Monday, October 13, 2008

The Crow.. and other travel bits

Thought I would start this post by throwing in a review of the Park Hyatt resort – in the event that anyone out there might be considering a visit. I’ve already mentioned that it is a fabulously-beautiful resort, and this is very true. It also is worth mentioning that the service is impeccable. Anything you need, you only need ask (and often, it seems that they read your mind – or have amazing ears and can hear you discussing something from several feet away and instantly materialize with whatever it is that you were considering a request for). From the moment you arrive and are handed a refreshing drink of coconut milk – still encased in the chopped-open coconut – you feel catered-to.
The rooms, while amazing, might not be comfortable for travelers who are not ‘close’. The bathroom is separated from the main room via sliding wood-slatted doors. While you cannot see through the wood slats (unless you are my 3-yr old and you crouch down while bending your head at a quite flexible angle in order to frighten anyone inside with only your sparkling black eyes seen peering through a slit), they don’t block much (any) sound. It is not easy to bathe, wash out clothing, etc while someone is napping.
The tub is hands-down one of my favorite things about the resort. It is sunken into the marble bath floor (and is also marble). There are 2 steps leading into it.. and it is ~5’ x 5’. In a large dish, a supply of honey-suckle smelling orange-color flower petals is kept heaping. It is easy to pour yourself a bath worthy of the most luxurious spa.. and someone from the staff here would likely be more than happy to have one poured for you if you found it too much trouble. :)
One other note regarding the fab tub: it is located in the center of the bathroom.. and the waterfall shower rains down into it. This means that if you are looking for a private bathing experience.. you aren’t going to get it here. Especially if you are traveling with a small child who never leaves your side! The doors do not lock btw.
I believe I had read a review prior to visiting this hotel stating that a few of the rooms actually have the shower detached.. but I don’t know. There is no ‘shower door’. And one wall of the shower is glass – shuttered on the outside by wood slats and a circle design at the top. This allows privacy (believe me – I’ve scoped every angle from within the room and it seems to be private!).. while giving you the feeling of bathing outdoors in the midst of the rainforest.
The toilet is located in a separate toilet area, with a slatted door, but is inside the bathroom. If you aren’t close-knit travelers, you might not want to share the bath while getting ready in the mornings/evenings.

The food at the hotel is great – the café has an extensive breakfast buffet (also surprisingly affordable) with ~20 different fresh breads/rolls/muffins/etc, fresh fruit, and any egg/pancake/French toast/etc item made-to-order upon request. I’m really going to miss this – I don’t think my cold cereal is quite going to rival it!

I mentioned the crows in the blog post title b/c they are very aggressive here. We encountered one yesterday that had his eye on Maya! He kept following us.. swooped at her once.. and then perched on her pool chaise and stared at her. She thought this was pretty cool and started to reach towards the ‘birdy friend’.. while I yelled and smacked at him. The crazy thing didn’t fly away until I literally pounded the chair next to him! Hmm. I’m guessing she must have been carrying some breakfast crumbs on her clothing or something.. ?! Yipes!

So today we ventured out of the resort!
Thank god that I remembered my motion-sickness pills. Someone (no names mentioned..) was making fun of me when we started out on our journey.. but an hour and many screeching-tire-hairpin-turns-into a barrage of oncoming trucks/buses/mopeds later.. the jokes had ended!
I’m pretty sure that I have 30 or 40 new grey hairs.. or maybe the color could more aptly be described as shocked-white. The India driving really doesn’t normally scare me much – I somehow just ‘let go’ and do not look out the front windshield during the rides. But today I was expecting less craziness – we had been told that this area is much more tame than the Delhi area. I BEG to differ. Very narrow roads and faster speeds. Even Maya gasped out loud several times when viewing an oncoming bus that looked to be driving almost on top of us.

We checked out a fort – which was disappointing after the amazing forts and other sites we had seen in the Delhi/Agra area (but like I told Aj.. we seriously cannot compare ANYTHING in the world to the Taj Mahal now can we?? We've been spoiled!). The views of the Arabian Sea were quite phenomenal from the walls that we climbed onto, however. Just, again, so hot that we did not feel like lingering.

