29 October 2012

Incredible India-- Jaipur

One thing the tour itinerary didn't make clear was that it would take EIGHT hours to travel 150 miles between the cities we were visiting.  The traffic, livestock and people walking along the side of the road, and poor road conditions made it impossible to drive fast. 

We started our day in Jaipur with a photo stop at the so-called "Palace of the Winds", which was built in 1799. The original intention of the series of over 950 lattice windows was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.
Next we headed out of town to visit the Amber Fort, built in the 1590's.
The fort is built on the top of a hill, and the mode of transportation to go up to the fort is via elephant.
I'm pretty positive this was our first time riding an elephant.
It was a scenic ride, with a lake and some rolling hills to look at.
These gardens were out in the middle of the lake.

The fort was more like a palace on the inner court, with some of the most lovely inlaid mosaic designs I've ever seen.  It reminded Kent and me of the Alhambra Palace we saw in Granada, Spain many years ago.

We didn't take a picture of it, but the way down from the fort was via jeep.  This snake charmer was set up outside the tourist buses to perform for the tourists.
This elephant was just plodding along the road as the bus headed back out to the main road.  We also saw camels, donkeys and horse carts on the roads as we traveled from city to city.
We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, and these cows were just leisurely standing in the middle of the road outside of the restaurant.  Kent couldn't resist getting his picture taken with them.
This was a common sight--men sleeping on their bicycle rickshaws.
Some of the colorful vegetables for sale along the street in the city.
That evening Kent went on an optional tour to a Hindu Temple,

 while I went shopping with the Andrews at a mall about a mile from our hotel.  We walked to get to the mall, but decided to take an auto rickshaw to get back to the hotel.
I'll admit I hadn't heard of the Amber fort before we signed up for this tour, but the interior palace was one of the loveliest buildings I've seen in all our travels throughout Europe and Asia. The pictures from our puny point-and-click camera don't do it justice at all.

Incredible India -- Delhi

Sorting through the 600 pictures we took on our tour to India in September is a big job, and it's hard to choose just a few.  So I've decided to do three blog posts, one about each city we visited in India's so-called "Golden Triangle", where the main tourist attractions are.

We took the jet below out of New York City, on a direct flight to Delhi.  We went with our friends and travelling companions, David and Tresha Andrews.  We were lucky the plane wasn't very full and we were able to stretch out over three seats each on the 14-hour flight.  
The Sikh Temple below was the first attraction we went to see after landing in Delhi.
 Kent was especially intrigued with the construction workers who were digging a large hole with shovels and carrying the dirt away in bowls on their heads.  I guess that's one way to give lots of people jobs--don't use machines.
 Below is a view of the many bicycle rickshaws we saw in Delhi, but the scene below is much less chaotic than most of the roads were.  I think this was taken very early in the morning when there wasn't much traffic.
 One stop we made in Delhi was to the nice park surrounding Gandhi's tomb.
 Another stop was at the India Gate.
After our Delhi city tour we headed out towards the city of Jaipur.  The rest of the pictures are pretty representative of what we saw out the window of our bus the entire week we spent in India.
 Livestock was wandering freely through the streets of cities with populations in the millions.
The most common mode of transportation was the auto ricksaw, a three wheeled vehicle.  We saw as many seven or eight people crammed into them, though they were built to carry four comfortably.
 Piles of trash lined the streets wherever we went.  Billboards, signs and dangling power lines were everywhere.

 Shacks lined the roads, where people lived and had small shops.

 We couldn't believe it when we saw that if a city bus was full, men would climb on to the top of the bus to ride.  Our air conditioned and comfy tourist bus seemed empty and extravagant by comparison.
The impression was of masses of people, garbage and livestock.  There was almost always an interesting view to be seen out the window of the bus.  Most of the pictures of the streets were taken from the windows of our bus.

I think the only reason Delhi was a stop on our tour is because the airport is in Delhi.  It didn't seem to have a major tourist attraction besides the India Gate and Gandhi's tomb.

15 October 2012

Garrett and Krystal and Kids Come to Visit

Garrett, Krystal and Daniel and Makayla rode home from Michigan with us so they could visit us in Virginia for a week.  On our way we stopped in Kirtland, Ohio.  It was the first time for Krystal and Garrett to see Kirtland.
 Daniel got a little antsy during the presentation at the Newell K. Whitney store, so I took him outside while Kent, Garrett and Krystal took the tour.
 The weather was nicer in Kirtland this year than it was two years ago in April when Kent and I went.  It was rainy then.
Unfortunately, poor little Makayla developed a high fever and spent three of the days she was in Virginia in the hospital.  Of course her dedicated mommy stayed with her, and Daddy and big brother came to visit once a day. They did lots of tests at the hospital but could never determine a cause for her fever.
We managed to keep Daniel entertained.  We got out some of our old Fisher Price toys, which he liked playing with.  We took him to help distribute the food from the Bishop's storehouse.  
 Daniel testing to see if he could fit under the support bar on our dining room table.  Yup, he could!
 Daddy and Daniel getting ready for family prayer.
 After Makayla got out of the hospital we went for a family walk around the neighborhood.
 This was Daniel's favorite way to take a walk!
 Makayla recuperating from her traumatic experience in the hospital.
They were even here to celebrate my birthday, but I guess we didn't get any pictures of that. 

Kent and I took Daniel to stake conference with us since that was the time his daddy had to check Makayla and Krystal out of the hospital.  Daniel did a great job and only got antsy and had to be taken out the last ten minutes of the meeting.  We're sure glad they came; we had a wonderful time with their family!!