From Here to There

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Alright, I’ve run out of excuses. I suck at blogging. Like miserably suck. Like suck beyond the point of no return. But even though this is coming to you months late, I have not given up! I will have a conclusion to this trip, even if it takes me a year. And also, now that I am home and missing India like nobody’s business, I figured this is a good way to reminisce. So rewinding back a few months, I am going to share with you pictures of all the places I travelled during my study abroad. Sit back, relax, and enjoy 🙂

Destination #1 (01/30-02/02): Mysore – Palaces, good food, and lots of bus rides.

As part of study abroad fees, CIEE took us on a group trip to Mysore. We also saw the tombs of Tup Sultan and Hyder Ali, but photos weren’t allowed. CIEE took great care of us and we stayed in super nice hotels, ate delicious food, saw awesome music performances, rode on too many long bus rides, and visited some of the most memorable places in Mysore.

Considered to be one of the most beautiful palaces in India--Mysore Palace

Considered to be one of the most beautiful palaces in India–Mysore Palace.

Live Hindustani classical performance.

Live Hindustani classical performance.

Inside the Golden Temple. A famous buddhist monastery.

Inside the Golden Temple. A famous buddhist monastery.

Live drumming performance. We even got a chance to play the drums and dance around.

Live drumming performance. We even got a chance to play the drums and dance around.

Who needs plates when you can eat off of a banana leaf??

Who needs plates when you can eat off of a banana leaf??

Watching the process of making Jaggery - a very popular candy all over India made out of raw sugar canes

Watching the process of making Jaggery–a very popular candy all over India made out of raw sugar canes.

Keshava Temple - probably one of the coolest and oldest temples I have ever seen. Built in 1268 CE.

Keshava Temple–probably one of the coolest and oldest temples I have ever seen. Built in 1268 CE.

Making bricks with the locals. The old fashioned way--mud and the sun!!

Making bricks with the locals. The old fashioned way–mud and the sun!!

First picture with my roommates :)

First picture with my roommates 🙂

Destination #2 (02/13-02/16): Hampi – the land of boulders, climbing, and lots and lots of hippies. 

Hampi was such a fun little place. Super chill vibes and very quaint dining, and guest houses. We rented a motorcycle one of the days and had a blast cruising through the tiny streets and mingling with the local street vendors. We were there for Valentines weekend and so Jamie (my roommate) and I climbed the 100+ stairs up to the Monkey Temple where we watched the beautiful sunset on the rocky landscape.
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Tom and Jerry - The local dudes that run a climbing shop in the town and can show you all the best places to grab some rock. Went climbing with Jerry for a day while I was there and had loads of fun and met some great climbers.

Tom and Jerry – The local dudes that run a climbing shop in the town and can show you all the best places to grab some rock. I went climbing with Jerry for a day while I was there and had loads of fun and met some great climbers.

These priests were relentless! I finally agreed to take a picture with them, and then found after the fact that donations were required. Clever.

These priests were relentless! I finally agreed to take a picture with them, and then found out after the fact that donations were required. Clever.

Virupaksha Hindu Temple

Virupaksha Hindu Temple

Being blessed by the Temple elephant, Lakshmi.

Being blessed by the Temple elephant, Lakshmi.

Destination #3 (02/27-03/02): Goa – Relaxation, beach huts, and dance parties all night. The epitome of an amazing weekend.

Goa was probably my most favorite trip of all time, not just because of the beautiful views but because of the people and the entire experience. We had a strict plan to have no agenda and no plans, and thats exactly what we stuck to. We lounged on the beach all day, made amazing friends, explored the town on a motorcycle, and went out dancing every night. So much relaxation. So much fun.

Hanging out with the local beach cows.

Hanging out with the local beach cows.

The 3 little monkeys lighting a lantern on the beach!

The 3 little monkeys lighting a lantern on the beach!

The hut that we slept. Yes, I fell asleep every night to the sweet sweet sounds of the ocean and it was glorious.

The hut that we slept in. Yes, I fell asleep every night to the sweet sweet sounds of the ocean and it was glorious.

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Destination #4 (03/28-04/02): Kerala – Lord of the Rings-ish trekking, lots and lots of tea, houseboats, and river life. 

