Friday, September 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Camel trekking in Arrrrrabia
Dad and the sweet sunset
Arabian (not Persian over here) Gulf
Me and Elizabeth
A little bit of offroading
After spending nearly 6 months in India and 3 months in SE Asia, I left Delhi to head to Doha, Qatar, where my dad is teaching a summer course for the Georgetown campus here. I was warmly greeted by him at the Doha airport. It was wonderful seeing him, after not having seen my family since September. We arrived at the lovely Al Samrya Gardens, where my dad and much of the other Georgetown faculty resides. A gorgeous 3 bdrm, air conditioned apartment was an amazing change of pace from my life in India. We caught up for a few hours, I ate some cheese, drank some Coke, and went to sleep.
The next day we had arranged a trip to the sea with my dad's colleague Elizabeth, who coincidently went to high school with my mom, so we've been family friends for a number of years. She has lived here on and off for the last 4 years, so knows the place in and out. Anyways, we were picked up by our guide in the early afternoon and hit the desert (which is pretty much anywhere outside of Doha). I had no idea what I was in for. I thought we were just taking a quiet drive to the sea and swimming, watching the sunset, etc., but what we got was an off-road adventure. To get to the sea, you have to ride crazily up and down these incredible sand dunes, and driving like a maniac is part of the thrill. We went up and down at all kinds of speeds, sometimes sideways, sometimes hitting the dunes straight on, it was wild. After stopping several times and seeing the sunset, we headed to this bedouin camp area where we smoked hookah and watched a bunch of Qatari men do traditional dances, like one with this huge sword. Quite exciting for my first day in Arrrrabia!
The last few weeks haven't been as fast paced. I've basically been chilling at my dad's apartment, helping him write an article, working on the blog, and editing videos that I should have started editing months ago! However, somehow two weeks have gone by extremely fast. There's not a whole lot to do in Doha, but we've gotten out a bit. We went to the impressive Islamic Arts Museum, the Corniche, which is path along the Gulf in downtown Doha, the Souq, which is a giant tourist market, and this crazy museum owned by one of the Sheik's. We've also been to a few concerts at the National Theater, and are going to a few more this week.
And Saturday, I end this amazing 9-month Asian invasion and head back to the US of A.
Anjali and our delicious veggie treats
Dante had some bbq pork
Suraj, taking a break from swimming
The devilish little boys
And herein lies the end of the India section of the blog. We returned to Delhi early on Monday morning. Back to the heat and congestion of city life, we had a lot to get done before Dante's departure early Wednesday morning. I spent Monday morning at the swimming pool with the Tara boys, before meeting up with Dante to do last minute shopping. After nearly dying in the sweltering heat for two hours, we came back home and took a little nap and then got ready to take Anjali out to dinner at a lovely Korean Restaurant. It was amazing, and very vegetarian friendly:)!
The next day I had my final shoot for the Sesame Street project I was working on, and then met up with Dante in the late afternoon for our final beer at Cafe Oz in Khan Market. Then that evening Dante packed, packed, packed, we drank lots of beer, he got about 2 hours of sleep, and then headed to the airport.
The rest of the week went by super fast, of course. Spent the days hanging out with the Tara boys and then went to a few dinners with Anjali and friends. By Thursday night I was all packed so that on Friday I could have breakfast with my friend Jacqueline (Ben, her husband, was unfortunately in Afghanistan for work) and hang out with the Tara boys, until finally having to head back to the apartment, shower and head to the airport.
And that's that. As much as I was warned about India, and more specifically Delhi, it was an incredible experience and I will always hold a very special place in my heart for it. I already miss it so much and can't wait to get back!
On the grounds of the Dalai Lama's house
Good ole Mother Himalaya
There she is again
We left Manali on a Wednesday afternoon to head to Dharamsala, or more specifically McLeod Ganj, which is known for being a beautiful hill station, but more importantly the home of a large majority of Tibetan refugees and his Holiness the Dalai Lama. We arrived on the outskirts of town at around 2am. We were told we could take a public bus, but at 2am there was no public bus to be taken, so the two of us and another Americano, Patrick, took a cab to the McLeod. He dropped us off at one of the first guesthouses as you approach town and we all decided to just split a room, making it a little less expensive and crashed pretty soon after arriving. The next morning, we packed our things and decided to head to Bhagsu, the town 2km away from the McLeod, which was supposed to be a lot more peaceful and quiet. It took about 30 minutes to walk uphill to Bhagsu and it took even longer to find a cheap place to stay, but we were eventually successful. We found a really awesome spot on the top of a hill overlooking all of Bhagsu. It was a newly remodeled building that was just an extension of this random man's house, it didn't even have a name. I was a little hot and bothered after all that searching (the last guesthouse search of my travels, thank God!) so I took a nice long shower, washed my hair, and was ready for the day. The first day we just walked around town. It's a super peaceful town because it's pretty much run by the Tibetan refugees, which are about a thousand times more chilled out than any Indian person. People were uber friendly and helpful and it just had a really nice vibe to it. I felt like I was back in Northern Laos. We walked around the grounds of the Dalai Lama's house, which is nice and has a very famous temple inside. We went to the Tibetan history museum, which was our little bit of culture for the trip. We took a morning hike to the Daal Lake, which was all dried up, but a nice walk, nonetheless. One day we just wanted to walk to another town and ended up walking up an entire mountain and then to an incredibly beautiful waterfall, which was a nice little surprise. As usual, we just did a lot of hanging out and chilling, but also a lot of walking because the town we were staying in was on the outskirts of the McLeod, and was a hilly walk back and forth. Our last day we walked around town more, did last minute shopping, and sadly got on our return bus to Delhi. A lovely end to our India trip!