Monday, November 30, 2009

No Tigers at Tiger Camp

When we went to Jim Corbett Park we did many things. We played by a river. It was a river with very rough water. It was like a rocky beach. We played on sandstone and with the water with our toy horses. The water was so cold. We had lots of fun.
The meals were good at the hotel we stayed in. It was called, "Tiger Camp." We loved it!
We saw elephants in the river with their mahouts (owners). When the elephants didn't listen, their mahouts threw rocks at them. When it hit their head it sounded like a drum!
We went on a Safari and we saw some animals. We almost got to see a tiger, but their were too many jeeps! But we saw deer, monkeys, something shaped like a rooster and lots of birds.
One night we played Tambola (bingo) by the campfire. We both won money! There is a man who sings by the campfire. We also watched a movie about man-eating tigers. One tiger tore off the skin on someones head and it showed his bare skull! Eek! He is okay now. It said he shows his scars to everyone he sees!
Their were lots of trails in Tiger Camp so we had a lot of fun exploring them. The bath rooms were nice on the outside because their were flowers lining them. We went next door to another hotel with our mom and dad. It was called "Tarangi." We found a swimming pool at the other hotel, but our Dad did not pack our bathing suits! We want to take our Grandma to Tiger Camp next time!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Garden of the Five Senses

We visited the "Garden of the Five Senses" in New Delhi. And we got to use all of our senses there! We bought our tickets for only 15 rupees each and we went through the gate. First we went along a spiral path to awaken our senses. Evan said he got dizzy. Then we saw big elephant statues.
We then went through a big maze of bushes on each side of us. We went up a spiral staircase made out of stones. There were lots of couples there sitting everywhere. (some were kissing!) The path went to the top of a hill with some statues on it. We saw an orchard of yellow diamonds and there was a large metal tree with bronze bells all over it. The bells jingle in the wind.
We found little playground. It had a slide that was like a conveyor belt and a big wheel that was like the wheels hampsters like to run in. There were sculptures of watermelon (Evan's mouth was watering) and a lady diving high in the air. In one part, the garden even had solar panels for making electricity. We ate some good pizza in the garden too - next to a sculture of giant eyes that were looking at us.
We would definitely go to the Garden of the Five Senses again!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween!

We had fun celebrating Halloween. Dad went to a special market in old Delhi called, the "Kinari Bazaar" to find us some black capes for our costumes.Evan dressed up as Darth Sidious and Audrey was a Vampire! Our friends Esha and Shreyus dressed up too.

We carved pumpkins. There are green not orange! (We drew the faces and Dad did the cutting). We used little diwali oil lamps instead of candles to light them up. The Jack-o-lanterns looked pretty scary!
Evan lost his first baby tooth today (Halloween). He wanted to show everyone how his smile looks kind of like our jack-o-lantern's smile!

We all went to the American Embassy School on Halloween night. There were games and prizes. Two of our other school mates from Lotus Valley met us there. They are from South Africa. There were kids from all over the world at the festival. We liked the food. It was from KFC and Pizza Hut and there were gingerbread cookies. They had orange icing and were shaped like pumpkins. They looked like the cookies we sometimes get at Quacks Bakery back home in Austin.
The night ended with fireworks over the Embassy school. We didn't get to go trick or treating, but we had a really good Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Diwali Crackers!

These are not the kind you eat! In India fireworks are called "crackers." You light them on Diwali, so we bought some and lit them off with our friends. Diwali crackers are very loud. And they have smoke. Lots of smoke! Our Dad said we could only get small ones, so that's what we did. We had some that were small (chakkar - spinning fireworks) and some that were big (flower pots - shoot a shower of sparks in the air!) A lot of boys were lighting crackers and throwing them.One of our friends is only nine. Our Dad helped us with our crackers. One of the boys took dry leaves and lit them on fire with a cracker which made a big mess.
We were out in front of ATS and almost got blown up! It was like World War 2 out there. There were millions of fireworks. They were flying and spraying and crashing. Our Mom was a little scared. When we were coming back we had to watch out for fireworks coming down from the balconies. People were shooting bottle rockets and pistols that shoot out fireworks! IT was CRAZY. We were tired and it was hard to got to sleep because of all the noise, but we did. Our Mom stayed up until midnight. We had a lot of fun on Diwali.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Visiting Darjeeling!

