Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Marking time in Cochin...

Today is Monday, the 27th, and I'm all set to fly to Cambodia tomorrow night. Last Saturday, Mohan and his wife, Giuriji, and I were invited to attend the formal opening of a friend's new dancing school. We were considered to be honored guests and both Mohan and Giriji were on the printed program and expected to address the crowd of about 50 attendees. We were all seated at a special table across the front of the room. Quite unexpectedly, though, the Host also asked me to address the crowd. Since there was a large statue of Dancing Shiva in the middle of the floor, I used it as a metaphor for how to live out our life: fully participating in the dance-of-life every single moment by resisting the temptation to assume that its purpose was to arrive at the final postion of the dancer, himself. In short, the purpose of "The Dance" is in the dancing of it. Anyway, it seemed to work and everyone applauded politely. After a few more speeches, we listened for an hour to three excellent musicians (violin, tabla and a female singer) who sang some traditional south Indian music. Giriji said that it was common for the dancing teacher to have his house on the ground floor and then to use the flat roof above it as a dance studio. The tiled area itself (about 25' X 50') was covered with a slanting metal roof that had been mounted above the dance floor with about an 8 feet open space all of the way around for ventilation. Very practical.
On Sunday, they gave their cooks a day off so we all went out for lunch buffet at a local hotel. In the evening, however, we went for a dinner and drinks at the Taj Malabar...a well-established old world charm resort on Willingdon Island with a spectacular view of the harbor. It had been built in 1935 and was, I'm sure, a favorite haunt of the long-gone Raj. Very proper and appropriately stuffy with a full bar, wood paneled ceilings, and lots of white European faces. The music, both piped and live, however, was decidedly American. (e.g. Simon & Garfunkel and Jethro Tull) They have lavish parties on the lawn in front of the dining area, and we saw some women performing traditional Indian dances for some of the folks out near the water. When the sun goes down around here, I've noticed that, for a few minutes, there is an extraordinary yellow light that seems to make everything glow and shimmer. It's almost as if a special filter had been placed on the sun to make it all very mystical. But, who knows? Maybe it's just from the pollution. Still, it's really quite exceptional, and I wish that I could capture it on film. More later...


Blogger Marit said...

Writing this journal of your trip to India, you'll be able to put together another book!! I really am enjoying it.

10:03 AM  

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