Tag Archives: travelog

India and Nepal Adventure – What Have I Learned?

2 Aug

It has been almost a week since I am back home from my grand, 32 day India and Nepal adventure. In this post I will try to asnswer some reflective questions that I, myself, created to help me gain perspective and give you a glimpse into this adventure.

1. What are some of the highlights of this trip?

There are so many! But I think Taj Mahal will always stay with me for it was so GRAND and stately. And I know it’s a real “staple” of Indian culture, however, it was a simmetrical perfection! We were there in a low season so it was not as crowded. I kept thinking: “You have been to TAJ!” How many people can say that? I am lucky, no doubt about it.

DSC_0037

 

Additionally, thoughout the whole trip, simple people have touched my heart in many ways. A girl standing in the rain, a lady washing her clothes at a monkey temple, an old man reading the newspaper, a young girl feeding a mango to her child, a woman praying… There were so many interesting/intriguing/fascinating photo opportunities! Some photo moments were private but because of my zoom lense, I could stay far away and not interfere with the activities those people were doing. Here are (just some, very few) examples:

DSC_0015-001 DSC_0054-001 DSC_0163 DSC_0294-001 DSC_0303-001 DSC_0101

(all these photos are from India)

Bottom line, you can travel to 20 countries, see every single monument, but usually it’s simple people that make your trip all worth it.

2. What are some of the low lights of this trip?

Oh, so many! Logistically, India and Nepal are hard to travel in, with their tourist industry still developing. Overnight train rides were not fun, neither were extreme temperatures! In India we had to wait 1.5 hours for our food to come out. I tried to refrain from whining so I would whine silently to myself. Poverty was a big low point, with people living under bridges, in terrible conditions. No clean water was another one. Lack of opportunity and a fair shot at life – another. Cast system! Children begging on the streets, disabled people trying to get your attention at train stations. Flies! Cow extrement in the middle of the road! Treatment of animals in general!

3. What have I learned from this trip?

Every day I would write in my travel diary how lucky I feel to be an American and to be living in the U.S. I was so proud to say that I am from the United States of America

As a United States citizen we get respect, services, benefits from our government. There is equal opportunity for everyone, a fair shot at life (for the most part). There are laws, regulations and consequences. There is clean water! I can pour a glass of tap water right now and drink it and be ok. We live in a house as big as some embassies in Kathmandu. I can complain and make use of due process. I can make fun of Obama! I can be gay or I can be straight!I can write a blog entry, even though English is not my native language and the blog is bad!  I can take a jog in my neighborhood without stepping into cow feces. I can breathe in a lung full of clean air and I can spend time in the park. My kids can go to school, for free. I can see a doctor any time I feel sick. I have a choice in reagrds to how I want to live my life.

Clearly, my major takeway is being grateful for where I live and for all the amenities I can enjoy on a regular basis. It’s the little things in life that count. Let’s take a moment and thank the Universe for all the things we have, even if it’s tap water.

 

 

Kathmandu, Nepal – Selected Photos

29 Jul

A definite highlight of my 32 day trip to India and Nepal was the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. I got to spend good two days there, exploring its’ busy streets and World Heritage sites.

Kathmandu has seven (!!) UNESCO World Heritage sites in total so I had to pick and choose as to exactly which ones I wanted to see, plus leave enough time to just get lost and find myself in busy streets of Kathmandu Old Town as well.

The seven sites  include the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Because I spent extentive three weeks in India, I only decided to see one Hindu Temple and then focus my attention on Buddhist sites instead. As a result, I explored the Hindu temple complex of Pashupati, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath, and Durbar Square of Kathmandu.

All four sites were incredible, and, needless to say, I have taken multiple photos of all, with different settings and camera positions. I would like to share a selection of just a few. These photos include all four UNESCO World Heritage sites, in addition to a few shots of busy Kathmandu streets.

DSC_0607 DSC_0636 DSC_0663 DSC_0671 DSC_0691 DSC_0705 DSC_0725 DSC_0727 DSC_0765 DSC_0772 DSC_0790 DSC_0794 DSC_0823 DSC_0857 DSC_0884

 

Feel free to share but please make sure you give me credit and link back to Lavender Reflections.

Thank you. All photos are property of Daria Pizzuto

Good morning. Pokhara, Nepal

23 Jul

I am sitting in Baba’s Kitchen waiting for my breakfast to come out. Our group is staying at Baba’s Lodge (Father’s Lodge) for one more day before moving on to Kathmandu.

Baba’s Lodge is just the right name for this place. It is cozy, clean, and extremely helpful. Baba himself selves breakfast and inquires whether his guests slept well and whether they need anything. Baba is an older gentleman, tall and big. He speaks wonderful, almost academic, English.

The building itself is made of a terra cotta color brick (again, warm) with bright orange marigolds in planters everywhere. I love this place!

