My OCD-ness wants me to blog about our trip in order. This is a shame because I really want to get to the good stuff. So let’s knock out this preliminary stuff, shall we? Good. I’m glad we’re all in agreement.
Going to India on top of the normal holiday season craziness, well just made things a tish bit crazier. That’s ok. I’d rather my life be crazy because of FUN STUFF than stressful stuff; so we’ll take it! Although, I might have felt a little differently the week before Christmas. But that’s the beauty of
hindsight nostalgia; it’s a little hazy sometimes.
We worked right up until December 23rd. As in, I left work at 6:30 pm that Friday night and headed home to begin the monumental task of packing for:
- Christmas weekend in Virginia with mis padres (cold weather clothes, church outfit)
- Christmas presents for mi familia
- Our overnight stay in Charlotte with my uncle before flying out
- The airplane ride (no liquids over 3 ounces! Flight entertainment! Checked baggage under 50 lbs / 22 kgs! Spare set of clothes!)
- Christmas presents for India
- Birthday presents for India
- Other presents for India (do you see a theme here?)
- Beach trip in India
- And last but not least, INDIA in general. (Summer clothes, some dressy options for unforseen social functions, myriad of medicines to cope with potential ailments but mostly just because I am an over zealous planner, various toiletries, soduko book and granola bars. Granola bars are especially important.)
Last time we heaved and ho’d (that sounds like we were doing some sort of human trafficking. Which we weren’t. Because that is WRONG) some big ass clunky suitcases around. Then we got smart and copied Somanna’s big bro and for this trip bought ourselves two fancy schmancy North Face bags.
Now I must confess. I grumbled a bit about purchasing these duffel bags. Because they were not cheap. At least, not to me and we have two perfectly good suitcases. But. But! The suitcases weigh 15-20 lbs….empty. These bad boys weigh 4 lbs empty. The airlines limit your bags to 50 lbs / bag. You do the math.
So, already annoyed with shelling out $300 buckaroos on these bags, imagine my panick when I started to put in my shoes (footwear always comes first in life) and realized that ruh-wroh. Only 3 pairs of shoes would fit across the bottom. WTF?
Unlike suitcase packing, clearly duffel bag packing would require a bit more ingenuity on our part. But after several hours – yes, hours – of packing, re-packing, list checking and re-list checking, we finally went from this:
(Please ignore our crapola apartment.)
(Note the hampers. Why yes, we did lug laundry to my parents house …at 31 years old. Wee apartment you slay me.)
to this the next morning:
Of course, once we reached Virginia, and later Charlotte, we had to play the packing shuffle game not once, but two more times. Fun, Fun. Eventually, we got it all straight and ended up at the airport significantly early the morning of our flight. A promise which I made good on after our last trip.
We were there *so early* in fact, that we managed to snag a little breakfast. Can a girl get some bonus points or what? Look how relaxed my man is this go round. Wife.of.the.year.
(Thanks for packing yo sh*t on time, Boo.)
And here’s our obligatory, pre-flight send off self portrait. (I had to make it smaller because the larger size looked wonky. According to my resume I am well versed in various computer software applications. This is what we call a “white lie.”)
And here’s the outtake. Let’s take a poll on the gentleman to my left. Is it a toupee or comb-over? You decide Dear Reader, you decide.
Oh, airports. You really do make for the best people watching.
Fast forward 26 hours and like MAGIC YALL we’re in INDIA! (Somanna wants me to note that it’s not magic, but modern aviation. Technically he’s right. But dude, total buzzkill.) Our flight itinerary typically has us arriving in the wee morning hours. I like that. It always feels like we’re sneaking into India. The calm before the storm. Besides, how often do I get to watch the sunrise in India?
As for our bags, they earned their weight in gold and not just when they are empty either. They rocked our…North…faces…off? (*snickers*). Totally worth the investment to all you travelers out there. We loaded those babies down and they still weighed …..wait for it…….just 24 lbs at check in! And I think on the way back, we maybe topped 28 lbs.
Plus, they have an extremely durable exterior and with some careful packing, none of our more fragile mentionables were broken.
Also, did I mention there are about five different ways to haul these suckers? Here’s Somanna looking especially enthusiastic sporting his new luggage gear. I’m thinking my overly enthusiastic “Oooh let’s take a picture of you in the airport with your new bag because we’re TRAVELING!” voice may have annoyed him.
Anyhoos, back to India. We landed. Our bags landed and our 26 hour journey continued with a five hour road trip from the airport in Bangalore to Kutta, where my in-laws live. Here is a map for those geographically inclined folks.
About half way home we stopped for some breakfast at a little cafe.
What you see here is a common South Indian breakfast. The two circular, white patties are called idlis and are made from steamed rice. The doughnut is called a vada and is made by frying black gram (pronounced g-rrrramm, not gra-yam as my Southern self says), which is a lentil, with some onions and chilies.
The steel cup with the red soup has rasam, which is a spiced lentils dish. I don’t mean that it’s hot-spicy, rather it has more of a savory flavor to it. The other dish is a coconut chutney (I think). Chutneys are basically a coarse sauce. You can either break off bits of your idlis / vada and dip it respectively or pour the chutney / rasam over your idli / vada. The chutney has more of a cool, fresh taste to offset the rasam’s savory flavor.
We also ordered a dosa, a thin crepe like pastry made from rice and lentils. It was also served with a side of rasam and chutney. Typically, dosas also come with a filling – usually of spiced vegetables (potatoes, onions, etc.) I looovvveee dosas.
Eventually we reached home. AKA Hanumantha Estate 🙂
And we promptly resumed our Coorg duties of veranda lounging.
Later, we napped and hit up a birthday party. But I’m going to wrap things up here. Stick around yall, because next time you’re going to see a whole lot of pictures of wildlife.
Specifically: this guy!