Everything Else

All things that cannot be neatly categorized belong to Everything else. The author would hate to call it uncategorized!

The complete seafood experience

Lei Yue Mun the fishing village in Hong Kong  was filled with tanks and basins of live fish. Signs all around proclaimed fresh seafood and excellent cooking. But not a single store was open, everything was shuttered.

“But it is only 11 in the morning” said a fisherman who was sitting by the pier. “Everybody sleeping or cleaning.”
He pointed to a nearby shack where they were selling noodles and rice. But I was adamant I wanted the complete and authentic seafood experience especially after an eventful bus ride.

I explained in as simple English as I could where I was from, what I do and that I had come all the way for fresh sea food. He sighed and felt obliged to help me. It may also be because he understood it as that I had come all the way from India to eat the seafood.
He took me through a maze of aisles to a shop at the corner of the bazaar where a pot bellied man was sleeping on a table. With two taps he woke the man and spoke to him in hushed tones.
” He my friend will help you”.
The friend handed me a net and pointed to a large cement basin a 100 yard away with a curt
“Catch fish.”

In the basin there were a lot of small fishes, prawns and some eel like fish. I got down to business.
Whoever said that catching prawns from a basin is easy is just wrong. It took me forever and I still did not catch anything.
My endeavors had created a little spectacle and a crowd had gathered to watch my fishing escapades.

The friend finally lost his patience. He brought a small plastic bucket with a little water,caught a few prawns from the basin and threw them into the bucket and repeated his previous instruction – “Catch fish.”

I am pleased to say that I made progress and three prawns were trapped in my net. The gathered crowd clapped their hands at my success.

I proudly took the prawns to the friend and said “Fry”.
“Ok, Ok” he said . He dropped the prawns in a saucepan of boiling water.

While the prawns were being cleaned( I assumed) in boiling water, the friend set a table for me and offered me a cup of tea. I took out a book to read while I waited for the prawns to be cleaned and fried.

I had barely read a page when the friend placed a plate of three boiled prawns and a bowl of sticky rice in front of me.
I looked the prawns with their eyes bulging and said ” No. no boil.Prawn fry”.

“Ok, Ok” said the friend again not moving from where he stood.

I tried again. “Oil fry..?”
Came the reply again “Ok. Ok.”

I swallowed one of the prawns with much difficulty. When I felt nauseous at the thought of having to swallow another one I decided that I had had the complete and authentic seafood experience.
I paid the bill and I left the bazaar fifty dollars lighter for all my troubles!

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Kuthira Malika

Little is known of the palace of the kings of the kingdom of Travancore , the Kuthira Malika. It remains shadowed by the fame and fortune of its own creation, the Padmanabhaswany Temple.

 

Kuthira Mailka gets it name from the 120 wooden horses carved buttress. For every room opened to the public another 10 remained locked, slowly succumbing to the abandonment.

 

The wooden horses that hold the roof

The wooden horses that hold the roof

The exterior architecture is the traditional Kerala style with intricate carvings. However the interiors have been influenced by different elements. There is a discussion room which took 80 artisans from Tanjore close to a year to finish. The end results is a ceiling adorned with woodwork beyond compare.

On display are gifts the Kings received from counterparts from different parts of the world. An ivory throne made from the tusks of 25 elephants, ivory cradles and shields from rhinocerous skin boasts of a time of plenty.

 

Traditional Kerala architecture

Traditional Kerala architecture

 

Carvings

Carvings

 

Parots

Parots

 

Sigh

Sigh

 

The symbol of the Travancore kings

The symbol of the Travancore kings

The Padmanabhaswamy temple was built next to the palace for the royal family to worship. The patron is Lord Vishnu. The sanctum sanctorum has an idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on a snake. The present city gets its name from this manifestation of Vishnu. Thiru – meaning Holy, Anantha – one who sleeps on the snake , Puram- Place. It translates to the place where he recline on the snake or Thiruvanthapuram. Along came the British and we have today’s shorter version of that – Trivandrum.

A couple of years back vast amounts of gold were discovered in  the temple vaults.  It is thought to be the offering the Travancore Kings made to the temple patron. The exact amount of gold has not been determined. Nevertheless if the rumors are to be believed there is emough gold in there to pay off the world’s debt.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple

 

Young devotees at the temple

Young devotees at the temple

 

Faces from paintings peeping out of the windows

Faces from paintings peeping out of the windows

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Never a time better than NOW

Today  I came across this quote

” It makes sense to travel now than saving travel for a future that is in no way guaranteed”.

 

I know it has been a while since I last posted. Trust me I have a lot of stories waiting to be told!  This quote is in weirdly appropriate for me. You see I never save travel for a later time but all other things( read writing and updating this blog) I always keep for a tomorrow that never seems to come.

 

So get off your cosy comfortable chair today. Go see the world!  In case circumstances do not allow you to do so, then drop by for a visit weekly and see the world through my eyes. And remember …

Never a better time than Now!

 

 

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Sunrise, Sunset.

In a few days  the blog sphere  is going to be filled with blogs reviewing people’s 2013. I thought I’d get a head start on mine.

I think the past is past and so lets leave 2013 be.  But 2014 has so much potential. It has 12 whole unused months, oh the possibilities it holds are endless.  We still have a few sunsets   more before we get to it.

Talking of sunsets and year ends tends to make me philosophical.  I feel we should treat every sunset as a year-end. When we see the setting sun we should  make resolutions to break bad habits and  form new ones. With every sunrise we should try to grow a little better, learn something new, try something different , go out and explore.  

So in the coming year may you face every sunrise as though it is the BEST day yet and may every sunset leave you a little healthier, wiser and braver!

And with that I leave you with some of my favorite sunset moments in 2013.

 

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Sunet

Sunset

 

Happy new year all. A brand new sunrise to you all!

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The Communist World Map

 

 

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This is a picture of an  actual map taken from the textbook of a fourth grader during the time of Communist Hungary.

Every time I look at this photo it just cracks me up. Communist Russia sure had a way of handling its enemies : – convince the world that they do not exist.

Mother Russia is at the center of the world. She dominates the entire world. Poor Australia is squeezed into the right bottom corner almost as an after thought. Maybe the fact that our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a socialistic outlook helped in India’s size and position in the  map.

Europe I suppose had to be there owing to the proximity. I mean you could not simply ignore that large land mass next door. Or wait  maybe its because some of the Eastern European countries were communist. Yes that must have been their saving grace.

Poor Africa has been cut in the middle. At least she gets a place ( half) in the map.

Oh dear!  where is South America? I mean understand why North America is not part of this map, but what in the world did the unfortunate continent do other than perhaps have an ‘America’ to it’s name?

 

 

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