July 28, 2011


The trip that brought me to Europe was a course called "War Crimes Prosecutions in the Former Yugoslavia." I went with 2 professors and 13 other students to The Hague, Bosnia and Serbia to study the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and meet with defense attorneys, judges, prosecutors, media personnel, NGOs and international organizations that are all working to bring reconciliation to the former Yugoslavia after the wars that divided the country into 6 (almost 7) independent states.

I've always bee interested in the former Yugoslavia since I worked as the liaison to te Bosnia and Kosovo offices for an NGO that works with women in conflict and post-conflict areas. Depsite the fact that the war ended 17 years ago, I've always been interested in the conflict because although the violence has stopped, the lingering effects of the war are still very, very prominent in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

In traveling to Bosnia and Serbia, this was very evident. From bullet holes and shell casings that adorned the buildings of Sarajevo to the stray dogs that roam the streets hungry left over from a time where one had to give up their dogs to feed their families. But nowhere were the effects of war more prevalent than in Srebrenica.

To give you a brief history lesson: In July 1995, during the Bosnian War, 8,372 Bosnan Muslim men and boys were killed in a horrifying genocide under the command of General Ratko Mladic who, if you read the news, was finally captured this past May. The massacre started on July 11 when between 20 and 25,000 Bosniaks (the term for Bosnian Muslims) gathered at the UN Compound in Potocari to seek protection from the United Nations. With nearly 1,000 people in the old battery factory that was being used as a compound, the Dutch military had to turn the Bosniaks away as the compound was already full beyond capacity. The next day, Serb military forces invaded the compound and began separating the men and boys from the women. Knowing that in the hands of the Serbs lied certain death, many of the men and boys took a treacherous march through the woods and hills to find safety. Most of them were killed along the way. The Bosniak men and boys of Srebrenica were killed in some of the most horrifying ways. Many of them stood in line waiting for their turn to be killed as they watched their friends, neighbors, brothers, sons, fathers, uncles, cousins, etc. go ahead of them. Many of them were forced to dig their own graves in which they would be shot in. The mass graves that have been exhumed since the war ended demonstrate only the most heinous, unimaginable crimes.

Since the war ended, mass graves are being uncovered all the time. In fact, while I was in Bosnia, another mass grave had been found. Yes, 17 years after the war, mass graves are still being found. A fantastic organization called the International Commission on Missing Persons does a lot of the exhumations of the mass graves and, by testing the family members of victims, have been able to identify over 7,000 human remains that were found in mass graves related to the genocide at Srebrenica. Each year, a Peace March is held to commemorate those men and boys and the march they made to try and get to safety. The march ends at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial which is on the same field where many people last saw their loved ones. On the final day of the Peace March, the remains of those who have been identified over the course of the year are finally laid to rest.

I left Bosnia three days before the march started which made me really angry actually. I felt like our professors should have incorporated it into the trip but they didn't think it was relevant to our course of study which made me even more angry but that's another issue in itself. Because it was so close to the Peace March, they were preparing for the March in which over 600 people would be laid to rest...which meant that while we were there, they were digging graves.

As soon as we walked into the Memorial and I saw all of the open graves, I lost it. I knew that the day would be emotionally taxing but I didn't expect it all to hit me so hard and so fast. I just kept staring at these open graves and the women who were standing near them, praying over them, and thinking...It's been 17 years since the war ended and these people are just now being laid to rest.

It broke my heart. At one point, I just knelt on the ground sobbing. There were just rows and rows and rows...and rows of graves. That I expected to see. But to see all of the open graves and to realize that the people who have been, or will be laid to rest in this cemetary were all killed in a period of 11 days...that destroyed me.

After we left the Memorial, we walked across the street to the old battery factory turned UN compound which has been turned into a museum. We watched a video in there which just put everthing into such a different perspective and made it all so so real...and so scary. There was also a photography exhibit that we looked at as well as a rotating display of things that were found with people whose bodies were exhumed in the mass graves along with small vignettes about them. To know the story then see the Memorial site and then read these vignettes and put names and faces and stories to everything that happened just made it so much more real. It was devastating.

The old battery factory turned UN Compound

We left the battery factory and made the long, silent trip back to Sarajevo.

