Last Day in New Delhi

I woke up happy, rested, and ready to take on my last full day in New Delhi. To start off our jam-packed day, we first ate breakfast, then got into our bus and left to go visit the largest mosque in India, called the “Jama Masjid”.

Part of our group inside of the mosque

In order to be in alignment with the cultural and religious norms, all of the girls in our group (which was everybody except one person) brought along a scarf to cover our hair. We were also given large cloth dresses to wear while inside the mosque to cover ourselves even more. While inside, I was able to climb a large tower in order to look out on all of the mosque and also the city of New Delhi. I was also asked by multiple groups of women to take pictures with them and their children, to which I always said yes- but then asked to take a picture of them as well in return.

A group of women who asked to take a picture with me

Once we finished at the mosque, we all went to the meeting point directly outside before being released to do whatever we wanted in the streets of New Delhi for a few hours. It was amazing to be able to explore the busy streets for real, instead of being led through certain areas or in a tour. I went to lots of different shops and bartered with shopkeepers for lower prices all day, while buying random items like clothes or magic lamp looking type things.

The busy streets of New Delhi

After a few hours of exploration, we all met back at the bus and then went to lunch together. The restaurant we went to was a fancy place with a craft shop connected to it, so I shopped while I waited for my roasted goat lunch to be made. I also managed to eat the spiciest sauce I’ve ever consumed in my whole life as an appetizer while at this restaurant, which burnt my mouth so bad that I needed to drink everyone’s lassis until it went away.

After this lunch we left and went to the most beautiful Hindu temple. It was red and yellow and absolutely gorgeous, with sculptures and engravings of different gods all throughout. After touring this temple, we left and went to a tiny Buddhist temple. These two temples were extremely different, but both very interesting nonetheless.

The outside of the Hindu temple, which we were not allowed to take cameras into

Once we were finished exploring these temples, we went back to the hotel to get cleaned up and relax before dinner. We all dressed super fancy, many of us wearing dresses or saris we bought while in India, and we went to a super fancy restaurant downtown in New Delhi. We all talked and reflected on the trip and how close of friends we had become. Then, after finishing dinner, we went back to the hotel and our trip leaders called us all to have a meeting. During this meeting, we all sat around in a circle and then went around, and everyone would have to say one thing they appreciate about each person or one memory they’ve made with them on the trip. It was such a touching meeting, and it really drove home how much fun the trip was and how close we all got with one another.

Our group all dressed up for dinner

After the meeting, we were all supposed to go to sleep to get ready for the final day of our trip when we would be traveling home. Instead, I stayed up for a few more hours with my friend Gwen and just talked about everything from the trip to our real lives at home. It was a really nice way to end our last night on the trip, and I went to bed finally around 4 AM.

Ziplining through Neemrana

I woke up nice and early in my bed in Neemrana, and went to eat a long, filling breakfast before the long day ahead of me. When I got back to my room, I was surprised to see the whole rest of our travel group in there waiting for me. It turned out that all other rooms were checked out except for mine, where everyone was waiting before we got to leave to go ziplining. It was lucky we all waited inside this room, though, because only a few minutes after I got back- a huge monsoon started! Almost all of us were safe and dry in the room, except for one girl named Greer who got completely soaked by the storm.

Once it stopped raining, we all left my room and made our way to the “Flying Foxes HQ”, where we all received our ziplining harnesses. After everyone got a harness or two, it was time to hike. We hiked all the way to the top of a mountain so that we would be able to zipline down it. Once we got to the top, however, it started to monsoon again but this time with thunder and lightning. Our instructors mostly ignored the weather and continued to give us a short presentation on the correct form in order to zipline safely. After the presentation, we waited for there to be 15 minutes without any lightning. Once we were in the clear, we began!

I’ve gone ziplining many times before, but it always still scares me a little bit. This time though, I decided I was going to be brave and just go for it. And I did! It was amazing to jump off and zip through the foggy sky and overlook the city of Neemrana. We got to go down multiple lines, and we went the whole way back down the mountain to where we began. It was a little bit scary because of how recently there was lightning and the fact that we were on metal wires on top of a mountain… But nevermind that, everyone was safe in the end.

Our hands after ziplining, which were stained from the gloves

Once we finished we were all soaked so everybody went back to my room and showered, and we also laid our clothes out to dry in the now very hot sun. After some relaxing time, we packed everything back up and some hotel workers took our bags down to the bus. We eventually made our way down to the bus so we could begin our four-ish hour bus ride back to New Delhi.

On this bus ride, I worked more on my On-Assignment project. It was mainly just me writing out bullet points explaining the difference in eco-friendliness that I observed between the large cities such as New Delhi and the rural mountainous regions such as Ladakh. Once we got back to Delhi we ate dinner, and then finished presenting these projects. I gave mine on this night, and it was well received by everyone. I was very glad to have this project done with, because it was looming over me so strongly for the last few days of the trip.

After all of the presentations were finished, I got a shower and went right off to bed- I needed to make sure I got sleep before our last full day in India.

Transition Day to Neemrana

The next day on our trip was a lot less eventful. I started it off by showering and eating breakfast, mango and eggs, before getting all of my things together so we could leave. We ended up staying later than expected because one of our trip leaders was meeting with a friend who lived in the area, and then when we were finally ready to leave we were stopped again by the owner of the hotel. She stopped all of us to talk to us and say that we were the best group they’ve ever had at the hotel, which was so nice! She even gave us all small presents, which were tiny handmade elephants. It was adorable!

Once we finally got on the bus, I slept for a while. I also began to write up a summary of my final project for the trip. I decided that I was going to report on the differences between the environment of mountain/rural life and city life in India, and how the population density affects how clean and environmentally friendly the area is.

In the middle of the bus ride, we stopped at a shady truck stop because we all had to go to the bathroom. It turned out that the only bathroom was one squat toilet with no toilet paper, but we all went with it. A few minutes after we got back onto the bus, we realized we were all hungry so we stopped at yet another truck stop and bought super random snack food to hold us over before we got to where we were staying for the night.

An example of a squat toilet from in the Himalayas

Once we finally arrived at the Neemrana Fort Palace, we all ate lunch, which was a delicious buffet, and then went back to our rooms to drop off our things. I then fell asleep for about 5 hours because I was so exhausted, and woke up completely disoriented. When I woke up I decided to explore the fort before dinner time, and it was a great choice. It was a beautiful fort that overlooked a city far away, and even had a pool and amphitheater within it. After I explored, I went back to the rooms and helped my friend Greer choose her favorite photos and edits to show to the group.

Once we were done we went to eat dinner, which was a buffet similar to lunch, and then went to a meeting with our group. At this meeting people began to present their final projects, but all of the people who presented were those with a photography focus for their on-assignment project. A few people showed us their amazing photos, but eventually we were all too hot and tired to continue so we decided to go to sleep.

The amphitheater overlooking the city

We all went back to our rooms to sleep, but when I tried to go to the bathroom something weird happened. I went to turn the light off, but when I hit the switch it gave me a huge electrical shock! I’ll be honest, it terrified me, so I didn’t touch any of the light switches for the rest of the time that we were in Neemrana. Despite the fact that this hurt, it was still kind of funny and added something interesting to a mostly uneventful day. Even though we didn’t do much this day, though, I knew it was just because it was a transition day for us to get to Neemrana, because we had a super jam-packed day planned for tomorrow!