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Keely's adventures in India-back inside the Mother

Welcome to my travel page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels to the ever-fascinating, mother India. :) Keep in mind, this blog is in 2 parts. Part one happened in summer of '07, part 2 starts now. Please feel free to leave a comment ! :)

Diary Entries

Sunday, 09 March 2008

Location: India

there are some new photos of pushkar and more to come

Wednesday, 05 March 2008

Location: Pushkar, India

Well its obvious that i've kind of dropped out of sight for a while. India is carrying me away again... but will be back very soon with more stories!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Location: Delhi, Indian Subcontinent

I guess I had forgotten my oath to ever take an overnight bus again when I bought the ticket on the overnight sleeper bus from Pushkar to Delhi last night. Originally I wanted to take the day-train but it was not running yesterday and rather than leave a day earlier or later I decided I could manage with the sleeper bus... I thought, with a bed, the 11 hour journey (which should only take 7 hours straight) wouldn't be so bad. As soon as I saw the bus I thought to myself "what did I get myself into..." Not that the bus looked so bad, but there are a whole bunch of reasons I hate to take busses. The roads are a big issue, and I happened to be the lucky one in seat 18, the last seat on the bus, on the top... the bumpiest seat on the bus. What makes a 7 hour journey turn into 11 hours you say? Well, instead of leaving at 7:30 as planned, we had to wait around for another hour until they had lugged a whole truckload of hay onto the top of the bus... 4 boys and about 20 big bags of hay. Then they lined the aisle of the bus in about 40 huge sacks of nuts, which added a whole dimension to walking to the back of the bus, balancing on huge burlap sacks of nuts underfoot. Once we started, I knew that the bumpy road would really only be the worst for the first 45 minutes... I opted to sit on the nuts instead of rattle around in my 2.5 feet wide, 6 foot long berth. A french woman with 2 young kids had the bigger berth opposite me and I had no idea how she could do such a thing with children!
We make our first stop in Ajmer to pick up new riders and have about an hour to wait there as well. I decided to get our of the bus and go to the bathroom, sit out in the not so fresh air, but it was night time, and although there were many foreigners and locals around... one man came up to me and said "this no good variety here, not good place". Which I took to mean that I should probably go sit on the bus rather than stand alone outside as a girl. Then after 30 mins of driving... stop for a dinner break... another hour to wait. Knowing that the 5 hour straight drive was now ahead of us, on a good smooth road I knew that there would be no more stopping, and we could settle in for the night. Now the other reason I hate to go on busses where you dont have the luxury of stopping anywhere because there's no place to stop,especially at night is twofold; 1)fear of getting dehydrated 2) fear of having to pee.
It seemed that not more than 30 minutes had passed before my 2nd biggest fear of traveling on an overnight bus came true... my bladder was completely full. I knew I couldn't hold it for the entire trip and I knew that the only other option was to climb town from the top bunk in the dark and try not to step on anybody's head, land on the nuts and try to find my shoes, walk to the front and have to explain to the bus driver and his 3 assistants why we have to stop, wait until he finds a place to stop somewhere down the road, and find that there is nowhere to pee except right by the front door of the bus with the 3 assistants watching and trying to dodge the oncoming headlights... Sitting on my bunk I try to think of another option. I find an amazing solution... what do you think it is?

Monday, 25 February 2008

Location: pushkar, India

There was another dog fight last night near the hotel which seems to happen every night between about 10-11pm. Olivia told me that in her neighbourhood there is a pack of dogs that hangs around one of the corners and sometimes she is scared to walk to her hotel! These dogs bark and fight for hours all over the town... one thing pushkar isn't, is quiet. Because its a holy city there are temples everywhere and the chanting at the temples starts at 4am with ringing bells and singing that lasts for about an hour. So between the dogs barking till after 11, and the chanting starting so early, its hard to get a full night's sleep here! Usually betwen 7:30am and 9:30 am its very quiet for some reason except for this morning when the owner of my hotel decided to stand in the middle of the courtyard and scream at the top of his lungs at one of his employees for half an hour till i came out and told him that he should probably stop yelling because one reason why people come to a hotel is to sleep!
I'm reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love" which is a great book, I recommend highly. The author of the book has just left Italy and is now in India... and yesterday I had the strangest feeling because I was out with my Italian friends, Olivia, Roberto and Franco. We all know each other from working around town and went to a restaurant called "Little Italy" (no coincidence, it was their choice). The food was great. And because Pushkar is a holy city, where alcohol is forbidden inside the city limits, the only thing missing was the red wine. I spent the whole night listening to them talk in Italian as Olivia kindly translated everything. What a beautiful language and what warm, beautiful people they are. I have been to Italy twice, but it was a while ago. I can see why the author of the book enjoyed her time in Italy so much. It was one of those evenings where you kind of forget where you are exactly. Plus, the food was great. I only have 2 more days here before I have to get on the overnight sleeper bus back to Delhi to meet Julia and go to the trade show. I'm sure I could spend at least another 2 weeks here. I hope to come back with Julia, she also knows this town very well.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Location: PUSHKAR, India

