Alleppey Houseboat

Taj Mahal (this was my 4th time there)

Taj mahal entrance gate

Yes, it’s certainly been a while between drinks (or in this case, blog posts!) Facebook algorithms and the lack of interaction really got to me at one point late last year and I thought “Sod it all” and put this little blog on the backburner for a while. But absence made the heart grow fonder & I felt the need to do an update which I’ll do chronologically as it’s easier for me to remember what’s happened that way 🙂

 

 

Somewhere around Oct/Nov I did some NLP training with an absolutely delightful lady Julie. NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and what it did for me was this: Julie & I went and revisited some old baggage that I hadn’t left on the airport luggage carousel which used to colour my thinking and hinder my decisions. Whilst now I still acknowledge that some hurtful things happened, I no longer focus on them & it doesn’t matter anymore, just doesn’t matter. It was definitely freeing and very worthwhile. That’s just an abbreviated snapshot of what happened, there’s more to it than that but it’s hard to describe & I’d rather experts comment. I would have liked to have gotten some clearer ideas of my future path from it as well but I can work on that later.

Christmas came and went along with its usual dramas. This year we had the extra baby family members with my 2 great nephews (and they are really great too) Jackson & William coming to the party. Babies and toddlers just make Christmas that extra special.

We spent the month of January on our “Celebration of School Pick ups and Drop offs Ending” tour. We did a Bunniks tour – I highly recommend the company for its small group touring, attention to detail and lovely tour guides. We did the usual touristy places like Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur but we also got to go to Varanasi where cremation is held on the side of the River Ganges. It wasn’t as confronting as I had been mentally picturing because I thought the bodies were set on fire and sent out on the river. Bodies are cremated on the ghats (river banks leading down to the Ganges) and we went out on a rowboat at sunset & sunrise to watch from a distance. It never felt sad at all or depressing; just a celebration of life and the circle of life. India was a tour of temples and forts and we were immersed in religion every turn we made. We learnt so much about Hindus and Muslims and the history of India which we were oblivious to before.

A highlight for us was a town called Khajuraho which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally a group of 85 Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples there is now only 25 with most of them being built between 950AD and 1050AD but the most famous of temples has intricate carvings of the most erotic scenes which was fun! Anyhoo, we had some free time so we decided to have an Ayurvedic massage. Ian tells the story better than I can but with limited English we got by. Ian wanted to have a woman masseuse but it goes against the Indian culture so for the first time ever, Ian had a massage done by a man wearing a dress shirt, slacks and business shoes. Luckily I got the girl but the weirdest thing was because the room was a tad chilly they put a blow heater on the massage table between our ankles, fortunately angled towards the ceiling not the nether regions. At the end of a normal body massage a vat of warm oil was poured over our foreheads which was awesome – very relaxing and calming.

India is a great country to visit with such a rich history of religion and culture. The caste system may be officially not PC but we found it truly alive and well. We may find it difficult to understand arranged marriages as it’s not something in our culture but it works for them. I loved so much of the country, the people and the history – there was one thing I couldn’t agree with and it’s probably the thing that would hold me back from going again. It could have been the tour guide and his manner but the feeling that everyone wanted $$ from us. We were on a tour with only 2 other people who were fiscally restrictive and therefore we bore the brunt of all the salespeople’s focus. I can see anyone who has ever been to an Asian country where the taxi driver takes you to a “factory” or his family’s local business where you can get discounted prices if you just take a look, nodding their heads with me. This happened I would say 24 out of the 27 day tour.

To be continued…….

 

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