One of my dearest friends in the world, Crystal Rivette, celebrated an important birthday this March! Though I was sad that I was too far away to celebrate with her in person, I decided it would be fun to celebrate her birthday throughout India, during my travels this month:
In Alleppey, Kerala, riding through the backwaters on a houseboat
At Cafe Jew Town in Cochin (Kerala), the home of the surprisingly best chocolate truffle I have ever consumed.
A wild one-horned rhino at Kazi Ranga National Park (in Assam) hangs out in the grass.
Bhaduri the baby elephant is unimpressed by my lack of bananas. (at Kazi Ranga National Park)
I didn't get to celebrate Holi in India this year, but this awesome pink goat certainly celebrated enough for both of us!
at the Happy Valley Tea Estate in Darjeeling - surrounded by amazing Darjeeling Tea plants!
On the border of Sikkim and West Bengal. The gazebo was so beautiful, and the bridge behind it, connecting the two states, was the scariest one I've crossed in India yet. There were actually holes in it!
drinking a cup of 'Super Fine Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe One', which is the name of the best quality first-flush Darjeeling tea. You only have to brew it for five seconds!
Buddhist prayer wheels at the Tibetan Refugee Center in Darjeeling (which America actually funded in the 1940s)
Hanging out of the train at Trivandrum Station in southern India (I tried to get a picture of me holding the sign while the train was moving, but you can imagine how hard that was...)
Jal Mahal, a palace in the middle of a lake. It's my favorite place in Jaipur, and one of my favorite places in the world.
at Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. The point is to the right, and the statue of the famous poet Thiruvalluvar that distinguishes Kanyakumari is on the left. The wind was so intense I had to hold my kurti between my legs!
on the train from Guwahati (Assam) to New Jaipalguri (West Bengal). I made a new friend, clearly.
in a cycle rickshaw in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi. A fabulous way to travel!
an Asiatic Black Bear at the Darjeeling Zoo! There was only a small moat separating people from the bear... he probably could have just jumped over and ripped my face off if it wanted to. He seemed in good spirits, though.
traditional Buddhist prayer flags in Pelling, West Sikkim. They were all over the city, and were beautiful as they waved in the wind.
at a factory where traditional Jaipur blue pottery has been hand crafted for four generations. If it wasn't breakable, I would have stuffed my suitcase with it!
an awesome herd of buffalo out for a stroll in Jaipur, by the Amber Fort.
the omelet guy on our street - his omelets are delicious! (and his tablecloth may be a bollywood poster...!)
at the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing in Jaipur - I block printed this letter, too! Behind me is Amber Fort, one of the most famous and beautiful forts in Rajasthan, and perhaps in India.
the fruit-wallah on our corner in Lajpat Nagar (the vegetable-wallahs were offended I didn't take a picture with them: "what? our vegetables don't look good to you??")
A big thanks to Brian, Devin, Aditya, Robin and Sana for taking these pictures of me and being part of the fun!
Happy Birthday Crystal! Hope you have an absolutely magical year!