Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Sort of Homecoming

Up since 4am but feeling a bit more awake today. I think the worst part of taking a trip to a warm climate is having to return to the bleakness of home. It's cold and drab outside and it feels as if the sun forgot that we exist. We've definitely decided that our next trip to India will occur in the month of January so we are at least under the illusion that winter is somewhat shorter. Lucky for me I leave for the warmth of California next week for work.

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India was a whirlwind. The kids did exceptionally well on the plane considering it was 22 hours of sitting on our ass. We arrived in Mumbai at about 2am and the change in temperature from Chicago was drastic. By the time we arrived in Kerala we were all excited and the hours spent on the plane seemed to be forgotten. My cousin held up a huge banner welcoming us and my parents nearly broke through the security barricade to hug the kids. At 18 months the Boy used to go to anyone who picked him up. The Girl on the other hand is a TOTAL DIVA. It's her way or the highway. By the end of the trip people learned to ignore her initial protests and just walk out of sight of me and D and she's be fine. The next 10 days were filled with seeing relatives, seeing the sites, shopping and eating. I warned D ahead of time that we would be seeing a lot of relatives and that despite the fact that we may have eaten not 10 minutes ago, there would be food waiting . He joked that he's always hungry and it would be no problem for him to gnash at each stop. Man was he wrong. Over the course of 8 hours one day we stopped at no fewer than 15 houses and at each house there was a full spread waiting for us. At about day 10 D pulled me aside and said "I love you but I can't eat anymore Indian food". My sister's husband R on the other hand tried a bit of everything that was presented to him including kadumanga (mango pickle). He nearly made it through the whole trip without any illness but drank a glass of roadside sugar cane juice which apparently he has all the time on business trips to Singapore. No offense but it was green... it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it was a bad idea. An hour later we pulled over so he could throw up. Both D and R were such good sports. D (my gem) only got annoyed one or 2 times during the trip despite the fact we were constantly being pulled into 15 different directions. R is also a gem. He's super-smart and talented (engineer by day, DJ by night) and SO loving to J. Don't get me wrong, Dr J's quite a catch herself but she can be damn moody sometimes. R is really shy but he went right up to my grandmother and held her hand despite not understanding a word she said. My poor senile grandmother was wondering what the hell this 6 foot white guy was doing in her house.

Other thoughts from the trip:

  • D and I shared the same room (and in many cases the same bed) with the kids the entire trip. At one point I turned to him and said that having them there was a hell of a lot cheaper than getting an IUD.
  • Drivers in India are CRAZY. In America, sounding the horn is usually done as an act of desperation to get someone's attention and is generally looked upon as rude. In India, honking is you're way of saying "How you doin? get the hell out of my way".
  • What pills are Bollywood actresses taking and where can I get some? Is there some sort of lab somewhere in Delhi that grows these genetically perfect women?? The skin, the hair, the bodies...WOW. On our flight, Air India played a mix of entertainment including a Hindi movie. If D stared any harder at the screen we would have had to surgically remove his eyes from it.
  • One of the highlights of the trip for me was when my cousin convinced D and R to have an ayurvedic massage. Poor guys probably had an image of scantily-clad bollywood actress type women rubbing their backs. Apparently the message was done by not one but TWO big Indian men while a third (supposedly an apprentice) watched in the corner. D said the only thing that kept him chuckling was the fact that poor, unsuspecting R (who is SUPER shy) was waiting in the hall for his turn. As if the massage wasn't bad enough, the man actually helps wash the oil off afterwards. R couldn't had enough by then and insisted that he would wear his clothes without a shower. My sister said she's still trying to get the smell of oil off his t-shirt. Both guys came home and wouldn't even make eye contact with us. D said he felt like he was in the Shawshank Redemption. I gave him a kiss and said only a man who is secure with his masculinity would let another man rub oil on him.
  • I was mesmorized by some Hindi music videos, most notably one for a movie called Bluffmaster. There's a video MTV kept playing called Right Here Right Now and I can't get the hook out of my mind.
  • I did a presentation for the Kerala branch of my company which went well. Hopefully it will all pay off and I'll get to return more often.
  • Went to the post office to pick up our mail that was on hold and was so surprised when they handed me a package. I will respect the bloggers' privacy so I won't post a picture of it. Just know that it really was one of the nicest things anyone has ever made for me. A million thanks, hugs, and kisses.

And now for the picture portion of the show:

The day before we left it snowed. Here's a snap of the house across the street. What you can't see in the picture is the 85 inch TV they have in their living room. The screen is so big that astronauts on the space station can watch the Simpson's every day at 6pm sharp.

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Here's a pic of R the day we arrived looking at the massive house being constructed across the street.

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We went sari shopping one day and D holding the Girl attracted the attention of every sales woman in the place. D learned one new Malayalam word or phrase every day we were there. The phrase this particular day happened to be "English aryamo" (do you know English). He tried that line every chance he got. When he whipped out the camera every sales model grabbed a sari and posed for him. OYE.

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The Girl wanted a bubble bath so we improvised.

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We went on a wonderful houseboat cruise. The boat had AC (very important) as well as a dining area and living room space. Here's what it looked like from the outside.

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The boat had 3 bedrooms. Here's ours.