Hi everybody, I've been busy in Pushkar making my summer collection of clothing and its one of those times when I just dont feel like writing too much. I guess Pushkar has this 'other worldly' kind of atmosphere where writing has not been my main focus. I think maybe it has also been due to the fact that I got the flu so I had less energy, and also, very busy in the shop designing the clothing etc. I'm feeling better now and decided that I should write a little entry to the blog.
I've been spending most of the time working but on my free time I hang around with some new people I've met. Almost everybody here working is from spain and italy and i've made a new friend, a girl from italy, and we usually eat dinner together after work. There was a canadian guy staying next to me for 3 days and he usually joined us as well but seeing that it was his first time in india he definitely was a novice at everything, mostly at communication. he is one of those people who, when in a foreign country, speaks to the locals as if he were ordering a 'double-double at Tim Hortons'. For me, nothing could be more irritating since i pride myself in being able to communicate without any trouble ever in perfect english, hindi, or hinglish. I like to communicate well. So whenever he was with me i had to bite my tongue whenever he spoke to an indian person and i could see that neither one of them had any idea of what the other was saying. One time I said to him that he had to speak more slowly and even with less words, in fact. Short sentences are always better than long ones. He said that he knew all this, but liked to speak in his own way. Anyways, I'm kind of glad he's gone. He was a loud talker as well. He was the kind of guy where at any moment I felt as though he could crack open a Molson Canadian and pull up the muskoka chair next to the lake! Totally Canadian! Anyways, enough about him, he was a nice person but seemed like his tour of india should be on an episode of the Amazing Race.
Pushkar is also a place where the menu mishaps are at their best and I've collected a few good ones so far:

Rice Fruiting
Mush Scouce ??
Mix Fruit Custed
and for those of you craving something from south of the border... Special Maxican Totella Soup
Fillter Banana
Spinach Mushroom Tachoch
and if the Maxican Totella soup wasnt enough, there is also the tex-mex favourite... Maxican Totella Burger!
DAL FRY - a yellow lentil deficacy cooked in butter, and the other famous indian dish...
ALOO GOBI - potato and vegetable gravy cooked in green pee

I actually tried the home made nachos the other day... and they weren't bad!

Hopefully there will be more to come. Pushkar is also famous for its museli... with a multitude of spellings, and I'm probably going to get some for breakfast now!
Adios amigos!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Location: Jaipur, India

Today is Sunday so not much is open. I've been invited by a couple of colleages to hang out around town so we'll see what happens. I have no idea what they have in mind but its always nice to be taken somewhere unknown.
I had actually been sick for the past 2 days, starting Valentines day afternoon when I had to cancel my trip to the fort, the photos are from the next day when I was feeling a bit better. Early afternoon on Valentines day when I was out with my israeli friends who were showing me some places that they work at, just before I was supposed to go to the fort, I got a fever and had to go straight to bed. It lasted 2 days, but now feel 100% better and ready tackle the crazy streets of Jaipur again.
Its funny, because at least 10 times per day I ask myself... 'how did I get here'? 'What am I doing here'? Sometimes I just can't even believe it myself that this is my life.
The days just seem to flow from one to the next... and I am carried along with them, just as I am carried along on the back of some motorcycle through the unbelievably crazy streets of Jaipur.
Its like I wake up in the morning and have no idea what will happen next. Even with the plans that I have, I never know what the result will be. For example, I had heard of this famous exporter in the silver market whose shop I had never visited before so yesterday that was first on my list of things to do. I went through the winding streets of the silver market and found his shop at the very very end. It was a small shop, nothing much to speak of... and I politely went inside, all the lights were out, and a guy was sitting behind the counter. I was thinking to myself, could this really be the shop everybody is talking about? I asked the man if I was in the right place and he said, 'come with me'.
The next thing I know I am hopping on the back of his scooter and we are out in the thick of the traffic. He is winding in and out and between scooters and bikes, and cycles and cars, without ever even looking in his rear view mirror and somehow people make space for us, but by space i mean 'just enough space'. If i were to outstretch my arms I would be touching other scooters and cars on each side of me, and all this doesn't even phase me! This is the time I am asking myself, "what the hell am I doing here"? "why aren't I scared"?
Anyways, 5 minutes later we pull up to this huge house. Outside the house there are like 100 pairs of shoes so I know I must be in the right place and he takes me downstairs. It is there that I spend the next 7 hours working. In the meantime, other foreigners from my hotel wander in who I recognize, other buyers wander in and each are greeted by their own personal salesman who starts to show the things. They bring me tea. They feed me lunch. I am looking at all the jewelrey for hours and hours. Every buyer has their own corner of the room and boxes and boxes of jewelry are piled up to the ceiling. Pieces of jewelry are sprawled from wall to wall over the floor which is covered in one huge matress which everybody is sitting on. There are no tables or chairs anywhere. This is a huge operation. After 7 hours I still hadn't seen everything and I was exhausted and fell into my bed quite content. This is what I mean when I say I never know what is going to happen when I wake up in the morning. And now, another day awaits.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Location: JAIPUR, India

