Tuesday, November 30, 2010

India part 9

This is another place where we stayed, called the Lake Palace. It is located in the city of Udaipur, also known as the Lake City (not to be confused with Salt Lake City). This was the summer palace for the maharaja, built in 1746, and it has also been converted into a hotel. It is located in the middle of Lake Pichola and the only way to get there is by boat. Of course, that is dependant on the monsoons. We were lucky because this year was a good year for monsoon season so we had a full lake. Apparently, the lake had been completely dry for a few years, in which case I guess they could call this the Dustbowl Palace? Our guide told us that when the boats can't get out there, they take people on elephant, just so it still seems special in some way. Boat vs. elephant? Again, I will say that we were lucky because we got to take a boat and the whole experience was really magical.
(btw, if you are a James Bond fan, apparently the film Octopussy was filmed here.)

Arrive by boat, and then you are literally showered with rose petals! I admit that I lingered a bit under the rose petals. Later we saw people arrive who barely looked up when the shower started. what losers!

The windows in the middle here (jutting out) are the window's from the room Trevor stayed in.

The palace at sunset.

Here is one of the common rooms inside the hotel. It is hard to tell how beautiful it is -- I loved this room because it had my favorite colors blue and purple. I love the blue tiles in all the detail of the room.

Here are the grounds of the hotel. As I was taking this photo, I ran into Kathy who was on the roof taking some photos of her own.

We took a sunset cruise to another palace in the Lake. Here are Kathy & Trev before our departure with the city in the background.

Here's my latest quilt, which I made for my friend, Allison, who just had a baby boy.
Two quilts in one year. I'm back, baby!
(not really.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

India part 8

On our last night in Jodhpur, we had dinner in this little pavilion on the hotel grounds. This woman was cleaning and setting it up for us. It kind of always amazed me that they would wear these beautiful saris to do the most annoying work. But this is jeans and a T-shirt to them, I guess.

First, they dressed us up. Mostly Trevor. Who was not happy.

Then they lit some fireworks for us. Next, we were greeted by these cute boys that danced all the way down the candlelit trail to the pavilion.
There was a whole family of performers -- singing, playing instruments, and dancing with things balanced on their heads. If you notice in photo #2, she's also balancing on a pie plate.
We joined them. We had to. It would be rude not to.

This video cracks me up because the one kid keeps just going back and forth in front of our table....

But then they all get so into this song, even one of the guys in the back. It makes me think of how everyone goes nuts when they hear "Freebird" or something...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Glee quote of the week -- 11/23

This was the feel-good episode of the year!

Curt: "When you call me "Lady" that's bullying, and it's really hurtful."
Sue: "I'm sorry, I thought that was your name. As an apology, I'll allow you choose from the following nicknames--Gelfing, Porcelain and Tickle-me-Doeface."
Curt: "I guess I'll go with Porcelain."

(I confess...I don't really know what that first choice was. I rewound it 8 times and came up with Gelfing. Is that a word? Any other guesses?)

New cupcake place in Chelsea

A new bakery opened up around the corner from Jill's office, so we stopped by after I met her for lunch one day. It's called Lulu's and Jill is in trouble because it's good!
They also had homemade Yodels, which I also tried, of course.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

India part 7

We stayed in some magnificent places. This was my favorite, called Umaid Bhawan Palace. It's the maharaja's palace built in 1943, and is decorated with the art deco style from that time. It was partially converted into a hotel, although the maharaja still lives in one of the wings. This is the entrance.

These traditionally dressed butlers were found all over the place. My dad could probably name the year and make of these cars, but all I know is that they looked cool.

Once inside, this is the lobby. First you see this grand staircase, which we could take up to our rooms. Past the staircase, you enter this domed area. I loved these saffron collored banners. There's no way to really portray how beautiful this was, but you'll have to try to imagine it.

Here's another room used for conferences or something...

This was (part of) our room. Through the door to the left, was the bedroom and bathroom, but we had this awesome sitting room. Since by the time we got here to Jodhpur there were five of us, it gave us a nice place to sit and chat and look at the stuff we bought each night.

Here's the view from the back and the hotel grounds.

Here's the pool. Trevor was explicitly told by me that he was not allowed to bring the camera out when bathing suits were involved, but I guess he decided that he was in charge. Whatever!!

We ate breakfast every morning in the back of the hotel. I was going to call it the back porch, but I don't really know what it's called, but it overlooked the whole property.

Here's my favorite breakfast. Seems simple -- french toast with bananas and berry compote but it was delicious!! The bread was really light and fluffy and it was sooooo good!

although it was lovely, eating outside can be a bit dangerous when squirrels actually climbed up onto our actual table. Not to mention .... ick! pigeons! But don't fear because there was this young man holding a flag with a pigeon on it... I guess this was supposed to keep them away?

Our last night we had a dinner outside in this white pavilion. That will be my next post..,

Here's the hotel again from the back, lit up by night.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

India part 6

Of all the historical sites we visited, I liked this one the best. It is called Fatehpur Sikri outside of Agra. It was built as a little city, which was eventually abandoned because of lack of water. The inside of the city required a ticket, so it was pretty much empty besides us.

This is a five-story building, and looks out onto the courtyard.

Here's a close up of some of the detail that went into the sandstone carvings. Back when the city was built, it was painted and covered in tapestries.

Here Kathy and I are standing on a lifesize Parcheesi board. Did you know this game was from India? I didn't.

A little walk away was another ancient site, called Itmad Ud Daula. It was the first tomb built out of white marble, so it is called the "baby Taj." Since it is a religious site and it's also free, there were a lot more Indian tourists around.

Here's an example of the "screens" inside the mosque. They are all hand sanded out of a large piece of marble. Clearly there was no sandpaper back then, so little fingers sanded these holes in the marble using water and sand. People tie little strings on this particular screen, which is on the other side of the tomb. There is some signifance to the strings which I can't recall at the moment.

Here's the architecture that surrounds the tomb. I think you can almost get a sense of how grand the architecture is from these photos when you compare the people to the size of the entrance.

Outside of the entrance, people picnic and buy from these fruit and vegetable vendors. There was actually a sign that said that you can't build a fire there.

After Kathy took a picture of the vendors, a man approached Kathy and said something about her photographing his family. She immediately got defensive, thinking he was accusing her of something. She said, "no, no, I was taking pictures of the vegetables!" He said, "You take a picture of my family, now I'll take a picture of you." So the family gathered around, anxious to get a photo with a real, live white person! The little girls in the front were so cute. The one on the right was wearing the sunglasses. The dad pushed the middle girl into the picture and told her to take the sunglasses off of her sister. She took them off her sister... then put them on herself and posed like she was a movie star!

All around the entrance are scripture from the Qur'an.

Here I am with our guide, Rajiv. We spent three days with him and since I'm totally nosy, I asked lots of questions and we learned a lot about life in India. Since this is a religious site, I had to cover up my scandously bare legs with this lovely red cover-up. I wonder how many hundreds of people wore that thing. In addition to covering up, we had to take off our shoes at a lot of the religious sites. I decided that I was meant to be from this culture because I love being barefoot.
Back to Fatehpur Sikri. There were a bunch of teen age boys hanging around. I asked Rajiv what they were doing, and he said that they jump into that water for money. We shrugged and decided it was something we had to do. He rolled his eyes and I could just hear him thinking, "Whatever, you weirdo Americans." Here's one of the guys jumping, then he climbed up the wall to get his 50 cents from Trevor. After two boys jumped, we took off because we could have been there all day.