New Delhi, Weather from Weather Underground

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thursday afternoon Dan called and said that he had to go away for the weekend for some "strategic planning" meetings. He also said that his boss would like the families to go along. Did I forget to mention that we needed to leave in a couple hours? So quick, frantic packing done. Girls fed, van loaded and off we headed to Manesar. It is a small industrial town about 45 minutes south of Gurgaon. As we drove past factories, manufacturing facilities, shops, tent villages, and construction site after construction site, I started to panic. Where are these meetings being held? Did the big boss really expect us to take the family for a fun weekend in this dusty, noisy village? Then we turned off the highway onto a small lane that led to the above. Heritage Village is an amazing retreat hidden away in the most unlikely of places.
The grounds at this "Rajasthani haveli style palatial resort" are located on 12 acres of quiet. The abundant flowers, trees, hammocks and hidden seating areas create a relaxing, calming place to kick back.
The girls thoroughly enjoyed strolling the grounds and gardens. We picked flowers, hung out in one of the multiple hammocks on the properties, and played games in the park.

Rebekah found an old bird's nest which she proceeded to fill with flowers to decorate our room.
The hotel has its own garden in a back corner where they grow many of the vegetables and greens used in the kitchen.
Everywhere we turned there was something interesting to check out.

Add to that the beautiful architecture and Rajasthani decorations and it was a wonderful paradise not far from home.

They even had a playground, cricket court (not sure what it is actually called...pitch, field??), volleyball courts, camel rides, and horse rides.
And, of course, the favorite for our family and where we spent most of our time....The beautiful swimming pool.

If it weren't for the fact that Dan was stuck in meetings most of the weekend, it would have been perfect. All in all the girls and I had a fabulous time and returned to the real world relaxed, a little tanned, and ready to plan our next get away.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Holi in Action

After Rebekah got tired and cold, we walked around and took some video of the celebration. I had to get a little of the action with the laughter, splashing, and Hindi music sounds in the background.

Holi in Pictures

Celebrating our first Holi in India was an occasion that is simply indescribable. I'll let the photos from our fabulous, fun, colorful, water-filled morning do the talking....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What is Holi?

We are in the midst of celebrating our first Holi in India. I remember watching Amazing Race, Season 13 when the contestants had to run through the colors to find their clue. At that time, I couldn't fathom how this could be fun in any way. So, what exactly is Holi? describes it this way. "As the brief spring warms the landscape, northern India cuts loose for a day of hi jinx and general hilarity. The festival of Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March every year.

Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, Holi is now a symbolic commemmoration of a legend from Hindu Mythology. Today Holi is an excuse for Indians to shed inhibitions and caste differences for a day of spring fever and Big Fun. Teenagers spend the day flirting and misbehaving in the streets, adults extend the hand of peace, and everyone chases everyone else around, throwing brightly colored powder (gulal) and water over each other.

The festival's preamble begins on the night of the full moon. Bonfires are lit on street corners to cleanse the air of evil spirits and bad vibes, and to symbolize the destruction of the wicked Holika, for whom the festival was named. The following morning, the streets fill with people running, shouting, giggling and splashing."

The days before Holi our nanny and I went around picking up the herbal/safe colors, water guns, water balloons, and white outfits for the girls to wear. For about a week before the children played squirting each other with water in the playground. They loved the "practice" with all the water fun.
Rebekah and her friend Jessica testing their equipment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Painting in the park

Saturday we were invited by a friend to attend an art class in the garden at the American Club or ACSA. Good times were had by all while sitting in the sunshine, painting, making new friends, playing on the playground, and having a Snapple. The Snapple may have actually been Rachel's favorite part of the entire morning. It's one of those drinks that we would have when on car trips and viewed as a special treat. The fact that it is sold at ACSAs canteen made her jump for joy.
Big sister watching over and giving advice to little sister.
Setting up for the class.
The class was taught by a Delhi artist by the name of Gouranga Ghosh. He had great patience with all the kids, even the little ones.
The finished products....
Rebekah's elephant
Rachel's elephant
Rebekah's fish
Rachel's rainbow fish

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stepping Outside: Part II, Adding a little color

My Hindi homework for today was to write about something I did over the weekend. The simple, four year old Hindi that I speak translated to this.

"Everyday my girls and I pass in front of flower shops. My older daughter always says, 'I want to have some flowers. Please, can we buy some flowers.' Because of this, yesterday my daughters and I went to the flower shop. We bought eight Dahlias and two flowering bushes. My daughters also bought special flowers. They are carefully looking after and watering these special flowers. Now Rachel and Rebekah are very happy."
Picking out the "special flowers."
Posing beside her "special flower."
Would they all fit into our van?
Yes, they all fit, and we were good to go.
Very glad the girls kept asking to stop and buy flowers. The color is a wonderful addition to our balcony.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stepping Outside

I really love our apartment. Well, maybe not love but am very happy with our apartment.
One of the aspects that I love and reasons why we chose it is the large balcony facing the park. Yes, it is loud and dusty when we sit outside, but...this is India. What else is there to expect really. This fall when the weather cooled some I kept saying, "We need to get some furniture out here." Husband and I were weighing options of table and chairs vs comfortable seating. Then December and January came and it was c-c-cold. Too cold to sit outside. Too cold to think about outdoor furniture. Thankfully, winter in India only lasts about six weeks. As soon as it warmed up, we started spending time outdoors again. See the girls below having a picnic. We started spending day after day sitting on a blanket on the balcony.
This is when I realized that it was time to get off my backside and find some furniture. No one was going to do it for me. There wasn't going to be a convenient time when Dan and I could shop together. Also, there really is never a time that I am able to go without at least one little one in tow. So, one afternoon Rebekah and I headed out on an adventure to Sikanderpur and the wicker/cane markets.
In Sikanderpur we drove past the nurseries first, then the ceramic pots, and finally found shop after shop of wicker places. How to choose, where to stop, who will give me the best deal and not rip me off because of my fair coloring and blue eyes?? It took looking in a few places to find Shagoon Cane Handicraft. Sunshil and Sunil Shagoon are either brothers or father and's hard to tell. It's a little daunting when you walk in. The dust, the massive amount of options, the workmen who just stop and stare made me want to turn around and return to my blanket on the balcony.
My little one, always the leader, charged right in, shook hands with Mr. Shagoon, and started trying out sofas. He was totally taken with her and gave us a tour of his "property."
There are so many choices. Finally I found what we wanted. Rebekah jumped on it, stretched out, and gave it the thumbs up accompanied by the head bobble.
We weren't done yet though. We had to go to another part of the market where fabric and upholstery is sold. (Also, pets and pet supplies, lighting, kitchen and bath furnishing, appliances, and probably anything else you may want. Think of all the Home Depot departments in multiple little shops lining a dusty alley.)
Fabric chosen and back to Mr. Shagoon. His men (or "boys" as he calls the 80 year old looking guys who stitch for him) made perfect fitting slipcovers with zippers for cleaning.
The girls are thrilled to have furniture on the balcony. We now snack outside, read books, color, and relax. I'm so glad we did it now before the weather gets too hot to be out anymore.
It looks so much better and is 100% more comfortable than our old blue quilt.
The first time Dan was home and able to try it out also seemed to be a hit. He would be giving the thumbs up if he were awake. I am going to assume this is a vote of confidence from him.