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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several at Spectrenoir: http://ebay.to/2xI69uc, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy. I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Lalitha Mahal and Maharaja Palace Mysore

After the visit to the temple we now go to the beautiful Lalitha Mahal in Mysore, India that is built on a hill with wonderful view of the valley.
Mysore or Mysuru as it is officially called, is truly the Southern Gem of India.
Did you know that Yoga originated from here?
And also the fragrant sandalwood comes from here.
This is the 2nd largest Palace in Mysore and built in 1921 for the Maharaja.
There hung an elephant head on the wall, that the Maharaja shot in 1955...
Lalitha Mahal is one of India's most beautiful palaces.
It is built on raising ground, the palace has been fashioned after the lines of the St. Paul's Cathedral in London and became one of the imposing structures in Mysore city.
Here we stand on top of Lalitha Mahal, overlooking the valley and to the right you even can see the Chamundeshwari Temple where we visited, as you could read in my previous post (link is below this post).
What an impressive view from this Palace's top!
Here you also can see Sudha's fresh jasmine flowers in her hair.
Indian ladies can dress so very gracefully and they have the most lovely hair-do!
On our way home, she also gifted me with such a jasmine adornment for my hair...
The view is really incredible!
Quite a place for the exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India.
Since 1974 it is Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel and has been converted into a luxury heritage grand hotel.
So if you want to live like a Viceroy or Vicerine; here you can and really feel on top of the world!

Now we went on to the Maharaja's Palace...
A quick shot through the window from the car, of the main approach... We did tour this most majestic Palace!
From a post card, main entrance Maharaja's Mysore Palace.
So here we entered for a tour...
We had to take our shoes off and they were put in lockers for which you paid to get them back. 
Pieter was lucky for still wearing socks!
Walking outside on the glowing hot red gravel makes you almost pee in your pants from pain!
Those small stones feel like they want to penetrate your skin!
BUT, sweet Sarath did give me his socks to walk on and he went barefoot instead. 
We westerners are not used to this...
Inside of the palace on the tiling it felt great but not outside in that hot and burning gravel!
Here you see the Maharaja's Palace being illuminated.
It is almost too much of pomp and beauty - considering that not far away in the mountain villages there still is so much poverty!
Taking photos inside was and still is forbidden...
But here below is a great video that shows you a lot from what is seen inside the Palace, like the unique head dress for the elephants with gold and all the pomp and beauty you can imagine.
Just to see a glimpse of the Palace and how the Maharaja is being transported and the dressed up elephants.
This is a Parade in Mysore that lets you get a wonderful view of the pomp and beauty of that era.
It is the actual Maharaja, riding in this parade and a great taste of south Indian culture, games and dance!

This is Jaganmohan Palace where the royal family lived during construction (due to fire burning the palace), just click the pink hyperlink.

This palace is a brilliant example of old-age architecture and interiors where you can witness everything from the furniture used by the royal family, to the work of art on their walls.

After so much eye candy and soul food (temple experience) we all four are ready to go to the Quality Inn for lunch.
Stay tuned as we will go to Brindavan Gardens next...

Thanks for your vist and comment!


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Chamundeshwari Temple and Chamundi Hills in Mysore India

As mentioned in my previous post, we continue now on our way to Chamundeshwari Temple Mysore.
Sarath proved to be an excellent and knowledgeable guide and we all four went first to Chamundi Hills and did visit the famous temple of which the original shrine got built in the 12th century and  the towers in the 17th century. Click on the pink hyperlink above for more info.
This is the 17th century temple in all its splendor.
Famous for its 7-storied, 40 meter high gopuram.
The temple can be accessed on foot by its 1,000 steps.
Here you can see part of the side of the quadrangular structure, which looks different than the front and back.
Offerings for the temple are being sold outside.
Goddess Chamundeshwari, Mysore (officially Mysuru) in the state of Karnataka.
It is believed that this is made out of solid gold...
Both of us did go inside the shrine and it was quite an impression.
The Indian Hindu mystic is something that makes an impact on the visual effect of displaying a Goddess.
All the fragrant flowers and the beautiful temple architecture touches ones soul!
Partly also because of the intense experience of the people around you.
So we also walked up to the Hindu priest who put an orange dot on our forehead and it really did touch you, all those arches and see through areas with images that made you almost peek inside a kind of heaven!
You have to walk bare footed or on your socks...
Close to the Chamundeshwari Temple on Chamundi Hills stands the gigantic statue of the demon king Mahishasura with a sword in his right hand and a cobra in his left.
Half way up Chamundi Hills in Mysore is also is a huge granite Nandi (bull) a 94.8 m carved monolith.
This Nandi of Mysore is over 350 years old. Click pink hyperlink for more info.
Husband Pieter always loved those painted Indian trucks, so this one got captured on camera...