We got to visit the town of Darjeeling. It is very famous for the tea they grow nearby. There is lots to do in this mountain town!
We went to several monasteries. Our favorites are the ones with the BIG prayer wheels... you spin the wheel to send the prayer up to heaven. Some of them are very colourful. There are monks in the monasteries. We got to talk with some of them. Some have been there for 30 years. One told Evan he was his age when he first became a Buddhist Monk. The boys (and sometimes girls) learn their lessons, chant and sing prayers every day. Evan likes Monasteries because they are very peaceful.
In Darjeeling there is a very famous toy train. The train was very nice, but it was slow and a little dirty. We got to ride it to the town of Ghoom. The sky is very Gloomy in Ghoom. We stopped at garden on the way called Batasia Loop. We had to go through many traffic jams! Then we went to the Train Museum in the Ghoom Train station. There was a model of the train and and tracks and pictures about the history of the toy train.
The funniest place we went to was Tiger hill. (It did not have tigers). We got up very early in the morning (3:30am - Ed.) and road a jeep up to the top of the hill. We had to wear jackets because it was cold. We stood in the dark and saw the sunrise. It was very crowded.We had some tea and got some Postcards in the shop there. This is where you see the best view of Mount Kanchenjunga!

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Friends in Kalimpong

We went on a trip to Darjeeling District. It is pretty far away in the Northeast corner of India in the Himalayan Mountains. We stayed at a hotel, Holumba Haven, that was very fun. This place had gardens and swings and a cage with rabbits and guinea pigs. They even had four dogs. A family owned the hotel and they had kids too! A boy and a girl named Robdin and Dwenka. We made friends with them in a short time.
There are two games we played. They are called "Police and Thieves" and "Water and Ice."
In Police and Thieves some kids are police and some are thieves. The police try and catch the thieves and put them in jail. Then they guard the door. In Ice and Water one person tries to tag the others. If they do they yell "Ice!" Another player has to come and say, "Water!" Then the frozen person can run again. The tagger has to catch all of the people to win the game.
We got to stay in a cabin called, "Magnolia" and we saw the third tallest mountain in the world right from our porch! Mount Kanchenjunga... It is 28,167 feet tall!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Riding the Metro!

We went on an adventure to ride the Metro in New Delhi. Audrey needed to do this for her Environmental Studies class (EVS). We drove to Connaught Place (CP) in the center of Delhi. The Metro is an electric train that runs above the ground and in tunnels. It is very new and clean! Getting on the Metro was fun because you have to use a token to get to the train.There were special sliding turnstiles. When you drop the token in the slot the little doors open. The tokens cost 9 rupees each ($.18) to go 5 stops. Chauhan our driver went with us. It was his first time on the Metro too! We only waited a few minutes for the train.
On the Metro it is always crowded. There are millions of people! People are smashed like crazy and we felt like we couldn't breathe. Mom and Dad helped us move to a spot that was less crowded.
It took us ten minutes to get to Patel Nagar - our Metro stop. We went there to look for a special toy shop. We took a bicycle rickshaw to the toy shop but it was closed! We found another one, but it wasn't very good so we walked back to the station. Chauhan helped us get more tokens. The train was still crowded.
When we got back to our car we drove to eat lunch at the Turtle Cafe. Then we went shopping for a little while. Audrey bought a magic trick and Evan got a little Lego kit. Then we drove home! We had a good day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Greater Noida Swimming Competition!

