MONKS AT DAWN
by Isabelle Paez, New York, NY
Isabelle's Dream Trip
India, Nepal, the Maldives, and Zanzibar
Having been to most countries in Europe and Southeast Asia (several times in some cases), I am so ready for India and for the more exotic ports of call of my most lustful travel dreams. Here is how I would do it:
Week 1: Rajasthan
I think this province will be a good intro into the country. I would visit the Jaisalmer Haveli for the finest examples of domestic stone architecture of the prosperous merchant class, the Junagarh Fort, an elephant ride to the Amber Fort, the marble pavilion at Moosi Maharani after a local maharajah's mistress who committed "sati" here; the monumental arches of Ajmer; and of course, the colorful bazaars of Pushkar where I can overdose on Indian textiles. Where to stay: the Lake Palace of Udaipur, of course.
Week 2: Kathmandu, Nepal
I would make a quick dash for thisit's so close!and stay at The Yak & Yeti Hotel. I love that name even though photos reveal a very bland building. I would poke around Kathmandu for four days in a motorbike and maybe kibbitz around with Everesters and fantasize that I too will be climbing with them. Perhaps I will console myself with a few Nepalese textiles as souvenirs. A ride to some of the outlying monasteries should complete this trip. I may even get to sneak a peak at Everest in the distance.
Week 2-3: Maldives
Time for some serious R&R. I have always wanted to go here but it always seems so far away and so expensive. Now is my chance. Five nights at the Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa for some major pampering should invigorate me.
Week 3-4-5: Tanzania, Zanzibar, Mnemba Island
I have never been to the African continent so this will be a first. A four-night stay at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has been one of my favorite travel wishes. Every photo I've seen calls to me. I love all that rustic luxury. I would also like to tool around the capital of Dar Es Salaam. How can I not? Just sending a postcard saying "Greetings from Dar Es Salaam" would be so cool.
Isabelle's Travel Tips
• I love textiles. They make great authentic and inexpensive souvenirs and presents. The developing countries have the best weaves, colors and designs.
• I like to travel light so I use the shower body washes in hotels to wash my clothesmostly t-shirts and undergarments. In tropical climes, hanging them outside to dry is heavenly.
• If you have a layover of more than five hours in Singapore, Changi Airport offers a free Singapore tour (a harbor cruise) on Terminal 1. Otherwise a quick cab ride into town (15-20 minutes) for a tall, cold Singapore Sling at the atmospheric Raffles Hotel is a lot better than waiting at the airport. Both are great ways to get a quick snapshot of the city.
• Can't resist a fourth tip: when traveling abroad, I like to bring a New York City guidebook as presents for an esteemed host or hostess. Something with lots of great pictures, short text. I like this little touch of reciprocity between far-flung places.