Archive for December, 2015

The longest day ever: November 16

Posted in Airport, Flying with tags , on December 13, 2015 by Amanda

I think this may have literally been my longest day ever.  I left Delhi at 2 am and then through to Zurich and Toronto and then finally arrived in Saskatoon around 7:30 pm.  I then took a taxi to the hotel where I’d left my car and then drove back home.

Before my flight from Delhi to Zurich, there was an unaccompanied minor literally running around the boarding gate.  When I got on the plane, guess who I was seated beside.  He actually wasn’t as bad as I’d feared but he seemed a bit confused about when we were on the ground still versus actually flying.  My flight from Zurich to Toronto was great!  It was maybe 60% full; flights are always so much better when no one is seated beside  you and the flight attendants always seem happier too.  Upon reflection, this was my first fairly empty international flight in close to five years.  I realize that airlines don’t make a lot of money from flights like this but I sure enjoy them!

[You may have noticed that it took me a really long time to finish my India blog posts.  I won’t go into the details because most people really won’t want to read them but a few days after returning from India I began to feel not well at all.  Eventually, I found out the cause was cryptosporidium.  Other than maybe being slightly more tired than usual I’m feeling good now and it’s almost time for another vacation (though of the not quite so exciting variety- just headed to Ontario)!]

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Delhi: November 15

Posted in Delhi, India, Market, Metro, Shopping, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2015 by Amanda

My last day in India was mostly spent shopping.  As I didn’t feel like dealing with the hassle of markets, I mostly went to malls.  The security at the malls was pretty high.  It was kind of like flying and you usually had to show your receipt upon leaving  a store.  Still, it was much more relaxing than dealing with the chaotic markets.

I went to the malls mostly be metro.  The metro had similar security to the malls.  It was super cheap, straightforward, modern, and clean.  It didn’t really seem like India!  I traveled on the women’s car.  Despite the trains having six to eight cars and only one women’s car, I think the women’s car was generally less crowded!  When we stopped at one station, a security guard put a blind man in; I assume he was just being lazy (the women’s car is the first on the train) by the looks the Indian women gave him.

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Waiting for the train

Later in the day, I did go the market near my hotel. The experience made me glad I’d done most of my last minute shopping at malls!

Back to Delhi: November 14

Posted in Bicycle rickshaws, Delhi, India, Karol Bagh, Rajasthan, Shekhawati, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , , , on December 13, 2015 by Amanda

Today we headed back to Delhi.  It was clear that the Shekhawati region was poorer and less visited than most of Rajasthan.  For instance, the toll booths were much smaller and more primitive looking than elsewhere.  I also noticed a lot of Hindi-only signs which I rarely saw elsewhere.

As we approached Delhi, I noticed walkways over the highway.  Of course, motorcycles were driving over them!

Traffic became insane as we nearer Karol Bagh.  We were initially going to have our bags transported via bicycle rickshaws.  However, we quickly realized that they weren’t going to move much faster than a bus.  So, we ended up just carrying our bags to the hotel.

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A bicycle rickshaw loaded with bags

 

Nawalgarh: November 13

Posted in Frescoes, Havelis, India, Morarka Haveli Museum, Nawalgarh, Podar Haveli Museum, Rajasthan, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2015 by Amanda

Nawalgarh was by far the smallest place on the itinerary.  I was really hoping that it be a pretty calm place to walk around.  In places that was the case but in places it was still very crazy.  Oh well!

Nawalgarh was still a very interesting place to walk around and was quite different from other places we visited.  It is known for its frescoed havelis; haveli means “house of winds” in Persian and the havelis have nice open area courtyards.  There are many of these buildings around town, though few are very good condition.  It is very evident that this was an incredibly nice and wealthy town.  from the mid 1700s to the 1920s, Nawalgarh was on a busy caravan route and these homes belonged to merchants.

Our hotel was one haveli in good condition as were the two museums: Morarka Haveli Museum (not that great) and Podar Haveli Museum (excellent).  Besides seeing the beautiful haveli itself at the latter museum, there was interesting information about the caste system and about Rajasthani culture.  I realized just how many communities in Rajasthan have forts, castles, and palaces.  I think one could easily do a trip just visiting the ones that people rarely visit; maybe I’ll do just that someday!

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The entrance to the Podar Haveli Museum

Bikaner: November 12

Posted in Bikaner, Camels, Diwali, India, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , on December 13, 2015 by Amanda

With most places closed because of Diwali, I ended up not doing too much today.  I could have gone to another Bollywood movie but decided one Bollywood (well, half of one) was plenty for me.  It may have been just as well as yesterday was definitely long day.  Still, I think Bikaner was not the best place to end up for Diwali as there wasn’t as much to see just by walking around as there had been in other places.

In the late afternoon, we went to a camel breeding facility.  It was mildly interesting.  Then it was time for a camel cart safari and dinner.  This was not very exciting; the camels were so slow; I much prefer actually riding on camels!  I didn’t go in with high expectations but I didn’t expect it to be this underwhelming.