2012-07-27 India 57716Summer is drifting gradually into the distance behind this fast-moving train I seem to be stuck on, but I still have so much to write about those two very short-lived months of freedom that we loved so much. First, I need to finish telling the story of our India trip because oh, how desperately I do not want that trip to fade into the recesses of my memory.2012-07-27 India 57545We drove away from Rising Star with heavy hearts (the Rising Star posts are back here with the last one showing first) but luckily we had more adventures awaiting. When Dave and I planned this trip, we planned it around Rising Star.  We wanted to get our kids out of our little bubble here in the desert and have them reach outside of themselves and serve others. But we also wanted to expose them to other parts of the world.  And as long as we were on the other side of the world, we wanted them to see a good portion of it. So we hooked up with an Indian Hindu tour guide who took us on a wild ride through three prominent Indian cities: Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. We sure saw and experienced so more than we bargained for in this van of ours:2012-07-30 Delhi 58537…and had more fun than we bargained for with our new neighbors. I must say that it was kind of an interesting way to “meet” your new neighbors.  I don’t know that most people get to go on a sweaty trip to India as a way to “break the ice” with people they are going to be moving right next to in a cul-de-sac with only two houses on it. It’s kind of risky business if you ask me, but boy howdy did we luck out with these guys.  They were the best travel partners ever which has us convinced they’re going to be even better neighbors.  So far they claim to still want us to move in, so that’s good news 🙂2012-07-30 Delhi 58536 Also in our van was our awesome tour guide named “Nitten” (but I have no idea if that’s how you spell it)  He’s in the middle below:2012-07-30 Delhi 58758 And this driver (on the left) and his helper. 2012-07-30 Delhi 58759Let’s just go ahead and say that with the no-rules-traffic in India, that sweet driver of ours had our lives in his hands on a continual basis.  And he did a phenomenal job dodging pigs and cows and people in the middle of the road everywhere we went. We flew from Southern India (where Rising Star is located) up North on Spice Jet.    2012-07-26 India 57441Love that name for an airline, don’t you? We felt surprisingly safe considering that this is how the airport looked:2012-07-26 India 574422012-07-26 India 57443 We got to read a little of the newspaper en route…2012-07-26 India 574462012-07-26 India 574502012-07-26 India 574552012-07-26 India 57459 This was the guy who greeted us at our hotel in Jaipur.  2012-07-26 India 57463I think he inspired Max to grow a mustache just like that one day. We kind of got settled and then headed out to the city.2012-07-26 India 57469 These pictures will give you a little flavor of what we saw as we drove:2012-07-27 India 57483 Loved these cute girls getting a ride to school:2012-07-27 India 574852012-07-27 India 57491 Cows are sacred in India and no one “owns” them.  They just get to roam around and go hog-wild doing whatever they please.  2012-07-27 India 57499 …even if it includes standing in the middle of a median on a freeway…or eating the exorbitant amounts of garbage dumped everywhere.2012-07-27 India 575022012-07-27 India 57504 There are pigs all over the place too:2012-07-27 India 57588 …and goats and chickens and dogs and peacocks and even monkeys. …and camels.2012-07-27 India 57613You get the idea. Some parts were hard to see.2012-07-27 India 576372012-07-27 India 57495 Others were really interesting.  This car below is made from completely recycled parts of other cars:2012-07-29 India 58468 Jaipur is nicknamed “The Pink City” because they painted most of it pink (actually an orange-ish color…see below) to welcome Prince Albert when he came to visit in 1863.2012-07-27 India 57487Man, I hope Prince Albert felt great about that…that’s quite a welcome if you ask me. We got out and walked for a while to get lunch.  That walk was an eye-opener with the people begging on the streets.  That part was really, really hard.  It’s rough to even put it into words.  They will follow you forever even after you slip them some cash, and more and more will join in.  I loved the people like this cute lady who were trying to sell things to earn money.  2012-07-27 India 575192012-07-27 India 574802012-07-27 India 575892012-07-27 India 57507 Anyone need a random key?2012-07-27 India 57509 I was fascinated by the wires in India.  They don’t get built into things there, they’re just “stapled” haphazardly in huge quantities to the outside of buildings.  