For those of you who follow the TourAbsurd Facebook page, the last couple of days have been filled with hint dropping about an exciting travel destination that just made its way onto my itinerary. Three of you guessed correctly! And the big news is? …INDIA!
Taj Mahal photo courtesy of Shannon O'Donnell.
The first hint was elephant. Amazingly, TourAbsurd fan Christopher A. got it right on the very first guess. How he knew that will be a question for the ages! Without being me and already knowing the answer, I would have been much more likely to guess Thailand, as Maria T. did, what with my advocacy for the Elephant Nature Park.
The second hint was curry. I was being deliberately generic in some of these hints. I know there's curry all over the world (heck, I just had some out of a can here in Ireland), but Indian food was my introduction to it. Anything similar that originated somewhere else will have a qualifying descriptor like, "Thai curry", for example. Amanda M. gave three guesses after this hint, the first of which was – again – India. Well done, Amanda!
Finally, the third hint was henna. I hear that it's also known as mehndi, but that's one of the finer points of culture I'm hoping to pick up in person. The ever-reliable (ha!) Wikipedia paints the terms as interchangeable, but we shall see! …and naturally the very first guess, by Catherine T., was – you guessed it – India!
So, well done Christopher, Amanda, and Catherine! I am terrible about sending postcards, but what I will do is take a photo of me holding up your name somewhere neat and nifty while I'm there. If you have a favorite pun or silly saying you'd like me to include, I'm ALL up for silly!
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The departure isn't until later in the year. I'm hoping to have a long-ish trip and see some other parts of Asia while I'm in the neighborhood. My flights to and from Ireland are booked with Flight Network and I'm just so giddy I can hardly sit still! I even get to fly out of Cork, instead of having to trek up to Dublin – bonus!
There is so much to do before I leave, but I'm savoring it. It's kind of like when you cook up a nice Thanksgiving dinner and you smell all the delicious aromas for hours before you actually sit down at the table. A friend gave me a gift certificate for a book shop for my birthday a while back. I think I'm going to finally use it on a guide book for India!
Besides being up for silly, I'm also up for suggestions on must sees, responsible travel, and being sure to stop by and say hi to your friend that you met on this wild bus ride, and whoa, you wouldn't believe the craziness, man, that dude is hilarious..! If you went to India with a tour company and had a great time, be sure to let me know the name of the outfit. If you have hints on manners and etiquette, tell me in the comments. If there is one thing that every visitor to India should know (I clearly don't – yet!), don't keep it to yourself. Looking forward to your words of wisdom!
Tell me all your India travel secrets!
India! How exciting!!! I’d loooove to go there someday. Rajasthan would probably be at the top of my list, heard wonderful things about Udaipur and of course the obligatory photo in front of the Taj Mahal, and plenty of curry.
Thank you, Tom! I will add those to my list, as well. :D
What a coincidence! First time I visit your blog and right away I stumble upon India. I just came back 5 days ago and spent 6 months there over the last 12 months.
I wrote a whole lotta blogposts about India with a lot of pictures. So if you wanna get an impression, tips, etcetera then you might find it interesting;-)
I can say one thing: it is gonna be an overwhelming experience in so many ways. Also in unwanted ways, I’m afraid. There is no escaping, I believe, for nobody.
Well, let’s see what your trip will bring you. Exciting!
What a fortuitous coincidence! I look forward to reading about your experiences. :)
It's very difficult to even begin where and what all you can see / visit / tour in a country like India. Different cultures, sub-cultures, a history dating back to 2500 BCE, varieties of food (its not so bad on the tummy if you tell the chef that you don't want spicy food) and lots and lots of people – I call it organized chaos. So where do you go – there are the must visit touristy places – Agra (Taj Mahal of course), Varanasi, Delhi (underrated but so worth a visit) and Jaipur. But that's not even the tip of the iceberg :) – there are the British styled hill stations- Shimla and Dharamsala, there are the off beat spots such as the Spiti Valley. There are wild life parks and camel & desert safaris in Rajasthan. Oh, and did I mention I'm still talking about pockets in North India – that's the sheer scope of the place I call home. :) Look us up when you're here – if nothing else I can help put you in touch with some friendly locals to make your India trip more meaningful and to help you feel local :)
Thank you, Arjun. I will put all these places on my list of things to study. Then I’ll have to see if I can cram it all in! :D
You should definitely check out varanasi..one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world…overnight journey from capital Delhi by train…train journeys are fun too..loads of other places too..good luck..
Thank you, Tushar! I will put this on my list of things to investigate. :)
I don’t want to sound a sour-puss, but 2 of my friends who’ve always dreamed of going to India both cut short their stay because of tummy problems. Couldn’t stand the heat nor the food, it seems.
So, get your tummy prepared, is all I’m saying. ;-)
Not sure how I’d get it prepared, but I am certainly bearing in mind that this could be an issue. :)
How terribly exciting!!! Make sure if you get henna that they don’t use the kind that has any additives in it – if it starts to burn wash it off immediately! Sometimes they mix it up with paint stain to make it darker on darker skin and so for people with lighter skin it can burn. Now that I’ve sounded all negative like – YAY!!!!!!!! What a trip of a lifetime. I volunteer to squeeze in your bag!
That’s a great tip, Amanda. Thanks for the cautionary note. No worries – it won’t dampen my enthusiasm. I’m afraid you’d have to squeeze down to impossible proportions to fit into my bag. I’m planning on going with carry-on only.
HOWEVER, should you find yourself in possession of a plane ticket later this year, do let me know. It would be so excellent to see you there!
I am soooo jealous !! India was my destination when I left home at 17 !! still getting there … well as they said is not the destination it is the journey and this one is taking me more than 30 years to get there, when I get there !!
I am sure you are going to enjoy the experience!! Can you take me in your suitcase :) since I am not getting a post card (I never saw the other clues :( …
Maria, flights are cheap right now. Meet me in Mumbai for the Ganesh festival! :D
I loved my trip to India. It’s slightly crazy but that’s all part of the charm. Hope you fall in love with it like I did!
If I can fall in love with Naples, I’m sure I’ll find the charming parts of India. ;)
Yay! So glad you’re going to make it and I hope you definitely get a great shot of the Taj in person, as well as some henna — one of my favorite parts of the travels was having the pretty designs on my hands, arms, and feet (I was a little obsessed :)
See, and here I was going to skip the henna. Now I’ll have to put that on the list. Thanks, Shannon! :)