Mexicali Travels: Adventures in India

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Moved by wanderlust and love of exploring the world, Mexicali owners Kim and Pete Erskine have been traveling the world with their 3 children since way back in the day! Living an adventurous globetrotting lifestyle since infancy, the kids–Carly (in the backpack), Chauncey (on the front of the bike), and Caleb (not yet born when the above picture was taken)–have grown into savvy travelers who are now embarking on their own adventures!  Thinking it would be fun to reflect on some of those past journeys with the family, here are a few of Carly’s tales of traveling in India as a young girl:

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Carly makes a new friend on one of her more recent travels!

When we do business in foreign countries, we like to make long lasting friendships with the people we do business with and their families. We have been doing business in India with one particular gentleman for many years now and we have a great relationship with him and his family. One year they took us to a traditional carnival/dinner. It was truly amazing. There was a place for kids to play, which consisted of slides, elephant rides and a small ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel was made of wood. To get it going, a man would climb to the top and then hang, using his weight to pull it around. He would do this again and again until it was moving on its own.  There was traditional dancing and performances.  And although we were the only foreigners there, everyone was so nice! For dinner, we sat on pillows on the ground and ate some traditional food that we had never experienced before.  It was an awesome experience!

My family and I spent a few days buying goods from one of our most prolific Indian artisans and were going to head to a different city for vacation. We had planned to rent a car and the drive was expected to take about 6 hours. However, we had a very friendly relationship with the craftsman and his family, so he insisted on taking us to our destination himself.  That morning, the 5 of us Erskines and our Indian friend piled into his small car.  The car ride was hot and crowded. As we were going through the desert, the car slowly came to a stop, breaking down on the side of the road. Our friend didn’t speak very much English so we were all confused about what was going on. We assumed the radiator just overheated and needed water, so foolishly we poured all of our drinking water into the car. It still didn’t work.

There was a small store a couple miles back, so my dad and younger brother, Caleb, decided to walk to it and grab a couple drinks for us. The walk was long so they ended up waving down a motorcycle passing and paid them to go to the store and bring back drinks. Meanwhile our friend had called one of his buddies to come help us, and he appeared on a motorcycle with a few drinks and some snacks.  My dad and Caleb came back hot and tired with unopened drinks ready to share.  They were surprised to find us with all the food and drinks!

We continued to wait on the side of the road and eventually a big brightly colored truck stopped to help us out. They didn’t speak any English but were eager to help. We still couldn’t get the car going, so they offered to tow us to the closest repair shop. My dad rode in the truck with all the men, while the rest of us stayed in the broken car as they towed us behind them.  The rope they had wasn’t very sturdy and kept breaking. It looked like we were just getting farther and farther into the desert!

As the sun was going down, we eventually got to a car repair repair shop. It was a beat down old building in the middle of no where. Our friend called us a cab and we waited there with all our bags as bugs swarmed us. What started off as a 6 hour car trip turned into a full day adventure!

On one of our trips to India, we decided to go on camel rides for the first time. When we got to the place that camel rides were given, we were all given a camel to ride and a guide that sat on the camel with us. My mom was the last one to get assigned a camel. My brothers and I thought it was so funny because her camel was frothing at the mouth. She asked her guide, “Is this camel sick?” and he responded with a smile. “ No no maam, this is happy camel!”

My brothers and my dad had fast moving camels. However I had an older camel and an older guide. My guide did not speak any English but he sung me Hindu songs the whole ride. My mom was still the least fortunate. Whenever there was a shift in wind, the foam from the camel’s mouth would come flying back at her. It was really an awesome experience riding through the desert on camels!

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