New Year’s resolutions: top 10 countries for 2011

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Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, but after realizing how important is to share my little tips, my reads, my travels with not just my friends, with everyone here is my New Year resolution:

1. Post more often

2. Travel more

3. Keep you updated about my movements this year.http://

So before start thinking about what i’m going to blog, I share with you the TOP 10 countries for 2011 from the Lonely Planet blog, with a ranking based on scores for topicality, excitement, value for money and the “special factor” that makes a country different.

1. Albania
2. Brazil
3. Cape Verde
4. Panama
5. Bulgaria
6. Vanuatu
7. Italy
8. Tanzania
9. Siria
10. Japan
From this list, I’m thinking about Japan, Cape Verde and Tanzania (yeah, i want to visit Africa), but I think Lonely Planet is missing something important:  Peru.

The reason is because it’s been 1 centurysince Machu Picchu was discovered. The Peruvian goverment will organize a big party with Paul McCartney, Sting and Bono to commemorate these 100 years, although I don’t like that a festival will be holded in the natural amphitheater of Machu Picchu I think it will be something good for the country and i’m sure they will take care of the enviroment of this World Heritage.
Another country to my list 😉

Indian-United States wedding celebration in California

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfoto/3194671233/in/set-72157594517860205/

Few of you will know, last weekend I flow with Stephen to California. The reason: Nick and Nikita were getting married. It was a suprise for some of the people who were in the wedding in the beautiful Santa Barbara and I knew i was flying there 3 days before of catching the plane to go to Los Angeles.

I want to share with every person who read “The everywhere dream” the fantastic shock, so different culturally, and just have good words to describe it. Seriously, with a hindi: Nikita Dang,  plus an american: Nick Kennedy we enjoyed the perfect ceremony!! the forecast was not with us the day before of the wedding so just the cerimony was inside the hotel and not next to the beach as it was planned, but still…amazing

I could learn a little bit about Indian traditionsIndia as a country and of course hindu weddings!!!On friday: the rehearsal dinner: for me…new experience as in my country we don’t have rehearsal dinners. On Saturday,  it just took 6 hours of the cerimony (starting at 8:30 in the morning) before the cocktail and the dinner.

Some of the indian traditions i learnt from this wedding:

  • Vara Agaman & Paukan (The welcoming of the groom), the bride’s mother welcomed the groom and placed Teeka on his forehead as a symbol of her wish for the couple’s lifelong family). That was incredible,
  • The Jaymala (exchanging of Garlands between the bride and the groom to express respect for one another and to promise to share everything) was really genuin and authentic
  • Ganesh Puja, when the priest recited a prayer to Lord Ganesh requesting removal of all obstacles
  • Granthi Bandhan or typying the knot: the joyous union of the couple is symbolized by tyingf the ends of 2 garments together in a sacred knot
  • Havan (lighting the fire and after Mangal Phera:walking around and circlying 4 times the fire) was to call Agni, the Lord of fire, to bless the couple with purity and happiness in their lives together as the sacred flame was lit.
  • Kansarbhojan when the bride and groom feed each other sweets sygnifying their total commintment to each other
  • The Mangal Sutra and Sindoor Dan (sacred necklace and red powder) to symbolize groom’s commintment to her throughhout their lives.

We had a great time over there, and althought it was just for a 4 days, I had the opportunity to meet again incredible people I met throught couchsurfing and in Texas A&M last year. The hardest moment when you travel are the goodbye time, and when you realize you can meet again…it’s amazing: thanks Sean and Tori, Adam, Jack, Phil, and my other people: new one’s a old friends!!

I’ve always wanted an indian wedding and I had an indian wedding in the US!!!thanks Dang family, thanks Kennedy family, thanks Stephen…now…it’s time for an Indian wedding in my next trip to Bhārat Gaṇarājya.

And for the new weds: enjoy your honeymoon!!

and for Stephen:please, upload the pictures!!

Picture: From the wedding invitation! A common motif seen on hindu wedding invitations, the symbol or stylised depiction of Ganesha, the elephant god. His name is invoked at the beginning of any venture, event or celebration.