20140724-071940-26380396.jpg

Baba knows how to make coffee nice and strong (for us, Americans) and his breakfast is hearty and filling. Baba also likes to discuss the U.S. and have been to New York.

20140724-074542-27942983.jpg

Good morning to all from Baba’s Lodge in Pokhara, Nepal!

20140724-074650-28010319.jpg

Thoughts on Nepal

23 Jul

When a blog idea comes into my head, I write it down in one sentence. For instance, “willfulness”, “Jaisalmer waiters”, or “thoughts on Nepal”, or “India lifestyles”.

So far, we have spent a total of seven days in Nepal, with four more days to go. So, what are some of my thoughts on Nepal?

Nepal has been amazing. People are not pushy, private yet friendly. They greet you when you walk by. And although you know they’d like you to visit their shop, they are not insulting or pressing about it.

Nepal has Himalaya and I am in love with those mountains. Here is just a speck of beauty you will see when you trek in Nepal.
20140723-163258-59578969.jpg

20140723-163357-59637149.jpg

Nepal has some wonderful cuisine. I love their Nepali noodle soup made with homemade pasta, potatoes, and chicken.
Hearty and filling.

20140723-163932-59972621.jpg

I also love their dish called mo mo or dumpling. Very delicious! But most of all, and I know it may sound strange, I love the pancakes they make! Pancakes and crepes are made fresh and are accompanied by chocolate, honey, bananas, or lemon. Outstandingly delicious!

20140723-164208-60128981.jpg

To be continued…

(All photos are property of Finer Things in Life)

One Journal Is Finished…

23 Jul

Another one is on its’ way.

I am sitting in small organic cafe, in Pokhara, Nepal. Our group came back from our a trek and the rest of the day is at leisure.

My sweet, dear friend Heeni gave this diary to me for my birthday, a few years ago. I kept saving it for a special occasion and decided to use it as my travel diary during this trip to India and Nepal. I finished writing in it today so it lasted a very long time and provided a listening ear and lots of space to express myself.

On the back flap, it said it was made in Nepal from elephant dung for Barnes and Noble, NYC. When I saw that, I said, whoa, this is made in Nepal and I’m using it in Nepal to write about Nepal!
20140723-160357-57837050.jpg

For my friend, I am bringing a new, blank journal made of tree bark FROM Nepal that was made IN Nepal. I hope she likes it!

20140723-160857-58137380.jpg

Lastly, for myself, I purchased a new journal to start writing in tonight.

20140723-160954-58194614.jpg

New journals symbolize new beginnings for me. All that writing that is left behind has benefitted me directly and indirectly. Using a journal puts things into perspective for me, allows me to reflect and see that things are not as bad as they appear. Vice versa, journaling allows me to be grateful for things that ARE going great. And lastly, journaling lets me practice mindfulness.
When I write, I pay attention to how my journal paper feels, the sound my pen makes, and how thoughts lay themselves out on paper.

Good Morning from Agra

11 Jul

6AM in Agra, India. Up, face washed, teeth brushed. Horns beeping all over, work day starts. Tuk-tuk rikshaws hustling back and forth, streets become alive.

Phone call to room service gets me a big pot of coffee. Instant but the best one ever. Email check, all good, world is still here.

Grateful to be here, to have the opportunity to travel and get to know this amazing country. A country of extreme contrasts. The country of the kindest people.

Grateful to be on vacation here yet grateful to be a citizen of my own country. Feeling homesick. A sip of coffee. Deep breath.

Browsing through photos. Which one shall I share with the world today?…

Here it is:

20140712-072419-26659662.jpg

All photos property of Daria Pizzuto

Feel bad about your life? Travel to India.

11 Jul

Today is my fourteenth day in India with around seven days to go. I have been journaling on a regular basis yet the internet connection has been so slow I couldn’t post anything!

So far we have visited Bikaner, Jaiselmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur and now we are in Agra for two days.

My observation of India has been mixed. I love some parts of it (it’s people and its’ history and culture) and dislike other parts of it (poverty, segregation, pollution).

On our way from New Delhi to Bikaner (via 8hour train ride) we have passed by some unbelievable slums. And those are not even the worst ones. In India, you will find people living under scorching sun, under bridges, in makeshift houses. These houses are pretty much a piece of cloth that is supported by four bamboo sticks. Some people live on less than one dollar (!) a day.

I have taken some photos of the slums to share with you.

20140711-140058-50458908.jpg

20140711-141654-51414645.jpg

20140711-141717-51437580.jpg</a

20140711-141924-51564787.jpg

I have asked my tour members to remind me to look at these photos anytime I am complaining about United States and how miserable my life is.

I am grateful for so many things that we so often take for granted:
Clean water, electricity, free education, clean air, nice roads and highways, garbage collection, a government that uses our a taxes to fix things and provide a safe, pleasant environment for us to live. Don’t get me wrong, things are not perfect in the U.S. yet when you compare the life style to some people in India, my heart fills with gratitude that I am an American.

%d bloggers like this: