Oct 25, 2011

That's A Wrap: India

Wow—so that’s it, we’ve just survived 3 months backpacking around South India with our 2 pre-schoolers, and relatively unscathed.  Before coming here, some people voiced their concerns about travelling to India with young children--one person even went so far as to say that India, as a destination, is only interesting for adults and that choosing to come here with children is selfish. 

Oct 20, 2011

Family Friendly Mysore

What makes a destination ‘tourist friendly’ usually comes down to the historic, cultural, religious and/or natural sights it has to offer.  The city of Mysore, 3hrs south of Bangalore in southern Karnataka state satisfies all of the above.  Yet in the 5 days that we spent there, we only saw a handful of its must-see attractions.  Instead, we were too busy having fun with the many ‘family-friendly’ activities that we discovered!

Mysore Palace, the 'must-see' attraction!

Oct 15, 2011

Hampi Among Ruins

Our third last destination in India was Hampi, in the state of Karnataka.  Initially it wasn’t on our ‘to see’ list, but after hearing so many people rave about its beauty, we decided to pay Hampi a visit.  As usual, there were many facets to the place, starting with its surreal landscape, then its current state, then ending with our impressions.   

The River Tungabhadra, looking towards Hampi Bazaar area

Oct 12, 2011

Theology 101 For Preschoolers

Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim (Goa)
Two common and connected themes regularly run through our travels thus far—religion and theology.  In SEA, South Asia, and India they do not just exist 1 day a week in ‘special buildings’ but are overtones in the day to day life.  Buddhism was the main one in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali, where daily offering rituals with incense are made by its followers and their orange and red-robed monks seek food and alms in the streets.  Hinduism is India’s main religion and represents approximately 82% of its population (LP. South India, 2009).  Aside from the many colourful temple ‘gopurams’, some which soar high into the sky, religious processions can often be seen (and heard) dancing through the neighbourhood.  Muslims are represented in all of the countries that we’ve visited.  Their mosques stand distinctive as do their clothing, particularly when the women are in full hajab.  Catholicism is the main practice in the Philippines, in Vietnam and parts of South India, especially in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Goa.  We’ve visited so many churches, cathedrals and basilicas, especially while in India, each unique and beautiful.  It was just a matter of time before our ever-observant and ever-inquisitive children began to question what all this was about.  

Oct 9, 2011

Arambol, Off On The Wrong Foot

Arambol Beach
Once again, we reluctantly left a place we loved, in this case Palolem, in the name of adventure--to see what else is out there.  We had heard that Arambol located in the infamous northern beaches of Goa, was the more laid-back choice.  But after a very arduous and sweaty journey to get there, we wondered, ‘What had we done?!’

Oct 7, 2011

Postcard Perfect Palolem

Palolem Beach
As travellers/tourists, we generally avoid places that have a reputation as a ‘party place’—we’re simply way past that point in our lives.  That, together with a general ‘over-hyped’ feeling that we had about the state of Goa as well as the incredible time that we just had in Gokarna, we were a bit wary about what we would find once we got here.  But at the same time, we couldn’t help but be a little bit curious as to what all the fuss was about.  

Oct 2, 2011

Communing With Nature in Gokarna

Kudle Beach, Gokarna
After nearly 2 months in India, we are finally covering some ground.  We have now visited 2 states and have just entered our 3rd—Karnataka.  The village of Gokarna is located halfway up its western coast on the Arabian Sea; Jim had fond memories of visiting here over 15yrs ago.  We headed here with the hope of finding a quiet beach and a nice place to stay and once again, we got an experience completely beyond our expectations.