Wow, what an amazing experience we had in India! From spectacular sunrises to crazy tuktuk rides through traffic and dining with royalty to a spiritual boatride on the Ganges, I can’t say enough good things about this once in a lifetime trip. Our group had an insider-look at India – we got to see things that tourists never ever get to see and eat at some very local restaurants and road-side samosa carts.
Here is the poem I wrote at our Farewell Event highlighting the amazing, silly, memorable, exotic two weeks we spent in India.
Are you ready for an adventure?
It’s off to India we go
for a once in a lifetime journey,
and an escape from the snow.
After a long day of travel,
it’s time for rest and relaxing.
Just kidding – grab your bag and some pani,
it’s time to hit the ground running!
Say “Namaste” to your rickshaw driver
And hang on for your ride.
For once you’re on the road,
There’s nowhere to hide.
Take a look around you and you’ll see
Lace, rhinestones and saris,
Tobacco, snacks and cloth,
Wires and even monkeys.
Lime soda during lunch/
No, lemons. Limes. Oh I don’t know.
Honey balls for dessert
And lunch with spice level zero.
Get ready to shake those hips,
Throw your arms out and strike a post.
Our Bollywood dancing now
Must be finer than the pros.
It’s time for our first flight,
Some of you went to get a snack.
What you learned there was that apparently
You should put your unused ketchup back.
Our approach to the Leela Palace
Was truly one of a kind.
A boat, an escort with a ‘stache,
Musicians and bindis – what a find!
And wait, what is this?
Rose pedals falling from the sky?
Look up, you’ll see a specific
Rose pedal falling guy!
Exploring this stunning city,
The “city of lakes” as it is known.
But first we must have breakfast,
Don’t eat alone.
Pancakes, French toast, fudge rolls,
Muffins and passion fruit.
Fresh juice, lychees, cheeses,
And amazing dosas to boot.
An early morn at sunrise,
Yoga far from home
At an ashram with our very own guru.
The Palace tour of Udaipur,
You can see yourself as royal.
Chef Robin making naan
In the kitchen with chefs a-full.
It’s cocktail party time,
Let’s all get up and schmooze!
But wait, it’s formal at the Palace,
We must sit and sip our booze.
It’s time to hit the road.
Put on your sports bra and warm up your horn,
It’s off to Pushkar we go!
Went through the town and to the lake,
With chatchkee shops galore.
At our hotel we were greeted by fire breathing,
Balancing acts, spinning skirts and more.
An early rise with camels
To see a meh sunrise.
Jodi left with a gift – on her shoes and jeans.
From the camel. It was a surprise.
Off to the Pink City.
Jaipur – what a treat.
We toured the City Palace and
Near a snake charmer we took a seat.
The world’s largest sun dial,
The size it was absurd.
While browsing ‘round our horoscopes,
Ellen got it from a bird.
Back at the hotel,
We blessed the wine, candles and challah
For our first of two very special
Shabbats in India.
After dinner we were taking
A lovely stroll back to the bus.
When – hark! What is that sound
We hear in front of us?
A wedding! Through the bright tents
We did advance. What a bash!
With food and guests and saris,
What a wedding we did crash.
We boarded our next mode of transport –
An elephant to the Amber Fort!
Wobbling back and forth,
We now had pictures to sort.
500 rupees for a picture!
Okay, 200 for one.
300 for the whole album?
Isn’t bargaining oh so fun?
Our next surprise was sure to last
It must be some sort of trick.
We got hennaed by a pro.
It’s beautiful, and boy is she quick!
We had some free time in the market –
Bracelets, scarves, saris for any weather.
We even saw a goat standing on a tire.
Yes, he was wearing a sweater.
When asked “why, kind sir, is your goat wearing that?”
The man, he didn’t splinter.
He simply looked at us and replied
“It’s because it’s winter”.
It’s time to dine with royalty,
But first another treat.
We’ll don saris as we dine –
This surprise can’t be beat!
In our hotel we primped and prodded
And tucked and folded and pinned.
We’re ready for our special night.
Just top it off with a bind-i.
From dining with the royals,
We’ll head to Ranthambore now.
Weaving and hinking on our drive,
We hit a sacred cow.
Bus games made it better and
Encouraged watching “India TV.
Looking outside the window
And snap, snap, snap your camera with glee.
Stuffed rickshaws, trucks, goats, dogs,
Trash, cow pies and cow butts,
Traffic jams, produce stands,
Bikes, monkeys and men getting haircuts.
We awoke all bright and early
For our safari drive near the quarry.
We were so lucky, we saw the tiger
In all her stripy glory.
A tour of downtown Ranthambore,
Tasting candy – the chickpea was the best.
passing the train station to see the sight
of two feisty pigs making piglets.
A campfire by the pool with friends,
Bottles of wine and a game.
We learned what cartoon you’d like to be
And in which creative medium you’d have fame.
Back on the bus to Agra,
A pilgrimage on its own
To see the Taj Mahal in person,
This site is world renown.
The marble glower at sunset,
The perfect Golden Hour.
This monstrous work of architecture
Holds a spiritual power.
Rise and shine, let’s board the bus
It’s off to Delhi we go.
Take a schluff, snap some pics
And look out the window.
Hurry, hurry, don’t be late,
We have to catch our flight!
But first we’ll make a quick pit stop
(despite protesting will all my might).
Robin went to the hospital for some wax
With our Doc, guide and Stace in tow.
The other ladies took a stroll
Right down Embassy Row.
We made it just in time
For a chai tea at terminal 3
To arrive in Varanasi –
Ravi’s home when he was wee.
Through the Old City of twists and turns
And folks to whom we were so foreign.
This once in a lifetime adventure
Was anything but borin’.
A boat ride down the Ganges,
Past the crematorium and then
Floating even further down
To see bells and candles danced by men.
Just this morning, back on a boat
With music just for us
To experience sunrise in the City of Light
And dipping in for those whom if was a must.
In this peaceful time
As we readied to step off,
We heard “Hi! Hi!” from a boat
Of people who were from down souff.
We took pics of them and them of us,
Then a surprising round of kisses.
Then hugs, then pleasantries then more kisses,
I think they’ll really miss us.
Our final surprise, a visit to someone
Who Ravi holds so dear.
His brother and his wife welcomed us
As friends from very near.
Double-wide silks, table runners,
Marble, rugs, paintings and a lovely top.
Boy this group surprised me –
You guys can really shop!
We’ve seen pigs, dogs, goats and elephants,
Camels, cows and monkeys in the streets.
Tigers, peacocks, deer, boars snakes,
Elk, alligators, owls and green parakeets.
We’ve been in busses, tuk tuks, tongas,
Elephants, cruises, and planes.
Rickshaws, boats and camel carts,
Electric vans and even trains.
We’ve covered the north of India
In two weeks, jetting from event to event.
As exhausted as you are,
I’m sure you loved India 200%.
With full hearts and heavy suitcases,
From Ravi, the AJ team and me,
We hope to see you soon
On your next Amazing Journey.