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Archive for 'India'

Dawn at the Taj Mahal


This is a much younger me sitting in front of the Taj Mahal in India. The Taj Mahal is the perfect place for a romance writer to visit since it is a symbol of love. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

It was freezing when we visited, but it was worth it since there weren’t many tourists around. The marble mausoleum looks different, depending on the time of day, and we also visited at sunset. A truly beautiful place and very inspirational.

What is the most romantic place you have visited?

A Passage to India

Today I’m visiting Gerri Bowen and talking about one of my favorite topics—travel. I’m spotlighting one of my favorite destinations, which is India.

Here are a few photos to get you in the mood.

India - Mysore

This colorful character with the big knife is in Mysore, India.

India -Khajuraho

This is one of the temples at Khajuraho. It’s fascinating to wander around and study the reliefs at close quarters. The temples are known for their erotica—many of the figures are in erotic positions worthy of the kama sutra. Sex education? No one is really sure of their purpose, but they’re certainly interesting.

India - Amritsar

This is the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest shrine for Sikhs. I found our visit here very interesting and the temple was beautiful.

India - Pushka

This is me and hubby at a Pushkar cafe. You can see the lake in the background and the pigeons and monkeys on the temple. I’m looking pretty skinny here. I’d had stomach problems for a couple of weeks and had malaria, although I didn’t know it at the time.

Despite this, I have a heap of great memories of India. We’ve visited twice – the second time for three months where I remained healthy the entire time.

I hope you’ll pop over to Gerri’s blog and say hello.

Shop Until You Drop!

For some people shopping is a sport. Others, like me, don’t find the past time as much fun. Battling with crowds—forget about it! There’s a few exceptions to my dislike of shopping. I can shop for books for hours, and I enjoy exploring markets, especially when they’re involved with travel.

I thought I’d share a few market photos with you today.

Zimbabwe - Bartering for Avocados

It’s always fun bartering for goods. This is me bartering for avocados for lunch.


India - Cochin

A vegetable stall in Cochin, India. People are always so friendly.


India - Jeypur

Stalls selling fabric, also in India


India - Mysore

Some stalls are colorful and full of mysterious things, India.


Nukualofa, Tonga

You can buy fans in Tonga.


Pakistan - Quetta

Or fabric from a tailor in Pakistan.


Do you like shopping? What is your favorite thing to shop for?

Camel Fair, Pushkar, India

Pushkar, India

Pushkar, India

The Pushkar camel fair takes place once a year in November. We visited Pushkar just as the people were starting to arrive with their camels. They say around 200,000 people view the 50,000 camels and cattle on sale, and most of the buying and selling takes place before the official start of the fair. The top photo shows camels as far as the eye could see. I can only imagine the sight once all the people and camels arrive!

A Passage to India

India - Mahabalipuram


India - Mahabalipuram

Just a quick post today since I have important writing stuff to do. Smile

During our visit to Mahabalipuram, in Northern Tamil Nadu, India hubby and I were wandering around the various temples taking photos. We came across this group of students who were also visiting. The teacher (the lady in the sari) barked out a command. All the kids lined up and grinned at us while the teacher indicated we should take a photo. We were frightened to disobey cause she had a stick! She was one fierce lady.

The top photo shows some of the awesome carvings. I have a soft spot for elephants. Notice the detail. Just amazing.

A Visit to the Barber

Visit to Barber, Jaipur, India

During our visit to India, hubby used to visit the local barbers for a shave. Most of the guys traveling with us did, and they all used to rave about the great shaves they received.

Shaving seems quite a social occasion in India. We’d walk into the barber shop, and if there wasn’t an empty chair, they’d usually shunt someone out to make room for my hubby. They’d also clear a space for me to sit, then proceed to watch us both avidly while making comments to each other.

LOL It always made me feel like a film star!

Next would come hot towels, shaving foam and a cut-throat razor. There’s a scalp massage and at the very end they slap on the aftershave. When I say slap, I mean slap. Maybe it was to make sure hubby was awake!

I used to enjoy the process as much as Mr. Munro. The people watching was excellent, and I think we gave the locals something to talk about for weeks afterward.

Would you trust a man welding a cut-throat razor?

Travel Ready Packing

Travel-Ready Packing: Pack Light, Dress Right—Anytime, Anywhere
by Julie Ann Martin
Publisher: Argo & Cole Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-9791186-1-6
Publication Date: 1 Jan, 2010
Amazon link: Travel-Ready Packing: Pack Light, Dress Right – Anytime, Anywhere

Any of my friends or family or people who visit my website knows how much I enjoy traveling and exploring different parts of the world. Since my marriage, my husband and I have spent months in Africa, America, Europe, Central America, India, Asia and Australia. Sometimes we traveled with our backpacks, and at other times, we went more up market. You’d think with all my experience in traveling that packing would be a breeze. Not so. It’s one thing that remains a bit of a trial for me, so when I saw that Ms. Martin’s publisher was offering Travel-Ready Packing for review, I grabbed the chance to learn from an expert.

Travel-Ready Packing has an intro which discusses things such as culture in different countries, fabric types and types of climate. The next part of the book is split into sections for each country or region of the world. Each of these sections gives the temperatures for different months of the year, a list of recommended clothing for both males and females, the risk of danger at the destination, recommended colors to wear and how casual or formal the dress-code is in the country being visited. There are also sections for business travelers and those who travel to adventure destinations, multi-climate packing and also a list for expatriate packing. At the rear of the book there’s a world map, which makes it a simple matter to find the country you’re visiting and look up the corresponding page reference. In fact the book covers everything I could think of from clothes to bags to accessories.

When I decided to “test” the book and relive my trip to Africa, the packing list was spot-on—exactly what I should have taken for my trip. It was also very accurate for my recent trips to Samoa and Phuket, Thailand. The only gap I could see was for a cruising holiday, but I think the lists for the South Pacific, which is where my cruise holiday is taking place, will do the trick nicely. I found the book easy to use, very readable, and as I mentioned very accurate with the suggested packing lists. No more back-breaking suitcases for me!

I recommend this book for anyone who intends to travel for work or pleasure. And romance writers, if you’re heading to a conference and you’re not sure what to pack, this is the book for you.

Shelley Munro

You can see from above that I’m all sorted with my packing now since I have this book to refer to. How do you approach packing for a trip or a holiday? Are you a good packer or do you forget half the things you need?

I’m doing a guest spot at The Rainbow Studio (part of the Romance Studio) and talking about reality shows and Fallen Idol. Here’s the link to my post at The Rainbow Studio.