Monday, April 30, 2012

Bluebird of happiness...............

High up on the roof................

........and when she sees me leave, she swoops down 
toward the tatty old birdhouse in the front 
garden where her waiting family are tucked away 
out of sight. 

The babies have hatched as I hear 
a tiny cheep, cheep now and then. The parents are busy 
flying back and forth with assorted bugs and worms.......but what's 
frustrating is that I can't see inside 
to determine how many in the new family. 

Over the years several species of garden birds have 
raised young here..........but this is the first 
time a pair of beautiful Eastern Bluebirds chose 
to build a nest and raise a family. 

Above, the brilliant cobalt blue feathers of the male.
Any spring babies in your garden yet?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Namaste" (Hello) from Mumbai....the old Bombay

Mumbai, India's major metropolis with a population over 12 million, is a city of stark contrasts. Modern buildings stand next to stone edifices from the days of the Raj. Beautiful large homes painted in bold colors assault the senses, and yet a large percentage of the population still live in deplorable slum conditions without running water or electricity.

An incredibly interesting place to visit, it is a pandemonium of sights and sounds that will dazzle your senses.

via Wikipedia

The Gateway Of India. This monument is Mumbai's main landmark and goes back to the days of sea travel when visiting dignitaries stepped ashore.  Hastily erected in 1911 to mark the visit of King George V and Queen Mary - the first time a reigning monarch had visited India - the arch was properly built in 1927 to commemorate the occasion. 
The huge Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of sites damaged in the terrible 2008 bombings in Mumbai.
(Using this excellent photo above as I was unable to get this view myself). 

The heat was on...........we were on a whirlwind 8 hour tour of Mumbai.
Come along and see the city sights. I'll try to give you an overview of life on the city streets.

Saint Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai's first Anglican church built in 1817.

Mumbai University with its decorative Rajabai Clock Tower.

For me the history of a place holds interest, I 
like to hear about the past. However, I want 
to gather images of the now. The people and 
the street scenes whether pretty or gritty! Life 
as it is today - the bad and the beautiful.

I love signage..............Mr. and Master???

Older buildings - side streets always full of day 
to day life, even when untidy and dirty.

 Sidestepping the sidewalk renewal as we walked 
cautiously along the torn up streets.

Sugar cane stall. 

Unusual animals to see in the city center.

Boys at the beach where no swimming is allowed!  
They took our pictures as we snapped away 
at them passing by in the tour bus.

 The local bus stop - the gorgeous colors of the saris.

The newsstand.

 Two women, the same child...............taking 
turns begging in the street.  The map vendors 
begged us to buy as business was bad they said.

It has to be a struggle for many............. much we have to be thankful for.

A few more Mumbai pics to show next time......then 
heading cross the Arabian Sea toward Dubai.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cochin Ladies...........working hard

 Fish stall in a small roadside market - Cochin, India

Although many women in India work in the bustling, noisy marketplaces of the larger cities and towns, they also quietly produce many handmade items in the small backwater villages. The women here also seem to be the hard workers..........these images were all taken on a Saturday afternoon. Local men seemed to be relaxing and taking it easy, while women were literally working their fingers to the bone!

 .....made by this lady. All were purchased by members of our tour group.

How wonderful it would be to hear stories from this 
woman who has always lived in this village earning her 
livelihood making her baskets.

This lady is weaving straw mats from wild pineapple leaves.......

 That pretty little girl again - the only one in the village with short hair!

Above, braiding thick, coarse leaves for covering 
roofs seemed a very hard job - note 
how she holds them steady with her feet.

 Coconut husks are dried........

 .......and woven into coir ropes.

This is the piece of machinery used to twist 
the rope.........note the tourist 
in our group who bought one of the 
baskets..........he found a good use for 
it in the hot sun!

  Another group member tried to get the hang  
of making rope.


That afternoon we drove away from the village discussing how the lives of these women were so different from our own. This glimpse of rural India's simple homes and workshops was certainly interesting. 

Next stop was the Khadi Weaving Center - again just women staying busy and working hard on a Saturday afternoon. 

Stepping inside the small building we were amazed to see so many hand looms set up - the noise was loud and the women working diligently. It was a hive of activity - flying shuttles, cotton threads and dust whirling in the air.  

This weave looked familiar - I know I've purchased placemats in the past woven this way!  
I recall they always had Made in India tags, perhaps they actually came from here!

The cloth being woven by this lady was the one I chose to bring home with me - a beautiful shade of blue.

I would have enjoyed staying much longer here to watch and learn much more about the dying, spinning, and weaving of this basic but lovely cotton cloth................

..........however the bus was waiting and it was "goodbye" to another group of beautiful, smiling, hard working ladies.

Next time on the travelogue, a busy day in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India.