Merry Christmas (from last year!)

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas with pictures that were meant to be sent out last year… I had the best intentions of sending out a New Year card then a Chinese New Year Card, then maybe just a card, and well, there never was a card! These are a few of the family pictures we took during our trip to India last Christmas. Oh, it was such a fabulous trip! We started in Bombay meeting up with old friends which was so special. Then the magic started happening once we got to Rajasthan. These first two pics were taken on Christmas Eve in Udaipur.

A trip to Rajasthan wouldn’t be complete without a little safari action. We actually saw a snow leopard on this excursion. It was wicked cool! The animal just sat perched up there on his rock, chillin’. It was quite a sight. And typical of an India excursion, we stopped for chai and biscuits.

Another magical moment to be had in Rajasthan is staying in an old havelli. This havelli was ancient–very rustic too, but it was a very cool experience.

Finally, our trip was completed in Jodhpur’s Red Fort where we zip lined across the canyons. It was a phenomenal experience, one that won’t be forgotten!

Our family is very blessed. Kevin and I have somehow created this life full of travel. It’s exciting and fun, and we all have a really good time together. Now, today we start our three week vacation for winter break. We’ll be spending our time in Thailand–with my sister and her family!! We can hardly wait! It’s going to be so fun to share our special Thai times with our family members!

Merry Merry Christmas from the Krembs!

A Must Stop in Rajasthan: Rawla Narlai

Rawla Narlia 1There is one place we always tell travelers to India that they must go: Rajasthan and in particular, Rawla Narlai. Rawla Narlai is a heritage hotel in the village of Narlai, and it is the old hunting lodge of the king of Jodhpur. (In fact, while we were there, the owner of the lodge, who is considered the king of Narlai, came by for a visit. See below for evidence.) It is rare to make a hotel an actual destination, but there are so many magical experiences at this hotel that make it worth a vital addition to any Rajasthan tour. First, it’s location is perfect: it’s situated between two other must visit cities, Udaipur and Jodhpur. Car is the mode of travel in this area, so any way to break up the trip is gratefully accepted. When you arrive to Rawla Narlai, you really feel like you’ve stumbled onto an old, Mogul home. Everything about this heritage hotel is serene: the lush landscape, the quintessential rooms, luxe sitting areas everywhere you look, and impeccable treatment by the hotel staff. Ask for Lala. He will take you on a village tour at dusk, and you’ll have a chance to really see how Rajasthani folk live. If you want those silver anklets that the village women wear, he’ll take you to the local silversmith (I haven’t taken mine off yet!). The moment we arrived, humble Lala even remembered us and still had the picture of him carrying Gigi all around when she was just a little toddler. When we were deciding where to travel in India for our three week tour, returning to this magical spot is what steered our vacation to Rajasthan. I love Rawla Narlai–so much! I hope one day to mimic a courtyard just like their’s and spend my days reading and drink nimbu pani (sweet lime water)!

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Rawla Narlai
Village Narlai, Rajasthan, India
Tel : + 91 2934 260443
Fax : +91 2934 260596
Email : crs@rawlanarlai.com

*Aside of the dusk tour through the village, there are other options in this countryside stay. But I’ll leave that for a later post….

India’s Beautiful People

This will be my last instalment from India–until my next trip. And there will be another one because India has become that essential place that replenishes my soul. I know I’ve been writing so much about India whether it’s about packing, my adoration of Ganesh, fashion bloggers from India, or the outfits I wear traveling through this land. Perhaps all the posts just emphasize my complete love for India–and mainly its people.

Two Indian Ladies

Look at those happy eyes! Smiley eyes get me every time. You know how they say there’s a body part that we all find ourselves attracted to in others. Well, mine is definitely the eyes. I love eyes. They say so much.

Kajol EyesThe children of India are adorable, and this little gal especially caught my eye–with her eyes! Kajol (or kohl) lines many Indian children’s eyes to ward off the evil eye.

Fashionable Indian LadyThis lady was seriously stylin’. She was with about 5 other super fashionable women, but I found her look the best out of them all.

Woman Washing LaundryI felt very guilty snapping this woman’s pic–she was conducting such a private matter along the river bed. But again, her eyes caught mine and I couldn’t resist.

Indian Village GirlThis little cutie pie is my favorite, and she’s grown since the last time I took her picture

Henna ArtistThis man came to our camp and gave each of us the loveliest henna art.

Indian Old WomanOn one of our mammoth hikes, we cross by the most beautiful garden. This year the gardener was out, and I got a great picture of her. It’s as if you can actually see her humility. She’s precious to me.

