Pink Turbans and Parties!

I will have to come back to all of this to give it the time and words it all deserves but for the meantime just to share here a few pix from this week's wedding festivities. Karan wrapped Mike and Nate's head in Pink Turban glory for the wedding ceremony. Mike did receive a few comments on how good he looked with his beard and given the name Mikinder Singh (close to Mike). We also attended a cocktail party and we got all dressed up in our best black outfits but here are some pix from the reception held the other night with a special picture of the Singh family who have so graciously hosted us these 2 weeks! A big shout out to them! Now it is all over (for us) and it turned out to be exhausting but fascinating, beautiful, colourful, and even downright crazy at moments but boy oh boy an experience of a lifetime and i don't think i will ever get that many chances to dress up again until I get another invite to an Indian wedding. I will be ready with my dancing shoes on veerji!


Karan's Birthday Bash!

Note: our trip to Jaipur, Rajasthan was amazing! We took the train in that left Delhi at 6AM and met up with my best gal from way back when, Kasey, who is living in Jaipur. It was bing, bam, boom sort of trip but the taste we got of the city has lingered and Lucy, Mike, and I can't wait to return. Kase, is a very well connected woman and she got us into a bead/gem showroom where we pawed through every known rock imaginable (we were buying for my beading Aunt) for hours and I pretended for that moment that I actually WAS a well connected buyer and it felt really really suiting...hmmmmm.

We all needed shoes for the various wedding festivities and she got us all outfitted with some seriously mean haggling. She has picked up Hindi and she knows her thang and it is fantastic to watch. Later when Nate was with one of the salesman alone talking about pashminas he said, 'do not bring your friend, she knows everything!' She knows what's what so lucky for us and you can see her on the floor in the previous post picture, sorting through the shoes and getting them each priced accordingly and to her standards. That night she took us up to this fort (the city of forts) that looms above the city and we watched fireworks randomly crack across the evening skyscape. It was brilliant to see Kasey again after years apart.

Then she wisked us off to this wonderfully atmospheric garden restaurant that was booked out but again she managed to work us in somehow and we ate a selection of tandoori delights and some absolutely amazing garlic naan bread. Music in the background and spinning spangly dancers. Perfection.

She was able to accomodate all 5 of us in her apartment and in the morning we awoke to a never ending supply of pancakes and real Vermont Maple Syrup! She knows how to host and then we were off to do some shopping (Jaipur is known for their colours, textiles, and prints) and the afternoon was then consumed trying to find a bus/train/anything back to Delhi so we could make it back for the showing of Om Shanti Om ( new Bollywood show) and we made it back but I will write more on the Tata Truck Death Slalom later.

Since then we have explored Old Delhi, attended a Mehendi ceremony (where the women party and get their hands painted with henna pre-wedding), visited Karan's good friends textile factory and showroom and were pretty much in HEAVEN as they design and sell to H&M and it was just incredible. Dipa (the coolest chic around) actually gave us some clothes (note the sequin outfits),rocked out at Karan's private birthday party, and attended a Punjabi wedding cocktail party. We are party people! Sorry for the lack of detail but that will come later. Tomorrow is the actual ceremony and then the next day is the reception and then we will all part ways. It will be a very very sad day.


viva la INDIA

Here are an assortment of India photos. We haven't taken as many because Nate and McKay have a more compact camera. So hopefully I can get some of theirs up as well. Enjoy!

ok ok ok.

since arriving in delhi only 6 days ago, we have been to Agra and Jaipur so it has been a busy few days PACKED with good times, good eats, and borderline ridiculous moments. so I will try and include a few hi-lites thus far.

- the train from Varansi to Delhi was 3 hours late leaving and 5 hours late arriving in Delhi. We had hard sleepers and after the extra hours we just really wanted to get off and find our way to Karan, Nate, and McKay. So we mustered up the energy to navigate Delhi but moments after stepping off the train a man in a turquoise turban walked towards me with open arms and it was Karan! He had come to retrieve us. (note: Karan was at school with Nate in their freshman year but he is from Delhi and he is one of the coolest, most generous, most articulate guys around and he just happens to have a nephew getting married so he is visiting from London and we all coordinated to come too! This 'we' includes Nate and McKay who are the first family members I have seen in 2.5 years so it was a sweet moment at the train station. end note:)

- Karan took us to his family home where we ate some yummy Indian ( home cooked) food that had been waiting all morning as we were late on the train but boy oh boy was it welcome. It was so refreshing to feel like we were in the car of someone and also to be around friends and family again. After a quick shower Karan took us to the Bahai temple, a remarkable Lotus shaped temple where people of all faiths can go and mediate in the still space. It was a lovely place to be as the sun was setting in our first hours in Delhi. Later that night Karan treated us to a fine dinner at a Thai place near his abode. It was wonderful food and again, quite a fun and unique transition for Mike, Lucy and me from the previous 7 weeks of the trip and it felt wonderful. We each have our own room and bathroom with a sit toilet. Divinity.

- After a heavy, hard sleep due to the previous nights catch up chat, we went downstairs to a fantastic breakfast prepared my Mrs. Singh (K's mom) of these wonderful things that I will have to get Karan to write down but breads and chic peas and fresh juice, etc, etc. Now for this wedding we will be attedning there are 4 seperate events we need to be outfitted for and the men needed suits and this being the city of fine suit tailoring, Karan took us a'shoppin and both Nate and Mike picked from a divine collection of fabrics. Mike was giddy with what he beheld and his choice of fabric. Once they have the suits I will detail more about them but I am thinking smokin' hot! We also visited a few fab places to look for more traditional attire and the colours, textures, patterns, and did i say colours, are to die for so it's all very exciting. Mom, you would just die and I wish I had a thousand dollars to buy fabrics for you!

