All posts filed under: Culture

Soul Food

I’m quite fussy when it comes to eating certain foods with texture normally being the main reason that makes me think twice about what I’m about to eat.  I was under no illusion that travelling around India would have its challenges when my belly was rumbling and wanting some nourishment.  But I also knew it was a great opportunity to try new foods and I was pleasantly surprised with the variety and the flavours of South Indian, Goan and Keralan Cuisines. I chose to eat mainly vegetarian the entire trip only giving in towards the end with a couple of seafood meals. Being so close to the ocean in Goa, it was too tempting to resist and thankfully I survived my trip with no serious bouts of illness from anything I had eaten. With a new appreciation for coconut water, bananas and lentils, here are some of my top recommendations of where to eat and drink in some of the cities and towns I visited. Hotel Saravana Bhavan  I ate three times at this vegetarian …

Chasing Tona

I was buzzing when I discovered the graffiti artist Tona on arrival in India, it was an unexpected surprise.  My first glimpse of the artist was in Puducherry.  I was captivated by the images in front of me, hidden amongst the stunning architecture of the French Quarter.  So much so was my captivation that when I caught a glimpse of the artist again while on a tuk tuk in Bengaluru, I made my friend walk the streets at night in search of this mysterious artist. Sadly we didn’t have any luck that evening in finding Tona, but we did stumble across the Ritz Carlton! To my delight when I saw his art again in the Fort Cochin area I really got excited, they were everywhere. From there on in as I continued to travel through India I was on the look out for Tona.  I discovered more in Varkala (on a boat), and again in Cape Comorin.  From what I can find Tona is a stencil artist based in Hamburg. Sadly I didn’t find anymore …

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

It was great to stumble across the Kochi-Muziris Biennale while visiting Fort Cochin. The event was hosted by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust who help promote art, culture and educational activities in India.  I had visited some poor representations of museums during my time in India and my expectations of the event were low, however I was pleasantly surprised and exposed to a great group of talented artists, all for the cost of 100 rupees. You needed a few days to get around to see everything and I managed to squeeze in a day and half of viewing, zig zagging my way through the streets visiting the various locations and exhibitions.  Here are my pics from who I managed to see, unfortunately there are a few I don’t have references for.  If you’re in Kochi around the same time next year it’s well worth staying an extra day to look at the vast variety on offer to view. Aram Saroyan Janine Antoni Hew Locke Pors & Rao If you have time watch …

Striking It Lucky

One of the most wonderful things about India is its diversity when it comes to it’s towns and cities.  Some are bustling cosmopolitan delights and some are not and have a long way to go. What I enjoyed most on my travels was discovering the quaint smaller towns mixed with history and an infusion of European-Indo culture. Fort Cochin and its surrounding areas was one of these. Mixed with Portuguese houses, ancient Chinese fishing nets and an old Jewish Town there was plenty to observe as you strolled through the village streets.  I spent three nights staying in Mattancherry staying at Sui House a boutique B&B and one night in Fort Cochin at Bernard Bungalow. Sui House is a tranquil retreat located away from the crowds, but easily accessible to explore the surrounding areas on foot or by tuk tuk. Owners Kumar and Pauline make you feel welcome in their home which is filled with antiques and religious relics from their prior antique business. They also own an additional property and restaurant Caza Maria in the Jewish Town. …

An Ancient Tradition In Modern Times

After being in Wayanad for a couple of days and taking some time to rest and relax, it was nice to be back by the water, this time the west coast of India enjoying my first views of the Arabian Sea.  I was in the Fort Cochin area for four days and on the must see list were the ancient Chinese fishing nets.  This ancient technique has been around since 1400AD.  At high tide it requires at least four people to pull up the nets which is was fascinating to watch. You can purchase seafood caught from the local fisherman at the numerous fish mongers located behind them.  The restaurants next to them will then cook the catch for you while you sit outside enjoying the warm weather.  I chose not to do this after seeing the abundance of rubbish that was collected in their nets.  With faster modern fishing techniques these fisherman are struggling financially and rely on tourists to help fund their living.  Judging by the small pathetic and polluted catches I saw, …

The Streets Of India

When you wander the streets of India you become aware of the vibrancy of colours that surround you.  Everywhere you look your eyes dart around hoping not to miss anything.  I loved seeing the street art that would appear randomly.  My first true encounter was in Puducherry where I stumbled across the graffiti artist Tona.  My delight of this discovery continued throughout my travels as I encountered Tona several more times in different locations. Below is a collection of images from the streets of India.  A large majority of these images where taken while walking from the Jewish Town in Mattancherry to Fort Cochin in Kerala. The day I took these photos, thanks to a strike, the streets were almost empty and I had the advantage of photographing the majority of this art without any people in the way.  Everywhere I turned I was captivated by another image, which are captured in this series.

A Dedicated Playlist

The reason I was in Thailand recently was to help celebrate my friend Melenie’s 40th Birthday.  As some of you know I post one photo and one song a day on Instagram.  This playlist is dedicated to Melenie. Listening to it will always take me back to the three glorious weeks I spent in Thailand. 1  Beautiful Day U2 2  Eye Of The Tiger Survivor 3  Useless Depeche Mode (The Kruder & Dorfmeister Session) 4  There She Goes The La’s 5  It’s Tricky Run-DMC 6  Until We Shine David August 7  Total Giovanni Human Animal 8  Lovlee Dae Blaze 9  Plan Moe Turk (Silkast Remix) Feat. Sanna Heartfield 10  Troubled Girl Karen Ramirez (Spanish Version) 11  All By Myself Eric Carmen 12  Stretch In Tropic Sunshine Budda Bar Vol 8 13  Another Day In Paradise Phil Collins 14  Body & Soul Billie Holiday 15  Secret Place Gabe & Thomaz Krauze 16  Orange Blossom Special Johnny Cash 17 Twisting By The Pool Dire Straits 18  Learn To Fly Foo Fighters 19  Jump Madonna 20  Happy Max Sedgley 21  One Night In Bangkok Murray Head 22 Positively Me Tess Henley You can find these songs on iTunes or YouTube.