Just back from India-some thoughts!

Nov 26th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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Just back from India-some thoughts!

My 22 year old daughter and I just got back from visiting my son who is in India doing a microfinance internship since June. I wanted to thank everyone for their tips and thoughts on helping us plan this trip.
We did the trip on our own with no planner so each day was something new and unexpected.India was something like I have never experienced and to be truthful there were times while over there that I was counting the days till I could come home- I have never felt that way on a vacation before in my life!
My daughter who has also traveled extensively and has experienced such poverty areas as Tunisia,Ecuador,Mexico and Jamaica felt the same way.There were days when I was so overwhelmed that I just did not want to get out of bed and then there were days of sheer joy and beauty.
The first three days were spent in Delhi sightseeing(way too much pollution,people,garbage and traffic along with loud noise continuously and honking as the national sport.)
We also experienced Dawali-sp?(the Hindu holiday complete with fireworks and wonderful food) at my son's boss's house. We sat through the ceremony that they had with a Hindu priest who included us in the ceremony complete with the red mark on the forehead with rice.The ceremony also included a blessing on the house as they were just moving in so incense,fresh fruit and special treats were shared.We then spent the afternoon with the family eating and chatting much like a holiday dinner feast in the states-truly special!
Of course, as we left their house and were in the parking lot a woman with something "wrapped" around her wrist approached us. I wondered why she would have fish on her wrist....it was a huge brown snake and she was threatening us for money with it .Have I mentioned that I am scared to death of snakes????? This freaked us all out and led me to hope that this would be the last of serpentines I would see-NOT!
We left for Agra after the three days in Delhi using a driver that would get us down their in A/C within 4-5 hours.The price was about $115 for the 3 of us.We had planned on taking the train but the ones we wanted were full and the others would have gotten us there too late in the evening.The ride was uneventful until our driver had to stop and get out to pay a special "state tax" while we crossed from one area to another.While waiting in the car, an Indian man(looking alot like Ghandi) proceeded to come up to our car door and open his basket....yep,the darn cobra with full hood extended came dancing up out of the basket while he played his flute and another man had a monkey dancing nearby. I freaked,had my son lock all the doors and refused to look at the man and snake as they all think that they should get paid for this.(Have I mentioned that I am scared to death of snakes????)Had I had any adult beverages in this car I would have had a drink immediately!We arrived in Agra(another really congested city with alot of garbage) at dinnertime. We stayed at the Taj View and it was delightful-cold towels and juices appeared while we waiting to check in and the view from our room of the Taj was fabulous! To be continued.....
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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Wow! You just back from India?
I was there last winter.. it was reall really fun to me - unexpected, a little bit uneasy but interesting.. haha.

and your room in Agra was just fantastic! I stayed near Taj but I could not see it through my window. I loved Taj very much. I still remember the sunrise beside the dome and all the flowers carved in the wall.

I wonder if you see the sunrise or sunset near Taj. Probably you get the chance to see one of them..
Dianelim is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Hi dutyfree - so glad to see you're posting a trip report. Yes, India can be overwhelming! Especially the dirt and the touts and the beggars, but I thought it was worth the hassles. I did start thinking about the advantages of being at home at some points, but I was there for 10 weeks. I loved the diversity, the colors, the flavors, the countryside, the textiles, etc. etc....
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Waiting for more! We're leaving for India at the end of January.
Marija is online now  
Nov 26th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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The cliche is that India is an assault to the senses. Cliched but VERY true.
waynehazle is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 07:41 PM
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Some more thoughts....the Taj Mahal was fabulous! I had always wanted to see it in person but thought that it would never happen.(There are two places that have taken my breath away because I had always wanted to visit them-Mont St. Michel and the Taj).Neither have been a disappointment!

Our visit to the Taj started early so that we could be over at the Taj Mahal when it opened at 6am. We picked up an auto rickshaw right outside our hotel and were there within minutes. Shopkeepers and touts were all over the streets by the ticket office-most annoying but they would soon be behind us. The sun had not even started to rise when we got there and the Taj seemed to rise out of the morning mist to us. There were very few people and the silence with gorgeous scenery was welcomed by myself,son and daughter.Very magical!
We actually spent almost 3 hours there walking around and trying to take "the perfect Christmas card picture" of us in front of the Taj.The train from Delhi arrives after 8am and the crowds really started coming in and filling up every available space.We were very glad that we had spent the night before and gotten there early.

The afternoon was spent at the Fort,leaving our hotel and heading out with our private driver to Jaipur. Once again,we had waited too long to get the train to Jaipur with chair car accomodations and I just could not bring myself to the "stuffing and standing" routine for 4/5 hours to Jaipur in the general car so we were able to find a service from a local travel agency to drive the three of us there. Unfortunately,we were not aware that there is ONLY a 2 lane road between Agra and jaipur and most of it is under construction.Think 5 1/2 hours.......

It was one heck of a ride-the driver was wonderful with nerves of steel. Hours spent honking,trying to go around trucks and motorcycles and dealing with all the construction issues.We actually saw one man ahead of us on a motorcycle get hit and looked like he was dead on the pavement on the way over to Jaipur-so sad and very scary for myself and my kids as there were a few times that I thought we were going to go because of people passing and heading into us head on in traffic.

Jaipur was a relief to get to after a long drive and our driver got us safely to the Hotel Mansingh for our 3 night stay. More thoughts tomorrow-gotta go to bed as I am flying to Paris tomorrow evening for work!

dutyfree is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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interesting report....guess you won't be going back to india any time soon....
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Actually I may fly to Mumbai and Goa to see my son again in the early spring-I figure that I got the hang of India now? Besides a "mother's love" can endure anything!
Off to work but I do want to write later about our amazing time in the national park on our 3 hour safari and what happened in Jaipur.
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 07:08 AM
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Jaipur! God I really wanted to go there but I missed it becuase I was running out of time..

and I think it's good to have a son in India. probably you'll miss him sometimes he's quite far from you- but anyway you can visit India to enjoy the exotic feeling and to see your son.
Dianelim is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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dutyfree - definitely consider Goa - there is more to do there than just beach time. And if you're headed south Kerala would be much more fun then Mumbai, if you can manage it.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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Dutyfree, looks like you had a heck of a trip. I read your other post about the hotel problem in Jaipur but haven't had a chance to respond. Anyways, India is definitely a country where nothing goes as planned.

I'm glad you're considering coming back though (having a son here is defintely motivation enough I think). Goa's definitely got a lot more going on than beaches. I live in Goa, so if there's anything I can do, drop me a line at sharon1306 at yahoo dot com.
sharon1306 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 05:43 AM
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sharon1306: "Goa's definitely got a lot more going on than beaches."

Really? Like what?

agtoau is offline  

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