- The next morning we hired a car to go Agra and see the Taj Mahal. We left about 7:30AM and made the 4 hour drive without too much incident except that our driver seemed a little annoyed at us and we had a bit of an issue deciphering his messages but we did see lots of camels along the side of the road which was a first for me and an elephant oh and lots of mud houses with a very intricate wall texture.The Taj was magnificant and white, like oh I really wish I had sunglasses white. Marvelous building, sublime. After, we headed to the Red Fort (our first fort) and wondered at the architecture of ancient Indian buildings and begun to get a swing for the motifs and shapes and colours of this place, India. We had planned on one more part to the day but we were all shattered and thought getting back to Delhi and sitting down for a nice meal sounded quite right and off we went. One of the funnier moments came when the driver asked Lucy in the front seat or what she thought was him saying 'do you want to stop for tea or coffee' and she said 'no we are fine' and he said, 'NO I WANT TEA!' so we stopped and the rest of the trip back we debated about environmental issues plaguing the world and other subjects such as that and at some point our driver slipped in ear plugs. (Insert: funny story about going out to a restaurant where they wouldn't let us serve our own food but also wouldn't serve nate)

- the next day was our free Delhi day. As Karan hasn't been back to Delhi in 2 years he had some family obligations so we got dropped off in the middle of the city and made our way around by our favorite form of transport, the auto rickshaw which we gave N&M their first taste of and it was sweet. It visited the Jantar Mantar a huge working sundial and other assorted instruments and then made our way to some markets! We love markets and these once were packed because it was Dewali (the festival of light, like Christmas to get a frame of the importance and scale) and they give gifts so the markets had lots of late shopped going for it.

- then we went to Jaipur and met up with the coolest chica around, my Kasey. More on that later. I have to get a brownie before they are gone.


now India...

I was on such a roll there for awhile with the posts and since we hit Nepal and they have peetered out, I am sort of at a loss for where I am and what's been happening and how I have ended up in India, BAM! Here I am in India and it's whooo-boy, something else.

A few thoughts by bullet point: as i write this we are doing internet in a little space right off one of the small alleys that leads to the the ghat where the cremation occurs on the Ganges and every few minutes a group of men come though holding a dead body wrapped in fabric, adorned with marigolds and golden ribbon...interesting, unexpected...india.

- I have become very interested in the cultivation of wheat after watching the Nepalese so intensively work on it and had an 8 hour bumpy bus ride to consider these things as we came down towards the flatlands of the border to India...with a screw digging into my side.
-The roads in Nepal have not been worked on or improved since they were built in the 70's and they zig zag along very steep ridges.
- the water in the river at the bottom of these ridges is a milky green and once or twice i thought that it might not be such a bad place to end up in...
- Crossing the Nepal-India border was crazy. The customs in India was a group of men with those cool curly mustaches just hanging out and happy to see us and give us a stamp..."welcome to India" and  it really was mad trying to get to our bus which we were told would only be 7 hours to  Varanasi and turned out to be 12 hours along a rough bumpy path, not a road! AND we got ripped off 3 times before even setting off...yes, it is true, and I am not ashamed to say that we paid for our bus ticket 3 times, to 3 different men, one of whom gave Mike the stare down of a lifetime....my heart palpitated a few times as I almost smacked the guy but all was ok and we learned that you must be firm and unwavering...hey, Border towns are always kind of freaky deaky.
-the road from Saunali to Varanasi probably isn't even on a map, that's how nonexistent it is.
-At one point when they turned the inside lights of the bus off, we were driving in pitch black...has anyone seen Hostel? I haven't but Mike kindly reminded me of the Tourist Torture movie during this very moment...nah, it was just interested to see the distant candle lights that lit the houses of the villages. so I am a newbie to India, didn't realise that they only had electricity for a certain part of the day and then rely on candle or generators...
- somehow we all managed to get some sleep crammed into the crowded bus but were jolted awake when the bus went over huge potholes and our bodies would be lifted into the air, but somehow we made it into Varanasi at 4AM...interesting transitioning into a country in the dark...feels like you are either doing something illegal, or sneaky, or it's just a bit eerie. and when that country is India, you really have something coming when you see it in the light. BAM!
-we got a motorized rickshaw to take us somewhere cheap to sleep for the 6 hours and then we figures we make our way to the Ganges and get a proper Guesthouse close to the action when we had come to.
-i don't know that I have come to yet?
-it's hot but this is the cool season
-yes, there is lots of cow shit (the only proper way to say it) all over the alley ways and cows are the kings that wander freely
-the ganges is bigger than i had thought and yes, people swim and bathe in that baby as if it were pure glacier water in the alps.
-can you say colour! sarees and bangle shops galore! I could see it becoming addictive if one were to even begin to indulge so I think I will refrain.
-really the list could go on and on and on and on....my time in nearly up.

We just went to see a Bollywood movie and it was awesome in all of it's Hindi glory. It was pretty easy to follow but I just love 'em with all the dancing and absolute cheeseball scenes. They know how to do it! We saw the previews to a couple more coming out next week for Devali (huge festival here) and we are there! We are headed back down to the Ganges tonight to watch this ritual they do every night, more on that later, and tomorrow early we will take a boat ride down the river and then chill the day away until we take the train (no more buses!) to Delhi and meet up with Nate, McKay and Karan! Can't wait.


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