So, as you may know, I'm going to India soon!!
As requested, here's the story: I'm going for two-week trip with my mom and a group of her friends. The trip is in honor of her 60th birthday. She's wanted to visit India for as long as she can remember and now she's finally going! I'm so excited and lucky that her birthday request is that I go along too :)
The itinerary is set by the tour group and not at all up to me. Sadly, this means I'm not going to make it to either Mumbai or Varanasi, both of which I'd really like to see. However, we will be in New Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, and Haridwar. I think the most free time we have is at the end of the trip, in Haridwar and back in New Delhi before we leave. I'm really excited about the whole trip, and totally open to whatever kinds of experiences the group has planned for us.
I've been taking an Introductory Hindi class for a few weeks! It's a ridiculously few hours of class for only a short number of weeks, but at least I can sound out lots of written words and I can say the most basic things, like "My name is Erica" and "I'm not a doctor but I am a teacher." You know, the usual :)
It's actually kind of funny looking at how I'm preparing for this trip overall. Do I know what the exchange rate for dollars is in the local currency, or the details of that local currency? Nope. Did I think to get an electrical adapter until, like, yesterday? Nope. Do I know what the weather is supposed to be like when I'm there? Not so much. I didn't research those things.
So what have I been doing?
First, I read Shantaram, an INCREDIBLE book that takes place in Mumbai.
Now I'm reading the Bhavagad-Gita and a book by Salman Rushdie, and the stack next to me consists of: Gandhi's autobiography, Forster's A Passage to India, A Fine Balance, and two Jhumpa Lahiri books. (It actually also includes The Jew in the Lotus, but that may be a whole nother story.)
I watched "Monsoon Wedding" on Netflix last week (thanks, B!) and I've got a list of four other Indian movies I'd like to get to before I leave, if I can find them.
I downloaded a whole bunch of Bollywood music.
Einat and I went to Jewel of India for dinner on Thursday.
And I'm studying Hindi! If I could find a Bhangra class to take here before I leave, you know I'd be all over that. It's the culture-immersion approach, don't you know? :)
Hey - you ever been to India? If you've got advice, suggestions, warnings, postcard-requests, whatever... send 'em over! read_dance_bliss at yahoo dot com... or use the comments!