Tag Archives: Photos

Weekend Fun

25 Apr

Though the weather didn’t look too promising at first, the weekend ended up being warm and filled with lots of glorious sunshine. The BF took Saturday off from work for school, but his class got canceled at the last minute so we got to enjoy a true long weekend together, our first in a few years. We took advantage of the weather and this time together to take Jelly on some adventures to welcome Spring.

Looking out the window waiting for her adventures to begin.

I guess in our effort to avoid girly pink accessories, we have no one to blame but ourselves for everyone constantly calling her a boy.

On Friday, we took her on her first little hike at a conservation area north of the city.

She was well behaved the entire time and enjoyed lots of new sights, sounds, and of course, smells.

On Saturday, we brought her to a farm market. Here’s a picture of the man and our little dog.

Last night, we made our first visit to an actual outdoor dog park close to our house. This is one of the friends that Jelly made there — he was huge and slobbery, but incredibly friendly and cute.

And here is a moment that I caught on video — it’s such gold that I can’t stop watching it and laughing at the poor girl. She has tripped numerous times, running up and down the halls while carrying her stuffed monkey, getting her own limbs tangled up in those of the toy’s. Evidence of her clumsiness has shown itself lots, but never like this, and I’m so glad that I caught it with my iPhone.

Goan Places

21 Apr

Asvem Beach, Goa, India

Despite the fact that our visit to India was originally supposed to be a short two and a half weeks, I insisted that a stop in the state of Goa be a part of our journey. Unlike the India we are accustomed to seeing and hearing about — dirty, polluted, noisy, congested, overpopulated, poor — Goa is characterized by lush green landscapes, fine sandy beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. This was the perfect place to come in the middle of our trip — a calming respite from the multiple cities we were visiting.

We took a short flight from Pune (just outside of Mumbai) to Goa, and upon our arrival at the tiny little airport, we were greeted by our driver who took us to our hotel. The 50-minute ride was a feast for the eyes — there was so much to take in, from the little groups of Catholic school-children walking to and from school, the lush flora, the cows wandering wherever they pleased (sometimes even stopping traffic), the advertising billboards lining the highway, the storefronts which varied from very modern down to the shack-like stands. The Portuguese presence is still very strong here, and is evidenced very much in the architecture. They landed early in the 16th Century as merchants, and conquered it soon after. This Portuguese India existed for nearly 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961. Most striking is the number of Catholic churches present, with the occasional Hindu temples thrown into the mix. Immediately, you get that the vibe that Goa is laid-back, which is almost the exact opposite of where we had just been, Delhi and Pune.

Our home for three glorious nights.

Our front yard

Goa is pretty renowned for its coco-hut culture. Wanting to have the genuine Goan experience, I was stubbornly insistent on finding one of these huts to stay in. The BF, on the other hand, wisely discouraged this, knowing that a girl like me would hardly be able to endure the sub-standard conditions that most of these huts offer. He had even gone as far as to seek some high-end resorts for us too book. Luckily though, I happened to stumble upon the fabulous Yab Yum Resort online, situated in Asvem Beach, which appeared to be somewhere between a basic beach hut and a well-appointed resort. The best of both worlds — how could we go wrong?

Our huts interior, looking more like Tatooine than like Goa

The resorts lobby

We had chosen our resort also for the location. Ashvem Beach is in the Northern part of Goa, and by many accounts which proved to be true, this part of the state is much quieter and very tranquil, away from the hippie and party culture which has characterized Goa for so long. This is exactly what we were looking for, as we had long suspected that this would be our respite from all the anticipated chaos from the rest of our holiday in India, especially with the wedding. Our area of the beach usually had no more than 50 people on it at a time for about a mile stretch. One day, we decided to venture out and check out the flea market in Arambol. During our hour walk to the North for this, the beaches became increasingly crowded with locals, families, men playing cricket in the sand, tourists, international hippies and yogis. And not to mention all of the cows and stray dogs, both of which are ordinary sights in the rest of India.

