Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh=]

Hey you guys, I plan to visit a lot of places in my life so I decided to start a "Travels" label in my blog. During every out of the country trip I make, I'll cover some aspects of the trip in my blog.

Last summer I took a trip to India; specifically to the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In Rajasthan I stayed in Jaipur and in Uttar Pradesh I visited Lucknow. I had loads of fun and I'm already planning on going back. During my trip I hadn't started a blog yet, but I did write some things down. If Interested, those things can be read by clicking the below links:
http://lindaunique.blogspot.com/2010/07/first-full-day-in-lucknow.html
http://lindaunique.blogspot.com/2010/07/milenge-milenge.html
http://lindaunique.blogspot.com/2010/06/train-ride-from-lucknow-to-jaipur.html
Now, I'm just going to write a quick reflection on my trip to India.

Prices in India:

Most things you can bargain for! 30 Rs is enough for about 3 kilometers in a rickshaw (You can get it down more if you're good). Biscuits and chips are always around 10-20 Rs. Everyday informal saris are around 500-600 Rs and less; anything more than that had better have more embroidery and be a bit fancy. Water in a big Dasani bottle was 15Rs. Flight to Lucknow was 7, 450 Rs. You'll catch on quick. (Note: I sound  matter-of-fact writing this, but in actuality, I paid a lot more for  things then I should have. I chose to do so though, because a lot of people live below the poverty line in India and they don't make much money being a driver or running a small shop. It just felt good helping out in a small way. I made sure though that the people knew I wasn't ignorant about the real prices. I didn't want them to think I was just another ignorant foreigner)

Food:
The food was delicious!!! We were always served a thali with traditional Rajasthani dishes. I found it odd at first that lunch and dinner was always served with  yogurt. After awhile though, I became dependent on the yogurt! It wonderfully balances out the masala of the food. My all time favorite foods while in Jaipur were: samosas, paneer , spicy aloo, and  pakoras!!!  I miss it already =[. I also miss eating with my hand. I was eating with a spoon one time and an Aunty Ji came up to me and was like, "No, no, no! That is not how you eat it." She showed me proper technique. Basically all you have to do is break off a pieces of w/e flour based substance is served at the meal (naan, roti, paratha, etc) and use that to scoop up whatever you wish to put in your mouth. Yum! I think it made eating  much more fun lol.

Picture break (These pics I took with my phone. I took better pics with my camera but I lost the sims card):


Clothes:

I remember my first day out on the Indian streets I was overwhelmed by the colors of India; especially of Jaipur. Women are always draped in the most vibrant colors . Regardless of how poor, every women in Rajasthan owned a sari and I must say that even the most simple ones could look royal when worn by a hindustani woman. The women of jaipur popped admirably in their colorful attires. The younger women could often be seen wearing jeans and a kameez; or a full salwar-kameez ensemble. I preferred myself to just stick to wearing a kameez with tights underneath. I found that the most comfortable. Sometimes I would also sport my jeans. It all depended.  I hated wearing my dupatta because it kept falling off my shoulder and making me look ridiculous when I had to fight to keep it up. Bangles were fun to wear, and I pretty much bought new articles of jewelry everyday.

People and attention;

Boy did I get A LOT of attention! Sometimes I felt like I was honestly the only black person in India. In the states we are taught early on that it is impolite to stare so you can just imagine how uncomfortable I was for the first few days when I was faced with some of the most unfaltering stares. These people, despite your discomfort, do not look away!!! I got over it pretty quickly though. It got to the point where I could actually consider the stares and attention as pretty humorous. I felt like a Bollywood actress having to be weary of paparazzi. The use of the word paparazzi was quite appropriate to my situtation. Wherever I went, people would take candid shots of me without asking my permission. Like seriously?!?! But once I got over all that I started having a more enjoyable time. Every time I went out to wander, I made it a goal to meet new people and speak Hindi with them. I did grow weary of some, but over all, everyone was so friendly and welcoming towards me =]

Conclusion:


Once I got used to the stares,  and the heat, India was quite pleasant. I loved the calls of the sabzivala (vegetable seller) that woke me up early in the morning. I loved how the cows just roam the street. I loved the monsoon rains! (I was there during  monsoon season so the heat was often cooled by the rain  ). I loved how when you missed being "western" you could hit up the mall with the Pizza Hut, Mcdonalds, and movie theater.  I also loved going around and speaking my hinglish. It was fun. Sigh, yea...I miss it. I'm already planning for a trip back in maybe a year or two. I'm most likely going back to Jaipur because I loved it there. I dunno. But wherever I go Mera dil hindustani hai =]; I consider myself black and Indian! What is that? Blindian? Perfect! Oh, I was asked if I was indian once too!!! I was so flattered! It was because my hindi was coming out pretty good in a conversation with that person! 


Cheers

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