Archive for December, 2013

Caption This Camel Photo and Win $100 Amazon Gift Card!

Here’s one more caption contest to close out 2013.

Whoever writes the best caption for the camel picture above  in the Disqus comments below this post will win a $100 Amazon gift card.

The contest starts now and ends at 12:01 am on January 1st PST.  See the rules below for details.

Good luck! I look forward to reading your entries!

Here’s how you enter: post a caption for the photo in the comment section below, limit one entry per person. In order to participate you must be 18 years of age or older as of the date the Contest and must be a fan of My Life’s A Trip Facebook page or share the contest link via Twitter using the #MLATCaptionContest hashtag. Contest Ends at 12:01 am on January 1st, 2014 PST.

By entering the My Life’s A Trip Caption Contest, you agree that you have read the Contest rules and consent to the terms and conditions contained therein.

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Scenes from the Amanbagh’s Sunset Cow Dust Tour in Rural Rajasthan

A Rajasthani woman with her cow

One of the things I liked most about my recent stay at the Amanbagh was how many activities the Aman Resort offered, including some really unique cultural experiences and excursions like the Sunset Cow Dust Tour. Starting in the late afternoon, the Cow Dust Tour is named for the time of day when the cows are led back home and magic hour light mixes with the dust from the dirt roads of the local villages.

Field and stream view from the Sunset Cow Dust Tour

Riding in an open top Jeep to tour the villages near the resort was quite a treat and surprisingly not all that dusty, and turned into a great photo opportunity. The locals were incredibly friendly, and almost always more than happy to pose for picture or three.

Cleaning rugs outside the school in Rajasthan

Village life in rural Rajasthan was so much different than anything I have seen on previous trips to India. It was great to see the men in the local smoke shop chatting over masala chai, the sari clad women herding goats and walking cows, and the children cleaning out rugs from their school taking the time to wave hello.

Kids Rajasthan, India

A little hitchhiker who came along for a bit of the ride

One local village boy even jumped on board for a few minutes to check out the curious blonde stranger who was riding through.

A few of the local women I met during the sunset cowdust tour

Shy girls Rajasthan, India

The Sunset Cow Dust Tour is just one of the unique experiences offered by the Amanbagh which is located about 90 minutes east of Jaipur and is an amazing stop worth considering if you’re planning tour of  India’s Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra.

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Friday Night at Barakhambi Temple in Rajasthan, India

Locals gather for chanting and worship in the evenings at Barakhambi Temple

One of the most interesting things about my recent trip to Rajasthan was just how off the beaten path I managed to get, despite being in a country of 1.27 billion people. At the suggestion of the staff at the incredible Amanbagh, I paid a visit to Barakhambi Temple  after sundown, when the the local Hindus gathered to clang chimes and worship.

Gongs at Barakhambi Temple in Rajasthan, India

It is crazy how loud a handful of people playing percussion can get inside a marble temple.

Finger cymbals and some Style swag at Barakhambi temple

The evening was unforgettable. They were welcoming and I definitely felt all eyes on me– they were not used to blonde Americans attending services, but they were very welcoming. I felt very honored that they allowed me to attend (and photograph) their services.

Watching this ritual was beautiful

There was a candle lighting ritual in front of statues of various Hindu deities. Watching this was one of those moments you experience during travel where you realize this isn’t a tourist spot, and that this goes down every night whether there is a visitor or not. It’s a big world out there, and I felt very lucky to be able to witness this and share it with my blog readers. The images in this post were shot with my Canon 5D Mark III, which works well in low light and without a flash.

Scenes from Barakhambi Temple in Rajasthan

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Work B*tch! A Photo Essay About Female Construction Crews in India

Women carry firewood, men carry mobile phones

On my recent trip to Rajasthan, I noticed something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world: all female construction crews. It would be hard to miss them, considering women in Rajasthan wear brightly colored saris on a daily basis, rendering hazard orange vests unnecessary. I saw women carrying everything from cow patties to bricks in baskets on their heads. The only male in sight was the one driving them to the construction site.