A frequent sight in all of India

Hippy culture still strong in Goa

A market stall

It was gloriously hot and sunny those few days that we were there. We lazed on the beach on the hotel’s chaises, using the palapas for shade when it got a little bit unbearable. And I will admit, at times the heat was a little too much to bear because the breeze was virtually non-existent. Thankfully the Arabian Sea was deliciously warm and inviting. During our 3 days there, I spent as much time as I could in the water playing in the waves like a silly child.

Our piece of the beach

A local selling fresh coconuts

Fishing Boats

Sunsets were also pretty magnificent from where we were.

What we looked at every evening

I think that most everyone will say that one of the most memorable aspects of Goa is of course the food. The state is bounded by the Arabian sea on its western coast. This means that there is no end to the fresh seafood that is served up by the numerous restaurants and food shacks along the beach. So many options, so little stomach. Our first lunch there was taken at an open air restaurant constructed mostly out of bamboo poles and fabric. We had Kingfisher beer, Prawn Biryani and fried pomfret. I still recall the gusto with which we attacked that Biryani — it was flavorful and fresh. On the following day, we had settled into another restaurant and were discussing our options from the menu when a fisherman walked up to us to show us the King crabs he had just pulled from the ocean. After what amounted to perhaps 2 quick seconds of deliberation, we agreed to let them steam it up nicely for us — I’ve never eaten anything that had come so fresh from the Ocean. The Arabian Sea, no less.

Another common sight: menu boards advertising the fresh seafood offered by the numerous restaurant huts lining the beach

Food, glorious Goan food — fish curry and prawn biryani

Fresh lunch from the Arabian Sea

Our last night there, we happened upon an Arabic restaurant. It was constructed of coconut fronds and poles, and most of the seating was on cushions on the floor. After we finished our meal, the owner sat and chatted with us and we discovered that his wife is also a Canadian, now living with him in Goa. It was a fitting cap to our stay in Goa, encapsulating all that was good about it: the friendly welcoming people, and the laid-back vibe, and of course, the spectacular eats.

Last dinner in Goa

Last night in paradise and our swimsuits

More Greens, Even More Jelly

3 Apr

I’ve been really lax lately on keeping up with the healthy cooking and eating. Chalk it up to being too busy, or paying too much attention to a very active puppy, or just plain laziness, I haven’t been able to cook as much as I want to for us. And shame on me, on a weekly basis, I have been finding myself dumping uncooked food that had gone bad in the fridge.

Jelly is four months old today. It’s a small milestone, but we’ve noticed over the last two weeks that we haven’t had to keep our eye on her every second that she is awake. While she’s a pretty independent puppy who likes to explore and play on her own, she has learned quickly and quite well what the rules of the house are. She knows what she is allowed to chew on (her toys) and what she isn’t allowed to chew on (us, the furniture, shoes) and she knows that upstairs is off-limits unless we take her there. She also has been doing really well with her potty-training. Less supervision for Jelly means that we have some time back for ourselves. And as a result of this, I’m able to have more time in the kitchen.

Fresh veggies are pretty important to me. Without them on a daily basis, I feel pretty gross and heavy. So that’s why it was a big surprise to me when I had to make an effort to reintegrate vegetables into our diets. I suppose with our limited time, it was simply a matter of making what was quickest and most filling — protein. Like Jelly, for a couple of weeks, we had inadvertently switched to a protein-based diet. Shame.

Last weekend, I made a really delicious side of Collard Greens Sautéed with Bacon, inspired by the latest issue of Everyday Food Magazine. Bacon does really make everything better, because The BF even gobbled this up, remarking that he usually finds greens like this too bitter for his taste.