2012-07-27 India 57474(WAY more of that phenomenon when we get to Delhi.) The scaffolding was kinda cool too:2012-07-27 India 57715 I don’t think two children have ever been quite so excited about American food: 2012-07-27 India 57478The continual curry and red rice for every meal at Rising Star just wasn’t cutting it for them. (We still ate curry for all but one of our other meals in India…I mean, seriously, when you’re in India you better live on their food, which was really good in my opinion.) Below is Hawa Mahal or “Palace of Winds” that is kind of famous in Jaipur.  It was built in 1799 for the royal ladies to stand behind to watch the day to day activities since it wasn’t proper for them to be seen.2012-07-27 India 577112012-07-27 India 57713 I love Indian architecture.2012-07-27 India 575212012-07-27 India 57524 We had a chance to visit the “City Palace” that was built in 1729 and parts of it have been converted into a museum.2012-07-27 India 57528 We were greeted by this snake charmer on our way in.2012-07-27 India 57533He’s looking kind of bugged/nervous because he was worried about the lady who went in before us who didn’t know she was supposed to give him a tip.2012-07-27 India 57538 I am in love with these scallops in the Indian architecture.2012-07-27 India 57540 Buckle your seatbelt because you are going to see a lot of them. I think they look especially pretty with Indian women in front of them.  The women there are so beautiful with shrouded in their beautiful colorful saris.2012-07-27 India 57548 There were these four “gates” in there to symbolize the four different seasons.2012-07-27 India 575552012-07-27 India 575562012-07-27 India 57562 I loved the peacock one.2012-07-27 India 575652012-07-27 India 57566 Handsome broken-foot guy.2012-07-27 India 57569…who will be mad at me for posting that picture…2012-07-27 India 575712012-07-27 India 57577 Does this picture help it make more sense why those kids at Rising Star were so darn fascinated with Elle’s elastics?2012-07-27 India 57580 I loved watching these three together.  2012-07-27 India 57582 I wanted an Indian tablecloth we could use to help us remember India when we got home.  Our tour guide brought us to this place that had thousands of them.2012-07-27 India 57596 This guy showed us the process of the wood block dying system they do in India:2012-07-27 India 57594 …and he was willing to entertain my bargaining techniques.2012-07-27 India 576032012-07-27 India 57605 We visited the “water palace” the ancient royalty used for summer retreats.   2012-07-27 India 576072012-07-27 India 57610 One of the things I loved most about India was that we got to learn so much about other religions.  That evening at sunset we got to go to a really cool prayer ceremony at this marble temple:2012-07-27 India 57661 In all the temples, mosques and sacred places in India you take off your shoes to enter the premises.  2012-07-27 India 57670Luckily they allowed walking boots:) 2012-07-27 India 57658 It was a gorgeous temple, but what I loved most about it was the prayer we got to be part of inside (no pictures).  At a precise time they pulled back the curtains to unveil the statues of Krishna (the 8th reincarnation of Vishnu) and his wife dressed in beautiful hot-pink saris surrounded in leis and gold.  Huge bells pealed out a melodic prayer and I loved being there with my family in the middle of it all with our tour guide belting out the prayer with the rest of the people crowded around.  It was kind of a surreal experience.2012-07-27 India 576802012-07-27 India 576842012-07-27 India 57685 Here’s Nitten explaining the intricacies of Hinduism to Dave:2012-07-27 India 57690 Such an eye-opening experience for these kids.2012-07-27 India 57694 The next morning we went to Amber Fort.2012-07-27 India 576242012-07-27 India 576262012-07-27 India 57629 We got to ride up to it on these guys:2012-07-27 India 577202012-07-27 India 577222012-07-27 India 577322012-07-27 India 577442012-07-27 India 577542012-07-27 India 577662012-07-27 India 57788
Brynne and Mike took forever to get up the hill on their poor elephant who I’m afraid was a little too old/sick for the task.2012-07-27 India 57800 I’ll let the pictures tell about this fort, but there’s much more info. here if you care to know more about the history.2012-07-27 India 578022012-07-27 India 578032012-07-27 India 578042012-07-27 India 578132012-07-27 India 578252012-07-27 India 578272012-07-27 India 578292012-07-27 India 578312012-07-27 India 578332012-07-27 India 578342012-07-27 India 578352012-07-27 India 578382012-07-27 India 57845 These trinket-sellers were the most persistent ones ever.2012-07-27 India 578492012-07-27 India 57852 With that, we headed off for our next stop: Agra and the Taj Mahal.

