Saturday, January 30, 2016
Today we went digging for sandroses! It was a bit chilly so Jon brought his Saudi tent so the children could keep out of the cold wind. I love being out in the desert, it is so quiet and peaceful!
Little Abby trying to keep the sand from her eyes.
Kiki and Abby
The beautiful Saudi desert!
I love seeing bedouin roaming in the desert.
They are always so friendly and so interested and interesting!
It is fun trying to talk with them and finding out more about them and what they do.
Unni, Arun and Aneesh
Arun is a good friend of mine. He is always fun to talk to.
Unni is amazing! He has the kindest and most humble demeanor.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Friday, January 22, 2016
Monday, January 11, 2016
Day 10: Travel to Delhi!
Day 10 was a travel day!
We loved being in Kerala, but we were very excited to explore something new as well. Plus a very exciting surprise was waiting for us at the hotel... Mami and Papi!
My parents decided to surprise the children and spend the second portion of our vacation with us!
What a treat! We were thrilled about that!
Day 11: Qutub Minar, Hymayn's tomb, Jala Masjid, Chandi Chowk, and Raj Ghat
Our first day in Delhi was fully packed! As we were driving from place to place we were surprised and saddened at the poverty in Delhi. Children were barely dressed playing on the side of the road on tome of piles of trash, while others begged on the streets weaving in at our of cars. I could not help but look at my children nicely dressed, stomachs full, with kindles and iPads in their hands and feel so heart broken at the lack of basic needs of these children. All I wanted was to take them home with me, clothes them, feed them, give them a nice clean place to live and love them.
Our first stop of the day was Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is over 120 meters, and is the tallest brick minaret in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of Qutub Minar was combined by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, the founder of Delhi Sultanate in 1199 AD. The miner was built on the ruins of the Lal kot, the Red citadel in the city of Dhillika. It and the complex around it used the ruins of 27 Hindu and Jain temples purposefully destroyed in the Islamic incursions.
Qutub Minar was probably my favorite place we visited in Delhi. The architecture and the overlapping of the Hindu, Jain and Islamic architecture was so beautiful and interesting to me.
Our next stop was Humayn's tomb.
Humayn's tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Human in Delhi.
We drove past Lodhi Garden, government buildings, the Presidential Palace, India Gate, and the Red Fort.
Our third stop of the day was a visit of Jala Masjid.
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India.
In order to get in we all had to cover up.
Once we left Jala Masjid our tour guide had arranged a traditional cycle rickshaw ride in the back streets and bazaars of Chandi Chowk. Chandi Chowk is one of the oldest busiest markets in Old Delhi selling a variety of items like fabrics, spices, jewelry, perfumes, foods, and much more. It was a pretty fun experience.
Our last stop of the day was at Raj Ghat.
Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
After visiting the memorial we were happy to head back to the hotel for a nice dinner and some much needed rest.
Day 12: Drive to Agra, visit to the Taj Mahal, and Marble demonstration.
Today we headed to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, one of the 7 wonders of the world!
On our way there we made a quick stop to see the Lotus Temple.
We were all very surprised at how much pollution there was in Delhi and Agra.
The Taj Mahal
What a sight! The craftsmanship of this tomb is truly stunning. The Taj Mahal is an ivory marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Logan felt pretty sick that day. He was feeling so bad he just wanted to stay in the hotel room while we visited the Taj. But knowing that he would probably never get the opportunity to come back and visit it, he was brave and decided to come. He however was to weak to walk so we rented a wheelchair for him.
As always we were one of the main attraction everywhere we went.
People were so friendly and interested in us.
Some people stared at us, and wanted to talked to us, took videos us, and wanted to take pictures of us or with us. Jon and I were used to it by now from visiting so many asian, and middle eastern countries. But my mom and dada were not used to it.
They could not believe the people reaction to seeing a western family.
I love these candid shots of my dad, Julien and Logan. The boys love their Papi so much.
It was special to see them spending time together.
To end our tour of the Taj we enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride.
We then visited a marble shop where they showed us how to cut marble and gems to make beautiful designs.
Day 13: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and drive to Jaipur
Our first stop of the day was Agra Fort. It is a beautiful Mughal fort made out of red sandstone constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1565. Further additions were made by his grandson Shah Jahan.
Before arriving to Jaipur we made one last stop to visit Fatehpur Sikri. Fatepur Sikri is also known as a ghost or deserted city. It was built by Emperor Akbar. The architecture was quite beautiful. Akbar was tolerant of all cultures and religious beliefs and the architecture echoes that by mixing Persian, Hindu, and Islamic styles.
Day 14: Amber Fort, carpet making demonstration, City Palace, Haha Mahal, Jantar Mantar Observatory, and henna tattoo!
Today was our last official touring day of our vacation so it was packed. We were in the beautiful "pink city" of Jaipur. We first visited the Amber Fort.
The Amber Fort was built by Meenas. It is known for its artistic Hindu style. The palace has four levels, each with their own courtyards. The fort overlooks Maota Lake.
One of the highlights of the day was an elephant ride to the top of the fort.
It was a lot of fun!
After our elephant ride we visited the fort.
We than visited a carpet shop where they demonstrated how to make prints and weave and make carpets. The boys and Kiki got to try to weave and make prints.
We than visited Jantar Mantar Observatory. This observatory has a collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments. It features the world's largest sundial. The observatory was built by the Raiput King Sawai Jai Singh. The monument features masonry, stone, and brass instruments that were built using astronomy and instrument design principles of ancient Hindu Sanskrit texts.
We each had fun standing in front of our Zodiac sign monument.
Looks like the Leo's are outnumbering the rest of us!
Haha Mahal- also known as the Palace of the Winds
We than visited the City Palace and the museum within the palace which holds a collection of textiles, carpets, manuscripts, costumes and much more belongings from the royal family.
During our stay in India and more specifically in Rajasthan we saw all sorts of animals roaming free on the roads. I believe that in one day we saw camels, chickens, elephants, monkeys, pigs, goats, cows, and water buffalo (I am sure I am missing some from this list, but it is still pretty long..)
Jaipur is known for it's textiles and precious gems, and since Jon and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary a few days prior, Jon got me a beautiful sapphire necklace to match the ring he got me for our 14 year anniversary. I am a lucky girl! But I too did get him a pretty great gift. I surprised him with a pair of cufflinks from the Silver Museum with the words "Together Forever" engraved on them in Arabic.
Once we got home, Jon arranged for someone to come to the room and give some henna tattoos to all the girls!
We had fun doing that!
Kiki fell asleep with her hand against her cheek and some of the henna tattooed her face! lol!
Day 15: Going home!
Our amazing vacation had to come to an end!
We started our long trek back toward Delhi, and headed straight to the airport and back to Dammam while my parents headed back to SLC.
I feel so blessed to have been able to have visited this beautiful country and learned more about the Indian culture. I am even more grateful to have been able to take part in this adventure with my family and my parents. It has been wonderful!
"Strengthening families is our sacred duty as parents" -Elder Robert D. Hales
~And so we shall strengthen our family one memory at a time~