It's not easy to write about a topic like this, which is why I think I've been putting it off for so long. But I think it's important because the sad truth is that this happened in Europe 17 years ago and in Rwanda 18 years ago and is happening in Sudan today and in so many other places where the legal term of genocide has yet to be applied. After the Holocaust, the world promised, "Never again" But I guess those were just empty words. And I guess that's why I'm in this field.

Thanks for reading. 

July 27, 2011

When in Rome...

In 2007 I was living 20-years-old, single, living in London and having the absolute time of my life. I had an amazing job, fantastic friends and I was living the high life: shopping every day, eating delicious pastries for breakfast lunch and dinner and traveling every weekend. In November of that year, my travels brought me to Rome. I had never had any interest in going to Rome and really didn't care to go but the opportunity came up and I wasn't doing anything that weekend so I went.

I loved it. I had a great time with good friends and I just loved it. On my last night in Rome, I went to the Trevi Fountain (for the 2nd time that trip) and threw a 2 euro coin into the fountain and made a wish: to one day, come back to Rome. Oh and of course to find love because well, who doesn't wish for that?

That's me with the white hat

When I was planning my summer travels and realized that I couldn't fly direct from Belgrade to Sri Lanka (or India for that matter), I started looking into lay overs. Paris sounded nice but I had been there before. Frankfurt sounded nice but there's not much to do there. I didn't want to go back to Amsterdam because I was already spending time there and London was too far. Budapest seemed perfect. I've always wanted to go to Budapest but when I started looking into what I could do on my layover, I realized 1 day in Budapest just wouldn't be enough. Then, Rome fell into my lap. Hmm...I could go back to Rome. I've been there, I've seen everything and the flights out are cheap. SOLD!

I left Belgrade and took the short flight to Rome and landed about 8pm. By the time I got on a train and into the city to my hotel, it was 10:00. I was tired and hungy but I wasn't concerned...if there's one place in the world I'm happy to be hungry, it's Rome.

Piazza Barberini
Since I would only be there one night, I splurged a little on a hotel in the center of town that was right near the Piazza Barberini. After checking in, I headed out and stopped at a restaraunt near the Piazza for the most fantastic Pasta Pomodoro I have ever had in my life. I have yet to eat pasta since I've been back in America...I need to find a way to make my  own Italian pasta sauce so that I can scorn the likes of Classico and Rinaldi from now on.

From there, I immediately headed back to the Trevi Fountain. I don't know what it is but I absolutely adore the Trevi Fountain. With a nearly full passport, I feel very comfortable saying that the Trevi Fountain is my favorite place in the world. I don't care how many tourists swarm the little ally it's in, I absolutely love it there.

So I went to the Fountain, had some Nutella gelato and went bed. The next morning, after a delightful breakfast in bed (this hotel had continental ROOM SERVICE...how awesome is that!?) of Italian coffee and pastries, I went...back to the Trevi Fountain. I had to see it in the daylight of course!

I love you so much.
From the fountain, I made my way through the city. The best part about having a long layover in a city you've already been to is that you're not rushing to see everything, you can just move at your own pace. I went to the Spanish Steps and read for a a little while until I got too hot and then I made my way down to the Tiber to walk along the river.
I saw the Spanish Steps at night last time, so it was nice to see them during the day!

St. Peter's Basilica
The Pilot had asked me to go to the Vatican and say a prayer for him while I was in Rome, so I went to St. Peter's and did just that. My God, I love St. Peter's Basilica. Being Catholic, it's amazing to be in the birthplace of your faith and just marvel at how absolutely beautiful Vatican City is.

The main altar in St. Peter's. This guy decided to pose for my picture.
I got someone to take a picture of me!
I left the Vatican on an empty stomach and headed to the Piazza Navona for some more pasta and just sat in the Piazza reading. When I was last in Rome, I went in November and it was cold so the Piazza Navona was pretty dead. Thist time around, it was full of artists and merchants which, I normally wouldn't like if it weren't for the creepy Italians yelling "Bella!" and trying to sell me floss thread bracelets for 10 euros. Umm no thanks. Next time, I'll skip Navona.

After lunch, I made my way toward the Roman Forum to see the Colisseum and all of the old sites of Rome and walk around through them just enjoying the history.

The Italian Parliament building...it was under construction last time!
One thing I really would like to do if and when I ever go back to Rome is take a tour of the Colisseum. I've heard mixed reviews about them and I guess it really kind of depends on your tour guide but if I had had more time, I definitely would have done that this time around.

