I had to post this today because of how excited I am about the new blink-182 album. This has been the only thing playing in my office today.
So before I give my wrap up of India I still have a few days I didn’t write about while I was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
A Geography Lesson
First and foremost, we heard repeated from people visiting while we were, that they thought they were in Saudi Arabia. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in The United Arab Emirates (UAE). They are their own country.
Thank you, now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Reality In Dubai
We left Mumbai for a second time on the 23rd to head back to the UAE to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Contrary to what the young lads at Taco Bell seem to think, not everyone drives fancy cars. I did not see a single pet tiger, and while I didn’t visit every bathroom, I can say, I never found gold toilet paper anywhere.
We stayed at the Sheraton, at the Mall of the Emirates. The night we got in, our first stop was to visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This was AMAZING! I have only been up there at night and I can tell you for fact that the view changes from day to night. If you get a chance to go up during the night and the day it is worth seeing. The fountains were cool in front of the Burj but I wouldn’t call them better than Vegas… just different.
Side note: I noticed I have a few days missing from my travels, so I will be re-uploading them shortly.
On the 24th we visited Abu Dhabi and took a bus tour around the city. There wasn’t any one spot we wanted to get off the bus and visit. I am not Muslim but we did see the grand mosque. Honestly it is a mosque to me, so it wasn’t something I really care about. The carpet is one single piece and that was cool. The chandlers are like 9 tons. Otherwise it was just another mosque to me.
We stopped at one of the malls and grabbed lunch which was very tasty. We wanted to have the leftovers for dinner but there was not a way to get it home and still have it safe to eat. Tis’ a shame.
On the 25th We stayed in Dubai and visited the Butterfly Gardens and the Miracle Gardens. Why are they a miracle? Because we are in the desert! It is beautiful and green and flowering and how they are able to have this is the desert is amazing! They desalinate the ocean water to keep the UAE green and beautiful. Truly incredible.
The Butterfly Gardens were AWESOME!!!! Why? Because they let us pick them up! Grandpa needed a pet so I gave them to him!
We met some people from Colorado who are now living Kuwait teaching. I ended up giving them a few butterflies as well. If you are in Dubai these places are sooooooooo worth the cost to visit.
The next morning we work up at 4am and headed to the airport. I am ending my trip to Dubai and India here because Emirates Airline will have a review coming shortly and that is where I will pick up from.
India is Calling my Name
This trip to India was amazing and I honestly wish I was there right now. It has been great being home but India is calling and I am ready to pick up the phone.
I am so thankful to my grandfather for planning and inviting me on this trip of a lifetime. I cannot wait to finish telling you all the stories.
Song of the Day
Rob Thomas – Ever the same
I just like the song
S o today we were picked up from The Elephant Court to head out for a boat ride. I am getting car sick anywhere we go now. It is becoming a nightmare. I am worried about the bus tours we have planned in Dubai because I have been sleeping the sickness away.
Return Visit Planned
We only spent one night at The Elephant Court. I would like to come back with a lady friend someday in the future because this is a nice hotel for couples.
We went from the hotel, straight to the house boat tour in Alleppey. This is a private tour. Just for the two of us. Grandpa has been on this tour before and he said he enjoyed it. I was really looking forward to it due to his experience. We hopped on the boat and off we went.
All this travel screws with our hunger and makes it hard to ever be hungry. The tour had a lunch scheduled to be served on board. We rode for about 35 minutes before we docked for lunch. They served us more food than we could eat. The boat was a nice side house boat and bigger than needed for just the two of us. After lunch we sat there and waited and waited, but the captain never wanted to take is back out to tour. I finally just asked him to take us back to our car and he did. Ending our “tour” an hour early. When the owner of the boat got on board, he told my grandfather to tip the captain and the cook. This really upset my grandpa because they didn’t do anything! I will get the tour info and update this post when I get home. Obviously I don’t recommend this company if you are booking in Alleppey.