Yesterday I bought a pound and a half of Brussels sprouts, as it’d been a while since we’d had them. I know that lots of people turn their noses up at them,  and if you’re one of those people, I dare you to try preparing them the way that I learned to. I simply toss the trimmed Brussels sprouts in olive oil and salt in a resealable bag, then roast them on a baking tray at 425° for about a half hour, or until they turn dark brown/nearly black. Prepared this way, the bitter taste is completely gone, and instead is a perfect combination of sweet and salty. While roasting, some of the little leaves fall off and these are the best treats of all — once the tray comes out of the oven, being the greedy person that I am, I devour these crispy, perfectly caramelized bits of goodness. The BF, who also used to be a non-believer, now loves Brussels sprouts.

Sundays for us have become routinely Jelly day. Today was an especially busy one planned, as we had an appointment first thing in the morning with the groomer (which gave us a good amount of time to have a nice brunch date, just the two of us), a scheduled puppy play group at an indoor dog park, an impromptu lunch and play date with Jelly’s puppy girlfriends, and finally, her obedience class.

Jelly is an extremely exuberant and friendly puppy, who wants to be the best friend of every human she encounters. However, when it comes to meeting other dogs, she is shy and timid and this is why we have been very actively encouraging her to socialize with new dogs by bringing her to play at the indoor park. She’s getting better and slowly learning to not be afraid. She’ll spend a good amount of time after arriving scoping the dogs and premises out by walking the perimeter, all the while making the acquaintance of every human in the joint usually by sidling up to him or her and plopping herself down at the person’s feet so that he or she will have no choice but to say hi and receive her kisses. Then she will allow dogs to approach her, and after she tentatively sniffs her new friend, will promptly flip onto her back in a perfect sign of submission. She is getting better, and we are at least thankful that she is not an arrogant or aggressive dog.

Shy girl. She’s the one on the left.

When she’s not busy making the acquaintance of all the humans, she spends the most time in a submissive position like this.

Scoping out the room while nestled against a human that is not me, or Daddy.

And of course, more interested in meeting her Daddy than in meeting others her age… or species.

During our visit with Mardy Bum and Molly, who are almost exactly the same age as Jelly and who have been really great at teaching Jelly how to play.

I’ve always wanted one of one of those action/running shots of Jelly in which she looks like she’s floating in air. This iPhone picture is the closest I will come for now.

One thing that she has started to love doing is going out to our front foyer where our big windows are. She will find a good patch of sunlight in which to lie down every afternoon. Last Sunday, The BF was away at school writing an exam and I suppose that she missed him so much that she put her head down on his shoes and took a sweet little nap.

Dressing the Part

26 Mar

It can be said that the epitome of traditional Indian fashion is the sari, which is an elegant piece of clothing worn by woman. A sari is a strip of unstitched cloth, which can range in length from four to nine metres, and is draped over the body in various styles, usually depending on the region from which the wearer originates. Most commonly, the sari is wrapped around the waist, with one end pleated and draped over the shoulder baring the midriff. It’s usually over a petticoat, and a blouse known as a choli.

Another type of garment that is commonly worn by women in India is the salwar kameez. In comparison to the sari, this is easier to style and wear. It consists of a long tunic top (kameez) that hits about the middle of the thigh and pajama-like pants (salwar) that are wide at the top and narrow at the ankle. This ensemble is completed with a long scarf that is draped over one or both of your shoulders from the front.

Both the sari and and the salwar kameez are made with different types of fabrics and in various colours. Some are ornate with embroidery, gems or other decorative items and you’ll also find simpler styles, depending on the occasion.

Photo by Trynes via flickr.com

 

The night market in Delhi

On my second night in India, I was whisked off to the market in Delhi so that I could try on some salwar kameez suits. I was accompanied by 2 of The BF’s cousins and his mom, who was going to buy me three outfits from the market for the wedding festivities. These suits were to supplement the two saris that were ready and waiting for me in Mumbai. It had already been a long and busy day of settling into our accommodations, meeting family over lunch, and experiencing Indian traffic during the day for the first terrifying time of my life. By the time we got to the market, we had just over an hour to find three suits that I liked, get them altered to fit and buy them. This pace at which we were operating was pretty much setting the tone for the rest of our time here in India: Fast and furious.