After walking the steps of Ceasar, it was getting close to the time I needed to leave for the hotel but there was one more thng I needed to do before I said "Arrivederci" to Rome.

The best way to enjoy the Trevi Fountain on a hot summer day...with Nutella gelato!
I couldn't leave without saying goodbye to my favorite place in the world! I savored every last drop of that gelato knowing that I would never find Nutella gelato in the US and if I did, it wouldn't be as good and I stood up, took a coin and tossed it into the fountain making a wish to come back to Rome. Then I made my way back to the hotel to pick up my bags and headed to the airport.

It was the perfect day in Rome and a wonderful conclusion to my trip in Europe. Although being in Rome made me so ashamed of the fact that the United States has not embraced the Nutella culture the way that Europe has. I mean seriously...they put Nutella on everything! I know people in America who have never even heard of the deliciousness that is Nutella.

So that's Rome. If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to have a long layover like this, I highly recommend going somewhere you've been before. It takes the pressure off and makes for such a relaxing day. And you know what? I crossed another thing off my list...#19: Go on a trip by myself. My trip to Rome marked the start of my journey to India and traveling by myself was absolutely wonderful. Although, I think next time I'll get that Pilot of mine to fly us somewhere together...

July 25, 2011

Love/Don't Love

1. I'm slowly getting back into my normal routine which means the return of 'Love/Don't Love' posts are back! Love.
2. The Pilot came to visit this weekend and after not seeing him in over 2 months, it was just what I needed to get me out of the funk I was in from jet lag/being sick/traveling/etc. Love.
3. I have a 25 page paper due this week that I am just now starting. I can't fully begin to enjoy what I hope will be my very own wet hot American summer until this paper is finished. Don't Love.
4. I still have some awesome travel posts planned recapping my most recent trip overseas...with lots of pictures! Love.
5. Even though The Pilot was in town for approximately 24 hours, we had an absolutely perfect weekend together that was jam packed with running errands, seeing Harry Potter and attending a family bbq. Love.
6. I am finally cured of my jet lag and am feeling a thousand times better than I was last week. Love.
7. Blogger and Firefox seem to be having some issues lately and I haven't been able to write posts from Firefox in over a week! It seems to be stuck in 'Edit HTML' mode but even when I type in HTML, my posts are blank! Is anyone else having this problem? Don't Love.
8. Training for the Marine Corps Marathon has had an intermittent start due to the severe weather conditions of India, being sick from traveling and jet lag. After spending all last week thinking that I might not be ready to start training, I had a fantastic run yesterday and am happy to announce that my training cycle has officially comenced. Love.
9. Sweaty Emily is officially an IronWOman as of somewhere around 8pm yesterday! Make sure you pop over to her blog to give her a HUGE congratulations. I also have to give a shoutout to her awesome brother, mom and the oh so famous Rocketship for spectating their sweattastic loved one for nearly 14 hours. If that's not love, I don't know what is! Love.
10. Today is my dad's birthday! Happy Birthday Daddy!

That's all for today! I'm off to go knock this paper out!
Stay tuned this week for the rest of my travel posts along with weekly training recaps and a summer update on The List!

Have a great start to the week everyone!

PS: Sorry for the lack of pictures on this post! I am trying to write a paper after all =)

July 21, 2011

#6: Go to India

"They" say that India is one of the hardest places to travel to. "They" were right. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that I just came back from 2 weeks of traveling to the one place I've dreamed of going my entire life. Jet lag and being really sick have drained me of any energy to try and process my time in India. But I don't really think that time in India is really meant to be processed because truth be told, nothing makes sense in India. As a friend of mine in Bangalore said, India is "creative chaos."
A street in Delhi
India wasn't easy. It was loud and crowded, dirty and chaotic, but most of all it was confusing. I went home at the end of every night in a constant state of perplexity. The fact is, India just doesn't make sense...and therein lies its beauty. I am so glad I went to India by myself. I think I would have had a really had time being there with anyone else. I needed to just be in India and take my time and try and absorb everything.

