Conrado and Jaime first heard of Zoom Vacations over ten years ago, and when they decided to go to India, they knew who to call. It was their first Zoom Vacation, and we hope it will not be their last, because they were such wonderful travelers! Always friendly, open to trying new experiences, appreciative of the wonderful things that happened to them on the trip, and always so courteous and respectful of local customs, people, and culture. Plus, with all their shopping, they significantly improved the local economy!
Zoom: It seems to us that a lot of people have misperceptions of what India really has to offer. Do you think that India is how people think it is?
Conrado: No, we believe people only know the poverty and negative image about India but there is so much more. History, culture, religion, natural beauty are just a few things people should know more about India
Zoom: Did anything surprise you about this trip to India?
Jaime: The enormous gap between poverty and wealth is greater than we imagined. The orderly chaos on the streets is actually fun to experience!
Zoom: What do you think that most people would appreciate about a trip to India?
Conrado: Amazing food, beautiful temples and palaces. Spirituality and very kind people.
Zoom: How were the accommodations on this trip?
Jaime: Excellent accommodations in general but the 3 palaces in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur were out of this world. We felt like royalty in all senses.
Zoom: What were your top three highlights of the trip?
Conrado: 1- Staying at incredible palaces where facilities and levels of service are outstanding
2- Guided visits to amazing temples of many religions and styles
3- The customized events we had for our group, such as the high tea at an old palace in Varanasi where the current Maharaja still lives.
Zoom: Did you eat well? Do you have a favorite meal or dish from the trip?
Jaime: All food was amazing, and we really enjoyed trying all different cuisines and never got sick, which is a usual concern we heard before going to India.
Zoom: On this trip, we did a lot of driving through India. How was that for you?
Conrado: It was very comfortable in the vehicle we had. The driver was outstanding. It was interesting to witness the countryside, very different landscapes, local customs such as festivals and processions on the road and we even saw some shepherds with their herd of camels. Travel time felt shorter than expected.
Zoom: How was it being part of a gay group in India? Did you feel comfortable?
Jaime: Yes it was very comfortable and fun, especially when everyone went crazy shopping all the time!
Zoom: What did you learn about India, Hinduism, Buddhism, architecture or spirituality that you didn't know before?
Conrado: A lot of interesting facts about religions, their history and current practices.
Zoom: India is also known as a shopper's paradise. I know you bought some great things there, did you find this to be true?
Jaime: Yes! it was beyond our expectations. We love art and antiques and bought several valuable pieces for very reasonable prices
Zoom: You also took our add-on trip to Nepal. What were your impressions of Nepal?
Conrado: We loved Nepal and its people. It is a very spiritual place and were glad to visit even if some temples were damaged by the earthquake. There were many things to see that were not affected by the earthquake and people were very thankful for our visit. Food was excellent and the hotel was amazing, its architecture is completely different, very traditional Nepalese. Would go back in a heartbeat.
Zoom: Do you think it was worthwhile going to Nepal as well? How was it different from India?
Jaime: It is very worthwhile to visit, climate was perfect. Nepal is like a little India but several decades back in time. People are still more innocent, nice, polite and service oriented.
Zoom: Is there anything else you two would like to add?
Conrado: Zoom had many small details with us including daily surprise gifts that gave it a plus. Everything was very well planned but still we had options to adjust the schedule when the group agreed on a different alternative. Of course we would like to thank Bryan Herb for the excellent attitude, humor and service he provided as the zoom concierge with us during the trip. He did a fantastic job coordinating and arranging every little detail!!