So, apparently I went to India! Now that I’ve been back in the UK for 3 weeks I find it hard to believe that it ever happened. I have 500 photos and some bug bites that still itch from time-to-time, so I guess these are the things that help me to remember.
My journey to India was entirely eventful and not in a good way. The first issue was a mechanical fault on the train ride from Newcastle to London. Melinda and I still managed to get ourselves onto another train and arrive in London in time to catch our separate flights, but this was a sign of things to come. My flight that evening ended up being delayed by a full day because the plane didn’t want to “fire-up”, and meanwhile Melinda’s plane nearly crashed while landing in Iceland. I arrived in Delhi, India, a day later than expected, extremely tired, and feeling very alone. It was in this condition that I stumbled into the wrong section of the Delhi airport and ended up being held by the Indian Police for an hour and a half. While this was going on I realized my passport was missing as well. Visions of ending up in a foreign prison started dancing through my head. One of the Policemen helped me retrace my steps and we ended up finding my passport at the currency exchange desk. They eventually decided to let me go, after deciding I wasn’t much of a threat to national security, and I found my travel agent waiting for me. He took me to my hotel, where I spent my first night, on a very dingy bed, fully clothed and curled up in the fetal position wanting to go home.
Now that I’ve laid out some back story, here’s my India experience in picture form!
My first night in Delhi at the Atithi Hotel
Travelling in the cities is quite the experience! It seems you’re allowed to drive wherever you happen to fit, as is seen by the motorbikes below.
In the morning one of my fellow classmates, John, showed up at the Hotel. I was extremely relieved to have a familiar english face to talk to! From Delhi we headed out on the 3.5 hour journey to Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) by taxi.
This is a little girl I met at a roadside stop on the way to Agra.
This was the first of thousands of cows on the road that I would see during my 3 week trip.
John and I stayed in Agra for the night, and the next morning we went to see the Taj Mahal. This is one of the 3 gates leading into the magnificent grounds.
This was a slight variation on one of the “96 camera angles” that our tour guide informed us that he would take for us.
The absolutely stunning building which is built completely out of white marble, and precious stones
The Taj Mahal is adorned with inlaid stones (seen above) such as carnelion, jasper, jade, mother of pearl, amber, and others I can’t remember. It is also covered with these beautiful carvings.
An ongoing theme during my stay, was that groups of Indian guys wanted to take pictures with us. Not sure what that was all about. It may have been our whiteness, or the fact that we’re a bit taller than most of them
Monkeys and camels outside the Taj grounds
The guys pictured above use hand tools to make items such as the table below. These are the descendants of the workers who did the decorative work on the Taj Mahal.
This tapestry was made by a different artist than the ones pictured above. It won an international award, and the artist has also made ornate tapestries for people such as Bill Clinton.
A washroom break on the trip back to Delhi. A perfect time to enjoy some of the rural landscape
This was back at the airport in Delhi, waiting for our flight to Mumbai. I absolutely love these recliners!
On December 21st we were supposed to get picked up by a van in Mumbai that would drive our group the 7 hours to Karad, which was the location of the 2 week school selective. John and I stayed in a Hotel for the night, and in the morning found out that the van wasn’t actually arriving until that evening. We therefore decided we would take the opportunity to do something interesting in Mumbai. We decided to go check out the Elephanta caves, which are located an hours boat ride across the harbour. This was the view as we were leaving the harbour, looking back at the “Gateway to India” and the magnificent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (1200 km’s away from the actual Taj Mahal)
We arrived on the island where the Elephanta caves are located. I found this cow that was very interested in the corn that I was holding.
These are some of the views at the caves, which were carved around 1300 years ago for religious purposes.
Can you spot me?
Back in Mumbai we came across this park, which is completely devoted to pick-up games of cricket. This picture only shows one half of the park.
The next six pictures were taken on Christmas day in Karad. They are views within the mountainous region close to the city, which we toured for a full day.
This was my Christmas dinner at an “Olive Garden” restaurant in a mountain resort. It wasn’t Indian food, which made me very happy by this point!
Another typical sight on the streets of India
This was the guest house where we stayed for the 2 weeks at the hospital, and the photos that follow give a picture of what the medical school campus looks like
Indian food. Everbody was absolutely loving the food. Meanwhile I was losing weight and dreaming of a big juicy steak with some mashed potatoes.
John and I may have gotten locked into our room the one morning…
Typical student scrubs in the Operating theater at the hospital. My legs are slightly longer than they should be.
Yeah, that’s a pocket taped onto a pair of OT scrubs.
Some of the surgical tools in the Orthopedics theater
Lots and lots of babies!! Whenever we were unsure of what to do, we’d head over to the maternity ward
We got to sit in at the hospitals annual breast cancer clinic. These are all women that have had, or are currently dealing with breast cancer.
I had to get a shot of this ambulance. It literally just had a bed in the back, and not a single piece of medical equipment!
We left the city on one of the days to visit this rural, government run clinic. These rural clinics provide healthcare free of charge.
This little pond is part of an anti-malaria initiative. There are small fish in the water that eat mosquito larvae. People visiting the clinic can fill a jug with this water and dump it into any standing ponds or puddles close to their homes to decrease the mosquito population
We headed off campus on a sunday afternoon and found these kids playing “marbles” in a back alley
My first taste of coconut water. This is my undecided face.
The next two pictures show the entire group from our selective. This is me with Joseph (middle), and John (left). Both these guys attend the program in Newcastle with me.
From left to right: Devi, Sushrita, Nicole, Andrea, Sasha, and Tiya.
Sasha is in the Newcastle program, and the rest of the girls attend our main SGU campus in Grenada, West Indies.
Once the selective ended, I headed off on my own to the hot weather, and beautiful scenery of Goa. This was the Sea Horse Resort where I stayed for four days.
I spent one of my days in Goa on a full day tour of the area. Part of the tour was on this boat which took us out to see dolphins in the bay
This is the cathedral where Saint Francis Xavier is buried
Another Catholic cathedral
The tour also took us to a few temples
I ended the day on a party boat and met this couple. He’s a fellow Edmontonian!
I got upgraded to business class on the flight from Mumbai to Delhi. Very sweet!
I followed up my flight on business class with this cozy spot on the hard floor in the Delhi airport for 6 hours
This was me finally reunited with my sweetheart after 3.5 weeks! We both agreed this would never happen again…..