|In a conversation last August, Louise and Bob mentioned that they were planning a trip to India in January. Louise asked if I wanted to join the tour. I immediately said, "Sure, I'll go." I had always wanted to visit India but did not imagine traveling on my own. The large differences in culture and language seemed daunting. A trip to Europe felt easy in comparison.
After hearing more details about the trip from Louise, I definitely wanted to go: travel for two full weeks in Northern India with a tour leader and guides, visit palaces and forts, ride camels and elephants, see the Taj Mahal, and more. And all for the low price of US$1100 (not including airfare and insurance). My neighbors, Dave and Mary, had also decided to join the tour.
Preparing for the trip was relatively easy: eat Indian foods, read travel books, buy a new bag (with wheels), stand in line at the Indian consulate in San Francisco to get a visa, and get four vaccination shots (hepatitis, polio, typhoid, and measles/mumps/rubella). I skipped the malaria pills since we would be in India during the cool, dry winter season.
Late January was a good time to visit Northern India. Although the nights were chilly, the daytime temperatures were 55 to 75F. It seldom rained. The summer season (April-June) is hot (80-105F) and dry. The monsoon season (July-September) has hot temperatures compounded by high humidity.
I had planned to regularly post notes and photographs during my trip, but it was difficult to find internet cafes. The few locations that we found operated on slow dial-up connections. So, all the pictures and journal entries have been entered since my return.
WARNING! This site has over 400 photographs. And I could have included more! Between the five of us, we snapped about 2,000 pictures. Dave and I have decided that, in the future, American tourists will have digital cameras permanently attached to their foreheads.
Before going any further, I want to thank Louise and Bob for inviting me on this great trip. Thanks to The Imaginative Traveller and our tour leader, Abhishek Madhukar, for taking care of us. Thanks to our amazing bus driver, Iqbal, for deftly avoiding oncoming trucks and camel carts.
Also, thanks to Bob, Louise, Dave, and Mary for allowing me include some of their photographs in this website (otherwise, there would be no pictures of me). Mary was also generous to share her daily journal for this site.