India, Life, Travel

Busy Busy Busy

Its been quite busy around these parts lately, hence the lack of posts for weeks, but once the finals are over, I will catch up!

I do have a few updates though and most of these do have photos, but they will have to wait until I can upload and sort through them.

1) J and his band played an awesome show in Boone earlier this month. J and I made a little mini trip out of it and also explored a vineyard around Boone. Photos and a full update coming soon

2) J found out that he should be able to graduate sooner than expected, so we should have some big life changes ahead in less than a year!!!

3) Finals are kicking my butt and I’m miserable and stressed at the moment but hopefuly by the end of the week, all will be well

4) I’m going to SLC, UT for my KD’s graduation! I’m so excited for her and I can’t wait to be a part of her special day! (Also, I might buy a new dress for the occasion…hmmm). I’m also really excited to see good friends and catch up with everyone

5) I’ve gone from straddling the Clinton camp and Obama camp into officially being a Obama supporter. I do feel slightly guilty ,but I do think Obama is the better candidate.

6) I’m terrified and excited for life as an adult! It seems its going to be sooner rather than later!

More coming soon!

Travel

The Smoky Mountain Adventure

Last weekend was the tail end of my spring break and J and I took a trip to the Smoky Mountain National park with our friends JE and Er.  The weather was supposed to be rainy with a chance of flurries, but we decided to risk it anyway. We were going to leave early friday morning and get to the park by the afternoon but anyone who knows me and J knows that we are incapable of waking up before noon. But we did manage to get up by 10, pack up the car , drop off  the laylster at the kennel and hit the road by 1. We took a leisurly drive and then as we got close to the the NC side of the park, we made an error. I did not realize that our campsite – Cosby was in the Tennessee section of the park and was only accessible through only one park entrance. So J and I ended up driving through the highest points of the park, in the dark, while it snowed and with a thick fog ( they don’t call it smoky for nothing). We then had to drive through Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas and finally we made it into Cosby campground by 8.

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Friday night, after its been set up

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By now it was pitch dark and JE and ER had already set up their camp and ER was trying to put up a shelter with some tarps and ropes so that we could make a campfire. We were also the only ones in a campsite that had about 40 sites. It really felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The boys got busy and finished the shelter and then finally made a fire. We ate bratwursts and baked beans straight out of the can for dinner and I swear, it was the best meal ever. The heavy rainfall continued, while we decided to call it a night. It was a good thing we had extra sleeping bags and blankets because we had another surprise in store.

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Our tents

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The campgrounds

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We look squatters or refugees

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The next morning, when I opened my eyes, I noticed white chunks on our tent and when I looked out, I saw snow everywhere. The boys once again were heroes and set to drying up the firewood and starting another fire and we had breakfast. The temperature had dropped severely and we decided to pack up and head out of the campground. We had a lunch at a cute little apple orchard, that had a store and a diner and ER and JE decided to head home. After much J and I decided to stay for the whole weekend. We spent the afternoon exploring some of the park and went on a hike to Laurel falls. For the night, we bargained ourselves a $40 motel room, that had not been updated since the 70s, it had green shag carpet, and wood panelling, very retro chic!

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Cemetery close to the campground, lots worn out gravestones

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Laurel Falls

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A view of the park from a ridge

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That night we hit the town and all we found were tourist traps like Ripley’s believe it or not and stores that sold medieval knives and other weapons, crazy airgun shops ( i actually thought that some were real) and super christian tee shirts. There were no bars in the town, but tons of violent imagery and weapons. Go figure. We were forced to have an early night.

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Cades Cove

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A primitive Baptist church

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Cemetery with some civil war gravestones

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The next morning, J and I explored Cade’s Cove, a wide valley which used to have a community of farmers. The valley was beautiful, dotted with meadows and old historic buildings and tons of deer. We checked out a few cemeteries with some civil war gravestones and then headed home after our grand adventure.

Travel

Spring Break! Here I come!

I have one more class, before its officially Spring Break 08. I can’t wait to spend a week not thinking about school. Next week, I’m going to take it easy for the first few days and at the end of the week, we are going camping to the Smoky Mountains. We are driving out there on friday and meeting up with our friends JE and EB and we’ll camp inside the national park. I am so excited, although I’ve been up to Blue Ridge Mountains before, this will be my first trip to the national park.

Here is some of the great Scenery I’m anticipating

 

This is going to be an awesome spring break

photos from google images

India, Travel

Bricks and Mortar

Slow and Steady, that me when in comes to photos. It took me forever to get my India photos uploaded and organized and now I keep finding photos that I absolutely must post. So if you are seeing of seeing photos, I guess don’t be reading this blog for a while. Hee

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An abandoned old house in Ballygunge (my grandparent’s neighborhood). My dad told me a story about how a British Managing Director used to live there in this mansion’s hey day and how he had peacocks and exotic birds as pets in the yard. Sad to see it come to this.