A Drink of India
Our driver took us to our new hotel for the night as we have a flight to Mumbai first thing in the morning. The hotel was nice. We are at a Ramada with a view from the bar that is beautiful. We went up to the bar because we needed a cocktail. The bar and staff have a number of cocktails that they have created and one of them is a vodka drink. It was almost like a taste of India. I don’t know what was in it, because it was very savory. Very tasty. I liked the views in Alleppey. It was beautiful backwaters. I look forward to returning to explore more of the waters.
Song of the Day
Can’t Help Falling in Love- Twenty One Pilots
It is a cover from Elvis, but it fits, because I am falling for India.
$4.5 Million Dollar Diamond
Today was a very normal day for Grandpa and I. We held a $4.5 million dollar diamond today, like it was nothing.
I am only meeting 6 family members while I am in India. I wish we had the time and the ability to meet more. They are truly the salt of the earth.
Tonight I am bringing a taste of my cooking to India. I am cooking for the family, which is as it might seem to be, a hard task. You see, my family here are all Hindu and only eat Vegetarian. I am a red blooded American and I so love eating meat. I don’t really cook much vegetables at all, much less “vegetarian”. On top of that, they do not use the milk of a cow. They will use the milk of a water buffalo. We will see how dinner turns out.
Sugar Cane Juice
We have been drinking sugar cane juice since we arrived in Surat. This is only a problem as we have gotten a taste of the good life and we don’t have sugar cane juice shops in Texas and California. This could prove to be difficult when we return to the sugar cane free lifestyle.
Tomorrow we leave for Mumbai on a train. I am not sure how I feel about that. On one hand I want to see Mumbai and continue my trip of visiting India. Sadly, on the other hand I have home cooked Indian meals and amazing family that I am not ready to leave.
Train to Mumbai
I was unable to finish this yesterday due to timing so I am picking this up on the train to Mumbai.
Cooking and Sharing Tunes
Last night we were picked up by Uncle who took us to the market to meet up with my aunt. Here we purchased the ingredients for dinner. I made a super simple pasta dish that I make back home. Grandpa and Uncle went to meet up with someone, so auntie and I went back to the house and cooked. This gave us an hour of time to get to know each other. I asked if she listened to music while cooking and she said she did but only when Uncle is gone. He doesn’t like that she is a stone cold rocker! *puts up the rock fist* Granted I didn’t find this out until she was listening to my iPod and started listening to 30 Seconds to Mars. This is also the woman who is training for base camp on Everest. Hardcore.
What I Miss from Home
So I am missing a few more things today, such as Dr Pepper and Fajitas. Cheese is used so differently here that am really missing that too. They say home is where the heart is, but I agree with the saying that home is where your devices connect to wifi automatically. Hotel wifi is spotty at best and trying to upload the photos is proving to be harder and harder the farther south we go.
It is curious how many people have been so intrigued by the fact that I work with firearms for a living. I figured most people would be like Americans who are afraid of firearms but is it quite the contrary. People seem to like them here a lot. Even the young ladies I have been talking with.
I guess an Indian wife might not be that bad, if I can find the right one.
Love and Marriage
Love and marriage has been a topic for the past few days between grandpa and I. We have been discussing a young lady who I fancy. It is hard for him to believe, based on the nature of the situation, that I have developed real feelings towards her. I trust him and take his counsel on a number of matters. On this, I think we have come to an impasse.
We talk about finding someone for me and that has been a running joke for the whole trip. I will say this, I leave it in Gods hands as to who I end up with. The Good Lord above has given me many people who I deeply care about, regardless of what we call them after the smoke has cleared. I look forward to seeing what God has in store me.
Song of the day:
In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley
This has to do with a web series I have been watching for about 8 months now. I hadn’t heard the song until they started accidently singing it, not knowing it was a real song.
The ghetto back home and the poor there have nothing compared to the poor here in India. This place, although very poor isn’t a welfare country. People work for a living and don’t expect the government to handle their laziness. While they might not be pulling themselves out of poverty, they are at least working in one form or another.