Kerala was awesome because it was so diverse and we got two totally different experiences in one weekend. For the first part we experiences the beautiful tea plantations and amazing green mountains that reminded me a lot of something out of the Lord of the Rings. Famous for its spices, Kerala was filled with spice shops where you could buy all different kinds of tea, spices, and even ancient Ayurvedic Indian medicinal oils and other remedies. For the second part, we spend the rest of the time on a beautiful houseboat floating down the backwaters of Kerala where we got to watch the daily life of the villagers along the river. We had the best captain and cook aboard who were super fun, and made amazing food. And we had a DISCO BALL. Say what! Kerala was much greener than any of the other parts of India I had seen so far. But with the beautiful scenery came humidity and heat. I was definitely dripping for most of the trip, but we had a great time nonetheless.

View of the tea plantations in Munnar, Kerala

View of the tea plantations in Munnar, Kerala

Day trek into the tea plantations

Day trek into the tea plantations.

View from the top of our Trek

View from the top of our Trek.

The group :)

The group 🙂

The backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala.

The backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala.

A picture of the houseboat we rented for the night.

A picture of the houseboat we rented for the night.

Swimming in the backwaters.

Swimming in the backwaters.

Sunset on the river.

Sunset on the river.

The group and our captain and cook :)

The group and our captain and cook 🙂

Destination #5 (04/26-04/28): Aurungabad – Overbearing locals, ancient caves, and thieving monkeys.

The three little monkeys took one last trip together before we went our separate ways. I wouldn’t say Aurungabad is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, and there isn’t a whole lot to see, but the places we did see were remarkable. When we got there, we found out that the Ajanta caves were closed on the only day we could go, so we ended up only being able to see the Ellora caves, but they were amazing. I can’t quite explain it, but its a crazy feeling to be standing in a place that is older than the United States and just thinking about how these ancient places even came to be. Ponder that one. I also experienced the mischief of monkeys while I was there when a monkey stole my pen and refused to give it back, and then proceeded to slobber all over it. I guess they aren’t as cute as I thought they would be.

The mini Taj Mahal. Not the real thing, but still beautiful.

The mini Taj Mahal. Not the real thing, but still beautiful.

Taking pictures with the locals. I have never felt more like a foreigner than I did visiting this place. There were so many people asking to take pictures with us and following us that we actually had to flee the place. Very overwhelming.

Taking pictures with the locals. I have never felt more like a foreigner than I did visiting this place. There were so many people asking to take pictures with us and following us that we actually had to flee. Very overwhelming.

Sometimes...random strangers hand you their crying and terrified babies and ask to take a picture with the poor child. But don't worry, its totally not creepy because thats just a thing here.

Sometimes…random strangers hand you their crying and terrified babies and ask to take a picture with the poor child. But don’t worry, its totally not creepy because thats just a thing here.

The 3 little monkeys at it again.

The 3 little monkeys at it again.

Daulatabad Fort.

Daulatabad Fort.

One of the two main attractions of Aurungabad--Ellora Caves. 34 caves in total.

One of the two main attractions of Aurungabad–Ellora Caves. 34 caves in total.

Inside one of the Ellora caves.

Inside one of the Ellora caves.

Hand chiseled rock sculptures in the caves.

Hand chiseled rock sculptures in the caves.

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The culprit.

The culprit.

Destination #6 (04/29-05/01): Mumbai – British architecture, lots of sweating, city life.

My roommates and I took one last trip before leaving India and we decided to go to the beautiful and historic city Mumbai. In some ways, Mumbai can be related to New York–to give you an idea. Except its more humid and way more hot. I can deal with heat, but the humidity made it pretty unbearable. We didn’t really visit any monuments, we mostly just wandered and enjoyed the views. Mumbai is a much more developed city with beautiful architecture that greatly reflects the influence the british had when they colonized India.

The Gateway of India. Made to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary.

The Gateway of India. Made to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary.

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The Taj Mahal Palace

The Taj Mahal Palace

Local fish market. Its as smelly and unsanitary as it sounds.

Local fish market. Its as smelly and unsanitary as it sounds.

View of the streets

View of the streets

A view of the city at sunset from the ocean.

A view of the city at sunset from the ocean.

Giant pile of books for sale along the street.

Giant pile of books for sale along the street.

Destination #7 (05/10-05/12): Indian wedding in a rural village that I can’t remember the name of — crazy bus rides, too much delicious food, overwhelming hospitality.

