Tag Archives: globetrotting

Bollywood: Audience Participation Required

Aamir Khan is one of the most popular Bollywood actors working today.
Aamir Khan is one of the most popular Bollywood actors working today.

When I travel, I all too often find myself swept up in seeing as many of the classic, ancient sites in a city. I definitely try to balance that drive with as many everyday activities as I can, and going to a movie in India is definitely one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. My knowledge of Bollywood before my trip to India was minimal, to say the least. I knew they sang, I knew they danced, I knew it was over-the-top…and that was about it.

Outside of the Raj Mandir Theatre in Jaipur
Outside of the Raj Mandir Theatre in Jaipur

Continue reading Bollywood: Audience Participation Required

Shades of Pink and Amber in Jaipur

Street food in Jaipur
Street food in Jaipur

I’m not usually a huge fan of pink, but for Jaipur, also known as “the Pink City,” I made an exception. Jaipur was our second stop in India, and despite the fact that it has only six million people – compared with Delhi’s sixteen million – it still seemed just as chaotic, if not more so. I think any extended time spent dealing with traffic in India would either give me a serious case of road rage or make me the most patient person ever. I’d rather not find out which one of those extremes would apply.

A street cart selling pani puri on the streets of Jaipur.
A street cart selling pani puri on the streets of Jaipur.

In 1876, Prince Albert and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain visited Jaipur, and the Indian ruler decided that all of the buildings in Jaipur should be adorned in pink in their honor. It was supposed to mimic the red sandstone shades of other Mughal buildings, like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. Ever since then, “Pink City” stuck as its nickname, even though most of that rosy hue has faded away over the years. Continue reading Shades of Pink and Amber in Jaipur

Throwback Thursday: Monkeys, Momiji Manju, and Mount Misen on Miyajima

The famous floating torii of Miyajima
The famous floating torii of Miyajima

If you made me pick, right here and now, my favorite place in Japan, chances are that I’d say Miyajima (宮島), a small island off of the coast of Hiroshima. The Japanese consider the view of Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima as one of the three most beautiful views in all of Japan, and I’m certainly not going to argue with them. (Incidentally, I’m bound and determined to see the other two, which are the sandbar of Amanohashidate and the pine-filled islands of Matsushima, before I leave Japan.)

Keeping my eyes open in pictures is not one of my talents.
Keeping my eyes open in pictures is not one of my talents.

Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Monkeys, Momiji Manju, and Mount Misen on Miyajima

A Double Dose of Delhi’s Markets

Access Info for Dilli Haat

  • Nearest metro station: INA on the Yellow Line, Gate #1
  • Admission fee: 20 rupees/adult, 10 rupees/child
  • Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
A fabric stall inside INA Market.
A fabric stall inside INA Market.

India is heaven for markets. You can find basically anything you could ever dream of there: spices, food, scarves, saris (both insanely elegant and for everyday), souvenirs, clothes…you name it, you can find it there. And you can probably get it for less than half the original price, if you have good bartering skills. One outdoor market, Dilli Haat, was on my radar before I’d even arrived in Delhi. It’s definitely a tourist attraction rather than a hangout for locals, but that didn’t really lessen the appeal for me. Dilli Haat’s claim to fame is its food court, which gathers specialties from all over India into one place. You can eat your way around the country without ever leaving Delhi. What’s not to love about that? So I set off from Humayun’s Tomb with a growling stomach, set on wolfing down as much food as I could.

The narrow aisles between the stalls of INA Market.
The narrow aisles between the stalls of INA Market.

Continue reading A Double Dose of Delhi’s Markets

Throwback Thursday: Mont Saint Michel (Or Hogwarts in the Flesh)

Like so many twenty-somethings who grew up reading about the adventures of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of their wizarding cohorts, it still breaks my heart a little bit when July comes and goes and still I haven’t received my owl from Hogwarts. Such is life as a lowly Muggle. But a small consolation comes from the fact that, for all intents and purposes, you can waltz off to Hogwarts for a weekend. And no, I’m not talking about the theme park in Florida. 
When can I move in?
When can I move in?

I mean an honest-to-goodness, medieval castle that looks like it would be the perfect home for Harry and co. I’m talking about Mont Saint Michel, a castle off the coast of Lower Normandy in northern France. When you think of Hogwarts, you might as well think of Mont Saint Michel. Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Mont Saint Michel (Or Hogwarts in the Flesh)

Glimpses of Delhi: Humayun’s Tomb

In front of Humayun's Tomb
In front of Humayun’s Tomb

Access Info for Humayun’s Tomb

  • Nearest Metro Station: JLN Stadium on the Violet Line
  • Admission Fee: 250 rupees for foreigners, 10 rupees for Indian citizens
  • Opening Hours: Sunrise to sunset, daily

With nearly a full day to myself to spend exploring Delhi, I was determined to see as much of the city as I could before meeting up with the rest of my group. My successful navigation of the metro system on the previous day did wonders for my confidence, but I still did a hefty amount of research and Googling at a nearby coffee shop before making my way out into the city. Continue reading Glimpses of Delhi: Humayun’s Tomb

What’s the Point of Bucket Lists?

It happens fairly often. Lonely Planet, Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, or Matador will tweet or post a picture of some unearthly landscape. I’ll open said picture and then exhale a sigh that’s usually a mixture of envy (of the photographer) and wonder (of the incredible world we inhabit). I’m in love with my job teaching English in Japan, but when I’m sitting at work, elbow-deep in grading final exams or wading through three hundred essays, all it takes is a picture of some far-off city to send me to Kayak to look up the cost of plane tickets. Just in case. It never hurts to know, right? Once I pry myself off WikiTravel, I head to my desktop to open a file simply titled “Bucket List.” And then yet another experience or city or landmark gets added to an already substantial catalog. Continue reading What’s the Point of Bucket Lists?