Friday, April 13, 2018

The Art?

Here's the summarized version of the whole trip...India, Italy, Portugal and Holland.  These are more like art.  To me, at least!  The day I arrived, I attended a wedding.  This is my favorite image from it...

At Animal Aid, comforting a puppy in Mange Kennel.

At Animal Aid, a cow wandering down the driveway.




Colosseum in Rome




Catacomb in Naples


Amalfi coast

Garden in Ravello





Villa De Bespo, Portugal

Villa De Bespo, Portugal

Villa De Bespo, Portugal

Rota Vicentina trail, Portugal

Rota Vicentina trail, Portugal

Rota Vicentina trail, Portugal






Traveling: Personal photos and stories, not art!

This blog entry is the fun stuff.  The personal adventure selfies, group photos with people I love, and other images that are by no means ART, but actually mean more to me than all of the pretty pictures combined. 

This winters trip was 4 1/2 months long, and included India, Italy, Portugal and Holland.  It didn't all go quite as planned, but nonetheless it was amazing and I'm always appreciative of the things I learned, places I saw, and people I met. 

The photo above is from a wedding in India in December.  My adopted family in India brought me to a relatives wedding...Sagar took this photo, and I love it.

Christmas Eve was spent with my Animal Aid family.

For Jagdish's birthday, we got together for a great dinner and cake.  I started baking in India, this cake was one of the first things I made with my oven once it arrived.  

The neighborhood I live in has 6 dogs.  I feed them and try to give them places to curl up and sleep.  When I got a refrigerator, it was in a huge box.  I cut the box up and made a "box bed" for them.  AT first, none of them wanted to go in...but eventually they were all lining up and crowding in together.  India may be warmer than New England, but winter is still quite cool at night.  Beds and blankets help a lot!  This photo is Boji, Tara, Mochu and Ma.

Every year when I get to Animal Aid, I have to figure out what I'm going to do with myself to be helpful.  This year ended up being kennel refurbishing.  Anyone that sees me at my own house knows how much I love taking something old and making it like new again.  Each kennel door takes 3 days to complete: grinding/sanding to remove layers of old paint, washing/drying, primer, then 1 or 2 coats of paint.  The hospital has about 75 kennels.  I finished about 32 of them.  This was a big job!  It feels strange to have been at Animal Aid for so long and NOT doing medical work.  Usually I help with all of the other tasks, tapping into my vet tech experience.  Not this year.  I'm proud of what I did, but it was just so different than past years!

I had a few parties.  This dinner was fun...I cooked a vegan meal for the volunteers at Animal Aid.  I'd like to have more dinners on future trips, I really love having everyone get together.  :)
When I arrive in India, one of the first things to do is get a SIM card for my phone.  Vodafone is the store I go to, and this time we had several strange incidents...the SIM card would suddenly stop working, and I was probably in the store every week or two, talking to the guys there.  India is big on paperwork.  MY paperwork, apparently, was mistakenly checked off as "resident Indian", and as such I would have had to produce an Indian ID card.  I don't have that.  I'm not Indian.  So Vodafone kept shutting my phone down as punishment for not producing the correct paperwork!  Eventually we got around this, but I became well acquainted with the staff there in the meantime.  After awhile, all I had to do was walk in and wave at Abhinav, and he knew exactly what I was there for.

Max turned 5 when I was in India, so Julie and Patrick had a party.  Max is an adult in a 5 year olds body.  He's amazing.  This kid has lived/traveled all around the world.  He is having the most amazing upbringing, I envy him!

Food shopping in India means I bring reusable bags and LOTS of bungee cords or rope to the store.  Everything has to be strapped onto the scooter.  It's quite an adventure.

Baking included bread, cakes, cookies, name it.  I made it.  I'd like to have a baking business in India.  Not a storefront or a restaurant, but a business where I take orders for bread. etc, and deliver it.

Sagar and Sahil wanted to improve their English.  We played scrabble a few times once my scrabble board finally arrived (February? It took several months for my boxes to arrive and I had sent them in September and October!)