Alright, so basically going to this wedding was a last minute adventure that made my Indian experience that much more authentic. School had finished and all of my other international friends had left back to the US. I was still hanging out with my local friends on campus and I was invited to go to a wedding. The wedding was my friends friends wedding and all I knew was that it was three hours outside of Hyderabad in a very rural village in the middle of nowhere. Sounds fun, right? So we left for the bus station the evening before the wedding and lucky us, we caught the last bus of the night going to that particular village. Since the bus was already jam packed with  people, there was no way we were going to fit and I thought we would have to stand in the aisle the entire time. Nope! Myself and 25 other Indian men were rushed off the bus and then much to my surprise and excitement, I watched as all of these people climbed the ladder to get on the roof of the bus. I RODE ON THE ROOF OF THE BUS GUYS. IN INDIA. Let’s just say that was probably one of the best nights of my life and not much else compares. When we arrived, we were greeted by so many wonderful people and the festivities began. If you want an excuse to party multiple days in a row, then I would definitely recommend attending an Indian wedding. A little overwhelming, but there is all the food, people, and dancing  you could could ever want! I cant tell you how many Auntie’s (respectful term used for elder Indian women) came up to me asking me in Telugu if I had eaten food. And let me just say, I ate SO MUCH FOOD. Food is such a big part of this culture and hospitality, its rude if you don’t stuff your face to the max. And so I obliged. I received so much attention at the wedding–obviously because I was recognized as a foreigner–and I learned that apparently me being there was considered to be a huge blessing for the bride and the groom, so I’m glad my white skin was of some service to the happy couple. As things started to wind down at the end of the weekend, my friends and I had called a taxi to take us to the bus stop so we could go back to Hyderabad, but the groom apparently had a different plan for us. There was still one more ceremony left to go and he wanted all of his friends to be there. He sent our taxi away and canceled all of the rickshaw services in the village so that we had no way to leave. And this is when Indian hospitality gets to be overbearing and definitely over the top. After much hassle and debating, we were finally allowed to leave a few hours later, but it was definitely a hectic and slightly frightening experience. We made it home safely and in just enough time for me to call and wish my mom a happy Mothers Day, but sadly we did not get to ride on the roof of the bus on the way back to Hyderabad, as much as I would have liked to.

Riding on the top of the bus!

Riding on the top of the bus!

Village houses

Village houses

Water buffalo :)

Water buffalo 🙂

The Aunties are helping me tie my Saree :)

The Aunties are helping me tie my Saree 🙂

Wedding ceremony

Wedding ceremony

Pictures with the bride and groom

Pictures with the bride and groom.

Friends :D

Friends 😀

The beautiful saree I wore at the wedding that my friend Radhika gifted me.

The beautiful saree I wore at the wedding that my friend Radhika gifted me.

Alright thats a wrap! Just so you know, this isn’t my conclusion yet. I still have a few more posts to go, but hopefully this gave you a good idea of the awesome-amazing-beautiful places and experiences I had over the semester.

Cheers!

– Mary

 

 

 

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About Mary Gaughan

Hi I'm Mary! I'll be living in India for 6 months starting on December 28th. If you want to know more about me, you should just read my blog and see what you can figure out. It's more fun that way :)

2 responses »

  1. Hi, Mary Thanks tons for the catchup. You had some time! I wish more of my music students had your spirit of adventure, and would get away from their studios and theory assignments for a semester. I visited many of those places almost 50 years ago. Kerala, still a very lovely place; went up the backwaters from Quilon to Aleppy. Unique part of India. Check out the excellent Indian film “The Lunchbox,” which came out while you were away. Maybe via Netflix, if you have that.

    Where are you now, and what are you doing? Yrs, ted

    From: Gaughan To India <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Gaughan To India <comment+c3uh8uc3wzspfgnznt7kds@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:48 PM To: ted solis <ted.solis@asu.edu> Subject: [New post] From Here To There

    Mary Gaughan posted: “Alright, I’ve run out of excuses. I suck at blogging. Like miserably suck. Like suck beyond the point of no return. But even though this is coming to you months late, I have not given up! I will have a conclusion to this trip, even if it takes me a year. “

    • Hi Professor Solis,

      Thanks so much for the comment and keeping up with my trip. I actually watched The Lunchbox on my way from Nepal to London. Very interesting film. I am now back in Arizona spending time with the family and preparing for the start of the semester. Once school starts I would love to come by and chat with you for a bit. Hope you are well!!

      Best,
      Mary

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