Sleeper class. Two words that can fill you with nervous unease if you are about to take your first train trip in India and you can’t afford the icy luxury and scratchy blankets of the air-conditioned carriages- or you just don’t want them. But sleeper class is actually better than sliced bread. It isn’t what you have seen in so many movies- the carriages aren’t packed to exploding, there are no people hanging out the doors, you won’t have to cram yourself into a space meant for a child’s backpack. That’s in general class. You don’t want to travel in general class. Although it may be the only place you will ever see a grown man haul his tiny ancient mother onto the luggage racks above the seats, where she settles in for the journey.
Happy (almost) Chocolate Fest 2016! This year’s eggcellent greeting comes from Southern India, where I’m not sure Easter is really a thing. Nonetheless we are determined to have an Easter egg hunt with a whole mess of little Indian kids who have not ever had an Easter egg hunt before and are quite happy to run around like nutcases instead of listen to us blab on about rules. But we’ve lugged a kilo of mini chocolate eggs all the way from Australia and our enthusiasm will not be dampened. Hopefully, our enthusiasm will not be dampened.
It’s eleven pm and we’ve arrived in India. At the airport we go to the prepaid taxi stand so we don’t get tremendously ripped off getting to our hotel, we meet a very eager taxi driver and he rips us off tremendously as he screeches through the midnight streets, braking only when ABSOLUTELY necessary and regarding red lights as mere suggestions. The air is thick and warm and there are people everywhere. Welcome to Kolkata, the Bengali gateway to India.
I don’t know if you know this, but it was Valentine’s Day the other day. Valentine’s Day is this thing where couples are expected to be romantic and buy each other lots of stuff. It is this thing where people who are single are expected to be sad about their singleness. It is this thing where pink is ultimate and jewellery shops clean up. It is a thing that Hallmark really loves.
This thing happened the other day. (Now you’ll be ready for next year, you’re welcome). In recognition of this, the theme of Febraury’s Our Growing Edge blogging link-up is ‘Love in all its forms’. Our host this month is Chinelo from Good Cake Day, head on over there for more information and a whole bunch of delicious cakes.
I really don’t know how to start this post. It is Chinese New Year this week, so I thought I would make something Chinese.
I am in no way Chinese- not even the tiniest bit- and I know very little about China. If there was a handbook called ‘China in Generalisations’ (giant pandas, communism, lots of people, a profound belief in luck etc etc)… That book would encapsulate my knowledge of China.
Today is Groundhog Day. Obviously not in Australia; I have never even seen a groundhog, nor did I think their name-day was anything more than an old Bill Murray movie.
But Groundhog Day is a real thing that happens on the second day of the second month of the year. If it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from his burrow on this day, the spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see his shadow, presumably get scared and run back into his burrow, thus winter will persist for six weeks more. There is some bizarro folklore around the world, certainly. I think my favourite thing about Groundhog Day is how it sounds in French, the Jour de la Marmotte.
“…at first blush Australia connotes something non-human. Of course the genius of indigenous culture is unquestionable, but even this is overshadowed by the scale and insistence of the land that inspired it. Geography trumps all. It’s logic underpins everything. And after centuries of European settlement it persists, for no post-invasion achievement, no city nor soaring monument can compete with the grandeur of the land.”
Tim Winton, Island Home.
I don’t know about New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, I know about them, I just don’t think they are very helpful or necessary. When have you ever actually ‘done’ something you resolved to do at the start of a new year? If the answer is at all, well done. I cannot count myself among your motivated numbers.
HNY everybody! Oh, how the time flies and all that. Christmas is done, New Year has sparkled passed, it’s all resolutions, diets and green juices now… Ugh, the horizon looks bleak from there.
It must be time to start planning a holiday! My feet are getting itchier with every passing day and only the email sitting in my inbox, reassuring me that our tickets to Kolkata are secured, gives them any relief.
Whew. It’s the only appropriate noise I can think of right now. I can think of words, like ‘OMG’, ‘holy crap…’ and ‘shit, really?’ But I think ‘whew’ is the sound that best sums up this insane whirlwind of a year. This crazy busy year which I thought would be best topped off with an entirely handmade cache of christmas gifts and two completely different but time consuming christmas eve cakes. Because why do things the easy way when you could make it so much more exciting for yourself? Because I love good cake and I can never turn down a handmade treat is why.