Monday, 30 January 2012

What to pack............

Next week I'm off to India for most of February so this week will see me pack and unpack until I've finally decided what to take with me.   I'm a frugal traveller so I tend to get the packing down to an absolute minimum - if I can't get it in my trusty rucksack - it stays at home.   After all its always possible to get things washed and support the local economy.

There are a few must items: first aid kit; (yes immodium has been purchased); mosquito net; sleeping bag liner; retractable padlock (for locking rucksack to seat on trains) and charger.  

So where am I headed - well the itinerary I've put together includes Delhi to follow the history of the Mughals and the major sites;  as well as some escape from the maddening crowds in the shape of the Lodi Gardens.

Mumbai for a little bit of Bollywood (apparently Westerners are popular extras in films - you never know!).   The high life tinged with history and temples as well as taking a Mumbai local tour with some young people who are being supported into education and employment through a social support project.  

Lets hope I can keep up as the tour promises to be a riot of hopping on and off buses, trains to fit in lots of different experiences.   I've also got time to visit Ghandi's house so that will be a bit of a thrill.  Not forgetting a number of markets and bazaars to browse as well as a boat trip to Elephanta Island - no elephants I believe.

Kolkata where I'm staying in a small hotel/guesthouse; the owners support local artistic talent so who knows what I'll see.  I will take time out to visit Howrah Station where the guide book states 2 million people a day come through it.   I don't know about you but I can't get that image in my head - maybe my camera will capture it.

Last but not least food - a vegetarian dream and it will be so nice not to have to explain and get strange looks about not eating meat.   Which reminds me of a story about the worst meal I ever had.............. for another day I think.

'this moment'

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from today. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.  :: Idea from :SouleMama:   If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Returning friends

A very dear friend of mine returns from spending a year with VSO in Cambodia and I'm so looking forward to getting together and catching up.

Wendy in true reporter style has emailed all her friends roughly every week of her year away and has amassed a round of stories and pictures which have the making of an excellent book / blog.   She may have to edit however to protect the innocent or not so innocent depending on what was happening at the time.

As I browse through here are some snippets:
  • people in authority not making decisions - I did wonder why she thought it might be different but heh-ho! bureaucracy gets everywhere.
  • learning Khami - or not
  • silk farms set up to train and educate local women and children
  • visits to Phnom Penh to eat junk food and shop
  • surviving the 'durian' season.   Some of you might know that this fruit stinks but tastes very good - I could never get it past my nose.  
  • the transport of pigs upside down, tied to the back of a moto.   The transport of dead animals being illegal. 
  • being ill - well all that junk food must have surprised a tummy getting used to rice for breakfast dinner and tea.
  • an inordinately wet - wet season - worst since 2001.   
  • difficult getting used to peddling hard to keep your momentum on the bike to get through the water and a brilliant work out - which I'll take her word for
  • senior management meeting cancelled because of seaside workshop.   Managers get paid extra to attend workshops so of course the seaside is more appealing
  • management deciding to reduce the bonus of people who don’t attend work when they should 
  • attending 3 day wedding celebrations
  • and very much more .........

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

....and a host of good things to look forward to which I plan to regale you all with as the year progresses.

Christmas morning

I arrived at Rebecca's for Christmas and was greeted by wonderful Christmas lights which various neighbours had put up to brighten the street.   Some had gone to a lot of trouble as Rebecca and I explored the street to look at them all.

On Christmas morning I was happily wakened not at the expected 3am but at 6.30am - bonus!   These pictures tell the story of one excited little girl and her presents.

diving in the santa sack

my new hat

a bike!!!

are we knitting granny??

spoiled for choice

......and although presents are a big part of Christmas I was delighted listening to Rebecca singing Christmas songs and carols.    So to delight you here is her audio rendition of Little Donkey.   I've used a site called audioboo and the link/s below should take you to the audioboo link - I hope!

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