Saturday, November 27, 2010

Revised Note

If I had looked at Google weather, I would have known that there isn't snow in Shimla yet. Fine by me, I would have had to buy wintery shoes.


>2 dogs ran up to me while I was trying to find my hotel. When they got closer, I realized they were monkeys, not dogs.
>I managed to wake up a fireman (accidentally) to ask directions to my hotel. I have to pass the firestation whenever I walk into town...and he wasn't terribly happy about me waking him. I already have an enemy in this hill station...
>I also managed to wake up the hotel front deskman (purposefully), whose bed was set up in front of the front desk.
>I was almost hit by an ambulance. At least I would've gotten immediate care.
>Welcome to the Himalayas!

Just a note

I'm sitting in Cafe Coffee Day in Connaught Circus, New Delhi. I have a bus to catch in about an hour and a half that will take me to Shimla (Himalayas round 2!). Tough life, right?

I left Vizag this morning for the last time. No more "Velli rendi" --- "Go and return," in Telugu. It has been an exciting, long, quick, hot, stinky, wonderful, weird 4 months. I have learned a lot, and learned that I have a lot more to learn.

I don't want to wax too sentimental just yet, so, wish me luck (11 1/2 hours too late...) that I can find Chandra Lok building, that my bus doesn't break down, and that I don't decide that I don't like snow. I think there's snow in Shimla. I don't really know. I'll find out in about 12 hours.

One thing I have to relearn when I get back to the states is how to plan ahead. To figure out what I'm doing before I do it. Not to worry you, Mom and Dad. I have a 9 hour bus ride to plan what I'll do when I reach my destination.

Sorry, rambling now. I'll stop.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I came the lemon.

Heidi, Ally and I decided it would be a good idea to visit the Himalayas while we are in India, so we packed our bags with the warmest clothes we had (Um, a hoodie? I bought some socks too.), and headed to Darjeeling. Two long train rides (one was 17 hours, the other was 9), and a 3.5 hour jeep ride (Shared with 15 other people. 18 people in one jeep. For 3.5 hours.), we made it. Holy Indian cows, I forgot how cold winter is. A new acquaintance, Kanadhi, said, "You came from the oven to the fridge!" We told him it was more like the oven to the freezer.

Our first day was spent getting our bearings in the lovely town.

At the Wyndemere Hotel. Not where we were staying. Thanks for the coat, Dad.

Our second day was spent buying mittens, hats, scarves, coats, etc. in preparation for our mountain trek. Here's the "mall"

Yes, I said trek. Four days of hiking up and down mountains, Four nights trying desperately to stay warm while sleeping on "beds" made of wood. It was fantastic. Mostly.


>Jidhi, our guide. Let's just say there's a certain adjective that rhymes with his name and describes him quite well*. I have no pictures of him.

>Fog. We didn't get to see Mt. Everest. It was kind of cool, thought, walking in limbo for a few days. But I still need to see Everest someday (see, not climb).

>Did I mention it was cold? Even the goats were cold. I wanted to bring one in to cuddle in my bed with me, but no goats, cows, yaks, chickens, or even a cat were allowed in this lodge, though they all tried.


>I went hiking in the Himalayas!

>This woodstove. Took a while to get going (Flammable blue cleaning fluid, rum, and a plastic water bottle were all methods used by the mountain dwellers...), but once it did (Thank you, cricket bat) it was nice and cozy. We chatted with a Frenchman that evening who was running the trail...our self-esteem went down a few thousand points. He was probably in his late 50's. Or older.

>My lovely hat kept me warm too.

>I went to Nepal! I slept in Nepal for two nights! Here I am in India (my left) and Nepal (my right):

>There were inspirational messages keeping our hopes alive in the trekkers huts we stayed in.

>While we didn't get to see Everest, we saw Kanchenjunga on our drive back to Darjeeling. It's the 3rd highest peak in the world. Gorgeous.

