Monthly Archives: March 2015

Jndia, International Women’s Day March 8th, 2015

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Jaipur, India

On March 8th women around the world celebrated International Women’s Day. This year a group of Canadian women traveled to India to take part in an interactive session on “Women Beyond Borders”  A special thank you to our friends in India for arranging this fabulous event;
Mr. Balu Menon, Managing Director of Worldwide Adventures, India
Ms. Neeta Boochra, President of FICCI Ladies Organisation
Ms. Apra Kuchal, Chairperson FICCI
Mr. Shiv Pratap, tour guide with Worldwide Adventures, India
Ashok Club for opening their doors to us and arranging a fabulous event and a delicious dinner.


We started the evening getting ready for this momentous event by dressing in colourful saris. Not knowing how to dress in a sari we had to call upon two lovely ladies from the community to help us.  Thank you for making us look well dressed in our beautiful saris and thank you to Worldwide Adventures for the generous gift of the saris.




Our gracious hosts presented us with exquisite scarves, a book “Light Lamps” and a cake cutting ceremony to kick off the celebrations.



The evening program included a host of guest speakers.
Two of our Canadian women spoke to the group of International women.
Susan Sommers, Marketing & Media specialist and author spoke about embracing your passion, purpose and power at every age.
Rowena Lamy, Senior Program Manager at Royal Bank of Canada spoke about the multitude of influences that shape the choices we make in our personal and professional lives.
Neeta Boochra, President of FICCI and executive director of Silver Centrre Indo Gem Expoorters spoke about the important role that FICCI takes in educating young women and assisting entreprenuers and business women in becoming successful.
Apra Kuchaal, FICCI chairperson spoke about the importance of educating the children; girls to respsct themselves and boys to respect the girls. She stressed the point that this must begin at home and in the schools with teachers, mothers and fathers demonstrating this respect and teaching it to their children.
We listened to many passionate speakers talk about the need for change in India and we had indepth discussions with the respected individuals from the community of business women and entrepreneurs.  Some of the ladies attending were; Thakur Singh, managing director of Hotel Diggi Palace, Shalini Sheoran advisor, Kavita Verma director of DISHA a school for children with multiple dissabilities and Surrendra Singh, director Rajasthan Institute fo Co-Op Education & Management.







The following day we were thrilled to see our event made it onto the front page of the local Jaipur news.  This was a milestone event focusing on the issues of women around the world and everyone involved is committed to making changes to improve the lives of women globally.


India Day 17 – Varansi morning at leisure.

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder.<

Day 17 India tour – Varanasi, morning at leisure then homeward bound.

There was no agenda this morning.  The ladies have decided to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast then relax by the pool before embarking on the long journey home.  The pool and garden area of the Gateway hotel is a lovely oasis in the midst of a chaotic city.
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The Gateway hotel, part of the Taj chain, has been a lovely retreat these past few days. The rooms were comfortable, the staff very accommodating, the food excellent and the overall ambiance welcoming.

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Sadly it’s time to end our journey with one last drive through the interesting, chaotic streets of Varanasi. I couldn’t resist taking a few more photos to capture the lifestyle of this unique city.

P1030689 P1030690P1030695P1030697As we move our bags into the airport we are met by a cute little puppy that appears to be alone and hungry, similar to all of the dogs we came across in this city. I had a small bun in my bag which I happily shared with him.  My act of good Karma for the day. We bid farewell to our fabulous tour guide Ajit and head into the airport for our flight to Delhi.  Upon arrival in Delhi we are met by Sandeep who assists with our transfer to the airport Hilton hotel.  This is the perfect place to wait for our onward flight home, the rooms are comfortable and roomy. We took the time to repack our bags to even out the weight. We were going home with far more than we came with. I wonder how that happened? Too much shopping perhaps! After dinner we transferred back to the airport to wait for our Jet airways 3 am departure to Brussels and then on to Toronto.

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It certainly has been in incredible experience with an amazing group of women.

India Day 16 – Varanasi, cruise on the Ganges

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder.

Day 16 India tour – Varanasi, morning cruise on the Ganges to observe the ancient rites along the river.

Early morning we returned to the banks of the river to view the sunrise over the Ganges.  The streets are not as busy as last night, most shops are closed with the exception of a few selling milk or tea or ceremonial flowers.  The tourist and pilgrims are out, along with a few monkeys , cows and holy people. The bus took us part way and then we walked the balance of the way to the river.




