Wandering through India

No, I haven’t disappeared into the moving masses of an Indian fabric bazaar. Not that it would be impossible or for that matter completely unpleasant. Instead my absence from blogging has been curtailed by an almost complete lack of access to internet. So, now I am sitting in a bale overlooking undulating rice paddies in Bali I will try, without too much detail to fill in the gaps.

While staying on a remote farm somewhere between Cochin and Allepelay we  spent hours being paddled down the calm  backwaters, invited to watch a concert performed by children from a nearby village and welcomed by  children screaming “hello, what is your name” from the coconut tree lined banks.

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Spent time watching life go slowly by while cruising on a restored rice barge.

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Relaxed on the cliffs of Varkala, eating amazing food.

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High in the mountains overlooking tea plantations we shared tea, by invitation from the Director, with Bollywood stars.

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Flew to Jaipur and got pulled along by the millions of people plying and buying wares in the bazaars.

Visited forts and palaces.

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Spent a wonderful day in Pushka with Fiona from Creative Arts Safaris visiting fabric dyers, her home, factory and eating a fabulous meal prepared by the tailor’s wives

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Udaipur was everything we imagined India to be.

Resting serenely on the banks of a lake and the chosen location for 007’s movie Octopussy ; shown nightly in most guest houses.

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Final destination – Mumbai and my last chance to buy more fabric.

What a wonderful surprise.  The streets were clean, well cleanish, wide tree lined streets   and heritage buildings that reminded me of England.


Not to be deterred my bags are stuffed with silk organza, silk chiffon, raw silk, a couple of sarees and linen.

I have a lot of ideas that will hopefully translate into new design concepts.  

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Holly Cow we’re in India


One of the things we love about travelling is observing cultural nuances. They’re not always immediately obvious. Thais, we notice love stamps. Steve our good friend, having spent some time working in Bangkok  does a fine impression of the ceremonial behaviour.  Stamp handle clutched firmly like a baby holds a rattle, then from a great height and with great ferocity it is twice on the ink pad and once on the document.  Thump,thump….thump. Thump,thump….thump! The Malays we note love a whistle.  On most corners in KL uniformed (that’s another thing they seem to love, especially if covered in braid and shiny buttons) men blow with great authority into their whistles, hands waving accordingly.  This of course has little real effect as most drivers ignore them. Sometimes it was difficult to understand why they were even blowing the whistle in the first place.  Indians we note love horns. I understand on some highways, deserted back streets and dark lanes it is customary to blow the horn to alert the  dozing driver ahead of your intention to overtake.  But when it is peak hour and a complete traffic gridlock and an accompanying symphony of horns you have to ask why? Who and how are they going to overtake? But they all keep honking. That set the scene for our first ride into Fort Kochin, or Cochin or Kochin 0r Kochi ( they can’t seem to decide what to call this place.)

Our welcome into this wonderful country was a pleasant surprise.  Lets just say we were the only non Indian passengers on Air Asia so the line for foreign passports was very short.  Only a few people of Indian descent visiting relatives and us.  In the dim light my eye caught a fluttering hand and a big white smile.  The immigration officer looked really thrilled to see us and after glancing at our passports gave an approving nod to his support worker who readily noted our passport numbers on a scrap of paper. It was nice. This process was repeated again 10 metres further into the airport.  I wonder where the scraps of paper go?

We have been welcomed everywhere we go.  The friendliness is genuine and we are greeted by children with the biggest smiles calling “What is your name”?, “Where are you from”?

Fort Kochin is a very peaceful waterfront enclave where strolling, cycling and auto rickshaw are the preferred means of transport. The Portuguese influence is evident in the many building scattered around the community.  The food is delicious and dinning on dhal and podimas for lunch in a heritage building is one of the simple delights to be enjoyed.

In the centre of the village is a large Catholic school whose curriculum seems to have a strong emphasis on  music studies. The sound of 20 or so children belting out a blues number of trumpets with accompanying unmatched drumming is truly awful and wonderful.

On the textile front I was privileged to have a conversation with the extremely centred and warm saleswomen selling  Ayurvedic fabric.  Apparently the medicinal properties are injected into the cloth

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