Here are some more pictures from the hike:

You can almost see a little chalet partially in the fog at the top of this picture. This is where we were headed--Sandakphu, 3636m.

And this is where we had come from. It was a steep day.

These goats were so excited to see us! They bounded up like little puppies!

At Kalipokri, or Black Pond.

Sunrise on our last morning.

I loved it.

*The one not-bad thing about Jidhi was that, after telling him at least 5 times that we don't drink tea, only hot lemon water, he finally understood that we don't drink tea. From that point, he'd automatically ask for "nimbu pani" (lemon water) at our tea stops. Then, he started carrying some lemons, and when we'd arrive at our stopping place, he'd say, "Do you want lemon water? I came the lemon! Ohohohoahahaha!!!" (I classify this as "not-bad" and not "good" because it was still creepy, coming from him.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When in India

You may find yourself experiencing a wide variety of weird activities. Here is a small sample.

Riding a very sketchy non-falling bicycle:

Getting ice cream from The Ice Age:

Lighting fireworks for Diwali--the kind that are definitely illegal in the U.S.:

Visiting a croc bank:

Going to a soda bottling company (pardon the I'm-trying-to-look-like-I'm-having-fun fake smile):

Trying to dislodge Krishna's Butterball:

Discovering where you belong:

Relaxing anytime, anywhere:

This one is for Kat

Gang's all here.

This is what happens when I have too many train rides.

The Jew Round 2

At the zoo in Bhubaneswar, it seemed there were more animals outside of the enclosures than inside.

Heidi letting us know where we are:

Monkeys in trees:

Monkeys on fences:

Monkeys on motorcycles:

Baby elephants (One kicked Ally. Really. Ask her about it.):

Big elephant:

Not sure where the hyenas got to...

There were a few animals we got to see from a safe distance, including my new favorite animal, the sloth bear:

Not quite as cool as wolf-jackals, but still pretty awesome.

Home Sweet Home

My housemates and I are currently in Kolkata with free, fast wi-fi, so I'll be making a few random posts.

A few weeks ago, we decided that seeing eachother all day, every day was just not enough, so we built a tent in our house, moved our mattresses inside, and voila! Little, magical space we never wanted to leave.

We figured we felt like we've been camping anyhow (rinsing our toothbrushes with water bottles, not a faucet, crouching under a cold faucet for a shower, etc.), so a tent was the perfect finishing touch.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Na Peru

Na Peru Libby, and this is how I write na peru ("my name" if you didn't catch that) in Telugu:

And here's me on a beach in Puri when I turned 22:

And the lovely tan lines on my feet that really just look like my feet are permanently dirty:

And here is an image of a god that I think looks like a muppet:

The Most Magical Place On Earth...or at least Vizag

MGM Selvee World! Never heard of it? Shame. It's like Disneyvillage. After passing the sign for 2 months, we finally decided it was time to see what it was all about. Who knew that behind a forest/public park--a 20 minute walk from our neighborhood--lurked this veritable wonderland for American lawyers?

See: upside-down rocket ride with canvas seatbelts. (photocredit: Ally. I am actually riding in that rocket like a crazy person. I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Fear of death can be pretty funny.)

Who knows when the last safety checks were performed? Probably never. The Big Wheel was using bald tires that sounded like they might implode at any second. But the sea is right there to distract you. Smart move, Indians. Blissfully unaware of impending doom:

View of the park from the Big Wheel:

Disneyworld's Matterhorn is no match:

I do not ride these at Disneyworld either:

Disneyvillage also apparently enlisted (against his will?) Grumpy in place of the Haunted Mansion. I was too scared to ride:

A classic, made even better with pelting rain near the end. Also, it was about 5 minutes longer than normal (that is to say, 5 minutes too long):

If history has shown that something sounds like a great idea, and then completely, maybe don't repeat it:

(bad picture, it all of a sudden got dark and started pouring soon after. We had a very wet walk home)

Needless to say, we had fun.