I must say that while this is a grand adventure for my kids and parents, it's kind of adventure-lite for me, considering how much of my traveling was done in my twenties and early thirties, with either my brother, my friend Andi, or Anthony, and generally on about $30 a day -- food, lodging, transportation, entry fees, bribes, and souvenirs included. Historically, I have just thrown caution to the wind. Whereas this is more like throwing rupees to the wind. I feel relatively okay about this for myself, and my parents, but fear that my children won't ever understand the joy of sleeping outdoors on a luggage cart at a train station in Germany, simply because one is trying to save the $7 overnight hostel fee. For other examples of the high life to which my children are getting accustomed, see the photos below: high tea at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi, our hotel room in Agra, and one of the many overpriced English-language-menu-with-Chinese-food-option-for-foreigners restaurants at which we dine.
Yes, we dine places that offer Aloo Gobi on one side, and Kung Pao Chicken on the other. And yes, of course I mock my father for ordering from the Chinese menu at each of our restaurants. I must sadly confess that my children eat an awful lot of scrambled eggs. My mother, who has lost her voice for much of the trip, orders just soup or tea everywhere we go. So it's only me ordering Indian food -- "no spicy" in the hopes that my children and parents might actually try and like it. I will say this: when I order well, my children and mother do like much of the Indian food (but my father will stick to his chow mein, thank you very much). At dinner tonight, for our last meal in Jaipur, our table order is typical: one bowl of wonton soup, one Chinese chicken stir fry, one scrambled egg, one chicken dumpling (called a mo-mo), and one "little spicy" chicken tikka masala.
Our favorite meal is at the least fancy restaurant of our trip, today for lunch. It is still very clean and obviously meant for some tourists, since there is an English-language printed menu. But it seems more geared at Indian middle class, and offers the local specialty, a thali (platter with many small dishes on it). In the "fancy" restaurants, they actually have a separate area where our driver eats, and I must say that bit of colonialism irks me each time. In this restaurant, he just sits down and eats with us, which we all prefer. He steers me away from one thali, "No, that is not for you," to the one below, which turns out to be my favorite meal in all of India, and the whole meal costs us $12 for the 6 of us, versus the $30 for the 5 of us (without the driver) that we've been paying at the fancier places. It's a vegetarian meal and is so good that even the girls and my mother keep asking for more and more bites off my plate. It doesn't actually look huge, but in fact there is plenty to share. The girls and our driver order dosa (Indian crepes, basically).