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  1. My husband went to India a few years ago. His group was so excited to eat Dominos, too! He said after curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was such a good meal.

    Needless to say, he wouldn't go out for Indian food with me for several months after he got home.

  2. great documentary of your trip. you need to give lessons on how to effectively capture vacations. i seriously take pictures of all the wrong things and its lame. i love that you got table cloths… great suvineer if you ask me!

  3. I believe it's the correct spelling is "Nitin". I have a friend of Indian descent, who's name happens to be Nitin! He pronounces it more like Nithin.

  4. Wow! I absolutely LOVE this post! Each of the pictures tells their own little story or captures its own little moment in time. So awesome! I will never ever make it to India, and am finding it fascinating to read about it from your perspective. Can't wait for the next one!

    Wow wow wow – what an experience!!!

  5. What a once in a lifetime chance! India is amazing! I love being able to experience it through your pictures, which by the way are gorgeous! I was wondering what lens you used to take most of your pictures on your vacation… 🙂

  6. I will never go to India for one I HATE to fly and I don't like Indian food so I'd probably die but how beautiful it is and I'm so glad I got to see and hear about it from you. I loved how the elephant was (painted?) with a beautiful design. Thank you for sharing!!

  7. I'm loving all your India posts! (Well, I love them all, but ya know) I love the bright colors in women's saris. Gorgeous.

  8. Wow! These photos are incredible! Something that I kept noticing in each picture were Elle's pants. Where did you find those awesome orange and yellow pants? Holy cow I want them so bad!

  9. I have zero desire to go to India, but your pictures are beautiful and a good balance to the poverty and filth of the country. You might have changed my mind…just a little.

  10. Wow. What an amazing trip and seriously amazing pictures. Your family is adorable. I really admire you and your husband for having the wherewithal to make this happen for you and your older kids. So great.

  11. Beautiful pictures! I have friends who live in Gujarat. An interesting life, and I feel I know more about their adopted country through your posts. Thanks for sharing. The architecture is amazing.

  12. I've loved reading about your adventures in India this summer, and your posts are always beautifully illustrated through your photography. I definitely feel like I have learned a lot about India and its culture just by reading your posts, so thanks for sharing!

    Your paralyzed friend,

  13. I love seeing your trip photos– they are so delicious (and give me even more wanderlust)!

    We snuck in an FHE at the pool last night with the Daltons (minus mike). I grilled them about their trip. When talking about their travel partners, Jake was very positive. He told me excitedly, "Elle is SO GREAT!" It made me smile. 🙂 -elizabeth

  14. What an amazing experience for your kids. I have a couple questions though. What is your walk-about lens while traveling? And do you use a timer to get pictures of everyone or do you get some random stranger? And like someone else asked, what would be some tips for vacation pictures? Thanks.

  15. just loved those pics, straight out of a travel magazine! my hubby heads off to india next month for work so loved seeing these!


  16. Shawni, I feel like I am reliving OUR India experience since we did the exact same things with the exact same tour guide! India is an amazing place and you've captured it so well with you beautiful photos.

  17. I was born in Bombay, (present day Mumbai) but grew up in the US since I was 12. I went back last December with my parents, my brother, my sis in law and my two boys, to attend my cousin's wedding in Mumbai. I usually go back every few years. We ended up taking the Golden Triangle Trip and ended up taking hundreds of pics. I had these amazing posts I was writing in my head as I was taking the pics but i found myself so overwhelmed with the sights, sounds and my emotional reaction to them that I just couldn't do it…i did a few simple posts and then just have not been able to go back. Many of my photos look just like yours' since we went to the same places….Seeing your post inspires me to perhaps go back and blog some more…I've started Project LIfe this year and am loving the process..now I just have to learn photoshop…

    my blog: http://www.asufisjourney.blogspot.com

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