 

The market's tailor altering one of my suits.

 

You walk into one of these shops and they are almost all identical — your eyes immediately go to the wall of shelves which display folded suits of every colour imaginable. Once you tell the shopkeepers what you’re looking for, styles are pulled, unfolded and fanned out for you on the unadorned mattress upon which they are standing. As these stores had no change rooms, I was encouraged to try the suits on over my clothes. I was ushered from store to store, quickly trying on different styles and colors. Amazingly, we were able to settle on three suits between two shops that everyone agreed on.

This one is a black with peacock blue accents, with beautiful and fine silver detail throughout.

In all the chaos, we forgot to take a picture of me in this suit. Just as well, as this was not my favorite as it ended up not being flattering at all. It was a little more of a modern design with an empire waist and a bit of a train extending from the waist. This bad fit may be due to the fact that I was trying these on over my clothes, which didn’t provide accurate proportions for the man doing the on-the-spot alterations at the market. Too bad, because the colors were quite beautiful. The suit was olive green with metallic gold adornments, and the scarf was a vibrant fuschia.

This is the sari that I wore to the first ceremony. It was designed in the traditional Gujart style using the tie-dye technique. The detail on this was quite brilliant and fine. Tying a sari is quite a complex process, with the incredible lengths of fabric that need to be folded and tucked and draped, especially for a Canadian girl like me. My sari was tied for me at a beauty parlor.

Me being all Bollywood

Again, no full shot of me in this outfit worn at the first reception. This was our favorite suit — it was nicely fitted and had the most clean lines of the three. The colors were asparagus and crimson, with gold thread and dye.

Our favorite sari, which was given to me by the BF’s mother. It was fuschia and made of a delicate, floaty chiffon-like material, which allowed the sari the drape and hang really nicely. It was not overly ornate, which was perfect for me, with tiny bits of silvery-gold thread detailing throughout.

Ruffing It

24 Feb

She has been sweet, rambunctious, playful, affectionate, and a bit of a terror at 9:00 sharp every night, but she is our puppy.

Jelly came home with us last Friday night and was able to settle in relatively quickly. It was an easier transition for her than I thought it would be. She knows where her water and food bowls are set, she returns to the same spot in the living room each time to play with her toys, and she knows that getting under our sectional couch to worm her way from the one end to the other gets us riled up every time. She is silly and sweet, a little bit clumsy, and completely lovable. I miss her every time I am away from her and for this I am sad because she grows and changes every single day. She is a little bit different each time I come home to her. She won’t be a tiny puppy for very much longer.

She’s learning little by little, and we learn too. After every vigorous solo play session with one of her toys, Jelly loves to crawl into my lap, curl up and fall asleep. She loves to be wrapped in a towel when we dry her from an outing in the snow. She is terrified of rubber things. While she loves to chase the tiny soccer ball that we throw for her, she has quickly learned to not run so fast so that she can avoid bumping her head into walls and kitchen cabinets. She doesn’t like peanut butter so much.

Like clockwork, she wakes us at 5:40 every morning, which is fine because it gives us a little time to spend with her. We take her outside, feed her breakfast, then fit in one more walk and a little play session before we both get ready for work. I have no right at all to complain about our sleep deprivation since she’s been so fun to have around and get to know. As I said, she won’t be a tiny, curious puppy for very much longer so we need to enjoy these growing pains as much as we can.

The Wedding in India

6 Feb

The primary reason that brought us to India in the first place was a wedding. Most of you have probably heard that Indian weddings are huge affairs which often span at least a few days. They are lavish occasions which usually host hundreds of guests there to participate in, witness and celebrate the tradition, ceremonies, rituals and of course, the festivities.

There were six big events/rituals which we were attending. The bride was the first cousin of The BF, and traditionally in Indian families, cousins are regarded and treated as siblings, so this was a very important wedding for us to be a part of. That I was immersed in the culture through his family this way was an incredibly valuable and life-changing experience for me.