The early morning light creates a serene atmosphere and the colours of buildings take on a rich tone. It’s quiet and peaceful and very different from the excitement of the night before.
P1030258 P1030259Pilgrim Ffmilies and individuals have gathered to take a cleansing dip in the holy river. Others have boarded a boat so they can release a floating flowers with a candle into the river in memory of a loved one that has passed.  Ajit has arranged a private boat for our group and flowers for the ladies to release into the river in memory of those they have lost.

Before releasing the flowers Ajit says a prayer for us.
“May all be happy, May all be healthy, May all see goodness, Let non suffer, Lead me unto untruth to truth, Lead me unto darkness to light, Lead me unto mortality to immortality.”
This was a very spiritual and touching moment for our group of women.

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The sunrise was spectacular and it made our early morning cruise on the Ganges a very special experience.

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Two young boys quietly rowed our boat along the two kilometre stretch of ghats that were full of pilgrims that flocked to this area to take a dip in the holy water. Cows and goats were perched on the stairways observing the rituals. Yogis were practicing, some were meditating and down the river young men were doing laundry. There were so many activities going on in this one magical area.

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Thebuildings along the shoreline is very colourful from the water in the early morning light. .  Cremation smoke billows up into the area and the city begins to awaken.

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Ajit has a pleasant surprise for us. He’s invited some of his friends to perform during our cruise on the Ganges. The sound of the sitar and tabla drums is almost hypnotic and everyone enjoys the mellow tunes as we drift along the river.

As we disembark there is a priest waiting to give us a blessing.  Our guide walks us through the narrow streets of the ancient city where we see many interesting characters and activities.






The wood sales people get ready for another busy day. I’ve never seen so much wood piled so high. It’s no easy task for those delivering the wood as they maneuver through the narrow streets.


The shops are starting to open and locals are emerging from their homes, daily live begins.
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Morning tour finished we head back to the hotel for breakfast and to freshen. Our next area visited is the Benares Hindu University. The roads are very busy so it takes quite a while to make our way to the University area.  First stop is the University Temple, we arrived just in time to observe the priest doing the midday aarti.  A lovely family is outside of the temple and they ask us to take their photo. Who could resist the smiling faces and colourful clothing. Next stop, the university museum which houses many interesting artifacts and paintings. I wasn’t able to take any photos in the museum.
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We stopped at the Radisson hotel where we were greeted by a delightful doorman. The girls had fun taking photos with him.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch and had a glass of beer to celebrate St Patrick’s day.

P1030604 P1030605 Our tour continues with a visit of the buried city of Sarnath, the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon. We also visited the Archaeological Museum which contains fine examples of Buddhist art treasures. The excavated ruins are surrounded by gardens and walkways and many tourists have come to perform ceremonies in this ancient Buddhist city. I met a lovely monk that traveled from Bangkok, Thailand to visit this sacred place.P1030623P1030635P1030622P1030619P1030620P1030621P1030631P1030632P1030618It’s been a long day so some of the ladies go back to the hotel to relax. The others decide to continue our tour to visit a silk factory.  The owner explains their ancient technique of creating masterpieces with the looms and afterwards shows us some spectacular pieces offered for sale. Needless to say there was some last minute shopping going on.

P1030639 P1030640 P1030641P1030646P1030647This is our last night in India so we’ve decided to enjoy dinner at the poolside barbecue restaurant where they serve tandoori oven roasted meats and fresh seafood grilled to perfection.The temperature is warm and delightful and the hotel gardens, pool area and building are nicely dramatically lit creating a wonderful atmosphere.  The service is exceptional, the food delicious and the company amazing.  What a great way to end off a perfect tour of India. Everyone has decided to take the morning off to relax by the pool before our flight to Delhi to begin our long journey home.

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India Day 15 – Mumbai to Varanasi, pilgrimage place for Hindus

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder.

Day 15 India tour – fly to Varanasi, the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus.