Happy Valentines Day to everybody from the land of big hearts !
Indian people love to celebrate and take special pride in celebrating the festival of love and roses. They are so sweet. I just woke up this morning and have already been wished happy Valentines Day from the boy who brought me tea in the morning and the girl who works in the cyber cafe where I'm sitting right now.
I am feeling a bit lazy today and will not do a lot of work. Maybe just a few hours instead of the non stop wandering from place to place, factory to factory, checking what they specialize in, making designs, making orders... etc. Today I need a little break so maybe just a couple of hours.
Reyhan has already asked me 10 times if I will go to a disco with him tonight and there is no way that I'm going. He is funny, but still irritating.
Another one of the boys who works at one of the factories that I know from last year asked me if I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride this afternoon up to the famous Amber Fort to overlook the city of Jaipur. He is not irritating at all, very polite. The only problem is that his english is bad so we will go without much talking. It will be interesting. Jaipur is a town full of forts and palaces. The royal family of Rajasthan lives here in the city palace and it is all very beautiful so the ride should be amazing. Its not too far, maybe 20 minutes. I've been up the amber fort a couple of times, once hiking by foot, once by elephant and this time by bike. I know it will be wonderful and will take some nice photos.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Location: Jaipur, India

All has settled down at the hotel and Reyhan is just slightly irritating but not as much as before. He sent me a message the very same night, but i had my phone turned off so didn't see that he had apologized for his behaviour. He still tries in his funny way to charm me at any possible way when he is not admiring himself in any reflective surface but it is all a big joke between us now. Apparently he is only 21 years old and can't believe my age, but still doesn't deter him.
I've been working non stop, making all the rounds to the usual places and trying to find some new places. I dont know where all the time goes.
Thats how life is in India. The days are full and kind of exciting. Always meeting new people. Reyhan insisted that i meet him at his friends shop in the jewlery market where i was working and we ordered in Tandoori chicken. The best I've ever had. We ate it in the shop and it was amazing.
I'm tired now and will head to bed. There is a great massage place next door, if it's still open i might be able to get a 20 min neck massage before I hit the sack.

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Recent Messages

From Pops
I think the 2 pictures of you in front of the walled mirrorwork are gorgeous.
Response: thanks dad :)
From Janis
I finally caught up on your blog - you know how much I love your stories, and can't wait to hear of any more Reyhan type stories. (although I personally love hearing them in person - you are such a great story teller). Sounds like you are having a fantastic time, and getting a lot of work done.

I actually don't think I want to know what/where you pee'd on or in, do I.
From Karena
Please tell me you did not pee on the nuts??? Did you borrow one of the kids diapers??? He he he.
From Robin Sofer
Hi Keely,
It has been a long time since we last saw each other. I had lunch with Cindy a few weeks ago.
I am enjoying reading about your adventures. You are so lucky to be able to travel. I just read Eat, Pray, Love and thought of you a few times. Enjoy your travels and be safe.
Robin (Shulman)
P.S. I think you peed on the nuts. A teacher once told me that if you mention a gun on the wall during a short story it has to go off at some point. There is no room for extra fluff.
From Pop
Hay! If you have to hold it in, you could go nuts!
From Marion
i think you peed out the window!
From Sammy
You peed in a jar or bottle you had lying around?
From julia
hi honey,yes i know this town very, very well. and i also know the dogs, one of them was mine. i miss balu, we never found out what happend to him.but he disappeard. well i am sure we will be back in pushkar. i want to celebrate my birthday in enigma with all my friends. and the alcohol is forbidden, but it doesnt mean u cannot get it. maybe i will bring a bottle of red wine and we will sit in the nice garden of little italy and have great food hiding the bottle under the table:) what u think :) only 3 more days to go. cant wait to see you. lots of love julia
Response: sounds great! we are all waiting for you honey... by the way, i saw mukesh on the street and recognized him from your photos and asked him his name... told him you were coming! see you in a couple of days!
From serife
miss you!
Response: :)
From julia
more pics please :)
Response: i'll put more up in delhi where its a bit faster connection
From Poppa
Glad you're feeling better and enjoying all that gud and delishus fud again. Be careful though. Of course, like everyone else I love reading your blog.
Response: :)
From precy
Dear Keely,
Thankyou for sharing.
I follow your e-mails all the time. It´s more fun than a book!!! How about writing one?
I´m still in Nicaragua. I´ll be back March 26. Hope to see you then.
You must have strong kishkas!!!
Response: hehe, well the kishkas have taken a beating, but thankfully i bounced back! have fun on your trip!
From Frank N Williams
Hi Keely,

