Tag Archives: Kids blog

Sri Lanka’s Kokomo

Imagine Kokomo (song by the beach boys) except in Sri Lanka. Arugam bay is the place! We got to be lazy for what was planned to be 5 days but ended up being 9! The only thing you do there is swim in the beach, eat, nap, and eat. You can take a doze on the hammock where the hotel restaurant is and wake up an hour later with nothing in your mind. The awesome Galaxy Lounge where we stayed provided some fun games we played like Trivial Pursuit (good brain game), Uno, Apples to Apples, cards, and puzzles! We completed two of the three puzzles, which were quite large!

The waves were also really big so there was plenty of surf. Good thing, the Galaxy Lounge provided a boogie board that we used to catch the waves.


The co-owner, P, was very friendly and loves comedy and jokes, like me! He would always come over to us and share some and riddles and jokes, and occasionally, a funny video. Here are some of them…            1) A man arrives outside of a hotel with a car and at that moment realizes he is bankrupt. How come? Answer: He was playing Monopoly!             2) Romeo & Juliet are lying in a room. Romeo is unconscious, Juliet is dead, and there is broken glass and water all over the room. What happened? Answer: Because Romeo is a cat and Juliet’s a goldfish!             3) A man lives on the 20th floor of a condo building. Every day he presses the lobby floor button on the elevator to go to work every morning and the 10th floor button when he returns home after work. And walks the rest up. Why? Answer: He is too short to reach the 20th floor button.             4) There is a river next to a telephone box. A man inside the telephone box is dead and his arms have gone through the windows on both sides of the telephone box. The receiver is hanging. Why? Answer: He described a big fish that he caught in the river.


The food we had there was really good too. The staff cooked us two amazing barbecues while we were there with curries, dahl, fish, and prawns. P also baked a really good chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. We loved the food there so much that we got a recipe for the Lentils Veggie Burger and the cookies so we could make them at home!

Agra & Taj Mahal!

We arrived in Agra at the wonderful Coral Tree homestay; it’s very nice and comfortable and we had the 2nd floor that we shared with our Australian friends (we met back in Jodhpur). Plus, the owners, 2 brothers and their families live there too. One night they cooked a homemade Indian dinner for all of us with the most amazing dahl I have ever had. They also served us an awesome dessert called petha that is unique to Agra and delicious.


A homemade dinner with friends is always a nice treat!

Why was the TaJ Mahal built?

It was built for the king’s dying wife after she gave birth to her 14th child. She made the king promise to build something massive and amazing for her, and clearly, he did. Did you know that unlike most royal marriages, theirs was truly one in love? Yes, now that is a Prince Charming! Unfortunately, this love story doesn’t have a fairy tale ending as King Shah Jahan was in the process of building his own burial palace across the river but one of his son’s overthrew him from power; the King was imprisoned in the fort and sadly, he could see the Taj from his cell.

We woke up at 5:00am the following morning to go to the Taj Mahal and it was definitely worth getting up early for. We walked a very short distance from the Coral Tree and were in the first group of 50 people to get in, so we got some nice photos before the crowds. The Taj looks infinity times more beautiful in person than in photos, and so much bigger! We went inside but spent most of our time outside. We walked around the beautiful garden next to the Taj and mostly took and endless amount of photos that it would take years to upload all of them for you to see! But one unique story happened when we were walking about…

The Monkey story

Background knowledge to know before reading ‘The Monkey Story’: A few days ago when we were in Jaipur, we wanted to visit the Monkey Temple there and asked our driver if he could take us. He said that he could, if we wanted to, but it may not be a great idea because a couple years ago he had a Canadian customer who visited the Monkey Temple and got bitten by a monkey! He immediately went to the hospital for rabies shots! (My dad says Canadians attract monkeys and tigers – see earlier blog on Tigers!)  That, without a doubt, convinced us not to go.

So back to the Taj Story: Mom and I were walking around the Taj when we saw a stampede of monkeys running and jumping along a fence. We kept our distance not getting too close because of the earlier incident that our driver shared. But suddenly a monkey came up from behind and grabbed my skirt! A large papa monkey, not a cutesy little baby one. I immediately started running, crying and screaming, “MOMMA!! Get it off of me!! MOMMA!!”  I was still running to my mom and the monkey was still hanging on tightly to my skirt. When I finally got to her, he let go and went off in his group. I had no scratches and he did not touch my skin so the worst that happened was all the other tourists around me saw my undies! But it took us both awhile to calm down and was super scary considering the rabies shots alternative!


Family Photo


Jump shot!

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After what already felt like a full day, we came back to the house and ate a yummy Indian breakfast. The Aussie family arrived later that morning from their overnight train ride from Udaipur. We played lots of games that day and also went to the Agra Fort in the evening (where the King was jailed). The two teenagers, Jasmine and Sebastian, were sleeping so the tweens, Isabelle and I, went with the parents to the fort. We had a ton of fun running around and taking jump shots.


It was so fun to hang out with our friends again and we got to see them one last time before we left when we were in Delhi; one of the highlights of our travels has been meeting and playing with new friends like Jas and Issy – I hope we get to see them again soon either in Florida or Australia!

Next up: New Delhi – where we only chilled out at the JW Marriott with our Aussie friends. 🙂

The Jain Temple in Ranakpur

We visited a Jain temple in Ranakpur (half way between Udaipur and Jodhpur) that is one of the most well known for the religion and attracts practicing Jains from all over India and the world. Before we start, lets explain who Jains are and what they believe:

Jains believe that all living things have a soul that should not be destroyed. That means everything, literally, from animals to bacteria.

The Jain population in India is approximately 4 million strong. The whole population of India is over 1 billion (2nd to China) which makes the Jain group 0.5% of the general population.

Jains are strict vegetarians; some of them are so strict on their food they wont eat any vegetables that have roots because the vegetable itself will have millions of bacteria. In other words, food like potatoes, radishes or carrots that grow under the ground are sacred.

Jain temples are expertly carved as you can see in the photos. The time that it takes to do this expert work takes years and costs a fortune as you can imagine.

Jains are known to be a very wealthy group and excellent business people in India and abroad; just as they take their religious practice seriously, so do they in work.

On our drive to Jodhpur, we stopped to tour the 15th century Jain temple in Ranakpur. We did not know about it but our guide thought that we would appreciate the temple and our timing was perfect because non-Jains may only enter for a few hours each day when they are not worshipping. We paid and got the audio guide before entering the temple. We learned many things such as the Jains believe that if they crawl under a statue of an elephant in the temple it will bring good luck.

After further research for this post, this temple was dedicated to Tirthankara Adinatha*. We found interesting nooks and crannies that the audio guide pointed out including one of the pillars was slightly leaning to one side and this was done on purpose! The reason the pillar is not straight is to show that life is not always perfect and there is always something that is needed to get closer to God or excellence.

This temple is completely made out of marble and is said to be one of the most spectacular. I believe it too after walking through this place! Jains come from all over the world to worship there. The man who created the temple (Dharma Shah) dreamed about making a temple. He hired workers to build it exactly as he had seen it in his dream. There are over 400 pillars and no two pillars are the same when you look at the intricate carvings of animals, Gods, and flowers.

While I could never be a Jain because of my love for foods especially burgers and steak, I definitely appreciate the Jain people and their commitment. We saw Jains walking along the highway wearing white robes as the walked miles and miles on a pilgrimage to visit this temple and others in the Rajasthan region.

*Lord Rishabhdev also known as Lord Adinath was the first Jain Tirthankar of present time cycle. He lived before civilization developed. Because of this, he had the name of Adinath – the original lord. He became a Siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma.

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