Our morning drive from Mumbai’s Trident hotel to the airport takes us across the bridge and through the slum areas of this massive city. From the highway we can see the famous Dhobi Ghats featured in the award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. The government constructed high hrise apartments in behind the slum area but the inhabitants will not leave their homes. If they leave they will lose their businesses which are located on the ground floor of the units. Their neighbours and roommates have become their family and here they have a sense of security. They choose to live in primitive conditions whith no running water or electricity as this is their community, and where they have a sense of belonging. Looking down on the city from the plane it’s quite apparent how many slum communities are located in the city. There must be tens of thousands livining in these make shift homes.


We arrive late afternoon at Varansi.  Formerly known as Benares this has been the ultimate Hindu pilgrimage spot for ages and the oldest living city in the world. Recent excavations have proven the city actually dates back to 1365 B.C. The Ganges River in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals.


After checking into our hotel our guide Ajit takes through the busy, crowded streets towards the Ganges River. First stop is Mother India Temple built in 1918 by Mr. Gupta for the freedom fighters. The temple houses an incredible map of India made from marble. The three dimensional map gives us a great perspective of the country. Ajit traces where the mighty Ganges orginates in the Himilayas and runs along the plains to the city of Varanasi. This map is an amazing work of art.

P1030056P1030057Our tour continues by bus through the traffic, dodging cows and dogs, people, bikes, cars trucks and more. A construction crew of men and women are digging a trench and it’s insteresting to see it’s the women carrying the dirt away. It’s tough labour and the women seem to handle the task well.


I’ve never seen so many cows and dogs in one place. They roam freely among the traffic, some have homes and others are taken care of by the locals. Hindus believe the dogs are the proctectors of the city so they feed and take care of them. They also believe it is good Karma to take care of the bulls and Karma is very important.


This densley populated city is home to 3 million people.
The next part of our journey to the river is on pedicabs. I don’t know how they maneuver their way through the busy streets. The streets are lined with shops and the locals are out purchasing food, clothing and other household items. The pilgrims and tourists have entered the city and are making their way to the banks of the river to witness a special ceremony taking place on the banks of the sacred Ganges.The pedicabs can only take us part way and then we must walk along with the cows and pilgrims to the river. Along the way we encountered an angry bull that turned on the crowd sending everyone running for safety. What an experience!




First sight of the river is very emotional. It’s hard to believe we are actually here.  The steps leading to the river are filled with people moving towards the stage where the Brhaman priests will perform the evening aarti. We are ushered into a large boat, which offers the best vantage point to view the city and the stage. A pleasant young man rows the boat along the shore line and Ajit tells us about the city and points out the cremations taking place. There are up to 150 cremations performed every day of the year. Hindus believe in reincarnation. Your body is your temple and your soul is your deity. They believe your body decays like a piece of cloth and when it gets worn your soul gets a new one. This evening their are a few cremations being perfomed. There is smoke billowing up into the air, the family members crowd around the pire and the animals are on the side eating the disgarded flowers. it’s quite amazing to watch this ritual unfold.




The area surrounding the stage,  the stairways leading to the river and the boats on the water are filled with pilgrims and tourists that have come to observe the nightly ritual performed by the priests. The 45 minute ceremony is intriguing with the bright glow of fire and the sound of bells. Their are 7 priests performing the rituals.
First step, they blow into conch shells.
Second step, they burn incense to purify the air.
Third step, they burn frankensense to make a clear passage way through the air for the deity.
Fourth step, they light and perform a ritual with a candle stand holding 51 candles.
Fifth step, they light a big flame for everyone including those who are no longer with us.
Sixth step, they make an offering of a sari. They use a symbolic piece of cloth and throw rose petals in the air and fan it
Seventh step, they blow the conch shell to symbol the end of the ceremony.
Witnessing the religious ceremony along with the pilgrims that have come to honour their loved ones in the holiest place on earth has been quite an emotional experience.

P1030234Ceremony over we made our way through the crowd back to our waiting pedicabs that took us through the busy streets to our bus for the drive back to our hotel. Dinner this evening was at the hotel and then off to bed as we have a 545am departure to catch the sunrise and to witness the daily morning rituals on the holy Ganges river

Our hotel is the Gateway, Varanasi, set amongst 40 acres of lush green gardens and  a veritable  onch shells.haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded and ancient temple city.

India Day 14 – Mumbai (Bombay), Elephanta island tour

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder.