Mehndi Party

Mehndi is the application of henna in intricate patterns on the bride’s hands and feet, and is done at a celebration mostly attended by the bride’s family and close friends. In addition to the bride, her female relatives and friends also get painted on their hands by henna. It’s said that this ritual of mehndi signifies the strength and power of love in a marriage, and is therefore regarded as a good omen for the bride-to-be. For us, this ritual happened a few nights before the ceremony, and I was invited to also have henna applied to my hands.

The henna comes in tiny cones, which resembled teensy little piping bags, and were applied by two professional mehndi artists. All the designs applied were unbelievably detailed and intricate, were done swiftly and most incredibly, freehand. After they were done decorating my hands, I was told that the swirling, patterned paste was to remain for a few hours and I wasn’t to wash my hands so that the henna to set and stain my skin. Once the dried paste was removed, the designs were dark orange in colour, which gradually darkened over the following couple of days to a dark reddish brown. The designs remained beautifully distinct and visible on my palms for the following three weeks.

Allowing the paste to dry.

That night, after removing the paste, the designs on my hands are a dark orange. I was constantly amazed by the detail and found myself examining my hands every few minutes. Do you see the peacock?

Engagement Ritual and Sangeet

The engagement ritual was held the night between mehndi and the ceremony. This is the first formal affair for which both sides gather to celebrate the forthcoming wedding ceremony. Both families exchange multiple gifts, baskets of fruit, sweets and good wishes. A ring ceremony takes place, and the bride and groom are both formally introduced to the other’s family.

The traditional gift exchange that takes place during the engagement ritual.

The sangeet festivities followed, which is a very elaborate affair with food, dancing and songs performed by relatives to gently poke fun at the prospective bride and groom. This is a big celebration and is meant to be a fun and joyous affair. The groom’s extended family put on little dances, little skits and performances set to music.

Choora Ceremony

This was held at the home we were staying with the bride’s family, and it began with a religious prayer ritual, called havan, performed by a priest. We all sat around a small fire, while mantras were recited and various items like rice, herbs and other foodstuffs were placed in the fire. Once the prayers were completed, the bride’s family members adorned the bride’s wrist with white and red bangles (the choora). After this, ornaments made of silver and gold, known as kalira, were tied to the bangles by female relatives and close friends.

For the havan ritual, the offerings, the fire container and the prayer book.

Tying the kalira onto the bride

The wedding

The bride and groom on wedding day.

The night revolved around an elaborate ceremony that took place under a canopy, in which a number of rituals were performed by the bride, the groom, their parents and close relatives. The venue at which it was taking place was outside at night, and the entire area was decorated with garlands of marigolds and was lit with twinkling white lights. While the ceremony was being performed, which lasted a couple of hours, guests watched, or milled about to socialize. No Indian affair is complete without food, and there was plenty here served buffet style.

Reception

The reception was held the night after the ceremony, and this too was held outdoors in a big sprawling tent. This event was not marked by any customs or ritual, as it was strictly to celebrate the newly married couple. Everyone celebrated with lots of food and drink, music by a live band and dancing.

For us, there were two formal receptions to attend. All the wedding ceremonies and festivities were held in the groom’s hometown of Secunderabad, and the bride’s family hosted a second reception near their home just outside of Mumbai a week later. The second reception was slightly smaller and more understated, as it was where the bride’s family presented the new couple to their friends and family who could not attend the event in Secunderabad.

Honk OK Please!

3 Feb

One huge aspect of Indian life that will always amaze me is the driving and traffic. I was exhausted by the time each car ride was over because my adrenaline levels spiked so many times during a trip, no matter the duration. And I was only ever a passenger. That the drivers there can navigate the insane roads and traffic so casually and calmly is way beyond comprehension to me.