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J , KD and I spent a fantastic day with my Uncle visiting some old British Raj architectural gems in Kolkata. This is a photo of a gazebo in the garden of St. John’s church, the oldest Church in Kolkata, from the late 1700’s. I took this photo because it reminded me so much of a setting in a Gothic novel, with brave, governess heroine, old decrepit buildings, exotic gardens.

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Inside St. John’s church. The fans are such a Indan touch. This church also had the most awesome shutters on its huge windows, and it had some cool stained glass as well.

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The famous Victoria Memorial. It definitely was as cool  as I expected.

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The Kolkata High Court. It used to be the Supreme court of India when the British used Kolkata as the Capital City.

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St.Pauls Cathedral. Another old church but from the 1800s.

India, Travel, Wedding

Shaam e Ghazal

Here are some photos from rooftop cocktail party before my wedding. This was just for close family and friends so sort of like a rehersal dinner. This was one of my favorite parties of the year. The setting was the rooftop of my Grandmother’s apartment building. The entire roof was decorated with little lights and there were ethnic umbrellas over the dinner tables. There was an open bar and we had a Mughlai buffet dinner which had roomali roti, mutton rezala and other yummy dishes. The highlight of the eventing was the live Indian band, that sang romantic Urdu ghazals (songs) and some fun songs that everyone could dance. Everyone had a great time

 Enjoy the photos. These photos are also from my friend BD.

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Before the Party

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On the rooftop

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The Ghazal Singers

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India, Travel, Wedding

A Mad Rush- The Beginning

All the photos on this post are from my friend BD. All my photos from the first few days were accidentally deleted. Thanks BD for coming through and letting me use your pics.

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Getting ready to try on Sarees at a Park street Saree Shop

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Right as we got to Kolkata, I had to scramble to ensure that I had everything I needed for my bridal trousseau. My mom and aunts had purchased most of the stuff but I still had to buy a few more sarees and get my blouses stitched and ensure that I had jewelry to go with all my outfits. 

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Birla Lakshmi Narayan Temple was on one of daily walking paths. The temple is made of a pale gray and white sandstone and marble.

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The first week, J, KD, BD and I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast flat or Guesthouse, as they are called in India. We had two rooms and use of the living room and dining room and a caretaker who made our breakfasts. We would wake up early in the morning and go on walks and try out different mishti shops (sweet shops) for breakfast. Haldirams, which is a major Indian food retailer had their store very close and we had breakfast there one morning.

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Delicious Mishti (sweets) displayed at Haldirams

India, Life, Travel, Wedding

A Late Start to 08

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photo by BD

Wow, who knew 3 weeks could fly by so quickly? It only seemed like it was a few days ago that I left for India and now I’m back in town and starting the first day of school.

There is so much to write and so many photos to post that I almost feel overwhelmed with where to start! J and I had a fantastic 3 weeks in Kolkata, India with our family and friends and we also had a wonderful traditional bengali wedding ceremony.

We arrived in Kolkata on the 17th and spent the next day and a half shopping and getting ready for the festivities ahead. On the 18th, we had a henna party at the grandparents flat, where all the women in the family had henna done on their hands. On the 19th, my family threw a cocktail/sangeet party and on the 21st we actually had our ceremony.  The 22nd afternoon we had a luncheon for Bou Bhaat and on the 23rd J and I threw a party  for our close family and friends as a gesture of thanks. Finally, all our wedding festivities were over!

The next week J and I spent a lot of time exploring Kolkata with KD and our friend BD and we also attended one of my cousin’s wedding.  We also took a day trip to the Kali temple at Dakhineshwar where J and I did a puja in our name and we also visited Belur Math on the banks of the river Ganga. After spending new years with my family J and I took a big group trip to Mandarmoni, a little beach town in West Bengal. It was a fantastic trip , although we were there for a very short time and after that it was only a matter of days before we were heading back home.

I have tried to bread the trip down into segments with photos. Its going to take me a few days to get everything sorted and posted but here’s a start!

India, Travel

Favorite Photos from 2005 India Trip- Kodakgallery Set

If you can’t see the photos, then please click on the kodakgallery link below to see them. 

Its the last day of classes and only 10 more days until I’m on a plane to India. To kill time in one of classes today (we were doing group presentations and my presentation is over) I was browsing through my kodakgallery album and came across my old India album. These photos have terrible resolution because Kodak gallery kills the online resolution, although I do love their prints. So, apologies for the quality.

My cousin ( the groom) getting splashed in water during one of the ceremonies
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The bride and groom see each other at the altar 
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Bride and groom make offerings to the fire
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Kolkata girls party it up 

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My nephews playing against the skyline 

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Detail of a early 20th Century Mansion in Kolkata 

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Rickshaw puller resting 

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Sweetmeat displayed in shop 

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2 little street performers in Delhi

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