That looks photoshopped, right?! Best jumping photo ever! Except for worst outfit ever!
I finally made some time to go thru hundreds of photos and to also cobble together a video. Some introductory information: my family had two goals for this trip, 1) to see the Taj Mahal, 2) to stay at the Lake Palace Hotel. The latter is my dad’s request, as the hotel is featured in a James Bond movie, Octopussy! The cities we visited were Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, a stop in the village Shahpura, and then Udaipur. We didn’t really spend any time in modern cities. We visited a LOT of forts. I ate a LOT of curry. Pink hair and tattoos were quite the spectacle there, and locals often asked to take a picture with this weirdo, much to our tour guide’s chagrin, since he was keeping a tight schedule. We were in India for 10 days and drove from city to city in a van. While driving through what we’d think of as a freeway, you often had to be careful of people, cows, and other animals crossing. You use the horn a lot in India, as a way of alerting someone you are passing, as a way of alerting people who are trying to pass you, pretty much just for anything and everything. The people were generally very nice, especially the children, and old men would laugh at the sight of me. In Delhi and Agra, there were lots of wild dogs everywhere, having sun tans, making babies. They were cute. I wanted to adopt all of them. It was good times!
I’m putting the photos behind a cut, because there are a lot. Enjoy!
Here is a quote from Hairy’s blog, “Jama Masjid which is a huge mosque. (Actually it’s the largest mosque in India.) We had to ditch our shoes and the ladies had to rent a huge shawl to cover themselves up with. Our guide told us the mosque basically divides the Hindu and the Muslim part of old Delhi.”
It was a bit sad here in Old Delhi, as there were lots of ladies with infants who would crowd you, asking for money.
Humayun’s Tomb. This sort of set the precedent of the trip for me: humongous buildings and lavish grounds all leading up to a very tiny, unlit room with a tomb in it.
Qutab Minar – The tallest brick minaret in the world, built to symbolize a victory. Apparently you were able to walk up this thing, until a bunch of school kids in the 80s had an accident, fell down, and all died. Here’s a pic of me near the minaret with some school kids who are still alive.
AGRA – Home of the Taj Majal. This is from Hairy’s blog, “What a shit-hole Agra is. Again, I’ve been to a very, very poor country before. I’m not as shocked by extreme poverty as I first was. I understand it’s how most of the world lives and I’m not disparaging them that. What I mean is that once we crossed into the state Uttar Pradesh I noticed that people’s standard of living started to decline and even the already chaotic traffic became utterly chaotic and mass confusion. Of course there was some sort of festival going on that turned a four hour drive into about a seven hour drive. We discovered from our guide that Uttar Pradesh is the most corrupt state in India. Still though, how does the country allow it’s main tourist draw to exist within a giant cess pit?”
Before hitting up the Taj Mahal, we visited Agra Fort. If you watched my video, this is where I was in a small room, and then what seemed like hundreds of school children ran in all saying hello.
Okay, here is the day we went to the Taj Mahal. I should have planned out my outfit better, rather than looking like I’m about to hit up a jazzercise class. At the Taj Mahal, you can hire a photographer to follow you around. He will pose you in fancy poses and make you do stuff like put your arms out in the air and cross your legs like a lady. I have like a dozen photos from this guy, but I wanted to spare you all of that ME. He took the jumping photo from the beginning of my blog entry and also the posed photo of me and Hairy. Yes, Hairy was groaning the whole time. You do not pose Hairy. But if you do go, I would suggest hiring one of these guys. All the lighting in his photos came out pretty good.
After the Taj Mahal, we hit up another fort. Me and my dad, “ANOTHER FORT?!?” Hairy, “*side eye*” because history is awesome. This one is called Fatehpur Sikri, built by a very short raj. My mom and her sisters went, “This is a palace? VERY SMALL!”
This is me, whispering to Hairy while the others are talking about history, “Take a picture of me really quick! I wanna do something!” Glamour!
