Sunday, March 13, 2011

Darjeeling Unlimited

I want to travel to India.

Really badly.

And unlike roughly half of our neighborhood, I can't just hop on a plane and hang out with family there for months at a time. (pssst, because I'm not from India)

Do you know how much a ticket to India costs?
I do.
Here's a hint: Southwest Airlines doesn't fly there.
It's about $1800.00, not counting the overnight hotel stay in London in the middle of the journey.

At this point I wonder: How is it that a family of four living in a tiny one room apartment with one Tercel between them, flies back and forth so often to their homeland, when it's $1800/pp?! Perplexing. (possible answer: they eat only rice and never go to Target?)

Kevin has absolutely no interest in going to India. He also had no interest in going to Africa or Haiti either, but he came with me on those adventures anyway. So I think I have a pretty good chance of whittling him down about it over the next few years.
I'd really like to take Kid C with me, so that means I'd have to wait 4-5 years. I wanna really hit home the idea of most-people-in-the-world-are-poor-and-you-live-like-a-princess as well as be an Auntie Mame character to her too.

Since it's so far in the future, I've begun planning and I'm not even looking at the prices.
Rupees are no object! ;)

The PBS series The Story of India has been most helpful!
(and it also made me curse my incompetent Asian Art History professor in college who totally sucked at teaching about it. I mean, how can you learn about India with a whiteboard and a green marker? )

First, since I'm a naive american, I thought I should probably do a tour. You know, to make sure I'm not shanghaied, enslaved or murdered for sport by unsavory fellows along the spice road.
Thanks to their former imperial lords the British, there are in fact anglo-oriented tours for anglos touring the Orient.
Tally Ho!...or should I said "Jai Ho!"?

They offer both group and private tours. At first thought, I leaned towards group touring, keeping in mind the Mutual of Omaha specials about herds of slow moving targets being safer than a stray beast by the water hole. But then I looked at their mini-maps of where the tour-herds graze and I didn't like those routes.
Plus, from my prior experience in Italy with our group tour, the doofus listening to Black Eyed Peas next to you and talking about his canadian pharmaceutical business really kills the local atmosphere.

So private touring it is. Oh but what to choose?...hmm...well since I have all the time and money in the world in my fantasy journey, let's pick 3 tours!
(Sickening Fact: when we toured Italy, we met rich kids on our trip that just took tour after tour of Europe all summer long. Spoiled kids! Barf!)

Tour number 1: Bombay Beaches and Caves
(check, check and check)
Bombay, no explanation needed.
Goa, beaches, also great.
I will totally let my flabulous mid section shine in indian garb while I'm there too.

Tour number 2: Great Southern Getaway [from air conditioning]
I think they should call this tour the Temple of Doom. Elephants, temples, and jungle-- all they're missing in the description are missing sacred stones and of course human sacrifice. I'd opt out of those anyway.

Tour number 3: Sri Lanka + Maldives
(Matt Lauer approved*)
*I connect the Maldives and Matt Lauer in my mind from some Today show I saw in which they sent a couple on a honeymoon to the Maldives and Matt Lauer was like "that place is nice, I've been there."
This is the ultra exotic vacation that pretty much tops any other I can think of. As long as nature doesn't smite us, I think these 10 days would be worth every penny (roughly 220,000 pennies in that price tag).
If you Google Maldives, you'll get photos like this:
Yep, that's pretty much perfect. Somewhere inside that hut is probably a fondue pot full of cheese and an on-call massage therapist. And puppies. On-demand puppies.

There are tons of mission org's and orphanages at which I'd like to help. I'm not sure how that would work out, but hey, I'm adding it. I'd also like to include meeting two of the boys we sponsor who both live in India. Yes they live in totally different cities, but it's on my itinerary!
I also want to go during the Holi festival so I can pelt and get pelted by colored chalk balls.

Thus concludes my fantastic fantasy voyage.

Now I want butter chicken....


AdventurousCarrie said...

count me in... hopefully i'll be fluent in Hindi by then.

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