Rajasthani WomanOn our last day in Delhi, we went to a market. I turned the corner, and this woman made me catch my breath. She allowed me her picture. STUNNING!

Indian BoysAnd check out her three boys. HANDSOME!

Indian Adventure ManThis is Marty. He’s our guide during our trips to India. I actually know Marty from my school trips when I worked at the American School of Bombay. Even my mom knows Marty! Each year, I come home raving about Marty, and Kevin asks, Do I need to worry about you on this trip? Hehe. Maybe!! He’s so ruggedly handsome! Don’t worry: I know the lesson Mrs. Shrock taught me back in 8th grade, “You can look, not touch!”

So there’s some evidence of India’s beautiful people. Until next visit….

{Annie} Indian Street Style

Annie7My turn! Dressing in India is such fun for me. It’s pretty obvious I love two things: color and patterns. When in India it’s standard to embrace both. I love it! I remember loving it!

These pictures come with such gratitude also. I was basically the group photographer; hence there were not any photos of me–which was fine by me. But then, this cute gal, Maddie, says, “Mrs. Krembs, what about you!?” It was so sweet her and Hannah took over and got some pics of my Indian outfit of the day!
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Some Outfit Details:
Two items stick out from this outfit–the colorful ones! Both of which I had purchased the very night before. The necklace and skirt were bought in the hippy street market of Rishikesh. First, the skirt I bought with two other wrap skirts–those made of old recycled saris! The necklace was then scooped up later on down the road along with a beaded handbag that I can’t wait to wear. Ahhhh, shopping in India. My spring outfits will definitely have an even more boho look after all the goodies I purchased (rapidly–we didn’t have much shopping time!).

*I feel like my smile looks different! I think it’s India:D

All photos by Hannah Frohling.

Packing 101: Adventure Travel

PACKING101.jpgI’ll be in India all this week touring around the northern Ganges river with 20 students from HKIS. During the trip we will experience the culture with train trips and market visits. We’ll attempt some adventure with hikes up mountains and rafting trips down the Ganges. Finally, will offer some service to the local inhabitants when we visit both a mountain village school and an orphanage. The trip is diverse, and thus on the trickier side to pack for which has prompted this post: packing for adventure travel.

1. Understand the norms of the host country you are visiting.
It is important to investigate the social and culture expectations of dressing before traveling anywhere. In India there are two areas of a woman that are generally covered with modesty: the chest to shoulder area and the legs. With this in mind, it will be important for me to adhere appropriately. I plan to pack fun patterned pants with loosely flowing shirts.

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2. Research the weather.
This is tricky when the days are hot, and the evenings are cool. I combat this dilemma by packing in similar colored layers. So for example, if I want to wear a black top, I pack it in a conservative tank or T-shirt, a long sleeve tee, plus a sweater or sweatshirt. Then, when I get dressed for the day, I layer all three, and with the heat, off comes each layer.

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3. Evaluate the activities during the trip.
Our days are very diverse. We have a day touring New Delhi while another day we hike up a mountain. There’s bike riding through a village and an orphanage visit. River rafting on the Ganges will also be an activity for us. With all these activities in mind, packing for the different occasions is important. For the city and service days, I’ll make sure to have the long pants and flowy shirts. For hiking and biking, sports gear will be necessary. Obviously for river rafting I’ll need special shoes and a rash guard–plus warming layers for after the rafting trip. For multiple scenarios, choosing a theme will accommodate my packing best. Hence I’ll be packing clothing that could both take me on a hike or a museum stroll. Cotton airy slacks with multiple layers on top will keep me set. Plus, for the down time at the campfire, I’ll need to pack some cozies as well.

4. Disposable toiletries come in handy.
I’ve lived in India, so from experience I know how dirty and dusty it gets. I plan to have wipes on me at all times. Plus I have special deodorizing ones as well as face wipes. Also, for deodorant, I’ve brought the special wipes for the underarm too–they’re amazing! Basically, I’ll be able to keep clean at all times–even in my tent!

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5. Bring something that offers you comfort.
This may seem excessive, but since I’ll be travelling without my family, chances are I might get lonesome for them at times. For this reason I bring something along that offers me an extra comfort. There are two items I’ll bring for this: my cozy fleece cheetah blanket and a sandalwood candle. The candle, I’ll burn down, so there will be no need to bring that back. And the blankie, well it’s just that–the nights can get cold in a tent and having a soft cozy item to snuggle in might help me miss my bedtime with Gigi a little less.

*You might have noticed all the cheetah frames on the images–that’s my blankie that I brought with me to India!