Except for the line demarcating the split between opposing traffic, there are no obvious lane markings on the roads. Cars, busses, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, scooters, motorcycles, trucks and criss-crossing pedestrians are all moving as fast as they can, filling every available space to advance in this chaos. Where in North America a honking horn usually means Move/Go/Eff You/Learn How to Drive You Stupid Asshole, here it’s simply to proclaim “I’m here” behind or beside you. I suspect this is the reason why most trucks on the road there have “Honk Ok Please!” written on their backs. There seems to be a mutual respect among all those sharing these roads. Signals are rarely used, but a simple bleep of the horn somehow indicates an understood intention, whether you are driving alongside another vehicle in a space meant for one, or if you want to overtake. Despite the aggressive driving, there doesn’t seem to be any road rage. It’s a common respect and courtesy that exists between all those on the road. You nudge out of the way for anyone who wants to overtake you, and the tiny gaps that you want to occupy should be taken if it’s available and open. Drivers just aim their vehicles in the direction that they want to travel and just go. Blind spots are never checked. And while turn lanes exist, I was convinced that these too were just for show. It’s common for anyone to make a turn at the last possible moment from the lane in which they’re currently situated, cutting across all lanes of traffic with no negative consequence.

One common sight that never failed to astonish me is the number of people or the configurations of people you see on motorbikes, which have a huge advantage here on the streets here because they’re able to squeeze in and out of the tightest spaces and still advance quickly and unscathed. You often see families of four piled onto these motor bikes. And one night in New Delhi, we were driving back through rush hour traffic, which could only really be described as frenzied gridlock. We saw a motorbike with a female passenger sitting side-saddle and talking on her cell phone. She held onto nothing else but her phone.

Crossing the street as a pedestrian is like a game of Frogger. Slightly death-defying, completely thrilling. As swiftly as possible, you take a few steps forward behind a vehicle that has just passed, quick enough so that you don’t become road-kill for the next approaching vehicle. I quickly learned that the best and quickest way to cross a street was to find some locals who were also crossing, and use them as a shield and a guide at the same time, mirroring their steps so that I could safely navigate across the street too. Walk when they walk, and stop when they stop.

This is the congested main artery of the famous Chandni Chowk market in Delhi.

 

Everyone's gotta get somewhere, and here, there are really no road rules.

Their answer to the mini van. This one still had some empty seats.

Driving at night wasn't any less harrowing. Look—that's me snapping the picture in the mirror!

Jockeying for position, every last gap on the street is filled by every kind of vehicle.

Riding the Indian Rails

23 Jan

One of the more commonly known facets of Indian life is that things rarely run on schedule. If you visit this country, you have to come fortified with extra patience. It’s for this reason that I wasn’t too surprised that this happened to us for one of the train rides we had booked. We had tickets for the 11am train from New Delhi to Pune, which rolled into our station to collect us at 2:45pm, over four and a half hours late for our 30-hour trip to the Southern part of India.

A little naively, I was looking forward to this train ride. It was my very first overnight ride on a train ever in my life. However, on the station’s platform that morning, The BF took notice of my eagerness and in an instant knew that he had to manage my expectations. Simply, he said to me: “Don’t expect this to be the Hogwarts Express or anything like it.”

Spending so much time on the platform gave me the opportunity to really observe this part of Indian society. Locals from all walks of life populated the train station. Wallahs traversing the length of the platform selling various things, from chains to secure your luggage on the train, to paan, to various snacks, to chai.

There are a few classes on the train. We were situated in AC 3-Tier, which reserves you a berth in a curtained cabin. Second Class Sleeper was the lowest, and it was these cars that commanded your attention as soon as the train approaches the station. People on these jammed cars who need to exit are clamoring their way out the door, pushing against those who are charging their way onto the train through the same opening. From what I could see from the outside, the insides of these cars are absolutely packed from wall-to-wall with people. Those who are unable to get inside properly hang onto the handles beside the door openings, and continue to do so as the train starts to move away from the station.

