Monday, April 7, 2014

51 Days...

51 guys, it's been 51 days since I got back from India and I am just now making the time to to tell you the story of this amazing adventure! Better late than never, right?

I figured starting at the beginning would be best, so let's go to Mumbai!

After one bus ride, two plane rides (shout out to Turkish airlines) and approximately 24 hours of traveling, we arrived in Mumbai! We easily met up with my girlfriend Anu and then set about finding a taxi to get us to the rest of the group--word to the wise, hold onto your luggage in the taxi...they don't quite believe in actually tying things down to the roof.

We were able to see a beautiful sunrise during our drive to the hotel and started getting our bearings for the layout of the city or at least a portion of the city--Mumbai has a population of over 13 million people and beyond the "downtown," the city sprawl is larger than what we could have even attempted to cover. In many ways, Mumbai is like a subtle assault on all of your senses--a mix of delicious street food smells, bright colors, trash, chaos on the roads, spices, the sea really have to just take a deep breath and absorb it all. 

I could probably write for days about every sight and sound we experienced, but hopefully the highlights can create a least a snapshot of our few days there. Our hotel was in a perfect location in the Colaba neighborhood of Mumbai--right down the street from the infamous Taj Hotel and Gateway to India, both impressive structures in their own right. There we got our first dose of being very noticeable American tourists and were approached over and over again to have our pictures taken with the locals. Probably the closest we'll ever get to feeling like celebrities! 

Despite Mumbai being very urban, there are a few options for getting some fresh air and escaping the crowds (kind of) which led us to go check out Malabar Hill. This is a really beautiful neighborhood and has an amazing view of the city, plus a beautiful garden that we spent some time exploring. I love being in big cities, but having the ability to strike a balance between the concrete jungle and green space is ideal. Sidenote--apparently this garden is also a hot spot for young Indian couples to sneak off and spend some time with their significant others (PG rated...lots of hand holding) and we certainly saw some cozy couples. Apparently, no matter where you are in the world, teenagers are looking to get away from their parents ;)

Moving on to a place where there was definitely no teenage romances in sight, we visited a local temple, called Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati dedicated to Ganesha. Surrounding the temple, there were many vendors selling flowers and sweets to bring in as offerings to Ganesha. As we approached, the crowds were already lining up to make their offering for the day. Barefoot, very aware that we were the only "tourists" there, we waited in line for our own opportunity to walk through the temple. I wish I could say that going into the temple was a peaceful, meditative moment; however, it was more like the crowd spotted a celebrity and we were whooshed into the main area of the temple, elderly Indian women pushing us along and we quickly gave a nod to the statue of Ganesha and we were whisked right out. Definitely a different experience than going to church at home, but fascinating to be a part of, even if only for a few minutes. 

Last highlight I will share (for now) was our trip to the Chor Bazaar aka the "Thief Market"--one of the largest flea markets in India. Most of our cab or rickshaw rides throughout the trip were intense, but the ride over to the Bazaar seemed especially long and full of "close calls", so by the time we reached the neighborhood, I was not feeling particularly adventurous. Luckily, after a few moments of soaking it all in and realizing we were just getting the same stares we always were subjected to, everyone was ready to explore and try our hand at a bit of bargaining. There was shop after shop down each street--everything from old Bollywood movie posters to antique cameras to appliance parts. The market itself felt a bit like an antique, not appearing to have drastically changed over the past few decades. 

Traveling lesson: TRAVEL=TRUST 
Trust your fellow travelers, trust yourself, trust your cabbie, trust your stomach won't freak out, trust that throwing yourself into the belly of what might be a ridiculously uncomfortable situation might just make for one of the best times of your life! 
Gateway to India

delicious pav bhaji
Chor Bazaar
sunset at the Arabian Sea
view from Malabar Hill

There are dozens of other stories and fun facts I could throw your way, but hey it's one of the first few days where the sun is shining and it actually feels like I'll let you off the hook and you can get outside to soak it all in!

