As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been to India before. Sach and I were there for 10 days in 2011 to ring in her 30th birthday, and boy, did we, but that’s a story for another time. Instead of focusing on our alcohol consumption and the shenanigans that ensued I’d like to highlight a couple stories from the journal that I kept…
We spent our first couple days in India in Goa, which was hardly culture shock considering that the biggest decision we made there was whether to go to the pool, or beach, and what time we were going to do this. Goa is a hugely popular honeymoon destination for India’s newly married. When we flew back to Delhi I was fascinated by the number of young women wearing silver and red coloured bangles from their wrists up their forearms. Never one to shy away from curiosity I approached a young couple to get the scoop. They told me that the bride is given the bangles as a gift on her wedding day and that it was a Hindu tradition for the bride to wear the bangles for 40 days after the wedding. According to my journal (which I’m sure is accurate because I’m quite nosy and observant) there were 15 such couples on our short flight.
After arriving in Delhi quite late at night we hailed a taxi to take us to our hotel. Unfortunately, we didn’t think to check as to whether our driver spoke a lick of English (or even knew where our hotel was.) We also failed to write down the hotel’s phone number so the driver wasn’t able to call to get directions. Once we realized this was a less than ideal situation he was already swerving onto a busy Delhi road and didn’t seem too keen on stopping the car so we could get out or get proper directions. By some stroke of luck and our crappy Lonely Planet map, I was able to locate the road we were on and by an even bigger stroke of luck direct him to the hotel. Those of you who know me know that this was a true miracle, as I have zero sense of direction, and often get car sick trying to read a text message in a moving vehicle.
I have a memory of touring the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi. This is the largest mosque in India and female visitors are made to don these bright polka-dot cloaks (please see photos for amazing Indian fashion). Whenever I’m traveling I always offer my photography skills when I see people struggling to take a photo of themselves or of their family. Its not that my skills are so advance (although my mom thinks I missed my calling), but that I know how frustrating it is to not have photos with your travel companions instead of separate ones of you and them. This particular day as we people watched in the courtyard of the mosque I saw a man trying to take a photo of his wife and 2 children with his flip-phone. I walked over and offered to take their picture for them. The man became very confused and thought that I was offering for him to take my photo, which he then did. Eventually I was able to convince him that I wanted to take their family photo and they agreed. They were from Kashmir and he then wanted a photo of me with his family, and then his wife wanted a photo of just the 2 of us. It was a really special interaction. I love that in the photo with her I have my arm around her, and she is patting my purse. Makes me smile every time I see this photo.
These are just a few of the interactions that I noted in my travel journal from that trip. I’m sure that after we complete the Rickshaw Run I’ll have another journal full of such memories. Reading back through my entries reminds me of the importance of taking photos of such interactions when possible, as they provide a visual record of the memories that my heart holds dear.
On another note, I have been busy, busy planning a wine tasting fundraiser in the Kelowna area on November 9th. It will take place at Little Straw Vineyards from 4-7pm. The fundraiser will be a drop in event with a $20 cash only fee. For the $20, attendees will get a wine tasting, a glass of wine and tapas (yummmm). Jen is flying in from Seattle so she and I will be answering questions about the Rickshaw Run and why we would voluntarily drive 2500km in a country with the worst driving record ever. All proceeds will go directly to New Light India and we will have charity information on hand. We are also going to have a silent auction. Both Rollingdale Winery and La Cucina have kindly made donations. Little Straw will be putting together a basket for the auction as well, my mom is donating one of her skillful paintings, and we have several other businesses in support. It should be a really fun event!!
We are also busy finalizing our rickshaw painting scheme (otherwise known as pimping). My persistence and annoyance won out and Jen and Sacha have agreed to have the rickshaw base painted hot pink. I couldn’t be happier. We are planning on having a beautiful image of a traditional Indian woman on the front with the painted saying of “A Kiwi, a Canuck, and a Yank are Kickin it Sari Style.” Jen’s brother, Matt, who is a technology wizard, is helping us with this project. If it was left to us, we’d likely have crayola crayons and a glue stick trying to paste the thing together. It would make 3rd grade craft hour look legit. We’ll be sure to post a preview when it’s all finished.
Lastly, yes we know you know, but there is still time left to get in on our Intrepid Trip raffle/give-away. Tickets are still $5 and you have until Oct 31 (Happy Halloween India style) to get in on the action. If you’re keen, and we’re hoping you are click here and buy your tickets. If I were you I’d play it safe and buy more then one!!
Happy Travels….we’re leaving for India in 2 months!!!