I ended up in India for a couple weeks for work. I absolutely love visiting India. It’s an eye-opening experience. Even better than going to India – is sharing the trip with others who had never gone before. After you’ve been there a time or two, you aren’t as shocked by the little things — the crazy traffic, the animals in the middle of road, the sheer difference in the way of life… although I can’t say I was completely oblivious to these things, the reaction of someone who has never been before is absolutely priceless!
There are also the differences in religion… visiting temples is always amazing. Unfortunately we didn’t have a Hindu guide to explain everything to us. Ironically enough – both of our drivers over the course of the trip were very devout Christians. I still had the best experience visiting Hindu places of worship on a previous trip. I went through with a coworker who was able to explain things so I could be more involved, and although I’m still not 100% sure as to what I was doing, it was far more fulfilling than just walking through and admiring everything. Even still – they are beautiful – the architecture and sheer age of them is astounding!
There are some gorgeous Mosques and Christian Churches as well. We did go through the church pictured – and met some adorable school children. Smart too. One asked me for some American money…
We also visited Mysore Palace. This wasn’t my first trip there, however it is the first trip where I went inside. It is truly gorgeous. We did the audio tour – and although it was very informative, it was almost too much information. It was absolutely gorgeous on the interior. No photos allowed inside though, so unfortunately I still only have exterior pictures!
It was also the first time I rode an elephant at the palace… Not only did we get to ride the elephant, but we also had the opportunity to be blessed by him (placing his trunk on our heads) and also were given the opportunity to climb outside of the ‘cage’ on his back for riding and sit on his head directly. Apparently that’s meant to bring you incredibly good luck. I don’t know if I ended up with any luck, but we did end up amassing quite a crowd in the process!!
Elephant blessing Emily
As we left the palace, we encountered a group of village children who were visiting the palace as well — these kids didn’t ask us for any money, which was a nice change, however they did ask our names and where we were from – and they were SO giggly, telling us how beautiful our names were…
You do run into quite a few beggars, and it is incredibly hard to keep your emotions in check. It’s SO hard to say ‘no’. Especially to the kids or those who are very clearly disabled… But if you gave money to everyone that was following you around and asking for it, you would be broke in a heartbeat.
Although we had no cash to give him, this little kid was the recipient of my coworkers leftover coconut – he guzzled it down quickly!
For those who haven’t gone before — the shopping experiences there are definitely very different and much more high pressure than they are here in the US, but once you really understand the way of life, it makes sense. We’re Americans, in their country – we are seen as rich by comparison, and they definitely don’t want to lose our business. They negotiate prices and when they see us, they intentionally start high — and it’s usually easy to know when you’re being over charged. Most of the time it was the difference between $2 and $5 though, and really – if you can afford it, it wasn’t worth the argument. Especially if the item you’re buying is worth the $5 to you. They need that extra $3 more than we do…
My friend Emily and I both had some mehndi done on commercial street while shopping. She had her hand done, I did my feet. Only problem was that I then had to walk around barefoot for the rest of the day. That and when I came home to Iowa it was cold out, so nobody here really got to see it – but I loved it!
And then there’s the clothing. Everything that the girls in India wear just seems to be so much more beautiful and unique – especially compared to our old-navy and target inspired wardrobes here. I wish I had taken better photos of some of their clothes. I did, however, bring back quite a few super cute outfits for Averie to wear… One she wore to see the Easter Bunny, the other she wore in a video I posted a little while ago. Emily and I did at least try on some sarees though…
I think my favorite part of the whole trip though, was a brief moment where I got to catch up with my girl back home… even if she was too busy painting to really pay attention to me!
All-in-all, it was a great trip. Lots of fun was had. I came home well rested (thank you BA for the upgraded seats on the flight!) and with a renewed outlook on life (it’s so much easier to declutter your crap out of your home after seeing how materialistic you must seem!).
Sorry for the late, almost cliff-notes version of my trip!
I definitely can’t wait until I get to go back again! I’m missing Indian food already….