Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Jammu City February 21st 2018

Since the reception on Wednesday didn't start until the evening, and there were no more rituals and ceremonies, I had a free day. One of my other friends (Neha) is also from Jammu, and she was originally planning to come up from Delhi to attend the reception, but was unfortunately unable to make it. She offered to have her cousins show me around town and visit the monkey temple (I told anyone who'd listen that I Must See Monkeys during my trip), but I was so zonked from staying up all night that I slept most of the day, then just stayed in my room until I was picked up for the reception. I was shocked to learn that Shashank and Rupal had to stay up all night (playing games and conversing with family after I ... read more
The goods!
Punch and Pizza

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Jammu City February 19th 2018

My train ride from Suratgarh to Jammu was uneventful. I had an upper side bunk, and slept or attempted to sleep the entire way. I'd never ridden in a train before, and I assumed it would be like the metro where the station stops are clearly labeled from the inside and you can tell where you are all the time. That wasn't the case here, and since I also didn't have a window, and kept my curtain closed most of the time, I didn't really know where I was for most of the journey. At some point in the last hour or two of the ride, I lost my cell signal, so I wasn't sure how I was going to communicate my arrival, and just hoped that I'd pick up a signal or a WiFi connection ... read more
My mehndi
Turban wrapping!
Turban complete

Asia » India » Rajasthan February 18th 2018

On Sunday, Ishan had tons of rituals that I didn’t sit in on – though I did see him covered in turmeric (haldi) at one point, which I believe is traditionally applied the morning of the wedding day as a symbol of blessing and to make your skin glow (brides do this too, but as we were in Shubha's hometown, she wasn't at the hotel for all of her rituals). Even though all of his family members were so great at taking care of me, he asked if I wanted to go out with some of his childhood friends and Shubha’s brother for an afternoon adventure. I was a little antsy, so I jumped at the opportunity to get out of the hotel and see something new, and off we went. I initially thought we were ... read more
This camel is for you

Asia » India » Rajasthan February 17th 2018

After the first three hectic days, I had nothing officially planned for the next two, which was good, because I spent them in my hotel room being sick. :( Friday night, I uber'd out to a metro station to meet Ishan and his family on the bus which would take us to Shubha's hometown in Suratgarh. Once again, my driver could not speak English and my whopping 5 words of Hindi were useless, so Ishan called him for me to tell him how to get to the apparently very well-known metro station with instructions to drop me at a specific gate to meet one of his cousins who was also arriving to meet the group. We took a few interesting wrong turns, and after meandering down an alley filled with shipping containers and people (and cows!) ... read more
Camel labor
Hotel selfie!
Cousin selfie!

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi February 14th 2018

This one is short, but I wanted to post something because I've been behind due to illness, travelling, lack of internet, and attending functions, and with more functions coming up, I'm not sure when I'll have time on the computer again. Wednesday was well spent with Ishan’s cousin (Manoj's nephew for my colleagues reading this) on a Delhi bus tour. We took the metro to our first destination, and I was given a taste of homemade halwa, which was like mashed potatoes, but sweet. Remember the aforementioned deathtraps that I would never ride in? Well, I rode in one. And it was nuts. It's basically a three-wheeled scooter with seats and a shell/roof. I don't think I'd mind driving one back home just because I already have a scooter, and that's pretty awesome, but here, not ... read more
Lakshmi Narayan Birla Temple
India Gate
India Gate

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » New Delhi February 13th 2018

The past two days have been very busy. Tuesday, at my good friend (one of the grooms) Ishan's recommendation, I went to Akshardham. I spent about five hours there, and still probably didn't see everything. The whole thing was quite an experience, from the security to get in (after attempting to check in my whole purse, but being told I only needed to turn in my phone and battery bank, then getting my purse rifled through and dumped out, and yelled at and groped by officers who reprimanded me for having mace on my hip and told to come back to get it later) to the amazing sandstone and marble carved structures including the most exquisite hand-crafted temple where shoes are not allowed and which houses the statues of the deities and sacred relics, to my ... read more
Gandhi and his followers - Dandi March
Side Saddle

Asia » India » Haryana » Gurgaon February 12th 2018

My flights from Minneapolis to Amsterdamn and from there to Delhi were as textbook as you could assume. I met some fellow Minnesotans in line getting on the Delhi flight, and it turns out that the couple I sat next to on that same flight (by chance after switching with someone so a family could stay together) lives less than 10 blocks from me - small world. I slept for about 2 hours on each flight, but when I landed at 1am Monday morning I was surprisingly not very tired. In the customs line, I learned that a passport has two numbers on it, and one of those numbers has an extra digit. Naturally, I had entered the wrong number with the extra digit on my visa (and how it still got approved ahead of time ... read more

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales January 13th 2017

Our last day in Sydney was around 100 degrees and quite oppressive. Jason and I went to the Sydney Tower Eye and saw the city from the highest point. I especially liked the interactive screens next to the windows that allowed you to click on a certain building in the view from that particular window and learn a little about it. After the Tower, we took a ferry across the harbor to Manly and wandered around the beachside tourist town for a little while. Jason even took off his shoes and socks and walked into the water a little bit. We went to a raw vegan restaurant, Native Feel Real, for lunch where we enjoyed some fresh juices and one of our only healthy meals of this whole trip. We did a little shopping, but due ... read more
In the Tower
Fresh Juice
Manly Beach

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Glebe January 10th 2017

Photo update: I've lost my camera cord somewhere, so none of my photos can be downloaded until I get home this weekend :( The drive back to Queenstown from Dunedin was a piece of cake, especially since we'd already done it. It was too early to check in to our (different) hotel, so we parked in the city center and walked over to the Kiwi Birdlife Park. It turned out to be a little more zoo-like than I'd expected (I was expecting more of a sanctuary style facility like the previous Penguin Place we went to in Dunedin, but oh well). It was still neat, and it was our only opportunity to see the national icon, since Kiwis are nocturnal, and we also saw some other native birds. They also have a breed to release program, ... read more
Pooed on by a Bird
Mirror Lakes

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin January 7th 2017

Apologies - I don't have pictures for this one yet. The guys have taken the majority of the photos the past few days due to me being the driver, and the few that I've taken, I've used my actual camera for instead of my iPhone and haven't downloaded them onto the computer. Since it's late and this took about an hour to recap, I'm skipping them for now (but may go back and add them in a few days, we'll see.) We've covered a lot of territory over the past few days. Our supposed 5 hour drive to Fox Glacier from Christchurch actually took more than 6. We made a few stops to take pictures, and the road through the Southern Alps was filled with more twists and turns and ups and downs than an M. ... read more
Lake Wanaka
Yellow Eyed Penguin

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