North America, Asia · 12 Days · 24 Moments · September 2017

Mary's voyage in India

20 September 2017

Well, we are home. Springfield at least. Mtn Home tomorrow. It was a very very very very long trip. Jaipur to Dehli to JFK to Dallas and finally to Springfield. We are hot, dirty, tired and dehydrated. Shower, here I come! Thank you all for sharing my journey.

18 September 2017

We have a 5 hour layover in Dehli and 16 hours to JFK, then on to Dallas(what?) then to Springfield to stay overnight. In the morning we will drive home. Do you think we might be tired? Duh!

17 September 2017

Castles and temples today! It beats the slums! Our first stop was an observatory that was built in the 1700s. It was amazing but I can't explain it all. Hindus believe in astrology so much of it was based on that. It was easier to understand the next stop which a palace of a past maharaja. The detail in the painting of the walls and ceilings is hard to imagine. You have to see it n person. We had to hurry to get to a temple before it closed. There was a ceremony going on which meant loud singing and clapping and a piece of a holy leaf was put on their foreheads. A woman came around and put a bindi on our foreheads. A bindi is a small spot of paint on your forehead. Lunch was served in an old luxury home that had been turned into a hotel and restaurant. The grounds and the pool were beautiful and the inside was equally impressive. Tonight is our farewell dinner at our hotel. We are wearing our new Indian dresses and bangles. Tomorrow the plane doesn't leave until 7:30pm.
Some of the bus went to see the new slums which they said were nicer. There were even satellite dishes! I chose to go to the air conditioned bus. Our next stop was a place of master miniature painters. This is an ancient skill in India that is still practiced today. We watched a demonstration of painting all of our names on one piece of rice! It was incredible! He told some of the history and showed us beautiful examples. The detail is amazing and many of the paintings have real gem stones and real gold paint used on them. Then it was our turn. Yikes! The gave us an elephant outline, paint and tiny brushes. Well, let's just say I should stick to sewing! Lunch, a little shopping and back to our hotel early. Time for a rest.

16 September 2017

Ahhhhh, a little cooler today as we travel to the slums of Jaipur. There are the old slums and the new slums with the old slums being first on our list. As you can see from the pictures, it's pretty slummy. It's also very interesting. The pathways between homes is narrow and full of water rocks and occasional poop. I don't know if it was cows, dogs or human. The people were welcoming, especially the children. They wanted to shake our hands and they said hello. We were warned not to shake hands in case we might get sick. Now I'm sure my dear daughter is absolutely freaking out right about now! I wouldn't want to live there but these are warm happy people who have a life there. Most were cleanish and the children looked fed. We walked back in through alleys to a puppet making family. The family has been making puppets and doing shows for 2000 years, we were told. They showed us the whole puppet making process and then put on a show. The puppets are quite beautiful.
The day ended with a market set up in the hotel to buy trinkets and gifts to take home. It was fun and cooler than an outdoor market. All of India seems to sit on the ground with bare feet and crossed legs. The factories we saw had no technology or machinery. Work is done by hand sitting on the ground. On the positive side, I have never seen so many smiles and waves. Riding on the bus is so much fun because they all wave. The children are friendly and love to practice their English.

15 September 2017

I have to tell you about the "hookers" Our Indian guide, who is wonderful, doesn't always pronounce English words clearly. He was giving us some instructions before we got off the bus at the fort and he warned us about the " hookers". He was actually referring to the hawkers which were fierce! They followed us everywhere and I don't mean just follow. They were literally in our faces and not letting us pass. I thought they were going to follow us onto the bus! I started laughing which seemed to be an invitation to attack me.
This lets me write just so much and then I have start again. Anyway, it was extremely hot and humid. Everyone was dripping sweat and red faced as There were many stairs and no breeze. One woman in our group was overheated and feeling sick. ( no, Sarah, it wasn't me!) We saw a much prettier part of Jaipur today although there is still much poverty everywhere. The people are very friendly. They love to wave and smile as we go by on the bus. The bus is great, by the way. Air conditioned and there is plenty of cold bottled water.
Today we were greeted with leis made of marigold flowers. Very pretty! Our first stop was a gem cutting factory. India produces rubies, sapphires and emeralds. The stones are all cut polished and set by hand. It seems that all work done in India is done by workers sitting on the floor in bare feet and very primitive conditions. We got to watch the whole process and then the inevitable store! The showroom was beautiful and had more jewelry than I have ever seen. I won't tell you if I bought anything! Then we went to a rug making place. I definitely didnt buy a rug. Beautiful but very expensive. They were made from yak hair, camel hair and silk. Again the workers sat on the floor. They were very skilled. Next on the list was the elephant ride up to Amber fort. The ride was great and our elephant handler said we were riding on a gentle female . He seemed very fond of her. Amber Fort used to be owned by the maharaja who lived there with his many wives. To be continued.......

