So I'll give you all a brief update about my time in India...can't talk about it all b/c that would literally take me another week to write lol! Let's just say it was an amazing and life changing sort of trip where I met an amazing group of ppl that I will NEVER forget! So amazing in fact I couldn't leave after 2 weeks! I didn't have any huge obligations back home so I decided why not stay an extra week and take in more of the wonderful experiences that India has to offer (I mean after 2 yrs w/out a vacation I think I deserved an extra week lol). One of the perks of being self employed...if I want to stay an extra week guess what I stay an extra week!
As I mentioned before I was traveling w/ a tour company called G Adventures which is Canadian based but oddly enough I was not only the only Canadian on my tour but also the only person from North America. It was definitely an eclectic group of ppl from all over world and spanning decades in age. Really great ppl though and we all had great chemistry and a fabulous time...no doubt in part due to our amazing tour guide Zahid (Zee)...seriously couldn't have asked for a better guide to show us the wonders, beauty and adventure that is India.
Before I went I actually was on the G Adventures Forum called The Watering Hole look for others on my tour...couldn't find any until about a week before when I actually found a fellow companion Ole from Norway. I joked w/ him that he had decided to do a little male version Eat, Love, Pray trip...he quit his job, sold his condo and now he's traveling for a year! We chatted for a bit online and then added each other to Facebook so we could "stalk" each other a bit more lol. It was nice to know before I left that I was going to have at least one person there that I "knew" beforehand.
Just arriving in Delhi I knew I was in for a HUGE change! I thought I was use to crazy driving having lived in Shanghai for 8 mths but I can honestly say w/out hesitation the Chinese have NOTHING on the Indians when it comes to CRAZY driving...let's just say lanes, blinkers, street signs have no use in India...all you need is a horn and death wish and you're probably good to drive in India lol!
So the adventure started in Delhi but I left there almost as quickly as I arrived...which was fine for me as I can honestly say it was probably my least fav city we visited..but that might in part of had something to do w/ the bit of culture shock and the 24 hrs of traveling prior to Delhi lol.
After Jaipur we went on to Pushkar, which is an amazing and interesting place on its own - it's completely vegetarian and alcohol free! But it was esp. exciting b/c we happened to be traveling through it during the Annual Camel Festival which just happens to be Pushkar's biggest event bringing hundreds of thousands of ppl to the normally sleepy city of Pushkar every year.
Pushkar was an amazing place b/c it's where I got to go on a Camel Safari...not the most comfortable of rides but definitely an experience. There is an idea in Indian art that the Camel symbolizes Love b/c if you can love a camel you can love anything...I kind of understand that now ;).
Traveling by jeep we left Udaipur behind and moved onto Ranakpur...this jeep ride was probably one of my fav. modes of transportation. It was just a really fun afternoon...me playing DJ w/ my iPhone, which for some reason we learned is exponentially louder then anyone else's...good thing I have good music taste where ANYONE can pretty much find something like lol.
One of the big reasons I picked this tour was b/c it was a basic tour...I felt like I'd get a "real" India experience that way...no frills or fanciness here! Let's just say I'm now a PRO at the squatting toilets in ANY circumstance or condition, I really learned to love and appreciate hot water and I probably smelled really bad for a lot of the trip b/c no matter how much I tried...hand washing in a sink is not the same as washing clothes in a washing machine lol! Plus as I mentioned before we traveled in ALL modes of transportation - plane, train, tuk tuk, camel, jeep, cab, rickshaw, bus!
So back to Mumbai...if I'm to compare Mumbai to Delhi I'd definitely say I preferred the vibe of Mumbai A LOT more...I'll be honest this might in part of had something to do w/ the fact that I wasn't culture shocked or jet lagged (although I don't really get jet lag..I'm pretty amazing that way) but the overall feel just felt better. I liked the culture more and it just seemed less dirty (this is a relative term of course) and the cars didn't seem to beep quite as much...which is always nice. We only had one night in Mumbai but boy did we make the most of it - there was dinner, drinks, dancing, lipstick moments, street food and some illegal beach entries! Started the night w/ dinner at the famous Leopolds...which ANYONE who has read Shantaram (I'm currently reading it btw...bought a black market copy in Mumbai in fact...seems appropriate lol) knows is a must see place..just for the experience or to say you've been there! After dinner it was off to a true Mumbai nightclub experience at Blue Frog where we drank and danced to trance music LATE into the
After some sad goodbyes it was off to Kochi w/ the remaining 5 ppl on the tour...one of them being my "first" G Adventures friend Ole...kind of a neat full circle thing you know. What was different in this next week was they were all part of a tour and technically I was just tagging along and following them lol. So basically I just booked a room in all the same hotels and homestays they did but I had to find my own modes of transportation b/c they had a private bus taking them around. If I was doing this my first wk in India I think I might have been a bit overwhelmed but after two weeks I felt I was up for the challenge and it was exciting and new so I liked that! I figured out train schedules and buses all my own (well maybe I had a little help ;) ) and even managed to arrive at all the places w/out and real hiccups...pretty impressive indeed!
And some flights are definitely harder than others...major delays on the way home and w/ the inclusion of the train ride from Varkala to Kochi I traveled for 48 hrs...ughh I needed a vacation after that! But I wouldn't give up ANY of it...even the overnight train and gross disgusting washrooms b/c it made all the experiences that much more real and exciting!
Good Bye India...You definitely will have a place in my heart forever...
Here's a few more pics of my Adventure...wish I could share more w/ you but there are literally hundreds!
It's cliche but had to do it lol!
Myself, My Roomate Beci and Ole on one of our MANY tuk tuk adventures!
Chai before Henna w/ the Girls!
You can't tell but I'm on a camel
They are probably much better at hand washing clothes than me that's for sure lol!
Much needed coffee after a long, late night!
Coconut Water - Nature's Gatorade...and a good hangover cure ;)
Puppies in Ranakpur!
Leopolds - The boys rocking out a bit at the beg. of the night!
Illegal Beaching at the end of the night in Mumbai
Canoe ride to Green Palm Homestay in Alleppey
Group Shot - Such a Great Picture!
Now back to your regularly scheduled Makeup & Beauty Blogging Business!