because it was hot, they wanted to go sleep, and the elephant drivers or whatever they're called, kept hitting their heads with bars.   But still, it's an experience I'm glad I had.  In the Amber fort, there were some awesome rooms, especially the mirror room, where the walls had mirror on them.  I liked that.   City palace was also cool.  We ate lunch next to th
e Maharaja.  or he ate next to us, cuz' we were there first.  That was cool.  We also bought a bunch a pictures, which we got framed, and I might take pictures of the pictures and post them.  Maybe. If I'm not too lazy.  We went to another fort, possibly called Jagra (not sure-can't remember-don't feel like checking) fort, where there was a HUGE cannon, fired once, and a hella lot of monkeys. They were cuties (:  At some point in this huge fort, I lost my dad.  I spent about an hour walking around the fort, end to end, 3 times, in 100 degree heat + humidity, with no water because he had the bag, to look for him.  I swear I almost hit him when I found him.  We went to the monkey temple, which was SUPER DUPER cool. Because of the monkeys :D  I got to feed monkeys!! They took the food out of my ha
nds!!!!!!!!  We went to the Maharaja memorial, which was really cool, because it seemed kind of forgotten.  It was really beautiful, but seemed a  little abandoned.  I liked it.
We hopped a propeller plane (EEK I HATE FLYING SO MUCH) to Udaipur.
Udaipur was by far the smallest city we went to. Not even a million people.  Lazy little town.
We stayed at the Lake palace, which was the summer palace of the Maharana of Udaipur, now converted into a hotel.  A really nice hotel.  REALLY nice.  My favorite pictures of that hotel aren't on my computer at all, so I can't post them, but it was really beautiful and peaceful and relaxing.  It's in the middle of a lake, and you have to take a little boat to get out there. So cool.
We went to the Monsoon Palace, which is on top of a huge hill, and you have to take a really really windy road to get there.  I have no fear of heights, but that drive was a little scary.  Once you got to the top though, you got a great view.  We also went to the city palace, which was the Maharana's winter home, and where the Mah
arana currently lives.  That place was really cool, so great rooms with mirrors in the walls, stained glass, great views.  So beautiful.  By this time, the schalazium (it's a stye on the inside of your eye) in my eyes was really bad, so we had to go back to the hotel, where I moaned and groaned about it.  It was really bad.  Hurt.  Still hasn't quite gone away ):
I was sad to leave Udaipur, and even sadder to leave India.  But we had to, and took the long flight home from New Delhi to Chicago (we got delayed) and I watched Wolverine, 27 Dresses, and Star Trek.  I watched Star Trek 3 times.  We arrived in Chicago before customs opened, so we had to stay on the plane for half an hour, until 5 AM
.  We rushed through that, and ate fast, and then, the flight back to LA got delayed 2 hours.  Whoop-dee-doo.  Back to LA, that flight seemed a lot longer than the 4 and a half hours it was.  Got home.  Went to sleep, after over 48 hours awake.  Got up at odd hours, attempted to get back into the swing of things.  

It was an amazing trip, and if given the chance, I would definitely go back.
Have a great Sunday, and a wonderful week :)

~ molly (:

Thursday, September 10, 2009