Wait have you been reading this whole article just to find out about the diamonds? Sorry. I got side tracked.
So we met up with…..to be continued tomorrow……
(No photos, the internet in our Surat hotel is horrible and I just can’t get anything uploaded. My apologies)
Complete Strangers, Instant Family
I am really loving seeing and meeting family from India. They are all so amazing. Last night we met with the Widow of my grandfathers childhood friend. Her daughters were there and drove a long way just to see my grandfather. We walked into the home and it wasn’t who is this stranger it was more of welcome to the family.
I have never felt more at home with complete strangers. By the end of the night they weren’t strangers, they were just part of my Indian family. As I stay here longer and longer the more family I am seemingly going home with. I like that.
I go through cycles of eating very little and eating everything in sight. About two days before boarding the plane for India, I knew I was about to start eating a lot less. Back home this really is never a problem. I take care of myself and eat when I am hungry. Here I have started to run into the problem that when I am with family and I am not eating as much everyone is worried. They are worried that I am going to go hungry. The truth is, I am just not eating that much of one thing, but I am trying everything.
My family, god bless them, are wanting to help and find a way to fix this. They are very concerned about my health and but I am happy and very healthy.
Signs That I am Growing Up
I have been wanting to turn on the American news stations so I can find out the news I want to hear about. Elections! Sadly Aljazeera will have to do until I get home.
The Pyro in Me
I am seeing all the fires that are set in India thinking back to my days of being a pyro. (Not really, I just liked started the campfires in Boy Scouts). Then I smell the smoke and I miss my gas mask. Such a strange place.
Today we saw the ocean. Then we met back up with my uncle who joined us in the Jungle and his family. I find it interesting that being on the other side of the world we do not have pictures of family like they do. We have albums with photos from years ago. Here, they have photos of my grandfather and grandmother when they visited in the 70’s posted on their wall. Kinda cool.
Today is Valentine’s day and I am without a Valentines! Not that it is a bad thing, but if anyone sees my grandpa and I, we just say I am his bodyguard 😉
India is Truly a Place Worth Visiting.
I have found that I have a place to crash any time I am in India seemingly anywhere.
Song of the day:
Polarized – Imagine Dragons
(No photos, the internet in our Surat hotel is horrible and I just can’t get anything uploaded. My apologies)
Okay, so maybe this is just the head cold hitting me but I am starting to feel like myself being here in India and the traffic is normal. This isn’t a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love being here. But things should not be normalizing for me!! This means when I get home, I am going to miss not being able to breathe!
Family…Lots of Family
Now, so let’s talk about Grandpa and family.
These people are so amazing! The fact that they are giving me a trip of a lifetime like this, it is truly something there are no words. I can’t find any to use that express how thankful I am to be here with them. My grandfather is amazing person and I wish I could share him with everyone, but he is my grandpa, so BACKOFF!!
Yesterday we took a van ride from the Gir Jungle to Ahmadabad. From there we hopped on a train that took us here to Surat where our family lives. It was a very long trip for two people with colds to take, but we are badasses and we pushed through it.
Catching some ZZZZZ’s
Today we slept soooooo late (845am). We managed to make our way down to breakfast before we walked over to our families home. They took us to visit my grandfathers old home from the 1930s. This house is still owned by my family from my understanding.
It is 4pm local time and I am chatting with a friend of mine back home who is Indian. I am looking forward to being home and sharing this adventure with them. I am not loving the bouncing from hotel to hotel. I understand that it is a small sacrifice to be able to see as much as we are.
Notes for Traveling & Adventure:
· Unless I know I need more than one than one button down shirt, I need to trade them in for nice looking long sleeve shirts.
· This trip has made me realize that spending money on things like new iphones or having to get the latest and greatest isn’t always what it is cracked up to be. I should be saving that money to visit other places in the world. I see that now monkey.
· I need better luggage.
· I need to activate a world data plan with my cell phone.
