the queens tomb
FIRST TRIP TO INDIA SEPTEMBER 2007
The first time I went to India was September 25, 2007.
We flew to Delhi and then a private car (with an English speaking driver) picked us up and we drove another 3 hours to Agra where the Taj Mahal is. Did I mention that it is really HOT here. It's bearable, the sun hasn't been out and we went early in the day.
There are alot of street peddlers along the way. We rode a camel from the parking lot to the front door of the TajMahal so they couldn't bug us too much. It was not a smooth ride, but an experience that we are glad we did once because we probably wouldn't do it again. Then inside there are a lot of photographers that will follow you up to the TajMahal and take your pictures. Along with the driver went with us also.
The first time we went to India, you can see that my clothes were covering me from head to toe. I was trying to respect the culture, by covering my arms and legs. Every woman was wearing sarees in 2007. Today 2010 only the lower cast and older Indian woman wear sarees. The younger generation want to be Western. So my clothes have changed A LOT.
Our offices are located on C.G. road in Ahmedabad on the 8th floor.
SECOND TRIP TO INDIA JANUARY FEBRUARY 2008
We got an apartment at SaTurnJay. We took the rickshaw to work. Saeed had given me some material for a dress. Joyti took me to a seamstress to make it into a dress. I ended up getting 3 made. We were honored to go to Snehal's cousins wedding. It was the first Indian wedding I attended. Sure glad there was someone there to help explain. We had to dance to the wedding. It was about a mile and my feet hurt so bad after that wedding.
THIRD TRIP TO INDIA JULY AUGUST 2008
The office and apartment moved to a bungalow. We had trouble with the landlord from day one. They didn't like the office being on the first floor in the society. The roof was so awesome, we had a lot of parties on the roof.
We flew to GOA. Taking a 45 minute car ride thru some of the most beautiful tropical scenery that I have every seen, we arrived at Club Mahindra on Varca beach, again just right out of the magazine. RIGHT ON THE VARCA BEACH! We had drinks in the bar, walked down to the beach and picked up sea shells, walked in the water, checked out the gift shop, and then we changed our clothes and went to "Martin's Landing"restaurant Benaulim Goa located at Martin's Corner for dinner. We had Steak and Lobster and the local Fenni Drink. Snehal had told us that it is "A MAN" drink. I would have to agree. The restaurant holds regular musical evenings with local music, Reggae, pop, jazz dished out by foreign and local musicians. It is advisable to book your table if a musical evening is slated for the evening to avoid disappointment of not having a vintage point of viewing the sea waves. It was awesome.
Next morning we were up and off to the beach and then back to the swimming pool. I can't wait till I can get my pictures online. Then we headed off to North Goa. We had picked out a restaurant "Café Caravela", a café that draws its name from a Portuguese trading boat, right on the Arbian Sea. Taj Holiday Village Hotel Goa is set on the old Fort Aguada and overlooking Sinquerim Beach and the Arabian Sea. Bob had a boring sandwhich and I had Red Snapper. It was the whole fish and presented with such flare. After lunch we went to the 3 different beaches and shopped and had a drink on a beach view bar.
We went back to the Radisson White Sands Resort Goa for dinner. I had salmon wrapped in a banana leaf and some vegetables that were presented like a burrito. Bob had a boring steak, but he said it was the best steak he had eaten. When the bring your food to the table they ALWAYS ask. May I serve you? ALWAYS ASK! They always serve from the left and remove plates from the right. They are excellent and serving and making your dinner seem extra ordinary.
On our final night in GOA, we went to "Fisherman's Wharf" on the bank of RIVER SAL for dinner. We were a little worried when the driver wouldn't wait for us. They always wait. We were seated by the river with lots of boats and you could fish for your own dinner. But it was late and dark, so we asked what the catch of the day was. The waiter said: "Not today!". "Last week sometime". "It's frozen!". So we stayed away from the fresh catch of the day. I had king fish that was just awesome and Bob had shrimp. It was a very good meal, and I would recommend it. The waiter called us a driver and we were back to the Club Mahindra for after dinner drinks. The last morning we went back to the beach and walked along the beautiful beaches for the last time. This is #1 on my list of favorite holidays that I have had. It was top notch and very relaxing. We didn't even know that it was monsoon season. Yes it did rain, but nothing that stopped us from having a great time.
It was a great trip to Goa. We are now in Mumbai. Hotel provided us with a driver so we are off to get a hamburger at "Hard Rock Cafe" in Mumbai. Hamburgers, onion rings and Fries. We also had an appetizer that had potato skins, egg roll, chicken strips, and hot wings, we ate everything on the plate. Bob had beer and I had a dark rum and coke. Since Goa I have found that I really like Dark Rum. Sounds so tropic.