14 September 2017

Today was a busy day! This morning we walked through the flower market which was not as nice as I thought it might be. Indians sell mostly flowers that have been cut off the stem to use for necklaces. Some more walking and we were in the spice market. They sold spices and teas. They even had saffron. From there we went to a place for lunch but I was too hot to eat. All I wanted was water! During lunch we were entertained by a man who played an instrument but I can't tell you what it was called. It sounded very Indian, however. Then off to a different block printing place where we got to do our own block printing. It was lots of fun and I will be bringing the piece home! Blue pottery is a well known tradition in Jaipur so off we went to the blue pottery factory to try our hand at painting pottery. I better stick with block printing! When we got back to our hotel, my custom made silk pajamas had arrived! SOOO nice.
You will have to scroll to the right to see my pix from today. Rolled out of bed at 6:30 again to be ready for our class on string jewelry. It was kinda interesting because you tie string to your big toe to hold the string while you work on it. We wondered if these guys wash their toes before making jewelry to sell! The second class was called rangoli which is the art of creating designs with colored rice, sand or flower petals. The flowers were pretty but we weren't very good at this one. So, lunch and off to a block printing company. They print fabrics for clothing. The process is very interesting but the factory was small and dirty( I know, Sarah, you told me so). The end result is beautiful and of course there was a store to buy fabric, scarves etc. As we walked to the bus, kids came out of their houses and yards to say hello and have their picture taken.

13 September 2017

A nice dinner, dancers and music and now it is time for this old lady to go to bed! 6:30 wake up call tomorrow.
The kids at the orphanage were happy and well cared for although it wasn't a fancy place and it was small.
In spite of the fact that the hotel is very fancy and elegant, this is the view from our room.
These trees are everywhere and smell really sweet!
This a sheet of the paper we saw being made.
After a looooooong trip, we made it to Jaipur. Our flight from Dehli to Jaipur was two hours late so by the time we got to our hotel and everyone was checked in, it was late and we were very tired. Took a shower and went straight to bed! This morning we had a wake up call at 7:00, breakfast at 8:00 and the bus left at 9:00 and we were off to a kantha factory. Kantha is a type of hand quilting so it was right up our alley. We each got to pick fabric and do our own piece. The people were so nice and helpful even though I couldn't understand much of what they said. Then, of course, it was off to their sales room. There was so much to look at! Quilts, scarves, table runners clothing and so much more. I didn't get to see it all. But I did manage to spend a little money! Next on our itinerary was a paper factory. They make paper by hand for wrapping paper, boxes, gift bags and stationary. It was beautiful. I'm still learning this app. I have to do another entry for the rest.

10 September 2017

We made it to NYC but not without a few mishaps. At 6:00 am we were in the lobby of our hotel in Springfield for our ride to the airport. I asked for coffee which they gave me but I had to pay for it. I juggled two suitcases, my purse and my coffe and spilled it down the front of my shirt! Good start. After all that, I had to throw it out before I could go through security. Security was going to be a breeze because we had TSA pre check. Lucky us! Weeeell maybe not. I went through the metal detector and my bionic knees set off the alarms! They pulled me over to the side for a full pat Down! So humiliating! Off to Charlotte. Or not. We waited over an hour past our departure time and got to NYC two hours late. We managed a NY taxi and have arrived at our hotel, tired and hungry.

9 September 2017

We HAD to stop in Harrison for lunch at Neighbors Bakery. Mmmmm so good. We ate outside and it was delightful. Not too hot.
PS. Cindy ate too!
Here we go! We got as far as Cindys driveway! The car is packed and we are off for Springfield mo for our flight to New York in the morning.