Stay tuned for Lalitha Mahal and Mysore Palace...

Thanks for your visit and comment!


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Trip from Ooty to Mysore through Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

On Sunday, March 11 of 1990, we got up early at 5:30 for our trip from Ooty to Mysore in the state of Karnataka. Back than it was still called Mysore and not Mysuru.
We left by 6:30.
The road Ooty-Mysore passes through Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and we had a wonderful day with our host and staff member from Pond's: D. Sarath Chandra Divvela, together with his lovely wife Sudha. Found him on LinkedIn and he responded yesterday to my message for him and Sudha!
Feeling oh so happy for reconnecting!
Sudha's Mother lived in Hyderabad.
Here we are at a spot where we observed elephants.
From left to right: D. Sarath Chandra Divvela with his wife Sudha, husband Pieter and me...
Such an incredible variety on trees and plants in these beautiful mountains!
You can click here to see our route for that day, from our Savoy hotel in Ooty to Mysore Palace.
This was actually our first stop, still cool and therefore I'm wearing my wool georgette jacket from Italy.
A huge rock from where we could view into the valley, deep below and where we could see elephants and bisons graze. 
Left from center, there are elephants!
The previous day it was Spring Festival there but after the final frost from past winter, all the young green got frozen and damaged. On top of that, there also were wild fires due to the extreme drought. 
Now there is a lack of food and water and that makes the elephants show curmudgeon behavior and even attack people. Yes, poachers that fell sandalwood and rosewood in the middle of the night with trucks, even thought these wood varieties are protected within this wildlife sanctuary!
But this causes some 20 death by elephants annually.
Here we stop on a bridge, for having some Indian breakfast.
Enjoying our 7:30 Indian breakfast in the sunshine.
Overview of the bridge that crosses a river...
The river below this bridge is completely dry now due to this extreme drought.
We could spot elephant droppings!
Our driver could tell by the 'freshness' of those droppings that the elephants had been there about 4 hours earlier, for coming to drink - in vain... That was 3:30.
Two weeks earlier our driver had spotted here 13 elephants together.
If an elephant gets emitted by the flock for whatever reason, than such a mammal is also aggressive and attacks people.
Once fierce, they don't leave a man alone but kill him!
There are also tigers, panthers and pythons.
Our very dedicated and also knowledgeable Tamil driver!
We did spot wild peacock - look how DRY the area looks!
We were able to spot the Muntjac deer or barking deer.
What a struggle for life in this drought!
A little further down the road, our alert driver did spot this little lake with still some water in it, where little elephants got bathed.
All 4 baby elephants got in the water, Pieter standing here in awe, as we all were.
Those baby elephants are so cute and SMART!
 Look how the little trunk comes up from under Sarath's hands to pick up something!
Pieter is laughing here with those fuzzy and mischievous baby elephants that pick up coins with their trunk!
Super cute fuzzy baby elephants!
This roguish fuzzy baby elephant befuddled my hand with its muddy trunk and you could see the twinkle in its eyes!
Closer to the capital city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka, we stop for a refreshing young coconut.
Pieter took photographs of what is around our car...
Animals and very dusty!
You notice all sorts of vehicles...
Just in front of our car.

Stay tuned as we will visit Chamundeshwari Temple next and Mysore's two biggest Palaces and special Garden.