Here’s me and Hairy in front of the Palace of a Million Windows. Okay, just kidding, I looked it up for real and it’s actually called Hawa Mahal, Palace of Winds, and it has 953 windows, not a million.
Here’s me and my mom in front of the Amber Fort. Here’s Hairy’s thoughts on it, “Anyway, we visited the Amber fort which is perched atop a large rocky hill just outside the city. It was quite amazing really and it’s walls reminded me of the Great Wall the way it seemed to flow up and over the hills like a gigantic wave of stone. Since it was up a steep incline, we of course had to do the tourist thing and ride elephants up the hill. I felt awful for doing it. I hate when animals are used in that manner. I just think it’s utterly demeaning to them. I don’t condone carriage rides through a park and I certainly don’t condone elephant rides. It was getting hot already, and I could sense that our elephant wasn’t loving it either. I had this looming Water for Elephants moment, where I could see our Elephant just saying “ugh, I’ve had it with this shit!” and we end up getting tossed overboard and trampled like a grape in the produce isle. Other than that, the fort itself was amazing.” Our elephant’s name was Takina (I asked), and apparently all the elephants get a rest during mid-day when it gets really hot.
I don’t really remember what this is. We just drove by it and the tour guide asked if we wanted to jump out and take some pics. *edit* My dad said this was Jai Mahal Lake Palace in Jaipur.
Also I have no recollection of where this photo came from, but I remember thinking it was really cool that these pigeons were taking residence in a fancy chandelier. *Edit* Hairy says this is from Jaipur City Palace, built by a very fat raj, and they have his very giant pants on display.
In Jaipur, we also visited a bazaar, but I didn’t take many photos or videos. It was super duper hot, and the shopkeepers were all super duper aggro, calling you in to check out their goods. All the shopkeepers were men, and as a lady, I’m just not really down with being harangued that much by dudes. Also I am sure they are used to seeing ladies more covered up than strappy babydoll dress, so I covered up and sweat it out while my mom and her sisters attempted to find the perfect bed spreads.
So on the way between Jaipur and Udaipur, we stopped in Shahpura, which is actually a tiny village, where village life gets real. It’s also the location of a royal summer palace, Shahpura Bagh, which we stayed at and has partially become a B&B. They make good use of their happy face press, as we had happy cookies with afternoon tea, and then also, happy face potatoes for breakfast the next day. The food was really good here! In the evening, we walked around the village, where the ladies haggled over bags of spices to take home. There were tons of animals wandering around everywhere, cows eating paper on the side of the road, wild pigs eating garbage in a ditch. All the village kids wanted to have a chat and were super nice. At the palace, Hairy found a brochure about the village, which asked us to kindly not give the children any candy or PENS. There is a lot more footage of Shahpura in the video
I would say that this is were the vacay got really posh. We stayed at one palace one night, and then at my dad’s dreamy Lake Palace Hotel the second night. Here’s m eating a giant sammich with tea. On this first day in Udaipur, the ladies, Hairy, and I hopped into a cab in search of pashminas. This led to some scary “Where the eff are we?” moments, but ultimate success in the pashmina department. In the cab, we weren’t sure if the cabbie was going to drive us to our doom. My mom and her sisters kept talking in chinese, “Are you scared?” “I’m not scared!” “Stop being scared.” “I’m not scared. It’s just a hassle.” It’s just a hassle, if we become victims of human trafficking.
To get to the Lake Palace Hotel, you need to get on a boat. And you need to put on your fancy life vest.
Okay, I have no idea what this is, but it was a temple, and at the temples, you have to take off your shoes AND your socks, which my mom and her sisters were not very down with for sanitary reasons, so we didn’t go inside. *Edit* My dad says this is Jagdish Temple.
And finally, this was our trusty van for the entire duration of our journey. Thanks, van!
p.s. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of food. But seriously, if you go order some Indian food in your ‘hood, it’s going to look just about the same, and we didn’t eat anything weird like monkey brains or eyeball soup.