Clearly, this one isn't art.  Or maybe it is.  It was a party that we had one night for Lorent's birthday.   Coincidentally, on the property, a DJ was setting up for a wedding the next day.  He was testing the speakers out and we just sort of took over the dance floor and made a dance party out of it.  

After reading Eat, Pray, Love many years ago, I decided pizza in Naples was a MUST TRY.  So after India I headed to Italy, got myself to Naples, and found the place where they filmed the pizza scene.  Due to limited table space (and line out the door and down the street) I was seated at a table with 3 strangers to eat.  I'm glad I went.  :)

The Path of the Gods was one of my hiking goals.  It's in Italy on the Amalfi coast.  The research I did on this trail before leaving home did not in the least prepare me for the reality of this trail.  These are serious hills.  Lots of staircases.  Going up is a challenge...but so was coming DOWN.  You had to watch your feet every second.  This is NOT a trail you want to fall from.

My lifelong obsession with textiles extends to pretty much everything...rugs, clothes, name it.  These scarves in Portugal just about overwhelmed me.  The display was so colorful, the scarves so soft!  In the end I got one for a friend as a gift, but nothing for myself.  I couldn't CHOOSE!

The Rota Vicentina trail in Portugal was planned while I was in India, and I picked a section that would take me about 10 days to hike.  I made a few errors in judgement and actually ended up bowing out after a few days.  I'd destroyed the bottoms of my feet and actually couldn't walk anymore.  (Long story) 

While in Amsterdam, a visit to the Rijksmuseum is a MUST.

In Amsterdam, I was taken in by a couple that has ties to Animal Aid in India, Mark and Barbara.  They set me up in a guest room, and this book collection was in that room.  I was so impressed.  They have been all over the world!  

Jim told me that if I was in Amsterdam at tulip time, a visit to the Keukenhoff was also a must, so Barbara and I went.  We were both duly impressed!  The outdoor gardens combined with the hothouse type buildings were just incredible.  Every type of tulip (or bulb flower) you can imagine.

Sagar is my adopted teenager.  His family rented a room to me for the first 6 weeks of the trip, and now I'm part of the family!  His twin brother, Sahil, is slightly more elusive.  I ended up with more photos of Sagar.  :)

From the wedding that the Sissodia family brought me to.  I bought this dress in the USA, knowing that the day I arrived in India I had a wedding to attend.  When this wedding came up a few weeks later I wore the same dress.  I never get to dress like this at home.  It was liberating!  For all of the weddings that I photograph, I have a simple black outfit.  Nothing like this dress!

Hiking group one day in India...the hills around Animal Aid are some of my favorites.  They tell you to be sure you're down by dark...panthers!!!

The group photo from my last day at Animal Aid.  

The goodbye party was held at the Sissodia's house...dinner and dancing!  GREAT night.

Sahil, me, Sagar, and Mickey.  This is the face you make when you're not quite sure if the camera timer is working.

Last day...Sagar and his mom and I.  

Ayala and I at a party one night.

Suraj and I on a hike in the hills.

My work uniform.  Next time I bring a real mask...I ended up breathing so much stuff in!

The Holi Festival was in March.  Everyone plays colors.

Selfie stick experiment in Italy.

My wet dog look.  I perfected this look in Italy.  It was colder and wetter than I anticipated.


Barbara and I on the beach with Noodles!  (Holland)

I met Trudy many years ago when she worked at Animal Aid.  I coaxed her into coming down to Udaipur for a weekend, and we went out walking in the city and eating from street vendor stalls.  Perfect!  

Back home, hugging my pets (who may or may not appreciate being held so close together for a series of photos!)  While I was away, Elliot had an eye removed in surgery, and his other one is blind.  Gracie died in February, one of the chickens died in March.  I am always torn about my travels.  I go away for long periods of time, and my animals are with other families.   I think I'll have to be without pets someday unless I can come up with a way to do this that isn't quite as stressful for them...and me!

Anyway.  Glad to be home but already planning the next adventure.