Thanks for your visit and comment!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Wearing a Saree for ONE Day and Lending my Jeans

As promised in my previous post, here some more about how I did tackle the saree issue at this mushroom plant.
Harvesting of mushrooms has to be compared to working in a hospital, strict hygiene rules and we have to avoid contamination IF there is somewhere a moldy spot or whatever.
Clothing has to be rather tight and no sweeping baggy sleeves, long open hair, and surely no long sweeping sarees should be seen.
Far better than a saree would be a kind of pajama, a North India type of clothing.
To convince the harvesting crew, I did propose to let one of the supervisors wear my jeans for a day, to check it out and to get the feel of it.
Since I had only one pair of jeans with me at the location (more in the suitcases left in Delhi at the office...) the only solution would be to swap!
So I got outfitted for the day in a saree, that Krishna lend to me as she did wear my jeans...
Getting dressed by the Tamil ladies into a saree...
A cropped short sleeved saree blouse on an under skirt...
Krishna starts draping the many yards around me.
Here I am, the blue eyed Indian in saree.
Krishna seen to the right in this photo and she did wear my jeans for that day.
Blue eyed Indian in saree with blue eyed husband.
A pity that I don't have a photo from the fresh hair flowers they did pin on top of my braid...
This crew wanted to be captured on camera with me.
Krishna the one that dressed me and will wear my jeans, holding my hand...
Oh, it was not easy to move about and to climb up on the steps wearing this restricting saree but I managed for that day.
Management did provide them with the special pajama pants so they did switch to different outfits!
It was a pleasure to work with these ladies, they were quick learners and hard working!
Quite touching when you get presented something like this on the final day on March 16 of 1990...
We always left feeling emotional; such a beautiful country and very warm and caring people.
As for the food, I am in heaven when eating Indian!

Stay tuned for our very special trip on Sunday, March 11.

Thanks for your visit and comment!


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Pond's (India) Limited Mushroom Project

You now know from the previous post where we are staying for the 11 nights that we will be working here in India.
Now let's look at the actual mushroom plant location in south India in the Nilgiri mountains at an altitude of 2,000 meters (or 6562 feet).
The reason that you find most mushroom plants high in the mountains is for the more favorable climate of cooler nights and often cooler days as well. No need for using expensive air-conditioning for maintaining the optimum climate for mushroom growing but instead using the Lord's natural air-conditioning!
You could see how the area looks like, from watching that remarkable video from the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, winding though tea estates and through Eucalyptus woods... from my previous post.
Also here you see how we traveled daily from the Savoy hotel to the location Needle Industries where the mushroom plant was located.
On Monday, March 5 of 1990 when I came first to the mushroom plant to work with the harvest crew, my blond braid went through numerous hands... my arms and hands got caressed and they liked my skin. They only wanted to know what those freckles on my arms were... I replied that it was my 1% of India genes. My blue eyes got approved and that was it.
Yes, complete with Bindi on my forehead.
We did a LOT of walking and climbing, remember this is at an altitude of 2,000 meters or 6562 feet!
Both of us never owned a FitBit...
At the entrance with the security people.
You can see that we are high up in the mountains at 2,000 meters or 6562 feet.
They are still constructing lots of new growing sheds.
ALL excavation is done by hand!
Women are even aiding in the construction, making mortar and carrying it in a basket on their head up on the scaffolding.
Man-height boulders are being chiseled into small pieces and carried in baskets on their head.
Even the soil for filling in the tens of meters difference in height; everything is hand labor!
Same spot as the photo above but a bit more from a distance.
Compost is made of straw + chicken litter, water and mixed with a pickaxe.
Women were distributing the dry chicken litter!
Working in those countries makes you SHUT UP FOREVER about magnified so-called problems we encounter here in the Western World! Good grief...
It is such a lovely area...
In the back you see the compost pasteurization tunnels being constructed.
Here you see a concrete ring where they catch the runoff water on the compost slab.
You can see those men working with the pickaxe.
Here you clearly see  the excavation of different soil layers in progress.
In addition some airco units for adjusting certain growing conditions.
This is the inside of a growing room with mushrooms ready for harvest.
They grow in bags of 12 kg or 26.5 lbs of pasteurized compost on racks of bamboo instead of nice aluminum.
Addressing the saree problem with the manager.
 Those long saree dresses can cause contamination as they sweep over surfaces.

Stay tuned for my next post where I do tackle the saree issue.

Thanks for your visit and comment!

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