Evan and Audrey spent their summer in swimming training at Lotus Valley. They got their first chance to be in a swimming competition here in India! The competition was held at the Jaypee Greens Sports complex in Greater Noida. It was in an Olympic-sized pool! Our friends from Austin (and our driver) got to watch the races with us!
Audrey competed in the freestyle (50 and 100 metres) and breast stroke (50 metres). Evan was in his first ever races in the freestyle and breast stroke (50 metres)!
The pool was 20 feet deep (Evan found this out) and was 50 metres long. There were about 7 kids in each race (heat). You have to jump off a block when your start the race.
We had to wait a while for our races. All of the big kids went first. It was pretty hot in the bleachers, but there were fans. The fans were big and loud. They could cut your fingers off if you weren't careful! The bleachers were covered with banners to help shade us.
They both did a great job with the races. Evan got 4th place in his very first one! He had a really good dive off of the blocks.
This was Audrey's 3rd competition (1st in India). She won three medals: bronze for 50 metre breast stroke and bronze for 50 metre freestyle. She also won a silver medal in the 100 metre freestyle!
We met some new friends and had some free food. It was a long, hot day, but we had a fun time...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Riding on Roads in India

Driving in India is like swimming in water. It flows like a river. There are many objects on the road, like cars and buses (sometimes even elephants). The most unusual thing we have seen on the road is a cow. The farmers let them roam around and let them graze. This is why you see them everywhere. There are lots of funny vehicles on the road. There are three-wheeled Auto rickshaws. The driver has a pullcord he uses to start the engine. It reminds us of Dad's old lawnmower. There are also bicycle rickshaws. The last funny thing are the bullock carts. These are two-wheeled wagons pulled by water-buffalo. You sometimes have to drive around all of these things to get where you are going... There aren't many rules when you drive: Just don't hit anyone and just keep going.
Our Dad started driving us recently. He usually doesn't drive because we have a driver named, Chauhan. Chauhan is a very good driver. Now Dad can drive us to the mall when Chauhan is off.
On the roads here everything is opposite. The steering wheel on our car is on the right side instead of the left. And the cars on the road travel on the left side instead of on the right like back in the USA. Riding in a car can be very exciting here because everything is so different and you never know what you are going to see next!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Austin Friends!

Our friends from Austin, Mazzy and Artie have been visiting us here in India for 2 weeks! They came with their Mom, Miss Jennifer, and her friend, Miss Nikki. We got to show them a lot of the things we like here! The railroad museum and the Qtab Minar. They got to visit Jaipur and went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal (We haven't even been to see the Taj Mahal yet!) Our friends got to try some good Indian food (although we did enjoy some pizza and macaroni and cheese while they were here too!). Miss Jennifer and Miss Nikki brought us lots and lots of Macaroni and Cheese and Peanut butter from the US. Now we won't run out!

This last weekend we took a trip to Mussoorie on the train. It is high in the mountains so the weather was cool. Mazzy and Audrey got to take a horse ride and we went to see local Buddist and Hindu Temples. Artie and Evan learned some magic tricks! We had fun with our friends! We will miss them when they go back to Austin, Texas. : (

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tea Plantation

We got to visit a Tea Plantation while we were traveling in Kerala (South India). The Plantation is near Kumily in the mountains known as the Western Ghats.The plantation was very large. We saw lots of tea plants, but the first thing we learned was there is only one kind of tea plant! How we get many kinds of tea is because of where it is grown. The tea is in different climates so we get many different flavors.
This is how tea is made: First the tea leaves are trimmed off the tea plants. Then workers take the fresh leaves and suck the moisture out of the leaf. The factory uses big fans and trays for this. Next the dried leaves are roasted on a moving belt over a wood fire. Then machines separate and grind the leaves. Another machine sifts the tea into full leaves, bits of leaves and powder. This is a big pile of roasted tea! Tea powder is what goes inside a tea bag. Loose leaves are what we use for masala chai (spiced tea).
Our favorite tea is hot milk-tea with a lot of sugar!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

We went to the Periyar Wildlife Preserve near Kumily, Kerala. The Preserve is in a mountain forest. It was way, way colder than where we live near New Delhi!First we went on a jeep ride through the forest. On the way we saw lots of animals: giant black squirrels, wild elephants (even a baby elephant), bison, Sanbars and two kinds of macaques (monkeys). We also saw what we thought was an inchworm... it was really a leech! A leech sucks your blood and looks like a little inchworm. Our dad had 6 or 7 on his ankles at one time. Gross! We found out that if leeches suck too much blood they die.

