Wednesday, August 31, 2011


After 39 hours of traveling, we arrived home on Sunday morning from our 2 week adventure in India!  The main purpose of the trip was to attend the wedding of Jack and Diya - our friends from Austin.  Around the wedding, we did lots of sight seeing the first week and a "second honeymoon" the second week. 
Bon voyage Austin!

Week 1 - we flew in to Dehli, the capital of India.  The 14 hour flight really wasn't THAT bad - maybe it was built up as horrible from my friends' experiences, maybe it was the goodie bag that my mom prepared Andrew and I that kept us entertained ;)  In India, it's common to have a driver to drive yourself around town and between towns (after witnessing the traffic & driving habits, we Westerners simply CAN NOT drive in India, trust me).  So, the first two days our driver drove us (14 friends from USA) around to several different mosques, monuments, gardens, shopping & restaurants.  My favorite experience from Dehli was a rickshaw ride through a market that sells everything from fresh veggies to wedding supplies to clothing and jewelry.  VERY crowded and energetic.  I guess it was their Wal-Mart :

Note the electrical nightmare

Selling Marigolds!

We drank lots of yummy tea
The beer was not so good :(
The next two days were spent driving to/from and touring Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located.  I understand why it is considered a "New Seven Wonders of the World" - truly magnificent and intricate.  We got there at 6am, right when the gates opened to capture photos (or as our tour guide said "make pictures") of the beautiful mausoleum.  Now it's time for wedding fun!!!

We took a domestic flight (think Southwest style) to Mumbai where we had non-stop from from Wednesday night until Sunday morning.  On Thursday, separately, the guys and girls went shopping for Indian clothes to wear to the wedding.  The guys actually had a lot of fun and were finished in a couple of hours.  I was stressed by the style of shopping in India, where they would just pull folded clothes in individually wrapped plastic bags off of the shelves and fling them in front of you.  I felt under pressure to try stuff on I didn't like and the stores were super busy.  I ended up getting a beautiful sari, that I am really happy with.  It came with a custom tailored top and under skirt.  Diya arranged for a lady to put it on me - she did a great job.  Now if I'm going to wear it back in the U.S., Andrew will have to learn to put it on me.   Some of the girls got mani/pedis and I got a facial (ask me about it later - whoa).  Treatments are super cheap (~$15 for mani/pedi & ~$30 for my facial) and good quality.  That night we went to a couple of clubs in Mumbai with all of the "kids" (cousins, family friends, & U.S. friends).  Pretty much felt like we were in the U.S. when we were at the bars - same drinks (alcohol is really expensive over there), same music (seriously). 
so tired
Friday was the mehndi and the sangeet.  The mehndi is a girl party where the women honor the bride & get henna drawn on their hands.  Diya had hers done the day before because it took ~6 hours to put on & ~4 hours to dry.  Mine took ~20 minutes to put on & ~2 hours to dry (Andrew had to feed me lunch so as to not ruin the artwork, hehe).  That night was the sangeet which is basically a dance party.  Also the family performed skits (dances, singing) for the bride & groom.  It was super fun, as the U.S. friends were the life of the party.  Diya said that the family members were intimated to dance because we were such good dancers - even Indian style dancers!!

Andrew wearing a kurta and Becky in a sari at the sangeet.
On Saturday, two different wedding ceremonies were performed.  First was the Telegu wedding from Jack's family.  That night was the bride's families Bengali wedding.  Both were similar but different.  Lots of chanting, flowers, colors, rituals, throwing of rice & flowers :)  Different from U.S. culture, the guests would start out watching the ceremony, then about 20 minutes in to it, everyone would start chatting, mingling, eating appetizers and drinking.  Since the ceremonies last 2-3 hours, I suppose that's why it's socially acceptable to do this.  We ate, drank & danced the night away to celebrate the newlyweds - Congratulations to The Jakkiki's!!!
Telegu wedding

Entrance to the event center

Bengali wedding

Next post will recap Week 2