Day 14 India tour – Mumbai (Bombay), ferry ride to Elephanta island

This morning we traveled by ferry to Elephanta Island, located about 10 km from Mumbai Harbour. The magnificent Hindu Temple dedicated to Shiva is a UNESCO World Heritage site and remarkable for its sculptures. We boarded the boat just in front of the TajMahal Hotel. it’s a beautiful building and there are no others like it in Mumbai. Our hour long boat ride takes us past the navy ships an island that holds the cities oil supply which is brought in large tanker ships from Saudi, Iran and Brazil. This is also a large container port so there are many ships in the harbour.  What amazes me the most is the skyline that goes on for miles, further than the eye can see. I’ve never seen  a skyline like it anywhere else in the world.


We’ve now graduated from bus shopping to boat shopping. Jewelry salesman Sandeep lives on the island and he is keen to let us know his mother makes the beautiful necklaces. Once off the boat we have to walk up to a little train that takes us part way. From this point we have 150 steps to climb and many shops to pass by. It’s a geat day for this tour, the sky is reasonably clear of polution and the temperature is moderate with low humidity. Once reaching the top we are entertained by the many monkeys playing and there’s one mother with a couple of babies in her lap.





P1020920Our guide Perviz takes us on a walk through the ancient caves that date back to the 2nd century AD. The carvings are quite ornate and each panel tells a story of Shiva’s life. Shiva the destroyer is one of the three main gods worshipped in the Hindu religion. It’s hard to comprehend the age of these incredible stone carvings and so interesting to hear the stories behind each panel.


On our way back down to the boat we are met by the shop keepers selling their souveniers. I must say there are some interesting items to buy and the prices are very reasonable.  It seemed to take a lot longer going down as we stop to purchase trinkets. At the bottom of the long stairway we are greeted by cows, goats,  dogs and makeshift restaurants. What an interesting island.


Back on the mainland we stopped for some fresh coconut, this treat is not only tasty but healthy too.


This afternoon we had lunch at Khyber, one of Mumbai’s best restaurants. The food is superb, the service exellent and the decor very pleasing to the eye. White marble floors throughout and intimate rooms with beautiful murals paintded on the walls.  What a great way to spend an afternoon in Mumbai, enjoying great food and excellent company. Just out the front door of the restaurant there’s a girl walking a tight rope, such a strange sight to see but nothing surprises us in this city.


We are staying at the Trident hotel, which is part of the Oberoi chain. This has to be one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in. The rooms are well appointed and comfortable, the service excellent and the pool and garden area wonderful. The view of Mumbai’s skyline froom the pool area is absolutely spectacular.


Some of our travelers headed home  this evening.  Bon Voyage! There are 7 ladies going to Varanasi tommorow. This is the oldest living city in the world and certainly the holiest.  We are looking forward to another new experience in this incredible country.

India Day 13 – fly to Mumbai (Bombay)

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder.

Day 13 India tour – Fly to Mumbai, afternoon tour of the city.

Yesterday there was political unrest in Kerala when the minister of finance tried to present his budget. The opposing party tried to block him and it ended up in mayhem at the government office.  Today they have proposed action and everything will be shut down from 6am to 6pm., including the roads. We have a two hour drive to the aiirport for our flight to Mumbai which we must not miss. This is going to be a long day which started with a 3am wakeup and 4am departure for Cochin. The hotel has been so accomodating, we checked out the night before and they made us a boxed breakfast. Upon arrival at Cochin we had a bus picnic with our packaged breakfast. I must say this is a first for me.  They are controling the aiirport check in and will only let us in at 730am. Thedepature lounge is full so we had to go tothe arrival area to find seats for our long wait. At 1055am they let us check in and our flight finally took off at 105pm. Thankfully our guide Shiv was on the ball and diverted a potential disaster.  Everyone is looking forward to seeing Mumbai.


Upon arrival we are met by Perviz, our local tour guide. Our tour begins on our way to the Trident hotel. Mumbai (Bombay). Noisy yet spiritual, flashy yet humble, Mumbai manages to cram so many extremes into one city it’s no wonder that it leaves most visitors exhilarated and entranced. The traffic is unbelievabel and it goes at a steady pace 24 / 7. There are 17 million people in Mumbai and unofficially 22 million. It is said that 1,000 people arrive in Mumbai every day with hopes of finding work and a home. There are so many slum areas which are two to three stories high. The upper rooms are reached by a make shift ladder and the roofs are blue tarps. Families share one small room and the community shares 1 toilet. Some rooms have up to 10 people sleeping in one small room.


