Indian wedding invitation

Weddings and Marriage in India 

Weddings here in India are huge!  The festivities can go on for months, with an engagement ceremony, ring ceremony, henna ceremony, and other celebrations, even before the big day. The actual wedding can go on for days or a week, and it is a major event for all extended family.

Getting ready

It’s amazing how these people can take an empty dusty lot and over days turn it into a beautiful wedding venue. I’ve been watching such activities from the balcony of my apartment for the last couple of weeks. Decorations and other supplies for the event arrive on motorcycle, trucks, bicycles, donkeys, and of course even carried in on the heads of women in their traditional Indian manner.  I hope some day I get to attend one of these spectacular events before I return to America for good.

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People bathing in a mud puddle in India

A Very Bad Day in India

We all have bad days. They are just part of life. I recently experienced one in India, and the circumstances, for the most part, were unique to India. It all started when I was on a conference call. I work odd hours over here because of the 12.5 hour time difference. This was an 7:00 AM conference call and I was already in a bad mood because I had to skip my work out. Keep in mind that I connect to my conference calls through the Internet. The electricity suddenly went out which disconnected me front the call, and I was the facilitator!  The electricity goes off all the time here due to over population and unregulated electrical work. I never was able to reconnect to the call because the back up generators didn’t kick on for some reason.

 

Electrical blackouts

I finished getting ready the best I could without electricity. That meant no hot shower, no coffee and no curling my hair. Plus there was no air conditioning, which meant it was soon about 85 degrees in my apartment! By the time I left for work I was covered in sweat and in a very foul mood.

My apartment complex in Gurgaon, India

The Process of Renting a Full Service Apartment in India

I’ve been staying at the Courtyard Marriott for the last 4 months and as much as I love that hotel and their wonderful staff, it was time to get my own place. I missed cooking, having the ability to entertain and I needed more space, so I decided to look at furnished apartments. I was pleasantly surprised to find some lovely apartment, nicely furnished, in a safe and self-contained community. So after filling out a long contract and providing all the necessary paperwork, I spent the weekend moving into my apartment in a beautiful complex called Palm Springs!

Things to know

Here are some interesting facts. The smallest one I could find is 3 bedrooms and they go up to 6 bedrooms. Mine also has 3 1/2 baths plus a maids quarters. Each bedroom has its own washroom, like a master suite in the states.The maids washroom is outside by the washing machine.The service staff even have their own elevator! They don’t have clothes dryers here and instead provided me with a clothes rack, so I guess all the neighbors will get to look at my delicates out drying in the hot sun.

Beautiful Udaipur India

The Ups and Downs of Travel and Tourism in India

I’ve been in India for four months now and so far I’ve visited Agra, Jaipur, Udaipiur and Rieshikesh. Booking reservations and traveling around India is quite different from how we do things in the USA.

Your passport

First of all, all reservations, even domestically require a copy of your passport. They want a hard copy and copy machines are not readily available, so someone is always taking your passport from you and then heading into the back room with it. The first time that happened I about had a panic attack. I’ve heard stories about travelers getting their passports taken away only to find they have to buy it back. Fortunately that’s not the case here!

Middle men

Another thing that annoys me is that you can’t call any resort or tourist activity directly to book a reservation. You have to call a tourist service. There are so many middle men, each getting a piece of the pie, that it drives the price way up. Sometimes these middle men are just scammers that take your money and run, so you have to be very careful. Taxes are also very high, 20 to 30 percent in many areas!

Getting my hair done in India

My Crazy Hair Salon Experience in India

First of all, my apologies to my wonderful hair stylist back home in the states!  Unfortunately it had been way too long since I got my hair colored, cut and styled and I knew I had to do something about it. So I visited a few salons and decided on one owned by a young hip looking Asian fellow just a couple blocks away from our hotel. He wears his blond hair in a man bun and looks pretty progressive, so I decided to give him a try.

My appointment was at 10:00 and I arrived 5 minutes early to find him and his staff outside smoking. Most people smoke here. Since the smog is so bad I think they figure there’s nothing to lose. Obviously he and his staff were on “Indian time.”  Everyone is consistently late here for everything. He finished his cigarette and then unlocked the front door and asked me to take a seat.

 

The first thing I noticed was that he had 8 guys (all very young) working in about a 300 square foot space. One started sweeping, one started looking through my hair, one brought me bottled water and the rest stood there and stared at me. The owner brought me a book of hair colors and I pointed to the one I wanted. Then Ramm (the guy touching my hair) asked me to sit in one of the stylist chairs. I could feel myself sweating already as the tension took over. I mean it’s my hair!!! What if they screwed it up!?