On The Road Again

April 9, 2007

Alright! I've been in hyper-mode for 2 months and I finally came out the other side. I still don't know exactly what this project is (sound familiar from ithinknot?) but all the crazy moving, and visiting home are over so now I can concentrate on pure travel. Moving out of Japan was a pain in the ass, and ultimately I really resented the country by the time I left. Everything I needed to do (post office, bills, flight, etc) was totally clusterfucked and I left the country in a fury. But 2 weeks with family and friends rejuvenated me and put me in the right mind set again.

I went back to Boston from March 27 to April 6, and had a great (if rushed) time seeing almost all of my extended family, and most of my friends. There was partying, eating, and last-minute shopping for my trip. My trip was to... Japan. Yes, back to Japan. But this time I wasn't working, or staying in one place. I have lived in Japan for 2 years, and seen a lot. But almost everything I saw was within a 100 mile radius of Tokyo. I never made it to the geisha city of Kyoto, or Hiroshima, or any other important places. I had to buy a round trip ticket back to Boston anyway, so I decided to use my return leg to travel around Japan.

Visiting my grandma

Hangin out with Mel

On my way back I stopped in Texas to attend my good friends', Dhara and Rishi, wedding. Wow! What a start to my continued travels in Asia! This was the best wedding I've ever been to! Most beautiful; most exotic; most meaningful; most extravagant! I won't go into too much detail here, but Dhara and Rishi blended a perfect mix of traditional and western (mostly traditional) for a delicious feast for the senses. There were colorful costumes galore, salsa lessons, funny speeches, Bollywood music, delicious Indian and Thai food, and of course several open bars. And that was just the reception! The wedding itself was an intimate Indian ceremony in a tent within a tent filled with incense, and the Sanskrit chants of a Hindu priest. Rose pedals covered every surface and no expense was spared with the gold decorating everything from the bride to the tent itself. Beautiful fabrics were draped everywhere, the barefoot immediate family within the inner tent looked like royalty surrounding a maharaja (Rishi). Rishi had a veil of pearls and Dhara must have been under 30 lbs of gold and silk sari fabric. We all had explanation pamphlets so we could follow the ancient Sanskrit and Hindu requirements. In the end the priest literally tied Rishi and Dhara together - is this where the phrase comes from? After the wedding the entertainment, drinking, and eating began. When we finally sat down to the banquet each extended family member was announced and took their place at a long banquet table. The fathers and Rishi each made amazing speeches and the evening was hosted by Rishi's funny younger sister and Dhara's kind younger brother. Bollywood songs were sung, and Dhara's friends even did an amazing, professionally choreographed Bollywood dance.At the end of the speeches and entertainment, Rishi and Dhara did an elegant dance that they had been working on as a surprise to even their parents. The whole affair was breathtakingly beautiful, and as classy as they come. Amazing.

Amit and Dhara

Casey and his wife, Jemile

Rizing to the occation

Mr Khanna, Sonia, Rishi, and Mrs. Khanna

Cousin celebrating

The union

The First Dance


I knew there would be an after party back at the hotel so I went home early without even dancing to catch a couple hours sleep before the all-night party. We started in a hotel suite, but it was quickly too crowded and noisy so we took it down to the lobby where the staff set up enormous banquet tables for us. I didn't want to go, but at 6am I had to take a taxi to the airport. It was all too short. Now I know why Indian weddings last for days. I wouldn't want to leave either!

As a side story I lost my wallet on my way into Texas. So the whole weekend was a bit stressful when it came to checking in, and getting involved in anything that cost money. Rats. I'm ashamed to admit that not only did Rishi loan me his credit card to check in, but he also insisted I take $100 when I left so I'd have money for the $80 taxi and pocket money. I refused, but he's a stronger man than I, and a gentleman, so I ended up taking the money (I had my credit card replacements mailed to the hotel of course, so the hotel bill wasn't charged to him). So when I got to the airport I tried to hunt down Lost and Found, but you wouldn't believe how many there are! Every terminal, airline, police box, shop, and hotel have there own, so it's like finding a needle in a haystack! I had no luck in Houston's George Bush Airport (ugh...), but I had something like 4 hours to blow off in Dallas's airport. I knew I wouldn't find it, but I had to try, so I resolved to go to the closest Lost and Found, and call it a day. I had already called this Lost and Found, and the illiterate Texan who answered the phone half heartedly said it wasn't there. I could tell she hadn't even looked. There was barely a pause before she answered 'no'. Well this time I went back and insisted she LOOK... and whudyaknow. There is was! Minus over $500 of course, but hey. It had all my credit cards, and Japanese ID's so entry into Japan wouldn't be a problem, and I was pretty sure no one tried to used my credit cards (they were cancelled anyway). So I celebrated with a burrito and beer (in Texas you have to order food with your alcohol on Sundays...) and was off for Japan.


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