The skyline of Mumbai is magnificent with miles of coast and towering commercial and aprtment buildings. Mumbai is an island and the 7 kilometre long bridge gives us a birds eye view of the city. here are two main areas of the city, the commercial and the residental. It’s Saturday afternoon and many people have come to stroll along the seaside boardwal, It’s quite a site to behold with all the colourful Saris.


This afternoon we enjoyed a tour of, Mani Bhavan, the memorial built for Gandhi. The memorial is housed in the house where Ghandi lived from 1917 to 1934. The memorial is a very interesting chronicle of Ghandi’s life and moving.


As we leave the museum we are followed to our bus by the hawkers and as in every other city we visited, we had fun bus shopping. The young woman hat sold us colourful purses was very pleasant and spoke excellent english.


This evening we celebrated our India adventure with a farewell dinner, some of the ladies will be going home tomorrow after we enjoy one last day of sightseeing. We also celebrate Julie’s birthday and say our goodbye speaches to our incredible tour guide Shiv. He has been exceptional to work with and took such care of our needs. Although as he says, this has been an exceptioanl group which makes our job very easy.  Colleen and Sue made up a funny song about our journey and through their laughter they managed to sing it to us. This was a very special evening.


Our hotel, the Trident Nariman Point, Mumbai offers panoramic views of the ocean, Marine drive or the Queens Necklace as the promenade is lovingly called.

India Day 12 – Spa day!

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder.

Day 12 India tour – Kumararkom Spa Day at the Backwater Ripple.

Today we enjoyed a leisurely day at the Backwater Ripple hotel. e started off with early morning yoga by the lake. The fishermen are out alongside  the birds, both trying to get their catch for the day. The hotel’s spa offers Ayurveda treatments for a better harmony of body, mind and soul.  Each lady had a spa treatment, masssages, oil drip for relaxation and facials. They relaxed by the pool and some found a peaceful place to stretch out and read a book. Our new motto for this trip, which has been said many times through out our journey “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”  It’s about 34 degrees with a warm breeze blowing off the lake. It’s perfect.  A few of the ladies took the boat cruise this afternoon and made some new friends. There were tourists from Taiwain, India and a ew of our Canadian women. I’m not sure how it started but they had a sing along during the cruise. it’s sounds like they had great fun. Too bad I missed it.  This evening the sing song continued in the restaurant. Everyone joined in the fun! What a great way to end our stay  at the Backwater Ripple. This is a fabulous resot, lovely rooms and amenities, great food and excellent service. All good things must come to an end. We’ve just been informed of a political strike in Kerala tomorrow starting at 6am. We must leave our hotel at 4am to ensure we gt out of town before the roads are blocked off. Our flight leaves for Mumbai at 1pm but we can’t take any chances . It’s going to be a long day. We’ll have to nap on the bus on the way to the airport. Of to bed now. Watch for my next blog about Mumbai. Coming soon!



India Day 11 – Drive to Kumarakom

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder

Day 11 India tour – Drive to Kumarakom, rated among the top 25 best getaways in the world.

After breakfast we bid farewell to our captain and board the bus for our drive to Kumarakom, a cluster of little islands on Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom captures the essence of Kerala in a unique and lovely setting. Conde Nast Traveller rated Kumarakom among the 25 best getaways in the world. It is an enchanting paradise of mangrove forests, green paddy fields and coconut groves, interspersed with a network of waterways.

During our drive we stop for a few photo opportunties along the way.  The first is to capture a train crossing by. Next stop is to put our feet in the Arabian sea. The beach is very wide and the sea is nice and warm. The gals had a ball taking photos and letting the waves crash in and wash over our feet.




We stopped at the Prince hotel for lunch. It was a nice restaurant with good food but the service was a bit slow.  My dessert of small sweet bananas in a warm sweet sauce was the best! There are 265 varieties of bananas in kerala, Afterwards our guide Phillip took us to grocery store to purchase some typcial foods from the area, specifically cashews which are grown in the region . It’s quite interesting how the nut grows outside of the fruit.




