Sunday, March 21, 2010

We're Coming Home

(This is Debbie)

I'm doing the happy dance. We're coming home. God Bless America!

We leave this evening at 10ish, make a stop in Mumbai, change planes in London and then our last stop before home is Dallas. Then we fly home. We land at McCarren at 7:25 pm on Monday evening. British Airways, flight 5065.

I'm pretty curried out and can't wait to eat some beef - I'm not even a beef eater.

See you all soon!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Taj Mahal

(This is Debbie)

Yesterday we made a trip to the Taj Mahal. I can really see why they call it one of the seven wonders of the world. We woke up early and left to drive to Agra at 6:30 am. It was a 3.5 - 4 hour drive.

This is the entrance gate to get into the grounds of the Taj Mahal.

Waiting to get in.

Wow! It was magnificent! You can't really tell in the pictures, but it isn't completely white anymore. Because of the pollution, it has turned a creamy white. To get into the Taj we couldn't even drive near. We parked nearby and took a battery operated car near the Taj.

The king buried his queen in the Taj. We saw the replica tombs inside but the real tombs are located several feet under the structure. They can only be viewed by VIP's like the president.

Inside, is all white marble that is inlaid like what we saw at the Red Fort. Matthew hired a guide for us to share the history and take us through the Taj. There was such a long line to get in and our guide took us around back and took us in the back entrance. That was a blessing, since our little one was losing it fast. We're dealing with a few separation anxiety issues right now.

After the Taj tour, our guide took us to the place where they still inlay marble with precious stones (like in the Taj). They say, it's still the same family who does it and it's been handed down through the generations. Very interesting.

We do have a lot better pictures of the Taj Mahal trip but they are on Vic's camera. We will try and upload them later on.

The Mosquitoes Know I'm Here.

(This is Vic)

Word has spread, Vic is back in India. Last time I was here, I was gourmet food for mosquitoes. This time, I have been under the radar until yesterday- I had a pretty good 'bite-free' run going. Suddenly, it's like they all know I'm back and have moved in for the kill. This wouldn't be so bad except that I react badly to these bites, with every one turning into a giant red lump on me that just constantly hurts. I will spare you pictures. It's gross.

It is REALLY hard not to itch.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hanging Out In New Delhi

(This is Debbie.)

The last couple of days we have had a chance to hang out around New Delhi or "Delhi" as the locals call it. On our way to the embassy two days ago, we made a brief stop at the India Gate. It is massive and was built in honor of all the soldiers that lost their life in a war (the name of the war currently escapes me). Although honestly, I would have probably gotten it wrong anyway. So many things get lost in translation for me. I'm having a hard time with the language barrier. It's much easier to just let Vic do the talking since he's more used to the accent than I am. I smile and nod a lot.

You can get an idea of just how big the gate is by seeing how tiny Sammy looks.

Although based on the above picture, it's all about perception.

Yesterday we went to the Red Fort which, the property itself seemed to just go on and on. I'm not really sure what it was used for (but plan on researching it when I get home). When we asked our guide/translator, Matthew (who is a local) he also wasn't sure. One thing I do know is, it was magnificent.
Within the walls of the fort, like many forts, was the emperor's palace. It was amazing, with all the marble and water ways (minus the water now). Matthew told us the water would flow through the palace and with all the marble, it would cool the rooms and act like a fan.

Here is some of the marble on the inside. It was very detailed. Long ago, it was inlaid with pure gold, but has since been taken out and replaced with painted gold.

A palace dog.

This is one of the marble tiles. Each color on the white marble is a different stone. I can't imagine how long that would take for the artists to create.

An update on our little Maddy: She loves playing with her big brother and will often smile big and laugh for him. (Of course, this is when Vic is not around - so he hangs out around the corner so he can see it). She has her appetite finally and loves to feed herself (I'm so happy!). Today we went to the mall. She won't walk anywhere in public (she's probably never done it since she's spent the last two years in an orphanage). While in the mall I just couldn't carry her anymore - she's a little heater and can get quite heavy. So we made her walk around the mall for like 45 minutes. We were the crazy loud Americans that was letting their kid throw a tantrum (wow, did we get looks). She finally broke and walked the rest of the day - and looked happy about it. You just don't realize how new everything is to kids who have lived in an orphanage.

I just want to thank everyone who reads our travel blog and is supporting us. Every night we have fun reading the comments and being able to share this experience with you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Vic and Sammy have gone native!

(This is Vic) So we went to this restaurant, and what we thought were banana leaf place mats turned out to be the plates. And the lack of utensils was on purpose- they primarily ate with their hand (the right one). There are parts of India in which eating with your hand is normal. So I showed Sammy how to do it, and we 'went native!'

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Little Embassy Faux Pas

This is Debbie. We arrived in New Delhi yesterday and little Miss Pretty Pretty (her name that we call her) did great on her first plane trip. She is a real trooper. Because of how the day went we had no breakfast and no lunch when we boarded the plane at 1:30. Yeah, a real trooper. (I know: bad parents!).

Today was Embassy day. We needed to go there to get her traveling immigrant visa. We did medicals in the morning, where we found out she doesn't like the doctor at all (she knew immediately where we were when we walked in) and that she doesn't like shots. She had to get four and I'm pretty sure the whole clinic heard her. In fact there was another family there doing medicals for their son they were adopting and he started crying when he heard her. We like to make an entrance.

We stopped at McDonald's for lunch. We had to eat at an India McDonald's one time while here. I got the veggie burger and Vic got the Chicken Maharajah Mac. Yep, no beef here. The only beef they have in India walks alongside the road. The fries tasted just like home. I miss America.

We made a stop at the India Gate and then it was on to the US Embassy. Side note to the other India adoptive parents out there, they have a new policy that you need to make an appointment before you go (of course check with your agency about this). It was a quick process; we were in and out with her visa in two hours. From what I understand that's not bad. We have her visa. She can go home with us now. I was a little disappointed not to see the marines guarding the entrance but it was still nice to technically be on American soil. (Especially the AC when we walked in).

Now the faux pas: I kept telling Vic that no cameras were allowed. Like three times. When we turned the corner and I saw the American flag I was so moved that (remember I miss America) I'm ashamed to say, I took a picture. Oops. Yes, we were stopped and I was asked to delete the photos. Yeah, Vic isn't going to let me forget that.

One last thing to add. We may be suffering from a little malady called "Delhi Belly". Yay for Immodium. Don't worry we'll be fine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I can't turn off my power!

This is Vic. I think I figured out what the problem is. For the past 12 years, I have been in the back of church looking at little babies, putting a 'shhhh' finger to my mouth, and trying to telepathically will them to be quiet and calm during service. Apparently, I have developed mutant powers to this effect, and now can't turn it off. This is why my daughter can be laughing, playing and talking in the room, but as soon as I walk in she goes all super serious and doesn't move. I just have to find the off switch to my power. Why couldn't I fly instead?