Friday, August 23, 2013


I'm leaving this afternoon for another adventure.  INDIA!  A 10 day vacay ...  which just happens to be during monsoon season.  Yay for my poor planning! ;)  Lots of heat and plenty of rain are in the forecast every day. 

On the bright side, at least it's not another solo trip!  This time, one of my best friends from college is coming along for the adventure.  Angie is meeting me in Mumbai tomorrow! I still can't believe it's actually happening.  I mean, we've been talking about traveling together for years, and it's never worked out until now! 

This trip isn't a full on "mission trip" as my past couple have been (to Africa).  It's turned in to more of a "let's experience this country and do some good along the way" trip.  I mean, it's just about spreading the love and making a difference, right?  That's my "mission."  Haha - I sound like such a hippie! ;)  Anyways, I have always wanted to go to India, and I have been wanting to fund a well for a long time now, which I finally did with the help of this years bonus.  So the trip for me kind of centered around making it there for the dedication ceremony.  We will be teaching slum kids in Mumbai and spending some time at an orphanage in Yelamanchili, too.  We were also supposed to spend time at a school / orphanage in New Delhi, but it just didn't work out timing wise...  The rest of the trip will just be touring around India and having some fun!     

This is a map showing where we will be travelling in India
Although we'll only actually be on the ground in India 8 full days (turns out it takes a long time to get to and from India), we will be seeing a pretty good chunk of the country.  Thank goodness Ang likes to travel like me - FAST and CHEAP. :)

We will be in Mumbai (point A on the map), after a 16 hour non-stop flight from Newark for me, all day Sunday and Monday.  Soooo much to see and do there.  The city is massive!! 

Marine Drive - we're staying with two guys from not far from that main road
I got connected with an Indian guy who actually went to high school over here in Iowa through a foreign exchange program, and now works with The Candle Project in Mumbai.  He has offered to let Angie and I teach the kids (from a nearby slum) for part of a day and help them with whatever it is we can. Pretty excited about that opportunity!

Tuesday morning we are flying to Visakhapatnam (point B on the map) on the east coast, and then driving about an hour south to Yelamanchili.  We will be attending the well dedication ceremony there through Wells for Life, a non-profit started by a local guy, and then staying at an orphanage that night with 200 little kids (who speak English).  Going to be so awesome!

The well dedication ceremony will probably be something like this...

Wednesday morning we fly up to New Delhi (point C on the map), but just for the day.  That night we are taking a train to Agra (point D on the map), and staying at a little place just feet from the east gate of the Taj Majal.  We got the nicest room they had (ac, but no hot water during the summer months) for less than $10/night.  India is so cheap!

Taj Majal in Agra, India
The plan is to see the Taj at sunrise Thursday morning, and then get the heck out of Agra.  Doesn't seem like there is much else too interesting there, so we are hiring a taxi (yes, a taxi) for the 5 hour drive over to Jaipur (point E on the map).  The trains didn't run at times that worked for our schedule. 

We have to be in Jaipur by 2pm on Thursday for our afternoon with Elephantastic.  We get to feed, paint, ride, and swim with elephants!  How awesome is that!?  There is some pretty cool stuff in Jaipur to see, so we'll do that Thursday evening and Friday morning.

                                       (This is going to be Angie and I!)

Friday afternoon we are taking another train (around 5 hours) farther west to Jodhpur (point F on the map) - the blue city!  It just looked so cool and we didn't want to pass it up.  We won't be there long, but are staying with a local family who runs a little bed and breakfast kind of place in one of the blue buildings.  We have a flight Saturday afternoon back to New Delhi...

The buildings are really blue in Jodhpur!

(Angie is flying back home early Sunday morning, so I'll be on my own for the last night/day.)

Saturday evening, I am hopping on a 13 hour overnight train from Delhi to Varanasi (point G on the map) to see the famous ghats along the Ganges river.  I booked a first class train ticket for like $30, so hopefully that will be safe enough...

The Ganges River is very sacred - the locals wash and pray there daily

From there, I am thinking about flying up to Kathmandu in Nepal point H on the map) literally for a few hours.  I mean, I'm already that close, I might as well just go, right?  I could fly back from there to New Delhi to catch my 10:15pm from Delhi to Newark.  It's pushing it - and slightly crazy - but I'll probably end up doing it.  (And probably end up missing at least one flight, haha.)  

I really want to see Durbar Square in Kathmandu!

We tried to book places to sleep that have wifi so we can stay in touch with people back home, but I'll just say now...I'll be shocked if every place that says they have it actually does.  As usual, I'll update this as often as I can...for my three readers keeping up. :)

Can't wait for some adventures in INDIA (and maybe Nepal...)!!

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