A Hindu temple in Bangalore
It's hard for me to say I loved India. It's impossible for me to say I hated it. The truth is, it was hard. I learned a lot about myself and I faced a lot of challenges and tests of strength, patience and virtue along the way. The only regret I have is not paying more attention to the guide books and going in the summer. Everything I read said that the summers are brutal, but I went with this "Oh but I've been to Africa in the summer time, I'll be fine."  Africa was hot when I went there. India was unbearable. With average temperatures in the mid 90s, a heat index in the low 100s and humidity averaging around 84%, it was unbearable. Couple that with the conservative way you're dressed (covering your legs and most of your arms at all times) and it can make you pretty uncomfortable. Bangalore was very comfortable. Temperatures were in the mid 80s with a frequent breeze that made it nice. In Bangalore, the staring stopped bothering me after 2 days. In Delhi, when you have sweat dripping from places you didn't know existed (and it's not induced by a sweaty session but merely by standing around) and people are staring at you and taking pictures, it makes it really easy to lose your patience. I think that if I had gone to India when the guide books recommended, my trip would have been much much easier.

Like I say, it's hard to say I loved India but I can't say I hated it either. I've dreamed of going to India my entire life and it met my expectations. I didn't have some Bollywood fantasy of what India would look like. I knew what I was getting myself into. I just wasn't expecting to be so overwhelmed by it all. So, some of my takes on India:

The Crowds - I will never again complain that New York is crowded. India at any time of the day makes midtown Manhattan at rush hour look like Laramie, Wyoming.

The Staring - I've mentioned it before but the constant staring and picture taking was something really hard to get used to.

The Indian Head Bobble - I think the Government of India should sue whoever 'invented' bobble heads because clearly the bobble head was derived from Indian people. The infamous bobble neither means yes or no but is how Indians reply to you. A question such as "Do you have soy milk" will give you a head bobble in response leaving you confused as to whether or not you will get soy milk in your coffee.  See this video for example:

The Poverty – It’s no secret that there is poverty in India. India wasn’t the first poverty-stricken country I’ve been to either. With frequent trips to the Dominican Republic growing up, mission trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, an orphanage in Jamaica and a trip to West Africa after college, I thought I had seen my share of poverty. India is a whole different ball game. What drives me crazy about India though is that India is not a poor country. It has the fourth largest economy in the world. The level of poverty that exists in India just shouldn’t. But what kills me about it is that people in India aren’t poor simply because they don’t have money or resources. They’re poor because there is a whole black market system of people making money off of them being poor. You’ve all seen Slumdog Millionaire…and if you haven’t, you need to…none of that is fabricated. The poverty system in India works a lot like human trafficking…in a lot of cases, it is human trafficking and that is something I just don’t know how to fix. When I was in Togo, I visited a village in the central part of the country that had recently had a well built for them by the NGO I was working with. The well increased the livelihood of the village by almost 75%. That’s incredible. All it took was clean water to increase agricultural productivity, human productivity and significantly lower health risks. I could write about this for hours on end but the real question is: what’s the well panacea for India? There are parts of India where wells will bring poverty alleviation and in fact, well water would be a significant help to the entire country but how do you combat poverty in India when poverty is a profitable business?

The Traffic – Even in Delhi where public transportation is easily accessible, traffic is still insane. Road infrastructure is non-existent. People drive on whatever side of the road is open and because of that, there area always back ups. Lanes aren’t easily demarcated and where they are, they just aren’t abided by. I don’t know how I never saw an accident while I was there. Somehow the incessant horn honking works and the traffic “flows”…if you can call it that, but something really needs to be done to reduce the amount of traffic on the road. It seems that for every person in India, there’s a car, truck, bus, rickshaw, cow, etc. on the roads. In a country with nearly 18% of the world’s population, I shudder to think what the air pollution in Delhi is like. It’s probably worse than it is here. 
Women ride scooters helmet-less and side saddle...most of them in saris.

This is how close the rickshaws drive to one another
So that’s India. I can't say I had a bad time. I loved being in India. How could I not? I've always wanted to go there and I would wake up every morning with this "Oh my God, I'm in India!" But India was hard. Would I go back? Sure, but not for awhile and definitely not in the summer. And I think next time I go, I’ll spend some time in the city and then make my way to Goa or Kerala and spend some time unwinding on a beach before I come home. Truth be told, being in India has made be really anxious to go to China. From an academic perspective, I’m really keen to see the difference. I’ve written papers comparing the economic rise of India with China and now, I think China might have to be my next trip. But first, I have to get over this insane jet lag I have! 

