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It was a long, tiring day’s drive from the scenic Mohingyi Wetlands Reserve, north of Bago, down to Moulmein (Mawlamyine) capital of Burma’s Mon state. Having crossed the torrential Sittang River we faced hours trundling along miles of frequent poorly-maintained road, occasionally coming across toiling village work-gangs. In the late afternoon we reached the impressive partly-constructed bridge over the broad Thanlwin River, so arriving in Moulmein by the passenger ferry.
Kerala’s colourful Onam harvest festival, held in August/September, is celebrated with particular gusto in Thrissur, in the centre of the state, where the highlight of the festivities is the fabulously weird Pulikali, or tiger dance. Up to one thousand participants descend on the town for the event, in which troupes of masked men, their bodies adorned with elaborate tiger patterns, strut, stalk and wiggle their away around the Round – a spectacle as eccentric as any in this part of the world where outlandish costumes are aspeciality.
We had just completed an early morning tour of the Cholan Brahadeeswarar Temple in Tanjore, southern India, when our local guide suddenly announced to Anne and myself "now we visit the school where you may be asked to take a class!"
If there is a festival not to be missed in Sri Lanka – this is it. The Kandy Perahera Festival is a splash of colour and blur of activity, held in Kandy city amongst the hills of tropical plantations.
The Kerala Government is welcoming volunteers for The Nilambur School Project. The programme is aimed at developing students aged 12-13 and 16-17, with an emphasis on protection of child rights and equality. With the help of volunteers, the students will learn to communicate effectively and effortlessly in English.
Visiting India was a wonderful experience especially as I have never travelled outside Europe before. Exploring new cultures, incredible nature and learning about people and their traditions is something I’m passionate about.
“You will have two big life changes; one of them will be marriage.”“Thank god for that” I remember thinking - I would get my own happily ever after. Even though I have plenty of time for this, and am hardly ‘on the shelf’, I expect to start gathering dust like an ancient ornament. I must have read far too many fairytales when younger, and often feel imaginary pressure to slip on high heeled shoes and float down the aisle in a cream cloud.
I awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of the telephone ringing. 'Good morning sir, this is your wakeup call'. It was 4.30am and we were waking up at this very early hour in order to catch our Air Bagan flight from Yangon to Heho, the nearest airport to Inle Lake. After a comfortable flight via Mandalay we disembarked the plane and were soon met by our guide and on our way.
In the year of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee I am transported back to a very special occasion when I experienced the style and opulence befitting the Queen of England first-hand. The highlight was an unexpected invitation to stay in the Royal Suite at the Shiv Nivas Palace, a room commissioned for the Queen’s first visit to India after her coronation.
Good afternoon to everyone back in London! As promised, here's a brief account of what Hari and I have been up to so far in Nepal on our research trip.