After the jeep ride we ate breakfast. We had fruit, idli, sambar, fried eggs and chai. Then we went trekking for 3 1/2 hours. We were way up on the top of mountains - sometimes in the clouds! We hiked across a river and got our feet very wet. There were lots and lots of leeches on the trail. Leeches hate salt so we used some on our feet and special leech-socks to keep them away. The socks go up to your knees to help keep the leeches from biting you!

We had lunch after our trek and then went on a rowboat ride and climbed a waterfall. The boat ride was very short. I wanted it to be longer. Before we left the park we saw a small museum full of animal bones. The had all of the bones from a female elephant! Then we went back home through the jungle to the hotel in our safari jeep. It was a long day, but very fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kerala

We just got back from our trip to Kerala. We traveled there by plane. It was a four hour ride and had one stop in Mumbai before we landed in Cochin, Kerala. When we got there it was very late so we looked around and then we ate dinner. Do you know that Kerala is the coolest place we have been to in India? The temperature there is in the 80's during the day. We even went up into the mountains were we all had to wear jackets!
Kerala looks very different than Delhi. It is green, clean and developed. Kerala has less people so it is easier to keep clean. There are HUGE fishing nets and coconut trees. We stayed in a 3 star hotel in Fort Cochin. It has a pool and we stayed upstairs. The color of the hotel is white, green and light red.
Another thing that is different about Kerala is that there are lots of Christian churches there. We went to a beautiful, old, large one that was built by the Portuguese and the Dutch.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Hottest Day Ever...


















The hottest day ever was when we went to the India-Pakistan border. This was near the town of Amritsar in the state of Punjab. We thought we would be in the shade, but NO! The sun was pointing directly at the bleachers. Everyone was melting in the sun!

We went to the border to see Army men march and shout at each other. They were kicking so high they were touching the sky! The soldiers had very fancy uniforms.
video
The temperature finally got better around 5pm when the sun started to go down. Our shirts were soaked, but we felt better.
At the end of the ceremony it was very busy. There were people all over. We walked back through the special gates to meet our driver and went back to our hotel in Amritsar.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back to School

We went back to school today. We needed to get up extra-early this morning to make sure we had our backpacks together and all of our summer projects ready to take to school. Grandpa and Nana helped us with some of these while we were on vacation in the US!
Dad got up early to make our lunches and he made us special pancakes to celebrate going back to school. Mom helped us get dressed and get our room tidy.
Here we are in our track uniforms (we wear these every Wednesday instead of our regular grey uniforms). Our school-backpacks are really loaded down! They can get pretty HEAVY some days.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back From Vacation!

We spent the last 6 weeks visiting our grandparents and seeing lots of sights in the USA! We started out visiting our Grandpa and Nana in the mountains of Georgia. Grandpa likes to go hiking in the woods! We went on some really good trails and we took the dog with us. Her name is "Georgia."
Then we took a road trip (that's what Dad calls it) to visit relatives and sight-see. We visited some cousins in North Carolina and Virginia. We got to see our Great Aunt Jane and learned how to shoot a rifle!
Then we drove on to Washington D.C. It is the capital city of the US. We got to see the Lincoln and Washington Memorials, the Vietnam Memorial, and had a private tour of the White House (although President Obama was busy working so we didn't get to meet him.) One of our favorite things was visiting the Air and Space Museum. Very cool. It is one of the museums in the movie, "Night at the Museum 2."
The next place we visited was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the city were the United States began. We got to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall - where the "Declaration of Independence" was signed! Our Uncle Joe is a Park Ranger there. He explained to us some of the history in Philadelphia.Then we went on to see our Grandma and JaJa in Buffalo, New York. We got to do all sorts of things with themincluding seeing Niagara Falls in Canada,and going to Detroit, Michigan. We also got to eat good local foods like Pizza and Chicken Wings.
We are back in India now. It is really hot here! Our summer vacation is almost over! We go back to Lotus Valley School on the 1st of July. We will post more pictures of some of the things we saw during our trip soon!