That's #6 off The List and the truth is, it should have been number 1. I said that the list was written in no particular order but going to India has always been the biggest dream of mine. On the way to Bangalore, I watched the movie "Tangled" on the plane and this scene just fits so much with how I felt about India: 

Rapunzel: I've been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about
what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it's not everything I dreamed it would be?: Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: Hmm. And what if it is? What do I do then?
Rider: Well, that's the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

India is everything I knew it would be. So now, it's time to find a new dream.

More India pictures to come soon!

July 19, 2011

There's no place like home

32 days.
14 flights.
5 countries.
8 cities.
6 layovers.
1 account of lost luggage.
32 hours of travel time in 2 days.
1 stolen wallet.
1 rerouted plane.
1 midnight arrival and a long hug from Mom.

Dorothy was right.

There's no place like home.

July 17, 2011

Agra: The Taj Mahal

When I first started planning my trip to India, I had no intention of visiting the Taj Mahal. I didn’t want to come to India and do touristy things, I wanted to come to India and see real India. Then I realized I was being ridiculous and that I can’t come to India and not visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Kay and I decided to go with the most convenient option of getting to Agra: hiring a car for the day. I definitely recommend this option, even though it’s pricier, it’s nice to have a car waiting to take you wherever you want to go and being able to leave when you want rather than waiting around for a train and having to rely on autos and cycle rickshaws to get you from A to B. 

I tend to get pretty bad motion sickness so I took some anti-nausea medication and slept the whole way to Agra, although I was woken up for several “You know you’re in India moments…” such as: hitting something and popping a tire, breaks screeching and violently swerving to avoid hitting a cow on the side of the road, and of course the random tolls that lined our path. 

We got to Agra around 7am and made our way to the Taj Mahal. What astounded me about the town is how absolutely poor it is. The poverty in Agra is exactly what I expected to find throughout the rest of India but didn’t. One would think that a site that brings some 2-4 million visitors a year and charges nearly $15 to get in (at least $10 more than any other site in India) would provide some incentive to clean up the area around it. At the same time though, if Agra was this beautiful pristine city, it might seem like India was hiding the realities of poverty in India. It is pretty sad though to have women holding their babies begging you for money and food while you’re walking out of the Taj Mahal having spent 750 rupees to get in…an amount that you know could feed her and her baby for nearly a week, if not more. 

If I have one piece of advice to anyone going to see the Taj Mahal, it is this: Do not read any guide books, blogs, travel stories, etc. about what the Taj Mahal is supposed to be like. Go there, see it for yourself and form your own opinion and then flip through the guide books to learn the story of the Taj and see what else there is to do in Agra. 

The entrance to the grounds of the Taj Mahal
Why do I advise this? Everything I read said that the Taj Mahal is the most beautiful thing in the world, that no pictures can do it justice, that you can’t truly appreciate the beauty of it until you see it for yourself, and that it is ten times more beautiful than they ever expected it could possibly be.

The Taj Mahal absolutely is beautiful. It amazes me that something this big and this beautiful could be constructed so long ago without any kind of modern technology. Kay and I went to Agra on a particularly foggy day and it was incredible how the fog and the mist surrounded the Taj making it look like the only thing in site. 

But, everything I read hyped it up so much that I expected to be truly dazzled. I expected to sit in front of the Taj Mahal in wonderment for hours staring at it in all its glory. The Taj Mahal looked like the Taj Mahal. Pictures absolutely do it justice. I love the pictures I took from the Taj. But the Taj Mahal was the Taj Mahal. At first, it looked a lot smaller than I expected it to be but as I got closer, it grew bigger and bigger and I was amazed at how big it was but it looked the way I expected it to look. So I was disappointed and almost mad in a way about everything I had read. I feel like if I hadn’t read all of those blog posts, guide books, etc. I would have had the same reaction as everyone who had written these things but instead, the Taj Mahal was just too built up and because everything said that it would exceed my expectations, I expected it too and it didn’t.

In true tourist form...
I only write this warning so that you don’t have the same reaction as I did. The Taj Mahal truly is beautiful. Some people say it’s most beautiful at sunrise, others say at sunset. I saw it on a misty, foggy day and think it was absolutely stunning. I think that the fact that everyone has an opinion about when the Taj is most beautiful is a testament to its beauty…that no matter what the sky looks like, the Taj Mahal is going to stand out as this awesome, beautiful structure that was built in honor and devotion to Shah Jehan’s wife and that, in itself, is truly astounding.

