After arriving at the hotel from the airport on Wednesday morning, we were supposed to go sleep. But, naturally, my body wasn’t into it. So, I spent most of the morning with Jennifer in her room because it’s directly above the very frail hotel wi-fi signal. Thank God for the internet.
The rest of our team eventually began stirring and we headed down for lunch in the hotel. When we got down there we had a surprise, the Indian Group Study Exchange team that will be going to Texas in April.
They were so friendly and I cannot wait until they come to Corpus to visit. It was so cool speaking to them about what they wanted from their experience abroad and their preconceptions about Texas. Miriam (on the right) agreed to spend the rest of the day showing us around the city as our unofficial tour guide. She was amazing. The first place she took us was to the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
We were not permitted to go into the temple for a host of reasons including the fact that we are not Hindus and one of us could be on our menstrual cycle. Thankfully, we could mill around the exterior and take pictures from afar.
As we wandered around, Miriam told us the history of the temple. The core of the temple is thousands and thousands of years old. This will always be completely shocking to me as someone from a country where the “old stuff” is just a couple hundred years old.
I also learned that it is made of over 12,000 stones that were hauled by elephants from a riverbed in Nepal. Nepal is not close. Not at all. I wish I could explain to you how incredibly intricate the carvings were, but there are no words to describe it. We were left speechless in its shadow.
Imagine turning a corner and discovering that in the middle of a massive city. I still can’t get over it.
The “look how amazing we are at carving” tour continued down the street at the Putan Malika palace. This palace was commissioned by a young raja at the end of the 19th century. Tragically for him, he died one year after its completion, at the ripe old age of 30. That’s some tough luck because this place was gorgeous. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but I tried to get some examples of the beautiful woodwork when we were outside.
That’s Rosewood. It’s apparently quite pricey. We also had to cruise around barefoot which was not my favorite thing ever. It’s definitely worth it to get to see these kinds of places, but my feet were beyond disgusting afterward. Also, the windows were closed so we spent about two hours cooped up inside a stifling palace with hundreds of other sweaty people.
I also could not get over how green everything was. Everything in Texas is brown and it’s been brown for years. Why you gotta hog all the rain India???
And that’s a cheesy door through a door photo for you. You’re welcome. After the palace, we drove over to see who the giant gold man was on top of a white building. And wouldn’t you know, it was a gold Jesus.
We were way too excited about that. After we regained our composure, we went with Miriam to watch her daughter perform at a sort of talent exhibition at her school. It was hand’s down one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Kids of all ages were performing miniature plays, singing, dancing, playing instruments, and doing all sorts of incredibly creative performances. I’ve never seen anything like it.
They were so great. Sadly, we headed out early before the conclusion of the show because we were all severely lacking sleep. I skipped dinner to go to bed. India has changed everything, I don’t even know who I am anymore.