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Chinese Fishing Nets of Kerala

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These are the Chinese Fishing Nets in Fort Kochi, Kerala, India. They are massive nets that are lowered into the water and brought up several minutes later, hopefully with fish. They use massive poles (traditionally wood, but now metal is used more often) and a rope/rock pulley system. It takes about 5-6 men to operate the net. They divvy up 60-70% of the profits and the remaining goes to the owner of the net. The ones we went to are mainly operated for the tourists now, as there are not many fish. But they let us come out on the pier, take photos, watch them pull up the net, and then we get to try it ourselves. I then paid a tip (rs 100-or about $1.50) for the experience.

Kerala likes to call itself “God’s Own Country” and you see it on signs all over the place. Kerala is a state in the southwest part of India. Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu border it, along with the Arabian Sea. The people there speak Malayalam and most speak English as well. Hindi is not used in Southern India—people generally learn their local language and possibly English. Kerala has a 91% literacy rate (highest in India) and the lowest rate of population growth. It also has done a lot to eradicate some of the issues of lower castes and women historically have had more rights and access to more things, like education.

Kerala’s coastline is 371 miles long-it is a long, skinny state. You have the coast on one side and green hills on the other. There are hundreds of streams and several large rivers, which makes water a very important part of Kerala’s life and makes the state very green. The Western Ghats have a lot of biodiversity. Kerala has three climate regions—rugged and cool mountains, rolling hills, and coastal plains.

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What is it about sunsets?

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What is it about sunsets and sunrises? Anytime there is a pretty sky, everyone in the vicinity pulls out their cameras and phones and snaps a shot. Most people don’t ever do anything with those shots except maybe hashtag it on Instagram or stick it on Facebook. But we all feel compelled to take the photo!

This photo was taken along the Mississippi River in Anoka, Minnesota. Anoka is just outside of Minneapolis. We were at the Peninsula Point Two Rivers Park where the Mississippi meets the Rum River. It was a freezing night with lots of wind that most of us wedding guests were not prepared for! But there was a pretty sky, so it was a win!

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Sunset Over Mehrangarh Fort

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Mehrangarh Fort rises over the blue city of Jodhpur. Known for its vivid blue houses, Jodhpur sits in the middle of the northwestern state of Rajasthan, India near the Pakistani border. The 15th century fort-palace is now a popular tourist destination, both for its fascinating rooms and for the wonderful views of the city. I found conflicting information on why precisely blue is the popular color. Some sources say it is because blue is associated with the Brahmin (priestly upper) class. When I visited Santorini, Greece many of the houses were blue and I was told it was to repel mosquitoes (who presumably don’t like blue?). So I wonder if that also plays a part.

Fun Fact: One of the gates of Mehrangarh Fort (there are 7 total) still has evidence of cannon balls hitting it

Tourist Tip: The gift shop at the fort is one of the best I visited. Very reasonably priced, but great items. Got some adorable t-shirts for my daughter, plus some lovely perfume for myself!

 

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Quiet Relaxation in the Maldives

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The Maldives, located south of India and close to Sri Lanka, is an interesting blend of conservative Muslim society and luxurious Western-style beach resorts. Each resort has its own island or atoll with gloriously decadent villas, restaurants and pools. We stayed at Anantara Dhigu and loved watching the sun set each night from the pool or one of the restaurants.