We drove into Old Goa and visited the Basilica of the Born Jesus. This church houses the body of Saint Francis Xavier. His body has not decomposed.. and was not embalmed. I think that is so amazing. My mom had recently been telling me of some saints which were entombed in Rome which also had not decomposed.. so interesting! His body is displayed every 10 years, with the next being 2014. I guess thousands and thousands of people come to see him from around the world. I would luv to see that.. but could not even begin to imagine the crowds and insanity.
We drove past a large convent which housed an order of Franciscan nuns. I snapped a quick photo, but we did not visit. I would have liked to stop – but Maya was literally melting down at this point, and we were all tired/hungry/sweltering. There is a story of that convent, but I didn’t quite understand what the driver was saying. I’ll have to scope it out and pass it along to my sister (also a francisan sister). (sorry we missed it Mary.. I was trying..)

That pretty much made up our day! We had hoped to do more, but we were just too dragged down by the heat. We will have to revisit in a few years at a better time of year. We did see the outside of the estate where the owner of Kingfisher lives. Kingfisher – the beer, airline, etc. Looked quite massive.
We stopped at a chemist today and were able to purchase Lactogen formula for Devika, as well as vanilla Pediasure. Hopefully she will eat for us!! We are getting sooo excited!! We fly out tomorrow, early afternoon .. to Kolkata. YAY!!
Aj is getting very nervous.. but so far, I am only excited. I guess we’ve been down this road before and I feel pretty well prepared. Or I’m just in a state of denial. :)
Maya has now regressed into ‘baby’ mode as much as she can get away with. She wants everything that is Devika’s.. the clothing, bottles, etcetc.. She wants to be held all the time.. fed.. etc. We understand what is happening and are not pushing her. I know this is a hard time for her and we’re working hard to give her attention and comfort. She is going to be a great big sister!! The next few days are going to be difficult – especially Thursday, when Aj has to work for ~4/5 hours at the Kolkata office and leave me with the girls. Oh well.. one step at a time.
Btw – Mary – I finished the book I was into (Twilight series, book II for anyone out there who is also into that series – luv it!!).. and am well into The Shack. It is very interesting.. it’s at a point now where I have to read slowly and try to ingest! I hope to finish before Devika joins us, but not sure that I will. Good recommendation, we’ll have to chat about it after I’m home.
Next post will be from Kolkata!!! 36 Hours (approx) before we are a family of 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here we come baby!


Kristi said...

Great post! Love the details. :) I hope you have a great, smooth trip to Kolkata. Can't wait to see those pics of Devika with her family!!

Julie & Patrick said...

Can't wait, can't wait!!

Julie R

Sara said...

I've enjoyed so much following your journey and can't wait to read more! I am book #4 in the Twilight series - it's preventing me from getting much done around here. :)

-Sara #13

Todd and Michele said...

I am so happy for you guys. The next 36 hours can't go fast enough. I hope you'll post pics as soon as you can of your lovely family of 4!

Give Debarpan a hug from us if you can!


Adoption Blog said...

So so so exiting! I am so incredibly moved! Thank you for sharing!

Huge hugs

Sas & Co

The Pfeiffer Family said...

I so enjoy reading about your journey. It is fun to see India through someone else's eyes. Looking forward to seeing photos of your family of 4!!! Exciting days ahead for you all.

April #8

Sr. Marie Morgan, OSF said...

Hey, cool. Glad you like "The Shack." Amazing book.

Yeah, stay cool and please be careful. I don't like some of the things I am reading about what's going on in India. Seriously, be careful.

On a happier note ... yeah! We are getting our baby! :) Wahoo! Tell Maya I can't wait for her to show me her now baby sister! Yeah! :) I know she'll be very good at helping to take care of her and showing her around. This is VERY exciting! :)

We are praying for you all here...
and don't worry about not seeing the convent. However, YES...I'm so glad you went to the Church where Francis Xavier is buried. What a great blessing! I would have loved to see that. I have a great movie about him somewhere...


Åsa said...


It´s so exaiting to follow you and your family on this trip.Soon werry soon you will met your now familymamber.Tell Avik that we miss him and give him a hug from us.
/Åsa Sweden

The Labontes said...

Love the descriptions! Wish it were a bit cooler for you. Looking forward to seeing your girls together. "The Shack" was just recommended by our priest, I've got it on the shelf waiting for me.

Peter and Nancy said...

I am so excited for you! I'm glad you wrote a nice long post today -- you may not have the time to share so many details 36 hours from now! You're so wise to let Maya go through her re-baby phase -- she will soon remember there's more fun to be had with her own toys. :o)

We visited Mother Theresa's convent in Kolkata, and found it to be the most peaceful, reverent place we saw during our time there.

God bless you as you meet your daughter!
-- Nancy

A and Z said...

Zeena has the same technique by not looking out the window while riding in the crazy traffic in India. I on the other hand, am fascinated by it all....