Author: Alex Upadhyaya

India Phase 4- Mumbai

I’ve finally made it to the last phase of our India trip– Mumbai. But before I get into Mumbai photos, I need to share one last Goa picture that I forgot to include on my last post. Now you understand why cows on the beach made for an interesting time.

IMG_1865We left Goa to began the last leg of our trip. I was worried about returning to a big city because of how sick I got in New Delhi due to the air quality. However, the air quality in Mumbai was much better– probably because it’s on the coast. One of our first stops in Mumbai was the Gateway of India.

The main event of Mumbai was meeting more family. My dad’s two cousins, Suddah and Maddu live in Pune, right outside of Mumbai with their families. We met up for a late lunch, but not before going on a Lost My iPhone trek across the city.

Kayla, dad, Lars and I spent the morning walking around Mumbai, stopping in a store to buy some sweets. As we headed back to the hotel to greet the cousins, my dad felt around his pockets and realized his phone was missing. Naturally, we thought he was making a not-so-funny joke… but after a few minutes of him wide-eyed and persistent, we realized it wasn’t a joke. The cousins were due to arrive at the hotel in a matter of minutes, so we frantically made our way to the lobby. I opened my phone and logged into Find My iPhone with dad’s information. Lars dad and I hopped into the hotel taxi and chased the blinking blue dot through the city of Mumbai. It finally stopped moving and we were able to catch up to it. We approached a line of parked tuktuks and I jumped out of the car trying to locate the beeping phone. As I approached the tuktuk that was beeping, the driver sat up from the backseat where he was napping. He was obviously confused to see the family he had driven hours before, back unexplained. I reached into the tuktuk and grabbed the phone which had been tucked under the back cushion. I still can’t believe we managed to get dad’s phone back off the streets of Mumbai.

Paan, loosly meaning “leaf” is a combination of betal leaf with areca nut. Although it’s often chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects, there are many different types, all with different purposes. The type we tried was more of an after dinner “sweet” treat. Watching them prepare it was quite interesting.

Our trip to India was great– even though it took me years to properly document it. I just about ready to head back for round two!

India Phase 3: Goa

I realize it’s been a while since we got back from India, but I finally decided to continue posting the remaining photos from our great trip. Phase 3: Goa.

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Our time in Goa was unlike the rest of our trip. We were in total vacation mode– beaches, sunsets, pools, shopping and good food. We stayed at a hotel that sat atop a hill overlooking the beach– a perfect spot to watch the sunset.

The biggest difference between other beaches I’ve been to and Goa beaches were the cows and water buffalo. They were mostly harmless, however there was one near disaster. I was simply walking down the beach taking a selfie when a water buffalo lowered his head and rammed his horns towards me. If I had been just an inch closer, his horns would have punctured my torso, no doubt. The pictures below document the event. They don’t exactly portray the severity of the situation because I was so oblivious as to what was happening. I only became aware he was charging towards me once I heard the growing screams of a nearby group watching with more amusement than concern.

The only other beach encounters involved cows trying to snag the pakora off of our plates. They succeeded more than once.

The second craziest night market we went to was in Goa (the first was in Varanasi). It was the type of market that needed to be visited twice– the first time for making the rounds and soaking it all in, and the second to actually shop.

On our first day Lars and I walked the shore and explored the rocky bends of the beach. We found lots of little creatures and neat rock formations. Additionally, Mom, Dad, Lars and I took a day trip to a yoga center in order to take a class.

Overall, there was a lot of relaxation during our time in Goa. It was a much needed relief from the bustle of the cities.

Goa was definitely a fun spot, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back!

The Family Hytte/ Cabin

A hytte is a cozy Norwegian cabin, often in the mountains, and used as an escape from the stress and noise of everyday life. Both Ole Magnus and his brother Christian have cabins a bit outside of Hønefoss. I have memories of spending Christmas at the cabin back in 2005, and maybe some vague memories of spending time here back when I was 4. But despite all of the time I’ve spent in Norway the last few years, I hadn’t made it back to the cabins. However, we made it a priority to get some hytte time in this trip. We left Hønefoss late morning, stopped for groceries (and ice cream), and made it to the cabin by the afternoon.

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OJ led us up the mountain which proved more taxing than anticipated. There was still a good amount of snow left up there, so navigating the snow patches and swampy areas took time.

Once we reached the lake, we hesitantly took a dip. OJ was the first one in the water, and he didn’t exactly make it look enjoyable. Nevertheless, I still managed to dunk myself before rushing back onto land to dry off and get dressed. Kayla was the only wimpy one, and only made it in up to her knees. It was really, really cold.

After we put our layers back on, we enjoyed some Coronas and chocolate before heading back down to the cabin.

We spent the night playing cards and boardgames, all of which OJ won. We cooked a yummy stir-fry and put a dent on both the bottles of tequila and fernet. Of course, it wasn’t time for bed until the sun already started rising.

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Family Time in Norway

This past trip to Norway was full of great family time. We all joined Aunt Anne outside of Oslo for Griffin’s folkehøgeskule graduation.

While I was in Bergen shrimp-picnicing, hiking, and catching up with friends, Grandma and Grandpa were sailing down the coast from the islands of Lofoten to Bergen. They hopped off their boat and met us at the train station so that we could all spend the 17th of May in Grandma’s hometown, Hønefoss. The train ride was very scenic, despite the periodic darkness during numerous tunnels.

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Griffin stayed in Hønefoss before he headed out on a trip around Europe with his friend from home. Kayla, Grandpa, Griffin and I enjoyed Ole Magnus’s home brewed beer on our first night in Honefoss– our first time drinking with Griffin. We enjoyed Ole Magnus’s home brew– so much so that by the time we left, his supply had dried up! OJ wouldn’t even put his down while on the slackline– but maybe he just wanted an added challenge.

Kari, Ole Magnus, and OJ were excellent hosts as always. The 17th of May was full of good food, drinks, and people– like it should be. We even lucked out with the weather. The day began with the traditional champaign breakfast, followed by the Hønefoss parade.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating– grilling, eating, and drinking with family and friends.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to wear Grandma’s bunard for the third time. This is a traditional Norwegian dress made of wool and embroidered with regional designs. Grandma embroidered hers herself when she was a teenager. She’s worn it for countless celebratory occasions, my mom was married in it, and now I’ve gotten to wear it three times.

Even though they couldn’t make it for the 17th, Knut Harald, Nina, Jacob, and Josefine came to visit afterwards. We had yet another great day of sun, good food, drinks, and relaxation. It was great to see (almost) everyone from the family this trip.