We first went to a Mall and shopped more than I think we have ever shopped. We found an electric cooking unit. A electric pressure cooker. SHOES, 2 pair. Ate chicken at Nonan's. Pretty spice but really good. Shopped some more and found DIET DR. PEPPER. Better Crocker Pancake mix. Then we had to buy a suitcase to get it home.
We ate at Trishna. We had Lobster and King Prawns for supper. The 3 lbs lobster was $30. It was SOOOO good!
Back to hotel and don't know if we are going to get it all in the suitcases. We also have "Hard Rock" beer glasses and 5-Shirt. I am going to just hope for the best.
Train leaves tomorrow at 2:00 pm. We are hoping we can find another suitcase. What a great time and so many more malls here in Mumbai we need to visit.
Last Train Ride during Monsoon
We had a great holiday, till we got on the train to come home. There was flooding in Mumbia so the trained was delayed 1.5 hours getting into the terminal, so that started us off on the "wrong track". We were supposed to leave at 1:40 but then we finally left at 3:00. Then when we got a Mumbia suburb we had to wait in a train terminal for another 2 hours, then we just very slowly crept along the track. We didn't arrive in Ahmedabad till 4:00 am. We were so tired. We were supposed to be home at 8:00 pm. 8 hours after we were supposed to arrive. IT WAS A LONG RIDE! There was plenty of food and drink. We had an air conditioned train car and the view of the flooding was really amazing, then it got dark and all you could see was DARK.
VERY nice people on the train. One couple that had been in LA for the last 10 years, they had come back to see their son. A couple that has kids in NJ. Everybody except us, just acted like it something that you just deal with, in fact we learned that there was nothing that you could do. You can't get off the train at the next town and catch a cab, another train, bus or any other form of transportation, it was flooding everywhere. Life is an adventure and we are trying to experience them all, but I personally can say that I would not like to take another train thru India when it is monsoon season.
Chirag was there at the train station to pick us up. I was so glad to see him. We went right to bed and plan on taking a couple of naps today, but it will be tomorrow when it will catch up with me. I was never scared, just tried to not stress out and kept praying that we would get thru this. AND WE DID, and we now have another story for our "Rocking Chair Memories".
At the end of this trip they had made arrangments to move the office and apartment to Bopal. It is a beautiful bungalow on 2 lots with a great big park across the street.
FOURTH TRIP TO INDIA January and February 2009
We attending alot of wedding activities this trip. They were all a wonderful experience that I am so glad that I got to attend.
I also got to go to a funeral. I had to wear all white. The men all sit outside on the sidewalk. I was taken in and up stairs, Gargie kept taking me further into the house. When we reached the bedroom there was a body on the bed. I didn't know what I got my self into this time. It was Asmita, the wife of the deceased. I had to sit on the bed beside her and bless her. Every woman that was there sitting on the floor. I didn't move, finally Gargie took me to a chair accross the room and as I sit down my cell phone started to ring. I WAS SO EMBARRASSED! I turned it off as fast as I could. NO ONE calls me on my cell in India, except when I am at my very first funeral. I had no idea how long to stay, I think I stayed about an hour, then Gargie finally came and took me down stairs.
We had dinner at the Queen's Palace. It was a very elegent dinner. I had salmon and Bob had a white fish. We got to sit right in the window, just like kings and queens.
The Taj Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola is a dream of white marble and mosaic glistening in the moonlight, very reminiscent of the most beautiful tourist cliché in the world; the Taj Mahal. Conceived in romance, the palace was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar – believed to be descendants of the Sun God.
Set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake, and lofty palaces on the other, the Taj Lake Palace spreads across a four-acre island – an almost surreal vision in marble. The Royal Butlers descendents of the original palace retainers look after all contemporary comforts and ensure that all guests are treated like Royalty.
I meet Marsha and Bill Brown, Helga and Torfi. I am so glad that our lives have crossed. We planned and made a Thanksgiving dinner out of the supplies that we could find in India. The turkeys cost us $50 each and they were the toughest old birds that I have ever eaten. What a waste of money. BUT we had a really good time cooking and having dinner with American friends.
We moved our SearchKing office into Ahmedabad on S.G. Highway and then we moved into a 5 story apartment building where we occupy the entire 3rd floor. It is 4 bedroom 4 1/2 bathroom apartment and I finally have a kitchen.
I was glad to be back in the new apartment.