Tuesday, October 21, 2014

enjoying the ride...

It's been a long while since my last post, not surprising given the hectic pace of quarter 1 2014. I picked up a new prep this year when I started teaching AP English 12, so those eleven weeks were tough ones.

Now we've reached the idyllic quarter break. This year, Chris and I opted to stay home and chill, which is just what we needed. We're both sick (figures), but at least I can spend all day in my PJs.

This week is a time to slow down, but last week was a time for exploration.

From 12-18 October, I found myself in the company of 18 lovely G12 students and two charming colleagues, Jonny and Linda. We spent the week rambling around Rajasthan, a northern state, looking at beautiful ancient things, roaming chaotic markets, and eating as much as possible.

First stop: Jodhpur, one of my favorite places in India. After a 22-hour train, it was great to have our freedom back! We only stopped in this city for a day, unfortunately, and explored Mehranghar Fort quickly. It was my second time there, but it was just as enchanting as I remember.

Still, the highlight of the stop (for me), was the camel safari we took. Camels are pretty awesome and also terrifying. They're tall!

two of our tiniest girls on a giant beast - shivi (on the left) is one of our advisees
Though the ride was short, it reminded me of horseback riding, which I really miss.

Second stop: Ajmer. I'd never been here before, but it's a popular destination for pilgrims who go to visit this huge Sufi shrine. We had a rather discombobulating experience at the shrine, one that involved many people asking for money, but afterwards we visited a very beautiful old mosque. Old, indeed -- the oldest mosque in India! It was built out of pieces from Jain and Hindu temples, so it's a bit of a mishmash. But it felt peaceful and wonderfully ornate.

check out all the carving!

an airy and spacious interior
Third stop: Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital city. It's huge and much more modern than Jodhpur / Ajmer, so we did take in some nice cafe time. But we also had fun exploring City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall, and finally Amer Fort, a sprawling complex a bit outside of the city.

this is how royal guests used to ride up... we could have too, for about $20

selfie in the hall of mirrors; lots of "swag," as my advisee pranit would say
Last time I was in Jaipur, Chris had a crazy flu, so it was nice to do more around the city and see some of the sights we missed last time.

After many days of touristing and absorbing culture, it feels great to be off trains and back in one place. Chris and I plan to take some little day jaunts and explore Mussoorie further, once we're feeling better, so I'll post soon...

You can find lots more Rajasthan photos on my facebook page. :)

PS -- Chris spent activity week in a village with G9 students. He was jealous of me, but I don't feel bad considering his trip to Austria last year!!!

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