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I took a serious of B&W which I'm framing for my office. Here's one of my favorite.

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The Girl enjoying the boatride.

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View of the sunset from the houseboat.

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The Boy and Girl at the Trivandrum Zoo.


From our "It's a Small World" file, R and J are friends with an Indian couple who were getting engaged and married the week we were there. R and J went to the engagement at some large estate which the bride's family owned. Here's a blog friendly shot of the couple.

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Here's the 6 foot tree we lugged to India. The candy canes actuallymelted from the heat by the end of the trip.

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Here's the milk and cookies we left out for Santa. We always leave a carrot for the reindeers.

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Here's D putting the gifts out and eating the milk and cookies. I of course had to eat the carrot cos he acts as if he's allergic to vegetables.

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Tree X-mas morning.

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View of the hills on the way to my grandma's place.

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Here's my grandma and R.

Ammachi and R

The sugar cane juice that made R sick. I took one look at the state of the machine used to get the juice and promptly got back in the car.

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My hand hurts from typing. Friends and family can see more pictures on Flickr over the next week or so.

My dad has already called twice to say he misses the kids. I miss all my family there. I miss having someone cook my meals and wash my clothes. I miss the weather. I miss the sun.

I'm slowly returning back to life back in the US. It's my second day back at work and I'm already 3 weeks behind. It's good to be home.


Blogger Jay says...

That houseboat looks AMAZING! I wonder if you can get seasick on a river, cos I'm rather uh, susceptible to things like that. I'd still like to give it a go tho.

BTW, isn't all sugarcane juice green? What other colour is there?

Wed Jan 04, 10:55:00 PM CST  
Blogger Pink says...

Me first! Don't you just love India!! Looks like you had a great time! I went on that houseboat cruise too a while's awesome no? I'm dying to see Bluffmaster.. Abhishek Bachan is da man! :)

Wed Jan 04, 10:55:00 PM CST  
Blogger Anurag says...

Lovely description of the trip. Why not post some pics of D and R, just when they returned from the masseuse?

Nice pics and very enjoyable post.

Wed Jan 04, 11:52:00 PM CST  
Blogger Mint Chutney says...

I am so jetlagged and WIDE awake so:

Jay: You wouldn't get sick on this boat. It was way better than some of the hotels we stayed at.

I'm not sure what color it's supposed to be but the green that was being poured into the glass looked like a science experiment gone bad.

Lavi: The trip was amazing and the houseboat was one of the highlights.

I don't understand Hindi but I'm definitely seeing that movie.

Anurag: No pics cos I was too busy dealing with their post-traumatic stress syndrome. Hope all is well with you.

Thu Jan 05, 12:09:00 AM CST  
Anonymous akr says...

sounds hectic, and Fun- like my 10 days in Delhi too! I still cant believe you took that tree to India!
And Bluffmaster is well worth a watch, AB Jr rocks...

Thu Jan 05, 01:35:00 AM CST  
Blogger Tartrazina says...

yeah! you're back! HNY Mint! sooper pictures! D's allergy to carrots was hilarious! i'll be back for more... love xxx

Thu Jan 05, 04:23:00 AM CST  
Blogger eM says...

welcome back! I used to love the trivandrum zoo when i lived there, especially feeding the guinea pigs.. are they still there?

Thu Jan 05, 06:03:00 AM CST  
Blogger Madame Mahima says...

hey minty! i love that right here right now song its so bloody addictive!
lemme know if u want the song, i'll mail it to ya!

Thu Jan 05, 08:11:00 AM CST  
Blogger Wandernut says...

The trip sounds amazing! Gosh, I must SO go to Kerala one day and live on a houseboat! Love those photos you took. And that bride's sari is SO GORGEOUS!

Thu Jan 05, 08:10:00 PM CST  
Blogger anumita says...

Wow! Must have been an awesome trip from the looks of it. Love the pics! Happy new year, minty!

Fri Jan 06, 03:27:00 AM CST  
Blogger Grafxgurl says...

Hey Mint!
glad to have you back. i have been dying to get some time to check my blog and update glad to read that you had a great time..

by the way... i got engaged!
looks like i shall have to make a trip to see you pretty soon!! :D

Fri Jan 06, 03:44:00 AM CST  
Blogger Sunrayz says...

Thanks for sharing Mint :)
You are a star.
I am making a trip to Kerala soon. Aj and myself plan to got to the Jewish part of Cochin this time plus take a local government jetty from Alleppey to Cochin :)

Fri Jan 06, 10:07:00 AM CST  
Blogger Demi Goddezz says...

Dude ! u jus made me realize how much i miss Kerala..but saw ur pics and hey was almost home..:)))...great that both D&R enjoyed the trip...have a great year ahead//:)

Sat Jan 07, 09:56:00 AM CST  
Anonymous Anonymous says...

Hi there,

Landed at your journal by chance. Wanted to know where exactly this houseboat cruise was. Do they do some sort of a 3 nights 4 days kind of a thing? Can one book online? If not, how do you make reservations ?


Mon Jan 09, 09:01:00 AM CST  
Blogger D says...

what a gorgeous holiday mint.
is the cold better now?

Wed Jan 11, 02:54:00 AM CST  

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