We also stopped for a tour of the coir museum. They collect the fibres from the coconut shells and make them into coir, from these strong ropes they make many items. Household furniture, carpets, elaborate pictures and much more. Along the road there are many shops selling the coir products.


Upon arrival at out hotel, the Backwater Ripple, Kumarakom, we were greeted with fresh pineapple juice and cool wet towels.  The hotel is located in the popular backwaters of Alleppey and offers panoramic views of the lake. Bags unpacked, most of us head for the pool and some took an evening boat cruise on the lake. The water in the pool is warm and relaxing.  After dressing for dinner we had an impromtu wine party at Tish’s room. Then off to the restaurant for dinner and off to bed. We are getting up early tomorrow for a yoga session.


India Day 10 – Alleppey, houseboat on Kerala`s waterways

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder

Day 10 India tour – Houseboat tour of Kerala`s lush waterways.

Today we boarded a traditional houseboat, our transportation and floating hotel.  The boats are well equipped and our rooms extremely comfortable. We meandered through Kerala’s waterways to view the lush green tropical wonderland. From our comfortable vantage point we observed the rituals of village life; farmers working in the rice paddies, women washing laundry on the rocks, people bathing, ladies washing dishes and children splashing in the water. We saw shallow, palm-fringed lakes studded with coconut and banana trees in abundance.  Kerala means land of coconuts. i’ve never seen so many coconuts trees in one place.


What a magical experience, sitting in our outdoor covered living room and quietly cruising along observing life on the river.  Lunch is served in our private dining room . It’s delicious!



After cruising for a while our fabulous crew tied up the boat and we walked along the canal, past beautiful homes into town.  The streets are busy with women and children heading to St Mary’s church, this historical church dates back to 427 A.D.  It’s the beginning of the St Thomas festival and it is our great fortune to be here during mass. The chanting is hauntingly beautiful and the church is filled with men one side and women on the oter. Their saris are so colourful.On the way back to our 3 houseboats Anne-Marie poked arrround in a local shop.



We continued our relaxng cruise, coktails in hand. At sunset our houseboat tied up at the water’s edge and we enjoyed a peaceful night on the water. Dinner was excellent and our sleep restful.


The following morning we woke early to catch the sunrise.  Birds were chirping, a large flock of ducks were quacking and the local fishermaen were out in the boats hoping for a good catch. We enjoyed cofee and masal chai while our crew prepared a delicious breakfast.  Our cruise continues as we return bak to the dock, th children wave as we pass by. The bird life and flowers are spectacular this morning.


Overnight on a traditional a Houseboat

India Day 9 – Kochi, cooking class & Kathakali dance

by Debbie Ross
Womens Travel Network founder

Day 09 India Tour – Kochi; cooking class, warehouse visits and Kathakali dance.

Unfortunately two of our ladies have come down with Delhi belly. After making sure they had medicine, water and bananas we tucked them into bed and started out on our sightseeing tour. This morning we vistied a synagogue built in 1568, and Mattancherry, a palace built by the Portuguese in 1557 with astonishing murals depicting scenes from the Hindu epic.


Afterwards we took an interesting walk through the busy town. We passed colourful fruit and vegetable stands and the local garbage pit on our way to the home of Salim Pushpanath, our cooking instructor.


P1020267P1020272Salim taught us techniques of South Indian cuisine with traditional fish and rice dishes. The class was very informative and we enjoyed the lunch she prepared. Her gardens are spectacular with beautiful flowers, a variety of spice an fruit trees and many interesting birds.

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After lunch some ladie returned to the hotel to relax, swim in the pool and repack their bags for tomorrows departure. A few ladies stayed in town to shop in the jewish area  of town. The narrow streets are lined with shops selling all types of trinquits and clothing.

In the evening we went into town to enjoy a Kathakali dance performance, a stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up and elaborate costumes of its characters. Our walk from the bus to the theatre was almost as interesting as the dance. There were restauants with unique names, goats walking along the road with us and cars and bikes wizzed by as we carefully  made our way to the theatre. After the performance we  returned to the hotel for dinner in the seafood resaurant. it is considered the best in Kerala where locals and tourist come to enjoy the fresh seafood, lobster, prawns, fresh catch of the day. A few of us shared a white snapper which was grilled with lemon butter. The meal was fabulous and the company exceptional. We have such a wonderful group of women on this trip.