It’s hard to believe that we spent two weeks on the other side of the world and are already back in Miami. A little surreal. Our time in India was more fun than expected and very special.
On the plane ride back, I thought about how I wanted to share our experiences and came up with a fun way (at least I think it is!) to cover almost everything. I apologize in advance for the length of this post…lots to talk about!
- We flew from Miami to London and then London to Mumbai – total travel + layover time was 22 hours. Once we reached Mumbai, we had to wait for a domestic flight to Vadodara, where my dad was waiting to pick us up – total travel + layover time was 7 hours. Our return flights were about the same time wise. Talk about exhaustion!
- Our main forms of transportation in India were cars/vans and rickshaws. Rickshaws are essentially tiny taxis. I’m not going to lie, riding in one can be a scary experience!
- The roads in India have improved significantly since I last visited 10 years ago. However, the heavy rain and flooding has caused a lot of damage to major roadways, making for very bumpy rides.
- Speaking of roads, I don’t think I could ever drive in India. The traffic can be insane. But more than that, the roads are shared by cars, rickshaws, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and various animals. I like to call it organized chaos!
- Our trip started with 3ish days in Gujarat. My grandparents live in a town called Karamsad (where my mom grew up), which is where we spent the majority of our time. We also made day trips to Vadodara (where my dad grew up) and Nadiad to visit family. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very close to my grandparents and was so happy that we were able to fit in a few days with them. Short but sweet!
- From Gujarat, we took a flight to Bangalore and then drove six hours to Coorg. Coorg is where Vishnu’s mom grew up and where some of her family still lives. And it’s also one of the most beautiful places we visited – lots of lush land that is used for harvesting coffee and pepper plants. In fact, Vishnu’s uncles own coffee estates, so I was able to see everything up close.
- The rest of our trip was spent in Kerala, more specifically in Palakkad where Vishnu’s dad grew up. Because we were visiting, all of Vishnu’s aunts and a few of his cousins stayed with us at Vishnu’s uncles house. They were all so excited to have us there and took great care to make sure we were comfortable at all times.
- I am so grateful that we were able to visit and spend time with our families. Even though the travel was a bit tiring, this was by far my favorite part of the trip. It was so hard to leave everyone behind!
- During our time in Gujarat, we tried two different restaurants – Barbecue Grill in Vadodara and 24 Seven at the Madhubhan Resort in Anand. Both offered delicious buffet options along with unique appetizers. During our time in South India, we ate at a lot of restaurants specializing in dosas. I am officially masala dosa”ed” out.
- Eating out wasn’t really a priority but trying new foods was absolutely one. I tried jack fruit, tiny bananas, fresh coconut water, and various Kerala specialties for the first time and loved them all, especially the bananas!
- A trip to India is not complete without someone getting sick. Never fails. Fortunately, this trip was different. Aside from a day of upset stomachs (I think it was the jack fruit) and a couple of dizzy spells, we were all fine. However, I caught a cold on our way home and am now battling a stuffy nose.
- Two weeks before we left for India, I spent a lot of free time looking for appropriate tops (i.e., conservative) to wear. I ended up only wearing two of the blouses I bought because both my mom and MIL thought it was better for me to buy traditional kurtis in India and wear those instead, especially when visiting family. The next time we visit India, I will be more than ready in the clothing department!
- Even though we were only in Gujarat for a few days, my mom and I did some major damage in the sari department. Lots of new and pretty things to wear to all of the weddings we have coming up!
BUGS AND HEAT
- As you all know, I was expecting the worst when it came to both bugs and heat. The absolute worst. Luckily, the heat didn’t bother us at all (living in Miami is good preparation for visiting India!). And the bugs…well, I did the best I could. Vishnu said that I dealt with all the creepy crawlies better than he thought I would. I tried my best to keep the screaming and jumping to a minimum. Ha!
THE REASON WE WENT
- I don’t think I’ve mentioned the reason behind our trip to India on the blog before. It’s kind of a long story, but essentially our two week adventure was for a day long pooja (religious prayer service) in Vishnu’s name at the Guruvayur Temple in Kerala. Along with my parents and Vishnu’s parents and brother, we were joined by 25 other family members. It was a really special day for so many people, especially Vishnu’s parents who have been waiting 28 years for this particular pooja. Every aspect of the almost 24 hour pooja was beautiful!
- The sock bun saved my life because keeping my hair down wasn’t an option (too much humidity!).
- Looking back, we should’ve made more of an effort to drink more water. On any given day, we probably drank 3-4 glasses of water total – a really stupid move on our part.
- Our lack of movement drove me crazy. I have never been so sick of sitting in my life!
Overall, we had an amazing two weeks – couldn’t have asked for a better experience! And believe it or not, we’re already thinking about our next visit!
Happy Monday, everyone!