It has been a fun week since I last wrote. The wedding was absolutely beautiful and a really fun time. We got to Chandigarh(the town the wedding was in) on Saturday and spent the afternoon shopping around and eating! Chandigarh was built by westerners so it definitely reminded us of a city back home. It was very clean in Indian standards and the streets were actually wide enough to fit more than one car. Sunday we were on a mission to find Mendi or Henna as we call it so we went walking around town, did a little shopping along the way until we found a bunch of guys that were doing Mendi. Us 3 girls sat down right away and they went to work painting our arms. I was finished first and I asked the man how much it was thinking in my head it would be around 100 rupees (approx. $2.25) He said 1,000 rupees (approx. $25) and I almost passed out. We all immediately became upset with ourselves because it was the first time this whole trip that we had not asked the price first. We sat there talking with the men for about 20 min. with a large audience. We got them to come down to 700 rupees but I was still really upset because I knew we had been taken advantage of. We later asked a local who spoke English well how much she would pay for what we had done she said, "100 rupees". Ahh I was not happy but we just had to go with there really wasn't anything we could do at that point. That afternoon we also went to the local rock garden that a man built. Then we headed back to our REALLY nice hotel to get ready for the wedding. We thought an hour and 45 min. would be enough time but oh no. It took us a little longer to wrap our sarees than we thought. We arrived at the location where Rahul (the groom) was getting ready a couple minutes before 7 (the time it was supposed to start) and there was not hardly anybody there and everyone just stared at us. We thought we had missed the whole thing but then soon realized we were on Indian time and everything starts late...and this time meaning an hour and a half late. So we sat and visited with Rahul's aunt until it was time to leave. We had a driver take us to where the Barat (procession) started. It was the craziest ride we have had yet because you can drive a lot faster in Chandigarh but they are still as careless. We definitely very close to being in an accident more than once. But we arrived there safely and the Barat started shortly after. The Barat was the best part for us. The Barat consists of really loud music, the grooms family and friends, some young boys carrying lights, and dancing through the local community. We danced for about 45 minutes down this street with Rahul's friends and family. They absolutely loved the fact that we were in Sarees! They were all very impressed. Once we got to the location of the wedding we found a seat and immediately there were men coming through the isles with food (which was delicious). We all just sat there as the groom sat up on stage waiting for his bride. There was nothing real formal about the whole thing. When the bride arrived she walked in as people were getting food...up walking around...visiting with each other. It was very anti-climatic. Then there was a lot of picture taking and a few small rituals. The actual ceremony where they officially become married did not even start until 2:00am and would last 3-5 hours we were told. We ended up leaving at 2:30am to go back and get some sleep before our ride back to Dehradun in the morning. The wedding was very interesting but not formal at all compared to an American wedding.
This week I have been up in Mussoorie which is at 7,000ft. It is much cooler up here and we have heard that Dehradun has been over 100 degrees F the last few days. The hospital here is very quiet with not a lot of patients. We did see part of an amputation which was interesting as well as a girl that had gotten kicked by a mule and had been stitched up previously and came back for a check up. We have seen quite a few Americans here as there is a missionary school nearby that they teach at so that has been fun as well. Tomorrow we will head back to Dehradun and on to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. I'm really excited to see the Taj Mahal but it is a 10 hour trip from Dehradun so that should be interesting. We have not decided yet if we are taking a taxi, bus, or train yet but whatever the case it will be exciting. I will definitely fill you in when I get back. I'm in the hot city of Dehradun and will enjoy going to the air conditioned internet cafe to cool off I'm sure since that is the only air conditioning around! I hope everyone is doing well! Hope you enjoy the pictures!