There was one family on the platform that afternoon that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. One man, accompanied by two women and six children. All were barefoot, and one small boy had no pants on. Unable to squeeze onto the Second Class Sleeper car of one train, they waited patiently until another train stopped at the station. Although this train was traveling in the opposite direction, the entire family hopped down from the platform and crossed two sets of tracks, carrying all their children, huge baskets and burlap sacks so that they could pile onto this train. It was obvious that their destination was of no consequence to them.

While our train ride was long, it was a gave me a superb vantage point from which to see India. Traveling from the North to the South, you observe parts of the country that would otherwise be obscured – farm villages, slums, small towns, laborers, children at play, stray dog colonies and other wandering animals.

Laundered bed linens are supplied for each berth. Because there were only three of us — me, The BF and his Mom — we had the misfortune of having to share our cabin with an ill-mannered man, who’d embarked at an earlier station and who steadfastly refused to fess up to the fact that he’d swiped one set of sheets and a pillow while we were arguing with the Linen Manager that they were missing from one of our berths. As a result of this, The BF and I had to share a narrow berth and a tiny, paper-thin pillow for our overnight trip. Meal, snacks and tea can also be ordered. Meal service is not often on time, but is sufficient. However, something that we ate upset both of our stomachs.

Though our car was equipped with a Western-style toilet, its seat had been broken off. Therefore, I had no choice but to learn to master the Indian-style toilet. This is made up of a hole in the floor, with a chute leading to the tracks outside, and two footrests on either side of the hole. Using this toilet requires that you firmly plant your feet, squat down on your haunches while gripping the bar on the wall in front of you as the train sways and buckles.

The BF was great and helpful, and it’s a good thing I’m not shy about these things with him because as discretely and as modestly as I possibly could, I would strip out of my almost all my clothes for him to hold onto outside of the stall so that I could do my business inside. It was a complicated process, but it ensured no unsightly accidents or messes by this germaphobe from Canada who’s used to modern luxuries such as flush toilets.

A far cry from the Hogwarts Express, that’s for sure.

Five Senses of India

7 Jan

I really wanted to blog about my trip this week – there’s just way too much to share with you. However, until we solve the whole camera and image download dilemma – most of our pictures are on the point and shoot (battery charger is fried because of a power surge on the train) and a DLSR that was on loan to us (our MacBooks don’t have SD card readers) – I won’t be doing full posts just yet.

It’s also been a challenging week, returning to work and playing catch up, while also trying to train my body to live again in my own time zone.

The details of my trip are so fresh and juicy in my mind and I don’t want to lose them. One thing that is especially notable is that your senses are assaulted the minute you arrive in India and what’s quite wonderful is that the sensory stimulation is constant. This is something I always want to remember

Sight – Beauty is everywhere, from the green lushness of Goa, to the colourful crowds of people on train platforms, to the magnificent Taj Mahal, every single thing commands your attention and dazzles your eyes.

Smell – Here, it’s so pungently human – the smells of urine, garbage, diesel, incense and spice overwhelm your senses.

 

Sound – A constant, boisterous, blasting sound. Everyone shouts, even in conversation. Horns blare, stray dogs battle for territory, birds scream, trains blow their horns and drone constantly all day and all night.

Taste – Flavours are complex and layered. I will never be able to have Indian food again without remembering how perfectly true it tasted there.

Touch – You are constantly touched and bumped. Bodies are pressing and jockeying, and strange hands are tugging,
poking, begging.

 

Home sweet home

4 Jan

And so, I’m back!

Jet lag has not hit me yet, but I feel like I’ll be fadingfast really soon. We returned yesterday afternoon, and I’m writing this at my desk at work. Yes, less than 24 hours after my return from the other side of the world I am back at work and slightlyregretting not  asking for another day off to recuperate. I have lots to share in upcoming posts. A slight mishap on one of our train rides fried the battery on one of our cameras, so until we figure out a solution, sadly we won’t be able to download the photos from it. Thankfully, we were traveling with another camera and my iPhone, so we still have thousands of pictures that are accessible to us. So, once I get my bearings back here at home, you can look forward to many posts and images from our adventures in India. I’ve missed you!

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