Friday, November 27, 2009


After a detour to Switzerland to visit friends from my past life there and four days in Freiburg in Germany, I got on the plane in Frankfurt for Chennai. Now, here I am at my station for the next four months. It is hot and there is so much to do in the community where I am staying near Pondicherry. Internet is a bit shaky.... so here are some pictures before I'm cut off again.

Here you see the workers doing their best to get my house done. Next is the community garden and finally three women who work on the construction site.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good Bye Spain

Today is my second to last day in Spain. This morning we went to the flea market, one of the biggest in this province. It was about 22 degrees Celsius and crowded. I shopped successfully: a Walkman to replace the one I broke (it actually worked! 5 Euros), a pair of new suede gardening gloves that go halfway up my forearm (3 Euros), a bar of chocolate-scented soap made here in Castello d´Empurias (2.5 Euro) and a pair of well-worn funky shoes (3 Euros).

Here are some photos of the beach at 8 a.m.

More Catalonian curtains.

These cows came toward me as I went along the bike path yesterday.

That wierd lemon I saw on my first day here has ripened. It´s delicious and so aromatic.

The river Muga going out into the Mediterranean sea.

It has been a wonderful 22 days!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Maribor menu

Saturday afternoon I needed a break from watching all the energetic Latin dancers so I wandered from the arena towards the Old City of Maribor. Most of the shops were closed and I began to feel hungry. On a corner near the cathedral, I found a little restaurant that offered a complete meal for 8.90 Euros (about $15). The descripton was in Slovenian only and I was sure it would all be delicious...but I had no idea that the Slovenians must have ENORMOUS appetites.

Follow me through this meal, starting with the photo at the bottom. The first dish was a platter of excellent prosciutto with bits of Parmesan-like cheese, served with bread made of pizza dough brushed with rosmary and olive oil: so delicious I ate every little bit. Next came a cauldron of home-made broth filled with little cheese dumplings. After that: an enormous plate of pilav rice, grilled chicken and sauteed bell peppers, leeks, onions and mushrooms. I had to pass on the mixed salad that was next on the menu so that I would have a bit of room for the jelly roll with nuts and cream for dessert.

All of this was accompanied by a white Maliborcan, the local favorite wine, a small bottle of AntiStress drink (it has aloe vera, ginseng, magnesium and lots of B vitamins) and an expresso to finish off. What a feast!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DanceSport Championship in Latin Dance

Last weekend I was in Maribor, Slovenia, to attend the International DanceSport Championship competion. It was a one-day event featuring 96 couples from 51 countries. My favorites were the Italian couple, Gabriele and Antonio Goffredo, who placed 5th. The winners were the sensationally powerful and elegantly controlled Russian pair, Alexey Silde and Anna Firstova. Two couples danced for Canada: Anton Belyeyev with Antoaneta Popova and Maxin Fomin with Alina Litvak. Here are some random photos, taken early in the afternoon, to give you an idea. The finalists were still on their (high-heeled) feet at 11 p.m.! Bravo, bravo to these heros of dance.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

catalonian curtains

Of all the typical and beautiful sights in the area I am staying at right now ( Catalonia, Spain), I love the hand stitched white linen curtains. Usually I spot them in the windows of the oldest houses. Simple, timeless traditions.