India


It had been 19 years since I’d last been to India. Though I have few regrets in my life, the lapse of time between my last visit, and this recent one, is one of my biggest regrets. I used to believe that the most important thing in life was traveling the world and experiencing other people and cultures, and spending time with family. That everything else should take a backseat. Then I got burdened by graduate school and loans and buying a house in the suburbs and lost track of that vision.

But now that I’ve gone away, I’ll never let that much time pass again.

We arrived in Dehli at 1 AM two Sundays ago at an airport that looked like a high-end mall and had air-conditioning! (It didn’t have air-conditioning when I was last there.)  By the time we got back to the hotel (in a van too small for us and our luggage, with an overheated radiator, with three pieces of luggage piled on top without a cord to tie it) it was 4 AM. We all slept until 1 PM. That night the kids woke up at 1 AM to start the day. We struggled to stay awake, but by the second night they were fully adjusted to the time change. (I would get four hours of sleep a night for the next week, until I finally started taking sleeping pills.) The next morning we went on a 5-hour road trip to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. We returned the next day to Dehli for a day of sightseeing and shopping. The next day we flew to Bangalore, my favorite city in India, where we were greeted with temps in the 70s, palm trees, brightly colored flowers.

Bangalore is also where we got to see aunts and uncles, and my cousin who was getting married. (I hadn’t seen him since he was 7!) My kids got to meet and spend time with cousins their own age, and after two days we flew to Chennai, where we caught a bus down to Mahabalipuram, a beach town, for the wedding. Mahabalipuram was so hot we never actually made it out to the beach, but we did spend some time in the gorgeous swimming pool. The wedding was at 6:30 AM the next morning, and we were late only because I was having hotel staff drape me in a sari. But the ceremony was beautiful, and we were fed and fed and fed some of the most delicious Indian food ever.

After one more day in Mahabalipuram, we were back to Chennai and another hotel. We spent that day shopping, then the next day we spent time with family, and began the long trek home.

My older two kids (ages 9 and almost 7) are spectacular travelers. The 3-year old ran away from us in airports, hotel lobbies, in streets toward careening auto rickshaws — let’s just say we had our hands full with her. But she was up for anything and everything, and her ability to never rest and her constant enthusiasm was perfect for two weeks of living out of suitcases and making a new home in a different hotel every 1-2 days.

And now that I know they can handle is, I’ve made a pledge to myself, to my family, that every year will will make a trip out of the country. No matter what. We will see as much of this world as we possibly can.

So I’ve been up since 3 AM today (thank you jet lag, insomnia) posting at least two dozen pictures to this blog post only to have them completely screw up when I previewed the post. New tactic? I’ll just post a few pictures of the trip per day, until I’ve bored you so completely with our travels, you never return to this blog.

Arrival at hotel in Dehli.

My 9-year old peruses the Dehli Times

Mango seller on side of the road

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10 thoughts on “India

  1. Woo-hoo!! Iti’s lovely to wake up to a post about your trip. It sounds LOVELY!! And to think that I’ve been complaining that after years going to Brazil almost every year, now we’ll be taking a break of 2 and a half years between trips because we bought the house this year. Your experience puts everything into perspective for me!!

    Now… it’s also very comforting for me to read about the handful that your youngest was in the trip. Anything that makes me feel better about my longing to have another child goes for me. 😉 (you know how I’ve been struggling with this for years — lately I’ve been thinking with some jealousy of a childhood friend who’s about to have her second baby daughter — 9 years after her first, her daughter is the same age as Kelvin, she actually paired with him in my brother-in-law’s wedding, I have a photo in my blog, December or January 05-06. So… yeah I still think about this. Just as I’m about to turn 40).

    I can’t wait to see more photos, I’m thrilled that you got to go to your cousin’s wedding! A trip with a purpose is always more fun! I’m sure your daughters loved the experience to visit another country — especially one in which they have family. Your goal of traveling abroad every year is awesome! I hope you can make it come true for your family. I can’t wait to take my sons to Europe and other places… I just need to make more money to make that happen.

  2. Won’t happen. Traveling to India is one of my bucket list items (really, about three of them since it’s like the US–you can’t do the Statue of Liberty in the morning and Grand Canyon in the afternoon) and I will look forward to every picture you post! So glad all went well and you have jet setter kids who can swing with the schedule. Woohoo! And remember–life is full of seasons. Grad school, career/family establishment, etc.–these are important seasons too. But we can’t wait to get back overseas either. You’ve inspired me to renew our lapsed passports…

  3. Pictures are the REASON I came to your blog today!! (I visited yesterday, too, but that’s pushing it even by your standards, lol)
    Out of the country, huh? How about Aus??? *innocent smile*

    PS – I can’t believe M reads the paper. I don’t even read the paper. In fariness, the Delhi times is no NYT 😉

  4. Even though I got a first hand account of most of this stuff before, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Your kids passed the “third world” travel test with flying colours. Can’t wait to see more of them. Maybe this time in the US, Inshallah!

  5. Lilian, I have always loved reading about your trips to Brazil! They were part of my inspiration to finally take the girls to a country that’s a part of their own heritage!

  6. They actually had a really good time. And despite the fact that it was a little hectic, we all got enough rest so it still felt like a vacation!

  7. Will definitely head to Aus in the next two years! I’ve been dying to go!

    To be fair, M was only reading the Bollywood news in the paper!

  8. They passed the test only because Indian is clearly not a third-world country anymore. I mean– western toilets and air-conditioning? As far as I’m concerned, it was no more different than a trip to Disney for them. But the hotels in India are nicer!

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