Friday, March 2, 2012

Indelible Images of India

It's been an amazing, interesting, colorful, odiferous, educational, inquisitive, and acquisitive trip to India. And we have one last purchase that absolutely, positively must be made. Gigi has been excited to get henna tattoos since we arrived, and I promised her we could do this on our last day in Delhi. It should be done just before heading back to Paris, ideally, in order to maximize its impact on classmates. At the local market, there is a row of henna artists who do this for 50 rupees per child's arm (just $1), or 100 rupees for the adults. Traditionally it is meant for brides, but we're not the only ones doing it just for fun. And no, it's not really indelible. But in theory, it should last for a couple weeks. Ours turn out lighter than we expect (what you're seeing below is the design before the mud dries and gets brushed off), so we'll probably only get a week or so out of them.
Bridal henna:


Tourist henna:


Now that we are at the end of our two-week vacation, I can answer the question posed in the intro to this blog. Yes, it does indeed make sense to travel with small children -- and my parents -- to India, even though they don't like spicy food. At least, it makes sense with the way we do this trip (I think trying to replicate with them the sort of backpacker adventure I had in my twenties would be completely distastrous, however...). We are able to order nearly everything "no spice," eat in clean restaurants and -- heaven be praised -- avoid Delhi Belly, buy scads of colorful and affordable souvenirs, and generally have an unforgettable trip with aunt, uncle, and grandparents. I can't even imagine having done something like this with my own grandparents and am so thrilled that my children will always have this memory.


Besides what is burned in our brains, the other indelible images I am referring to are these -- some of my favorite photos that didn't find a home elsewhere on the blog:


My parents, covering their heads in a temple. My father appears to be aiming for the Russian babushka look:

The incredibly beautiful saris of India. Many of the women look more elegant and dressed-up when shopping at the outdoor market than I did at my own wedding. No exaggeration.

The local butcher. Everything about this picture just kills me. It explains why we only eat at "fancy" places, in a nutshell:

Honest-to-goodness snake charmers. Yes, they are real snakes.

All that's left is to pack up, get to the airport....and discover that while we have been here, American Airlines has completely shut all operations in India and left my parents stranded without any valid ticket or reservations to get home. As we wonder if my parents will ever escape, the girls and I get on our plane to Paris. And with this, we say goodbye to India.

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