In my salwar kameez in front of the Taj Mahal
For several years (a long time ago), Agra was the unofficial capital of India so there’s actually a lot more to see in India than the Taj Mahal. Kay and I, exhausted by our morning wake up call, only visited Agra Fort before calling it a day but Agra Fort was something that I definitely recommend seeing during a visit to the Taj. 

The entrance to Agra Fort
Kay and I spent quite a bit of time walking around the Fort marveling at its intricacies; its delicate paintings, its stunning archways, the abundance of marble, the size of it, and of course the stunning views of the Taj Mahal from Shah Jehan’s prison cell where he sat for 8 years only able to longingly stare at his creation without being able to visit it to mourn his wife.  

Delicate paintings...

Stunning archways...
An entire apartment made of marble?
Stunning views of the Taj Mahal

There's a lot of history here and it's absolutely beautiful so when you make your way to India and find yourself in Agra, make sure you see what else the city has to offer besides the Taj Mahal! And of course, it wouldn't be India without some of the most random things happening on the way home: 
Wild pigs running across a busy street
A man getting a shave on the side of the road
Monkeys in abundance!

A cows on a busy street outside a restaurant
So that's Agra for you! Today, I was supposed to head South to Mumbai to continue my trip through India but I've decided to cut my trip short due to security and safety concerns surrounding Wednesday's terrorist attacks in Mumbai. So what does that mean? I'm coming home! After a month of traveling, I decided to cut my trip 3 days short rather than try to make my way to Mumbai for my flight home. I'm so ready and so excited to be coming home! So next time I write, I'll be giving full details of my travels abroad and how I'm trying to get back into the swing of things!
Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!
I'm coming home, coming home, tell the world I'm coming home =)

July 14, 2011

Thoughts on Delhi

Population of US: 307,006,550
Population of India: 1, 155, 347, 700

Good God there are a lot of people in this country. Sometimes I feel like they are all in the same place as I am at the same time. It's insanely overwhelming.

Today is...Thursday? Right? I have absolutely no concept of time anymore. So I've been in Delhi for 4 days now and I've found my way around pretty easily...the Metro system is really easy...and very clean!

So, since I've been here for a few days, I've made several observations.
-All Indian people stare at foreigners. When I say stare, I mean stare. If you stare back, they keep on staring.
-There is a certain sense of entitlement among the population. If you are standing in line for something, they will get in front of you. If you are walking in the same path as someone and don't get out of their way, they will bump into you...and be mad about it.
-Baring any kind of skin, whatsoever will draw a lot of attention. I wore a skirt that went down to my mid calves yesterday and my God, the way people were staring at my ankles, you would have thought I was naked...yet, it's perfectly acceptable for women in saris to completely bare their midriff.
-People will point and laugh at you while you're eating simply because you're a foreigner eating Indian food.
-Indians really, truly do believe in karma. I left my wallet at a coffee shop yesterday and when I went back for it several hours later, nothing was missing and all that was left was a note written by the guy who found it saying to please take care of it.
-The Metro here is very new and people really don't understand the concept of waiting to let passengers off before getting on. Instead, it's a mad rush of people all trying to exit and enter the train car at the same time.
-Ladies only cars on the Metro are the most wonderful thing ever created. Ever.
-Everyone eats with their hands...and they eat everything with their hands. Actually, it's only their right hand...the left is used for umm...cleaning yourself.
-Restaurants give you a bowl of raw red onions and lemons before every meal...everyone eats them...I don't.

As Kay (who I'm staying with) says, "Don't try to make sense of anything in India, it'll just confuse you." It's so true. I don't understand what's going on half the time...and I can't even try to make sense of it.

I wasn't feeling too hot today...1 month of living out of a suitcase without any protein or fiber intake and eating nothing but starches, has done a number on me...so has the heat. I ended up coming back to Kay's and sleeping for about 2 hours. I'm ok now though.

And now for some pictures:

Akshardham Temple

My mhendi...which is almost completely gone on my left hand =(

Lahore Gate at the Red Fort
A guy taking a picture of me
Kay looking at the sights at Red Fort

Me at the Red Fort

India Gate

That's all for today!
Hope you're all having a great week!

