Monthly Archives: May 2012

i’ll even let you be my chammak challo

If I had to take a guess, I don’t think I experienced India the way most people do. You hear about people making pilgrimages there, going to learn yoga and cleanse their souls, get back to basics and get a feel for how one of the most rapidly growing countries lives. While I did experience some of these things, they certainly were not at the core of my trip.

I went to hang out with my friends. I saw some classmates that I hadn’t seen since graduation in July, I drank more than my fair share of Kingfisher beer and Fenny (not recommended. ever.) I spent at least half of the trip with friends who live much better than the average Indian, and because of that I got to experience quite a different side of the country. While I may not have seen the Taj or prayed in a temple, I got to see the India that my friends live in, which is good enough for me.


Advertisements

here comes… the groom

PuneGoaBangaloreDelhi

Well now that I’ve been back from my trip to India for 11 weeks, I guess I can write a little something to keep the crowd entertained and informed.

The main reason that I went to India for three weeks was to attend the weddings of two of my good friends. The two weddings were in completely different parts of the country, with different customs, foods and levels of extravagance. At both, however, I was treated with so much hospitality and kindness, it was overwhelming at times.

As a guest of the wedding I was put up in a hotel, as well as fed at least one meal per day of the wedding (which for the second wedding was six days). We were loaned (and gifted) saris to wear by the groom’s mother at one wedding, and it was insisted that we sit with the immediate family for meals at the other.

The weddings themselves were unlike anything I had ever imagined. At one wedding, the groom arrived on horseback at the back of an hour-long procession with all the attendees, as well as two bands.

The venue was redecorated daily, each day with fresh flowers, a new color scheme and a buffet with enough food to feed an army. We quickly learned to eat only a little bit at each meal, because it was guaranteed that the evening would consist of every auntie and uncle asking if we had eaten yet, and insisting that we eat more, regardless of how much we instated that we were full.

While we usually did not understand what was going on, there was always someone around willing to explain (or at least attempt to explain) and we were practically forced to take part in every part of the ceremony, including performing in a sangeet, getting mehndi done before the marriage, and staying up until 4am to watch one get married (since this ritual can only be performed when the stars say so).

I am so grateful that I was able to take this trip and spend these special days with my dear friends. It is a trip I will surely not soon forget, and one that I hope to take again soon when more of my classmates get married off in the coming years (hey, I have to wear all these sarishalwar kameez  and Choli I came back with!)

very Nice

I was very nervous to take this ‘solo’ vacation to Nice. So nervous, in fact, that I was considering rescheduling it, and when that seemed financially inefficient I was really not looking forward to going at all.

I am so glad I went! I had an awesome time. The best part about going on vacation with no one is you can do whatever the fuck you want.

Sit on the beach for a few hours reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter while the spray occasionally spritzes your face and you think ‘damn this is awesome’? Check.

Climb to the top of Le Château and get a sunburn on the left half of your body while watching tourists come and go for a few hours? Check.

Have ice cream three times in two days because this place has too many interesting flavors it’s just not fair…? Check.

Go in search of dinner at 830pm, and after wandering aimlessly for a while and only finding tourist-trap restaurants selling 11 euro margarita pizzas, have a dinner of takeout fried rice while watching people celebrate the new French President? Check.

If only I had not decided to spend my nights in a hostel (where the average age seems to be 14) this could have been the best vacation ever.

Nice

départ & ankunft

I returned from Nice this afternoon. While it is currently sunny in Cologne (shocking, I know) I would like to share this short photo collection to emphasize my disappointment at returning from my 3-day weekend on the French Riviera.

View of the airport on the way out of Nice this morning.

Landing in Cologne 1.5 hours later.

Once I get over this sad realization that I will no longer spend my days sitting on a pebbly beach, eating baguettes and trying each and every flavor at Fenocchio’s, I will write more.

picnics, reunions and colds

Two weekends ago I trudged off to Frankfurt to visit Kelly, judge meet her new boyfriend, and enjoy an indoor picnic with my favorite English-speaking expats who also happen to be based in Frankfurt and/or Essen. After spending too much time shopping and being lazy, we slapped together a feast of salads, homemade guac and gazpacho and a few bottles of French wine. The next morning brought Kelly’s famous french press coffee (with frothed milk!) and Suz’s homemade blueberry muffins.

The following week my apartment became a hotel for a few days while my friend Megan was in town. She cooked quesedillas (with real American salsa!) for me and kept the dirty dishes out of my kitchen sink. Then we were off to Hannover, for a weekend of reliving our grad school days, including tuna melts and towers of beer, people watching at 2 for 1 beer night, karaoke and rickety carnival roller coasters.

This weekend I am set to head off to Nice for a solo vacation (my first one!). However a persistent cough as well as a forecast of weekend rain are making me quite less than excited for this adventure. Keep your fingers crossed/thumbs pressed that it exceeds my expectations, even if it doesn’t consist of getting a sunburn while eating baguettes and reading trashy novels on my Kindle.