Connect the dots

Saturday, December 31, 2011


We wish all who have joined us on this journey the very best for the new year!

 New Year's Eve in Fort Cochin, Kochi, Kerala, India

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa in India

Leave Santa an orange in an elf's hat and what does he leave you in exchange?

Here's Alex's look of content after she uncovers a bowl with Uno Jr. cards and a toy tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw, auto, trishaw, autorick, bajaj, bajaji, rick, tricycle, mototaxi, or baby taxi). So nice to see her happy with the simplest of gifts.

Happy holidays wherever you are in the world!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Elephas maximus indicus

Our Andaman friend
Smaller than their African cousins and widely domesticated, the minute you eye these gentle giants, you instantaneously want a backyard big enough to make one your pet. After seeing loads of African elephants, I promised Alex that she would be able to ride and pet the tamer Indian version. These are the donkeys of the Western Ghats with the ability to transport timber and other heavy objects. We paid a visit to these intelligent creatures at Elephant Junction in Kumily for a ride through the spice plantations.

Dare me to pick up a pea?
Secret to fiber: palm leaf diet

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baby Got Backwaters

Expect this to be your big splurge in Southern India. A trip to Kerala would not be complete without getting on a houseboat and cruising through the sleepy backwaters. Don't forget to check out a few before you decide, and leaving from Kumarakom is quieter than leaving from Alleppey. Sit back, relax, watch the fishermen and villagers, take in the green everywhere, catch up on a book or some sleep. The boat slowly cruises and a sense of incapacity should set in

Top deck living, downstairs dining

Chinese fishing nets teetering over houseboats

The back is where it all happens
My generator is bigger than your generator
Dieting is not an option since all mouthwatering, stuff-your-face-till-you-explode meals are included. Typical Keralan meals are freshly prepared for you by the crew. We had our fair share of idlis, puttu and sambar for breakfast; fried fish, lobster, mussels, and curried vegetables for lunch and dinner. If that's not enough, there's plenty of fresh fruit for dessert and fried bananas with evening tea.

Staving off occasional boredom with Mamalene's iPad

The first state to democratically elect a communist gov't; the party still alive and well

Off to work in the rice paddies

Island churches decked out for Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anokhi. Yes, again.

It didn't look like we would be sending home Mamalene with some of Anokhi's beautiful clothing... But as we rounded Lilly Street in Fort Cochin, what was about to make its grand opening?

We helped christen the store and came back the next day with Mamalene who is now a proud owner of an Anokhi wardrobe. Even little Alex scored.

My new haircut, wearing my new dress, in front of the new collection at the new Anokhi Fort Cochin

Posing at the ginger factory in Mattancherry

Monday, December 19, 2011

80 Cents

From long locks... her new super short bangs bob!

 Total = $0.80 (including tip) at Kevin's Salon in Fort Cochin

Friday, December 16, 2011

Goin' Goan

So, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed when we first reached Dwarka resort on Cola Beach in South Goa. We were spending an awful lot of money for some simple thatch-and-reed huts and no hot water. I guess that's what you pay for when you sign up for an eco cottage resort! But I realized after a day what a gorgeous spot this was - fresh water lagoon on one side (perfect for young children) and ocean (with strong currents) on the other side. And Dwarka proved to be an ideal place to relax, especially since there was barely a bar on my mobile phone and no Wi-Fi in sight. If you want the quieter Goa, come to this place. Not only is the setting mind-numbing, the variety and quality of the meals (always a seafood entree for every meal) will instantaneously give you food coma thanks to their superb chef John. Thanks again to Sidu and staff for making our entry into Southern India a warm one.

Pick a side: lagoon or ocean?
Our digs, cottage I

View from our cottage
Tranquil lagoon

The cherry on the sundae: another family staying in the resort who had a three year old boy from California! In typical three year old fashion, playing and fighting in equal measure.

(Conversation between Alex and H outside our cottage)
H: You want to play with me girlfriend?
A: I'm not your girlfriend. Don't call me girlfriend! Call me Alex.

Morning boat trip
Bring on the dolphins!

(Conversation between Alex and H on the boat)
H: (holding onto the side of the boat) I'm scared.
A: Don't be scared, just hold my hand.

Big buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Goan bebinca

And just in case you get bored (which is the idea, anyway) you can always amuse yourself watching the many Russian girls posing for each other's cameras.