This female crew was working on road construction in Ranthambore National Park

I was on a game drive with some travelers from Canada who remarked,  “They seem to have three beasts of burden in India: camels, donkeys and women.”

An all female construction crew near Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan

I wouldn’t want to draw any conclusions about the state of women in India from my limited observations from my 10 day visit. But I did snap these images during my visit, and thought they were worth sharing. Props to these women for staying stylish on the job, no matter how dirty. I’d think the nose jewelry would get in the way, but they seemed unfazed by it.

A woman gathering cow patties to use as fuel in rural Rajasthan

Recently Bollywood starlet Mallika Sherawat came under fire when she called India “regressive and depressive”  during a press conference. It’s a story I might not have paid much attention to had I not been in India when it broke. Good for Ms. Sherawat for speaking her mind. I have nothing but respect for the women I saw on the job in India.

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A Stay at The Royal Mansour Marrakech

The interior courtyard of one of the three bedroom riads at The Royal Mansour in Marrakech

Marrakech has no shortage of luxury hotels, but the 53 room Royal Mansour stands out from the pack because of it’s lineage (King Mohammed personally backed and oversaw the construction of the property). Suffice it to say, the King has crazy good taste.

There is no such thing as a bad room at the Royal Mansour, even the one bedroom riads are 1,400 square feet. If that’s not big enough, worry not. The largest guest riad has over 20,000 square feet of space. All this space means the Royal Mansour is a haven of calm within the craziness of Marrakech. It’s the only place I’ve ever slept in Marrakech where I wasn’t woken before dawn by hearing the call to prayer.

Arches are a motif throughout the Royal Mansour

Each guest riads rocks a rooftop pool, all laid out over 9 acres of spotless grounds. You never see the cleaning crews working (rumor has it there is a separate network of tunnels for the staff, so that the service golfcarts don’t ruin the guest experience). When you’re in your guest riad, you almost feel as if you have the whole place to yourself, so If you’re looking for a hot pool scene, go elsewhere.

Mosaic inlays and luxe fabrics at the Royal Mansour

The nothing-but-the-best motif runs deep at the Royal Mansour, and a lot of it would be missed at first glance. From the library chair with the built-in iPod dock, to the roof which retracts so guests can see the stars, each surface has exquisite finishes. The hotel’s restaurants are overseen French chef Yannick Alléno, who runs Le Meurice in Paris. The guest stationary comes with your name engraved on it. The Pringles in the minibar will set you back $15.

The waiting area in the Royal Mansour’s Spa & hammam

With room rates starting at about US $2000, the Royal Mansour isn’t for the budget conscious. Fortunately, the hotel’s French and Moroccan restaurants, as well as it’s gorgeous spa, are open to non-guests and well worth the splurge.

Left: luxe fabrics and a gorgeous lantern detail on one of the three bedroom riads Right: a sunny sitting area

A lavish lounging area that was gorgeous, yet didn’t feel overly formal

The living room in one of the three bedroom riad style rooms

Left: A gorgeous chess set Right: the dressing area

A bedroom in one of the guest riads

Left: a metal sink Right: interior arches

Rooftop Lounging area at the Royal Mansour

Left: rooftop pool Right: rooftop dining area

Le Grand Table Marocaine

Left: Mint tea from room service Right: Interior of the La Grande Table Française

Courtyard at night

Left: a Chair in the Library with built in iPod dock Right: Cigars for sale at the hotel’s bar

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Night at the Royal Mansour

The Royal Mansour

Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti
40 000 MARRAKECH, MAROCCO

Tel: + 212 5 29 80 80 80
Fax: + 212 5 29 80 80 91
Email: info@royalmansour.ma

Disclosure: Much thanks to the Royal Mansour, who provided me with accommodations during my stay.

 

 

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