· This Leatherman Tread is an amazing Photographers tool.
· Always change your battery pack in the morning before leaving for your daily adventure. Even if you only took 5 pictures the day before.
· Be an open person. Try new things. Be willing to adapt to change when you are traveling.
· If you take over a weeklong trip to another country, you should always have one meal that is from back home. I had a subway sandwich yesterday and wow was it different.
· Smile at everyone.
· If you meet an elder, even if you are not related, point your camera and gesture that you would like to take their picture. They love it! I am not keen on taking pictures of children, as that is seen as stranger danger back home. I don’t want someone mistaking my actions as less than appropriate. However, this is okay if the kids pose for you to take their picture. Or they are just too funny to miss.
· Drink more water!
· Stay more organized so when you move from hotel to hotel, it is a faster easier process.
· Travel with people who are adaptable and willing to try things.
· Travel alone. See the world without the need to be on anyone elses’ timeframe.
· Make notes about the places you visit and review the places online so others can hear your thoughts.
· Buy a 6ft charger for your phone.
· Buy a nice camera and lens and learn how to use it months before going!
· Have a laptop that you like and know how to use well. This goes against what I said earlier about not needing the best and newest gadgets. These have been important for me to be able to share my thoughts with family back home. I am working on getting a new laptop when I get home.
· Remember that everything costs.
· Have the balls to be the first to try something. Don’t be a follower.
· If you are single, use dating apps like tinder when visiting new places. You’ll always meet new friends. You can use them for dating but if you have no plans on living there, use it for friends and be open and honest about that.
· Listen to music. Create a playlist that you can have playing in your ear while you relax for the day and share your thoughts. Even if it is with no one but yourself in a journal, listen to music and put your thoughts down on a laptop or on paper. It makes for an amazing way to reflect.
· People are nice but always use the safe in your room.
· Be happy and smile, you are visiting places that are incredible in their own ways.
Song of the day:
Mumford and Sons – Believe (Acoustic)
As I said before, this has nothing to do with India, but it is the song I am listening to while writing this.
G, I think even you would like this song.
I cannot stand “in the ear” headphones. When I am working out they’re always falling out during the best part of the song or during the last few reps when you need that motivation to help you push yourself.
Over the years I have used all different types of headphones and it wasn’t until May 2009 that I found the pair I could stand behind.
In May 2009 I was working out 5-7 nights a week at my gym alone with my amazing Apple 30GB iPod I used to rock out with. I had gotten to the gym at my normal hour of 11 and got changed in the locker room when I found headphones had ripped the cable out (or something along those lines… I don’t fully remember). I quickly ran to my local Wal-mart to pick up the cheapest on-ear headphones. I found the Panasonic RP-HS46.
I ran back to my gym and worked out using these headphones for the next year and a half. I ended up not working out for a few years after my accident but I always carried my iPod to work with me so I needed a descent pair of headphones to get me by.
The Torture Testing
From 2011 until April 2015 I have used that same pair of Panasonic headphones while working at my fathers company doing decorative concrete work. To give you an idea of what that means, it is a lot of catching the headphone cord on equipment, lots of dust, dirt and sweat getting into the headphones. It is also a lot of bending over and putting pressure on the headphone plug. It is also hundreds and hundreds of hours of music being pumped through the headphones.
After all of that time, the headphones still worked until they finally gave up the ghost and went out on me in April. This forced me to shop online for a new set. When I had last looked online for the pair as a gift, I could only find them for $50-80 dollars on Amazon. I paid $13 (most expensive pair I had ever purchased at that time, so the amount had stuck in my head) when I first picked them up in 2009.
In April I was lucky enough to find them again for $8 a pair online so I picked up two.
Are these headphones the best in the world? No. Do they have the richest sound? No. Do they last unlike any others I have ever used? YES!
I wanted to write this review because as someone who beats the living hell out of clothes and gear just living a normal (for me) life I want to share what I have found to be durable and long lasting and can take the beating I put things through. These fit the bill.