Thanks to a package deal from Gate 1 Travel, holistic doctor Andi Perullo took a long-awaited dream trip to India, where she explored palaces and ate street food.
Great local meal... A tofu curry with garlic naan, which I washed down with a hot chai, from a street vendor by the beach in Kochi.
My favorite part... Without a doubt, the Taj Mahal. [PHOTO] It's one thing to see pictures of it, but to see it in person is truly an unforgettable experience. [PHOTO] When I first saw the white palace—the ultimate memorial to love—my eyes immediately teared up with excitement, awe, and gratitude.
Moment when things got tense... When I arrived at the Taj Mahal, I was in a state of bliss. Within minutes, however, my bliss was interrupted by hoards of people asking to have their picture taken with me as if I were some celebrity. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was stopped by several hundred people. [PHOTO]
What I should have packed... Bug spray. I thought that since I was going during the dry season I could forget about bugs. Not only was I completely wrong, but I ended up having a severe allergic reaction to the bites I got on a daily basis.
Worth every penny... I asked my guide to take me to a reputable jeweler in the Pink City, a.k.a. Jaipur. [PHOTO] At the jewelry store, I was treated like a Maharaja princess! They let me try on jewels that were worth millions of dollars. [PHOTO] In the middle of playing dress up, I found a gorgeous 15-strand tourmaline necklace that I just had to have—even though it was out of my price range.
Fun surprise... Visiting the Agra Fort at dusk. [PHOTO] The concierge at my hotel tried to talk me out of it, but I'm glad that I did it anyway because there were hardly any people there and the weather was much cooler. From the fort, I had the most extraordinary view of the Taj Mahal—I had no idea that you could see it from there. It was a magical moment, as there was smoke surrounding the Taj Mahal because of a nearby cremation and the sun was setting. [PHOTO]
Total rip-off... Taxis! It is one fourth the price and much faster to take auto rickshaws. [PHOTO] Besides, you can get some awesome pictures from them, since there are no glass windows.
Never again... Will I ignore my gut. I was desperate for a massage, as my back was killing me from sleeping in hard beds. My intuition told me to leave once I met the therapist, who struck me as creepy, but I decided to get the massage anyway. About five minutes into it, I began to be touched in very inappropriate places. Every time I complained, the therapist kept telling me that this is how massages are given in India. I left a few minutes later.
I'm still laughing about... The different modes of transportation used in India. In a span of five minutes, I'd easily see a taxi, a car, an auto rickshaw, a motorcycle, and a bicycle, as well as people walking, running, and riding elephants, camels, and water buffalo. [PHOTO]
Hotel I liked... The luxurious Oberoi in Agra, where my friend and I treated ourselves to dinner.As our car pulled up, I was instantly wowed by the opulence. It was one of the most stunning hotels I've ever seen. [PHOTO]