Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Prabhu

This past weekend we had a great time celebrating Prabhu's birthday! June 19th was the day, and that evening we took him out for a south Indian fave, dosa at 'Dosa Calling'. The next day we had lots of family over for a celebratory dinner. Prabhu loves shrimp (aka prawns), so he got up early Sat am and headed to the dock where the fishing boats come in. There, he was able to purchase 4kg of large cleaned shrimp fresh off the boat, for a mere 500 rs (about $10). So, we had a great dinner of shrimp curry, fried rice and other tasty Chinese side dishes. Here are some photos from this fish pier, and of the Prabhu blowing out his candles (with some help)!
ps - For Prabhu's birthday gift, I had a suit made at one of Chennai's finest tailors. He wore it to his friend Cephas' wedding - nice, eh?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Extra Photos

Here are a few more photos which capture the spirit of our time in Sikkim. We had a special night of entertainment arranged through Manoj Chettri our tour guide/friend in Pelling. The Nepali troupe was great and the Millet Beer was the right drink for the occasion.
After a particularly cool and wet day of travelling in search of the Alpine Cheese factory for Priya we were treated to a wonderful meal at Manoj and his wife Tara's home. Prabhu was especially happy to have steamed rice, and Leann loved the pumpkin.. The wet day turned out to be Cyclone Aila which we were thankfully ignorant about.
Priya's is seen on top of the Royal Enfield motorbike with a little girl she befriended while we were staying in the town of Yuksom. For those who haven't heard of the Royal Enfield; its origin is from the Royal Enfield bikes in England. The UK company is no more, but the Royal Enfield bikes based in Chennai are considered to be the oldest motorcycles still in production. Though they are a bit temperamental and not as reliable as the Japanese bikes; the ride has been described as "one which only birds would know of " (a quote from the novel Santharam).
The rafting pictures are from the Teesta river in West Bengal/Sikkim. We had an awesome time - the river was high due to the recent rains, and Ashwin and Priya thought it was the highlight of the trip!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


We had a wonderful trip to Sikkim. Sikkim is India's second smallest state, and one of it's newest, officially being part of the Republic only since 1975. It's sandwiched between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet in the Himalayas., and is home to the world's third highest mountain, Kangchendzonga. It seemed as if we were in a different country, as the people looked very different. spoke different languages (Nepali, Tibetan and Bengali, as well as lots of English, thank heavens), ate quite different food, and of course the topography, flora and fauna were much different than what we're used to in Tamil Nadu. The major religion in Sikkim is Buddhism, and we got to see lots of scenic temples and monastaries. We had a wonderful time and especially enjoyed the warm, open people. Highlights were hiking in the Himalayas, white water rafting on the Teesta river, touring small villages, and eating momos and other local delicacies! Honorable mention for Ashwin would probably be playing pick up soccer in the Himalayas, and for Priya, a visit to the Alpine Cheese Factory, to indulge in one of her favorite foods (rarely found here in Chennai...) Here are a few photos of the scenery - more to follow.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Not another monastary...

Sightseeing in Sikkim means visiting monasteries. So, after our first few, Ashwin's refrain became "not ANOTHER monastery?" But really, we all enjoyed them (including Ashwin) - the architecture was striking and colorful, learning more about Buddhism was really intriguing, there was lots of history, and as Tibetan Buddhists always build their monasteries on hill tops, we got to see a lot of great scenery (and do a lot of vigorous hiking) on the way.

and lets not forget the plants...

Everywhere we went on our trip we saw the most beautiful flowers - even the humblest of homes had flowers that would put Martha Stewart to shame. In addition, the woods were filled with wild orchids and other exotic fauna. Ashwin and Priya kept saying "too bad Nana's not here, she would just love these flowers". So, Nana, this post is for you!