Your adventures remind me of my travels with your mom 40 odd years ago in Israel (can it really be that long!). Your Q's ..."what the hell am I doing here?"...I've asked those Q's many in Sierra Leone when I was approached by a soldier with a rocket launcher over his any event we are all enjoying your safe

love counsin Frank
Response: hey there, what a surprise... glad you are enjoying the blog, and thankfully i haven't run into any soldiers with guns!
From Greta
This is hilarious! There are many versions of the oily Reyhan in every country. I have met versions of same all over Europe and the middle east.It's not just whitemeat as someone commented, it is often an ill-concealed attempt to get to America somehow.
Please stay safe.
Response: no worries! i'm just fine :)
From Marion S
Hi Keely, I'm loving your blog! Reyhan sounds like a character in a book. Perhaps you should write one...
Your life sounds so fantastic. I would love to travel for work. I had a taste of something new when I went to Paraguay in January to meet Jose's entire family. I was there to get the once over. Luckily I passed and his mother said "hurry up and marry her already". PHEW!
I haven't made it to a yoga class yet, as you know. And now you're away so I'll have to wait until the end of March :)
I'm looking forward to your next installment!

Have some aloo gobi for me please!

Response: I wish you and Jose all the best! Yes, traveling is great, but not when you're sick :( got a little bit of the flu today and i'm not happy about it!
From Auntie Lynn
Hi Keely I enjoyed looking at your pictures. It seems like you are having quite an adventure there. India is one place I would love to see. Looking forward to hearing more about it when you get home and we can all get together again.
Response: glad you are enjoying the blog, and see you soon!
From Vanessa
Hi Keely lol
I'm reading your blog everyday!
I hope you are well and enjoying this trip.
Cool the comments about "Indian Playboy"... ahahah... I showed to my bro and some friends... so funny!
Take care hun
Kisses & hugs from Brazil =)
Response: kisses from india too :)
From renee
Hi Keely,
Yes, I have again been enjoying your blog - you always have incredible adventures. I, too, wonder how one gets to where you are. I'm glad you're well again and hunting for the best jewellery. Can't wait to see it! Yoga started with Veroncia and was very good - just once so far. We do miss you, tho', of course. Keep well and keep writing.
Response: nice to hear from you Renee!
From julia
wow, ur wearing jeans and even the kids wearing long sleeve. so what should i pack??? have a nice relaxing sunday. take care. lots of love
Response: its warming up. today i wore short sleeves and finally sandals. i had to buy some extra warm things so you can borrow mine. by the time you get here it will be very warm as usual.
From David
You should tell this Reyhan and all these other 'Playboys' that you're in town to meet you 'husband' who is currently in Pakistan on business for TELUS. That will throw these Playboys off the hunt for some fresh white meat!
Response: Hi David! Don't worry, Reyhan has calmed down considerably and everybody here is quite harmless :)
From Jonathan H
Wow K live one heck of an exiting life ...the pics are breath taking ...don't stop !!!

See ya when you get back :)
Response: glad u like.... I'm putting up some more pics now.
From julia
hi, i want to see a pic of this playboy... and tell me how the story goes on :) i am waiting. muah julia
Response: hehe... you might meet him when we are back in jaipur :)
From Pop
I always get a chuckle out of your quasi sexcapades. Do be careful though. I also worry.
Response: dad, do not worry.... nothing happened and nothing will !
From Zoe
Love the pics and the menu mishaps (I ate the mishap once -frogs legs instead of scallops). It's the deep freeze here -30 wind chill so enjoy! xo Z
Response: hehe... yes, I haven't come across any more good ones yet but guaranteed they'll be more to come. Take care.. xoxo
From simar
Hi keely,

I didn't know that you are in India. Anyways you seem like having lot of fun out there. I do miss that place, wish i could go this year. well, all the best for your business and have a great time. let me know when you are coming back.

Response: Hey SImar, glad you're reading the blog.. hope all is well with you. I'll be back end of March...