Thursday, June 19, 2014

#TBT: 4PM Meltdown

Excerpts From Travels In India

Monday, January 24th, 2010

As our train pulled into the station at Jodhpur, 4 hours late, we were met by the hotel's driver. And from our lovely hotel, an old haveli, I sit writing this. the Ratan Vilas is a veritable oasis within the equally chaotic (though much smaller) city of Jodphur. I cannot help but feel like an ugly Westerner as I retreat back to my hotel replete with never ending pots of chai, streaming fountains, and beautifully tiled floors all opening upon an inviting courtyard. However, we have realized our limits and in order for us to truly take in India we need someplace to return to in the afternoon that is peaceful and quiet. Hence, the title: the 4pm meltdown. It seems that neither of us is able to bear the non-stop intensity of India past 4 pm. By 4pm we have reached our boiling point and must return somewhere calm. Usually, it was difficult to find a calm atmosphere within the city so we return to our calm hotel. That being said, we have most certainly ventured out each day on our own. We have yet to use drivers (beyond the first two days) and have instead walked or rickshawed our way around both Delhi and Jodphur. We have stood in long and confusing lines at the train stations to buy, change, and re-change tickets. We have wandered and haggled through the cities bazaars, eating amazing street food and taking photos with the locals (I think that at least a dozen locals have asked to have their photo taken with me, on their own cameras, much the same way we wish to have ours taken with them).

Chaotic square in Jophur

Waiting for samosa

4 PM melt down coming on
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India in spite of the chaos is a wonderfully colorful place. Beneath the layers of dirt and grime and poverty and desperation, there are smiles and laughter.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#TBT: Bundi: Losing Motion & Madame Is Coming

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I have had quite a journey these last five years traveling and curating for The Loaded Trunk. In the early years my blogs were often written with more detail about the journey and often in collaboration with my sometime fellow traveler and daughter. As the online business grew it became more difficult to come up with creative and engaging topics to write about. People often live by sound bites so I have changed the tone to go with the flow. After reading and giggling at some of these older posts, I will be posting an occasional #TBT.

Excerpts from travel in India Monday, January 25th, 2010

Bundi: Lossing Motion & Madame is Coming

After picking up our tailor made kurtis (traditional women's tops) in Udaipur, we got back on the road for the journey to Bundi, a small haven in-between bustling Udaipur and Jaipur. Along the road to Bundi we stopped at the impressive fort town of Chittorgarh, home to the largest of the many Rajput forts and shares temples with those of the Muslim, Jain, and Hindu faiths. After a whirlwind tour of the top, as we were naturally running behind (Indian style), we headed for the last bit of our journey to Bundi. Unfortunately, the lovely toll road (which is really just a nicely paved road with all sorts of traffic coming from all angles) ended about 60 kilometres from Bundi and so that last portion was traveled along a one lane, poorly paved road through unlit villages and rock mines.

Needless to say, we arrived in Bundi past 9 pm to our highly recommended women-run guesthouse. We entered a jammed packed Fellini-esque living room scene with numerous family members and apparent boarders to find that there was no water and banging on pipes throughout the very dark interior. The term 'haveli' (which in most cases means renovated mansions) really meant run-down, dirty old house. We fled as quickly as possible, in the dark, with both our driver Raj and the owner of the guesthouse running behind us asking us whether we had lost motion. "Madame, have you lost motion? We will fix water very soon. No problem". To 'lose one's motion' in India means to have 'diarrhea'. While madame (me) and my daughter Ryan did not lose our motion, we certainly weren't staying.

We eventually ended up at a lovely rooftop room in the Kasera Paradise where we were duly treated to a beer and a Masala Omelet. Little did we know what was awaiting us in the morning.
Wall paintings in our room in Bundi
As one becomes more comfortable with India, one becomes excited at small comforts provided: the fact that this hotel actually had toilet paper and warmer-than-lukewarm water was incredible. The fact that we had to beat off monkeys with a monkey-stick at breakfast was not such a highlight. We soon found out that the sleepy town of Bundi was a haven for monkeys: both Gibbons and the naughty Macaques. The former are generally quite harmless and afraid of people, however due to close quarters the latter have shown the peaceful Gibbons a few of the many tricks up their sleeves. Therefore, we rambled around town with monkey sticks (really just bamboo scraps found along the road) in tow and a high-pitched scream when necessary.
Roni becoming quite adept with the monkey stick

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Apart from monkey mayhem, Bundi was simply lovely and had a yet untouched feeling about it. The small fort and palace overlooking the town was in quite good condition, considering that most monuments in India are rather rundown, and the 'Maharani's Quarters' were simply breathtaking. Maharani means 'queen' and in her quarters were allowed only women, eunuchs, or the Maharaja (her husband, the king). The palace was covered from floor to ceiling in magnificently preserved miniatures of women bathing, putting on makeup, dancing, playing music, and generally enjoying themselves. All this was presented to us by the extremely enthusiastic 'keeper of the keys' (the palace's security guard) who opened locked rooms and pointed out details we would surely have missed. The fact that Roni is so close to the Indian name Rani (again, meaning queen) delighted the 'keeper of the keys' to no end which perhaps ensured our special treatment.

More to come from our sometime irreverent blogs past travels...

Safe and happy travels wherever you are this summer.

Warm regards,


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Peas in a Pod

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My mom celebrated another trip around the earth this year and I went out to pay her a little visit. She instilled the wanderlust and love for travel in me along with a passion for collecting things from around the world. In turn, I'm passing those things along to my own daughter. This is a little peek at some of the fun and beautiful things in her California home. What interests do you and your mom share? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Arrivals - Silk Ikat Pillows

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Have you seen our new pillows yet? Ikat remains popular and these designs pack a great graphic punch. There's a great selection of black and white pillows along with some fresh, bright colors for spring. Check them ALL out here