Our first day in Agra, we got to visit one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal! Behind this beautiful building made out of white marble and gem stones comes a very beautiful love story that everyone should know. Our wonderful guide Arif Ji believes that this love story is actually obsession and recommends that we should all return home and love better. This place is known as the Temple of Love. Though the love story is not the only cool thing about this place. The Taj Mahal has many optical illusions. Yes, I said optical illusions, it is one of the many reasons why this building is so famous.
MARCH 16, 2019 | LEUM DTAA COHORT | SOUTHEAST ASIA - LEUM DTAA
Finally and tragically our last day in Mae Rim, all our preparation was coming down to this night. First as usual we had our thai language class in the sala where we added the finishing touches to our speeches. Then we made some lanterns out of banana trees for a ceremony called Loi Kratong. We continued to set up and rehearse for this highlighted event in Mae Rim. We were finally able to finish an uno game that had lasted for hours. We then started to get ready. Ladies with long skirts, white shirts, red sash, a floral headpiece, and long gold fingernails. The gentlemen wore white shirts, burgundy pants, and had swords. It was time.
We are just finishing up our short but jam packed pit stop in Marrakech, which was filled with lots of good food, laughs and, of course, dancing. Our fearless captain for the week, Tori made sure that our days were chock-full of activities and had something for everyone.
Day one started with a stroll off the beaten path to one of Morocco’s oldest and best synagogues. Once there, our resident experts (Geoff and me) made sure to answer any questions to the best of our abilities and, of course, in a New York accent.
Up next we headed to a museum of historical photography tucked deep inside of the Medina. The winding alleyways of one of Morocco’s largest markets led to a lot of directional confusion. Not to fear, Kate was there! She gave us an impromptu map reading class, which we all greatly appreciated and helped Brandis get us to our destination. For dinner some of us decided to continue on our quest to find the best street tagine. Luckily for us Clemente (who, we already established, is confused to be a native Moroccan by locals) was able to weave through the shouting stall owners and find us the best spot to eat.
Hey y’all! It’s Eva, coming to you from Chiang Rai, Thailand. We spent the last 10 days at a Permaculture farm, learning about sustainability and the many different uses of bamboo. Personally, I learned a lot more than that. Seeing how our lovely host, Sandot and his family, lives their life was a one of a kind experience. I learned about myself and how to do the work that needs to be done, while taking things day by day, enjoying the small things and the special moments. It was stressful at first; we were in a very new environment. We slept in bug nets in the open outdoors, and our toilet was a hole in the floor. By the end we all learned Sandots way to “Very enjoy life”.
I’m on the verge of entering a stage 3 food coma, and so is everyone else in the group. I welcome it whole heartedly, because what caused it was the best soup, salad, dumplings, rice, noodles, fish, moose, ice cream, and tea I have ever had at the only restaurant in Kolkata that has earned a Michelin star. No exaggeration. Everyone else in the group seems to agree when it comes to the majority of their dishes, although I do believe that Owen, who guided us to this heavenly food place, has had the opportunity to experience even grander journeys of flavor when he was invited to eat at one of the best restaurants in the world: Central, in Lima, Peru. More on our experience later, since I will now be guiding you all through our Kolkata experience, day by day. I hope my descriptions of our daily life in Kolkata is as immersive to you as it is reminiscent to me!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Carpe Diem Salaam dancing in a circle and singing the ESPN theme song! Why, you may ask?
Dancing in a circle and singing the ESPN theme song is not only deeply rooted in Moroccan culture…
Who am I kidding. It is our “passing the torch ceremony”, a peaceful transfer of power from one captain to the next, and is not a part of Moroccan culture, but is a part of our own.
Tetouan was our home for the last seven days, a city embedded in Andalusian and Moroccan history. Its name comes from the Amazigh word for “eyes”, derived from the city’s location only ten kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea, allowing for observation of ships traversing the Strait of Gibraltar. Tetouan was the capitol of the Spanish protectorate in Morocco from 1913 to 1956, and this Spanish influence is easily seen throughout the architecture and art in Tetouan, as well as the Ensanche (Spanish for extension), an intense urban expansion triggered by the beginning of the protectorate.
Namaste to all!
I, Zevi, from Portland, Oregon and 18 years old, have received the job to share our Shanti groups’ wonderful experience in Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India! I know everyone says that there are countless unforgettable memories of when they travel places, but our experience in Varanasi truly was exactly that: filled with countless unforgettable memories, positive, powerful, and eye opening.
For starters, the 6pm-8am 14 hour expected train ride to Varanasi from Delhi took an extra 3 or so hours, due to who knows what. Maybe there was a cow on the tracks. Just kidding! (Not really, it is quite possible). Anyways, although the train was cramped, I had fun talking with Adam, Charlotte and Georgia, who were in the same section as me, about languages (mostly Hindi), religion and travel while getting to know each other a little better. In the morning, I played card games with a couple young Indian men, 20 and 23, who were very friendly and funny, helping to pass the time.
Hey everyone! Week 2 coming at you!
This week has been such a different experience compared to the last. We stayed in Rabat and had the opportunity to stay with host families! From what I heard, all our experiences in our homes were great! Definitely blew my expectations out of the water. We ate amazing home cooked meals, like couscous which is usually ate on every Friday, so : Friday became a highlight. We also ate a lot of tajine, which is also a very traditional and incredibly good meal shared in a big bowl with…
MARCH 2, 2019 | NOLAN SLAY | SOUTHEAST ASIA - LEUM DTAA
Greetings blog viewers! Thank you for tuning in to the journeys of Leum Dtaa cohort in Southeast Asia. I’ll be your host, Nolan Slay, on this special report live from the small but beautiful village of Mae Rim. When you saw us last we had just visited the horrific sites of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. After wetting our feet a bit more in the bustling capital city, we travelled by van for a cool six hours north to Siem Reap for more action packed learning! Dodging drunk tourists and ducking persistent entrepreneurs, we explored the expansive local night market. I got nearly half my leg hair singed off by a fire dancer, and we did everything in our power to keep Loida from buying the whole place.
Salaam friends and family! Kayla here aka the cool one. Just kidding everyone here is the coolest. It’s honestly like we’ve all known each other for 3 months already!
I just have to put out there that our diet is superb. Bread and sweets (and I mean 4-sugar-cubes-in-a-cup-of-tea kind of sweet.)
Staying in the City of Fes for the beginning of the trip was amazing. The streets of the big Medina (market) we stayed in was so busy all the time and felt like walking through a big maze. But a colorful (kind of dirty) maze with fun shops and amazing food like Nacho Mama!