Hotel- Sea Palace Hotel in Colaba, Mumbai
Sights- Malabar Hill, Chor Bazaar, Gateway to India, Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati temple
Food/Drinks- Chowpatty night vendors, Cafe Mondagar, Leopold Cafe, Taj Hotel, Aer Bar

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

back from the adventure! [cliff notes version]

(Sigh) I have returned from my grand adventure and since I've had to quickly jump back into work, I must keep reminding myself that just last week I was on one of my favorite traveling adventures so far! 

India, oh man India. You really were a full body experience, one that I think we are all still digesting and already feeling nostalgic about...

There were many, many pictures taken and even more memories made and I hope to share some highlights for each of the stops, but in the meantime I thought I would share just a few of my favorite moments. More visuals are soon to come, I promise! 
  • Cheese garlic naan. Enough said.
  • Chor Bazaar in Mumbai
  • Surviving the driving situation--there are zero lanes and possibly zero rules, but we survived.
  • Attempting to haggle at the market
  • Monkeys! Elephants!
  • Awesome music on the radio (think classic American music from the 90s/early 2000s)
  • Moped rides through temples
  • Home cooking and getting totally overfed
  • Traveling with some top-notch friends! 
Hope all is well in your time in place...I'll be back soon with more stories!

[photo by Eric Schleicher aka Filmerkid, sunset in Goa]

Friday, January 31, 2014

adventure is calling...

SO. It's been quite some time since I've made any kind of effort to give this little corner of the digital world any kind of attention, but sometimes life throws you a few curve balls and suddenly you don't have time to really share recipes, diy inspo, life updates or anything else in between.

What's that saying? Try to tell God your plans and he'll just laugh at you...some days that seems pretty spot on. Luckily, it's the twists and turns and surprises and "whoa I never thought I would be doing this/saying this/feeling this" moments that really just make life grand.

Today is one of those days, though it certainly did take plenty of planning! Later tonight I head out for a 14 day adventure to INDIA! There's just a few hours left of work...a bus ride...a plane ride...and another plane ride standing in between me and what is sure to be one heck of a way to kick off 2014! 

Five of my friends and I are all heading to Mumbai to meet up with my girlfriend who has been living there for the past 8-9 months. From there, we will travel to Goa for some much needed beach time (you win polar vortex, I'm outta here), then to Dandeli for some time in the jungle (there may or may not be tree houses involved). Next, Hampi to explore ancient ruins and then finally Bangalore where we will be able to see where my girlfriend's family is from and even get to meet them! 

To say I am excited would be the understatement of the year. A friend asked what we were most looking forward to and for me, I can't wait to be immersed in a cultural, in a world that is drastically different than my own. To take in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes of a place I never thought I would visit. 

I can't wait to share my stories and pictures with you--I might even be able to post a few along the way, but until then....all adventurous women do. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

friday night wisdom

nothing like breaking this radio silence with some wide words from megfee...

And it is okay not to know. Let me say that again: It is okay NOT. TO. KNOW. Which really means you gotta hold yourself accountable in those moments when you start filling in the blanks with what you think or predict or divine because the not-knowing is so damn uncomfortable. At first, you may not even realize you’re doing this. Don’t confuse what-you’ve-made-up with reality. Give it more time. Exercise patience. Remind yourself, again and again that the unknown can be a delicious thing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

take a minute to unplug

I don't know about you, but lately I feel like I have been way too attached to my phone/technology in general. Obviously, some of this is just unavoidable during the work day, but it has become too easy to get home and hop right back on the computer or sit there checking all the different social networks I find myself plugged into. 

I love this short film...a reminder that we miss out on a lot of the wonderful things right in front of us because we are so busy being virtually connected. Just a good reminder that the best and most genuine connections are the people right in front of us everyday. 

Embrace those moments and the people around you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

listening to | volcano choir, repave

If you are a fan of Justin Vernon's work and you have been missing some of the sounds we heard with Bon Iver's For Emma, then the latest album from Vernon's band Volcano Choir might just do the trick. Set to release September 3rd, Repave creates the familiar mysterious, but expressive sound and lyrics that are reminiscent of Bon Iver and "work wonders in arrangements that swell and boom."

NPR's First Listen once again lets us have a sneak peak at this latest body of work and I highly recommend pressing play right now...