Sunday, August 26, 2012

India Recap

After talking to Dave and Kaoru about the blog, I realized we dropped off the face of the earth for a while.  I also have been given the task of presenting about our 3 months in India to my co-workers in the next few weeks, so I can update here and select the photos to explain the trip with.  Excellent!  Two birds with one stone.

I realize that the blog has hopped all over the place without a clear idea of when we were where.  I'm going to try to rectify that.

J and I combined two Intrepid trips the North India Unplugged and the South India Unplugged.  We got there a day or so early and wandered around New Delhi trying to get our footing in a country that is deservedly referred to as "challenging" and "colorful".  We scheduled a cab tour to different areas of the city.

Red Fort in New Delhi

The Baby Taj

India Gate

The Bahai Lotus Temple

Qutab Minar

Jama Masjid in New Delhi

After Delhi, we took the train to Jaisalmer to experience the Thar Desert in Rajasthan.

The above is a detail from one of the Jain Temples in Jaisalmer.  I took this during our walking tour the first morning we had in the fort.  The city and fort were a great introduction to India.  Comfy places to eat and relax, with a lot of opportunity to experience the culture.  I had the unique chance to get rabies shots at 3 different clinics around India with our guide Naveen's assistance.  Silver-lining to my dog fun-time in Yangon.  3 personal guided tours of the city trying to find an open clinic that had the rabies antibody I needed and meeting 3 lovely gentlemen who injected me in the shoulder.  Ahh memories.

Full disclosure, as per usual.  I was sick as a dog for our entire 2nd day in Jaisalmer.  I lasted through the first portion of the tour before me and my Delhi belly went back to the hotel and slept it off.  Many bananas were eaten by our group on the Northern India tour because we couldn't keep anything else down.   The photo below is of me after my extended "nap".  I look fresh as a daisy.

More to come later.

Michigan, Arizona, and Texas

Josh and I have been in Michigan since our grand return (well, grand to us, at least) from Asia in late January of last year.  It doesn't seem like that long, but the travel bug is starting to get to both of us.

J is starting his teaching practicum next week, and will be working for the next two semesters at a local high school when he is not taking classes once a week at the university.  I am the newest member of the STA Travel staff in East Lansing.  My job is to help other folks plan their trips domestically and abroad and the bonus is sharing my experience to make their travel more fun.  I also get to live vicariously through my customers, which is pretty sweet.  Next best thing to traveling myself.

In the past month, I've had 3 weeks of training in Arizona and Texas.  A co-worker and I managed to get to the Grand Canyon and Sedona on our weekend off.

This was my first trip to Arizona, so I was pretty jazzed to have a chance to see the state a bit while I was there.  Everyone kept asking what I though of the Canyon.  To be honest, it looks unreal.  Like a painting.  The part that really made it difficult to take in, was the nearly perfectly flat horizon.  If the plateaus had varying heights, it might have been easier for my eyes to understand.

Beautiful, either way.

Also, the clouds were amazing.

The elk were mighty friendly.

That night, we drove to Sedona and spent Sunday wandering around trying to feel vortexes, and losing our path again and again.  Thankfully, we had one of America's finest joining us and he had a compass!

This is my "durr" face.  I was contemplating the bat population of sedona and if it was responsible for the white splatters on the rocks behind me.

We hiked to the Devil's Bridge instead of hunting vortexes this time around.  Fortunately for us, the random tourist trap we stopped at on the side of the road had the "BEST" vortex in Sedona.  Of course, we had to sit and try it out.

Sad to report, no tingly feelings.  Maybe I haven't gotten my chakras opened properly.  More yoga!

We also spent a some time at Slide Rock, a natural river/rock waterslide.  My lovely friend Jill, who I had the pleasure of visiting after a way too long 12 years, informed me that the ecoli warning at that river was lifted, so we had the green light for sliding, bruising, and nearly falling on our asses repeatedly because of moss-covered wet rocks.  A definite recommendation.  The water felt fantastic after a dirty day spent hiking in the desert.

No photos of Texas, I am afraid.  We stayed in a Dallas suburb called Lewisville.  I successfully avoided going to a restaurant called Redneck Heaven and learned how to do my job better.  I'd say that was a week well spent!

Besides all of this fun, J and I are growing our little garden again.  It's not doing as well as last year for the wedding, but we also live nearly an hour away, so it's difficult to spend as much time on.

Here is a beginning shot of the garden.  It's a bit more along by now.  The zucchini looked so promising... those flowers were lies and unkept promises :(