Monday, January 6, 2014

We've arrived!

After traveling over 34 hours, we are finally on the same continent as our daughter!  We had our share of travel-related drama, with winter weather that caused a 1 hour delay, then another 3 hour delay . . . and did I mention that we spent those three hours sitting in the plane, then flew the scheduled 12 hours??   The delays made for a harrowing connection for our next flight!  And then our luggage was lost . . . but our hotel has been wonderful about following up with the airline, and we hope to have it back tomorrow.  Anya did amazingly well during the flights, and only had one meltdown tonight before going to bed.  Poor tired girl!

Checking out the koi pond at our hotel.


The important part of all those details is that we're here in Kolkata, where we first met Anya Rashi almost exactly 6 years ago!  After arriving just before noon, we decided to walk about in a nearby shopping center and have lunch at the hotel before heading out to do something cultural.



We chose a historic destination we didn't visit on our first trip: Belurmath Temple.  Located on the banks of the Ganges River, it is an important Hindu religious site, but also an architectural marvel.  The temple features architectural elements form different religious traditions, to emphasize the brotherhood of man.  There were other buildings located on the same site, devoted to different Hindu gods or goddesses.



It was a photographer's dream -- different types of stone or painted surfaces, that somehow worked harmoniously without matching styles, colors, or building materials.  And the entire scene was anchored by the Ganges.  It was amazing to see in person the famous river that we've only seen in films or read about.  However, out of respect for the worshippers and the purpose of the site, no photography is allowed.



It was a place of visual order and peace -- in contrast to the busy Howrah District that surrounds it.  Not only because of the crazy traffic and honking horns, but also because of the contrast of the surrounding neighborhoods in the Howrah District.  There is a huge variety of open-air shops and businesses, and people and dogs and cows, and every kind of vehicle imaginable.  There are shacks built alongside the road that are cobbled together from sheet metal, boards, thatch, blankets -- a testament to ingenuity, and making the most of what's available.

There is always something interesting to watch in Kolkata -- one memorable sight was men transporting long strips of metal or rebar using a bicycle rickshaw.  It looked impossible, but somehow they maneuvered through the packed streets.  I would NEVER attempt to drive a car here myself -- we had an excellent driver who did a great job navigating through the humming crowds of vehicles.

Many Caucasian traveling families have mentioned having their photos taken by Indians, especially schoolchildren.  That happened in a big way today -- a group of children was leaving the temple grounds as we entered and stopped to practice their English on us, take photos with us, and wish us a "Happy New Year"!  I decided that this trip, I would also take their photos, so I have a few shots of the group.  Poor Anya didn't know what to think of all the fuss -- and was too tired to talk much about it.


We did the jet lag trick of forcing ourselves to stay up until 9:00 p.m. or so, so we can sleep through the night.  Anya made it until about 6:00 p.m., and fell asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel . . . I hope she sleeps for 14 hours to make up for our long days of travel!  I'm on the same schedule, so please forgive typos or things that don't make sense!!!

We will post more tomorrow -- we're trying to do a little sight-seeing now, before we have Kavya, so I hope we are able to get out again tomorrow morning!  Good night!


13 comments:

Karen said...

Wonderful! I am so excited to follow the details of your trip. What an amazing adventure. Love to you all!

PaulzineN said...

So, so, so very excited for you all! We are saying many extra prayers for you and your newest little blessing!

Sarah said...

So thrilled for you, and I can't wait to see your sweet girl in your arms.

Lucy said...

Hooray!! So exciting!!!

Julie & Patrick said...

yay...you are blogging! I wasn't sure if that was in the plan. So glad you made it there safely. Anxious to hear Anya's opinions...once she has slept long enough to know who she is again. Those long flights are so hard the kids! Can't wait to hear all the details of this wonderful trip!

Love, Julie

MiaMyIndianAngel said...

Yay! So glad I saw this when I was taking a break from school stuff.. We did the photo thing, too, with other people who wanted our photo. I hope you guys are sleeping soundly right now. Praying for you all!

Kristian said...

:) looking forward to following your journey!

D'nardo said...

Anya's right. Maybe you should just drive home! Thanks for keeping us up to date and good luck with the rest of the adventure.

D'nardo said...

Anya's right. Maybe you should just drive home! Thanks for keeping us up to date and good luck with the rest of the adventure.

Jeff Yeast said...

Very Excited for you all! Can't wait to read more.

Cristy said...

I'm just bursting with excitement for you guys! Praying for you!

Heather said...

Finally the culmination of such a long journey--in several respects. I am thinking of you...Piyashi will be thrilled (and envious) to get glimpses of Anya's trip to India. To go to India AND get a new sister out of the deal. What could be better???

Kim Hammen said...

Love to be able to experience this with you from a distance. Breathtaking photos, and of course the awesome narration! Love you guys, can't wait to read more! Kim