July 12, 2011


Hello Bloggers in Blog World! I'm writing to you from Kay's air conditioned apartment. The lovely Miss K at From India With Love offered me her place to stay when I emailed her asking to meet up for coffee! So I'm spending some time with more blog buddies...which seems to be the norm these days. Anyway, I got in yesterday afternoon and already it feels like I've been here for a month.

Bangalore was wonderful. I had a really enjoyable time with my hosts and met some great people at the hostel and had an all around good time. Here are some photos from Bangalore:

Bangalore Skyline...seen from Ladagh Botanical Garden

This little monkey sprung up on us! Along with several others!

The "Empire State Building" of Bangalore

Some Aussie friends and I may or may not have crashed an Indian wedding!
So yes, that's Bangalore! A crowded, chaotic city but with a lot of character! But boy, Bangalore is different from Delhi. Bangalore is the most crowded place I have ever seen in my life. Delhi is a lot less crowded...but still just as crazy.

Since yesterday was a travel day, I didn't do a whole lot. I'm staying with a friend and this morning, I got up and hitched a ride with her land lady to a nearby park for a 4 mile run. It was 91 degrees with 76% humidity and I thought I was going to die. I have never wanted to cut a run short so badly in my life and I'm so proud of myself that I didn't because today is Day 2 of Marine Corps Marathon training! (Yesterday was a Rest Day). So that's on my plate. On my way back from the park, I got lost and walked around for about an hour trying to find my way...oops. When I finally got back, I drank about 5 gallons of water and sat in front of the air conditioning for about 20 minutes. Then, I got up and started my day.

First, I went to go see Humayun's Tomb. Humayun was one of the great mughal emperor's of India. The Taj Mahal is said to be modeled slightly after the Tomb and it was absolutely beautiful.

Humuyun's Tomb

Since it was a weekday, it wasn't too crowded which was nice but I was really disturbed by the looks I was getting. I honestly felt like I was in a zoo...and this was just at Humuyun's Tomb...it was all day. I had been warned about the staring culture that Indians have...and it's totally true. People in India love to just stare at you. And if you stare back, they don't have a problem with it at all. What drove me nuts though were the men who just kept taking pictures of me. I asked one of them to please stop and he just laughed. It was really discomforting having my picture taking when I was just trying to enjoy the sight. Again, I was warned about this but I honestly thought that they would be discreet about it and it wouldn't bother me...oh no, no discretion at all.

Close up of Humuyun's Tomb
From there, I was absolutely starving so I hopped in an auto and made my way to Sundar Nagar Market. I totally got ripped off because the driver took me to the wrong market first and didn't think I would notice and ended up charging me 100 rupees extra. It's only $2 but it's principle. I hate that just because I'm a "foreigner" I immediately get charged triple what anyone else pays for anything. So I stopped into an Italian restaurant for some fantastic food. Italian food in Italy? What are you thinking, Christy? I know, I know. I was just in Rome and had the best Italian food ever but my stomach wasn't feeling too hot and I didn't want to take any chances since I didn't have any meds with me so I stuck with a highly recommended Italian place. Don't worry, I'm eating plenty of Indian food while I'm here. After lunch, I headed to a tea shop and bought some yummy teas and then made the mistake of walking nearly 2 miles to the nearest metro station. I could have taken an auto but I was still bent out of shape about getting ripped off earlier so I walked. My feet are now paying the price.

This is an auto rickshaw...what I've been driving around in. In this particular instance, the one in front ran out of gas, so my driver decided to give him a push...with his foot...while still driving me around...for almost 20 minutes...

So, I finally found the Metro and was trying to make my way to the Indira Ghandi National Museum but the auto driver took me to the Mahatma Ghandi Museum...no worries! I wanted to see both anyway! I don't think this was the Ghandi Museum though...according to my guide book there's a Ghandi Museum and Ghandi Smriti which is the Ghandi Memorial. It's all very confusing. Anyway, I went to Ghandi Smriti which is where Ghandi lived his last days and was assassinated.

Ghandi's last steps leading to where he was assassinated.

Where Ghandi was assassinated.
So I didn't see as much as I would have liked to today but the day is still young and I've got a lot more time in Delhi! So far, it's definitely been an experience but a pretty enjoyable (although at times frustrating) time. I'm taking India for what it is though, "creative chaos" as my friend Sid says!

Hope everything's going well in the Western Hemisphere!
Wish me luck for another 4 miler tomorrow in Delhi!
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