Monkey Business at Elephanta Island

Perhaps I should seek employment as a surveillance photographer for I found it so amusing to catch mischievous primates on film in Bali, Cambodia and India! :)

This cheeky monkey was spotted on Elephanta Island. To get there, we had to take a 50-minute boat ride from India Gate in Mumbai / Bombay.


First, the little macaque checked the scene to ensure she wasn’t being watched.

Into the blue bucket she dove.

With her prize in sight, she completes one final check…

…before spiriting away a bag of savory snacks.

It’d be hard to identify her in a line-up with only the derrière shot!

But I caught her later, enjoying the evidence. :)

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • To reach Elephanta Island, catch a ferry by the Gateway of India. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes each way.
  •  Need more inspiration as you plan your travels in India? This link contains an index of all my posts from India.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.


Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos

On a shady street on which we regularly strolled during our stay in Luang Prabang, Laos, we watched a sculptor as he gradually turned rustic concrete into the smooth likeness of Buddha. I wonder what the man pondered on those quiet afternoons – as he was overlooked by other Buddhist figures in progress – in a sun-kissed courtyard garden. Perhaps he took lessons from the Buddha himself, whose quotes are featured so prominently on objects for sale in boutiques in the vicinity of the quiet lane.

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An Offering Basket Procession in Ubud, Bali

While walking to dinner, we were delighted to cross paths with a procession of women as they gracefully carried offering baskets to a nearby Ubud, Bali temple.

Younger girls utilized a ‘training wheels’ technique – practicing carrying the hand-woven baskets by using both hands, whereas their mothers and grandmothers carried one basket or even double-decker versions on their heads. Often, they walked along without even applying a fingertip to the basket!

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Lessons From a Balinese Classroom: Our Visit to an English Class in Jimbaran

As I go through life, and especially when I travel, I am reminded of a lesson from Mark Twain:

We are all alike, on the inside.”

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Singapore – A Sensational Start to Our Sabbatical!

After more than 24 hours in transit via Germany and Dubai and following a most-bumpy approach through the Strait of Malacca, Shawn and I were delighted to touch ground in Singapore this past weekend.

This ‘Lion City’ that is home to 5 million, is made up of 63 islands, just 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of the equator. The mélange of faces there is incredibly-diverse; the residents are primarily of Chinese, Indian and Malay descent.

While in this island country, for just less than a day, we feasted upon noodle soup and a freshly sliced chunk from a mammoth-sized Jackfruit. The smell of incense wafted through the air. Spirit houses were placed at the entrances of businesses and homes, housing incense sticks and food offerings to the gods. Warm, smiling locals greeted us with a courtesy reminiscent of the British Isles. Everyone seemed anxious to help us – from holding doors open, to directing us to our hotel.

Although we somehow missed the t-shirts mocking Singapore’s notorious rules (“It’s a fine country”), Shawn and I debated about the country’s infamous restrictions. (I later learned the specific infraction details: there is apparently a S$10,000 fine for smuggling gum into the country (or up to one year in jail), S$500 for eating/drinking on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system and a hefty fine for jaywalking.) We weren’t initially aware of the MRT rule and as we lugged our backpacks and luggage in the muggy heat from the airport terminal, Shawn instinctively reached to take a water bottle out of his backpack. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sign in the MRT warning travelers of the S$500 fine to pay for refreshing oneself with a beverage or snack while riding the transportation system. Shawn instead kept the bottle in his backpack – looking at it as though it were a mirage in the distance. A bold passer-by I observed spat on the street – twice! (Note – it was not this mannequin-like man crossing by this ‘Humps’ warning on the street.)

I was surprised to see gory images plastered on cigarette and tobacco products – pictures of deformed fetuses impacted by nicotine, faces and mouths plagued by various forms of smoking-related cancers.

We concluded that it was very pleasant to be in such an impeccably-clean, graffiti and litter-free locale and because the locals were so friendly and carefree (not acting as though they were enforcing these rules as vigilantes) the restrictions didn’t seem at all suffocating.

Yesterday, as we returned to Chengi Airport to catch our flight to Bali, we had to smile when we heard polka music pouring out of one of the aerotropolis’ terminals. The locals were celebrating ‘Germanfest.’ The fest was complete with pretzel tossing contests, musical chairs and Lederhosen t-shirt-sporting employees. It’s ironic that we travelled thousands of miles from Germany to experience more Deutsch culture with an Asian flare.

Our departure from Singapore was swift as we caught a flight out to Bali the next day. Nevertheless, we look forward to seeing more of the country in the coming months!

Magical Moments in Malta

Malta is an enchanting island nation. It’s a tranquil place where residents christen their homes with titles meshing a couple’s first names. Its harbors are studded with elegant white yachts, as well as humble and colorful fishing boats called luzzus. Despite its diminutive size, Malta has heaps of history and culture, marvelous architecture, and a dramatic landscape that Mother Nature painted from a vibrant palette.

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