All posts by Mallee Stanley

I grew up in Australia, but like many Ausies, I wanted to explore the world. After two years travelling around my birth country, I bought a one-way ticket in India and since those early travel days, have never lost the bug. I'm the author two published short stories (in New Beginnings) and several unpublished manuscripts set in various places I've lived. Two are set in East Africa going through the editing process, another set mainly in Sri Lanka and Ireland and a fourth set in New Zealand and Australia. I'm currently working on a new idea set in India. I now call Canada home. This blog is about my travel experiences. If you visit, you'll find short book reviews of my 5 out of 5 reads and what I've learned about writing.

From the far north to the south

Just as magnificent was Chiang Mai in the very north of Thailand. It was a relief to be in cooler, mountainous air after the humid heat of the south. There were similar beautiful sites to see, but what I remember most was the passport dilemma.

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Thailand’s ancient capitals

We arrived in a country I had long wanted to visit, but Bangkok was noisy and polluted and I couldn’t wait to leave. This long narrow nation had had four capitals. Each time invaders from China pushed south, the indigenous peoples moved further south.

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A breather pre-India

Before our three months whirl wind trip around India, we were in Greece. I’ve never been interested in touring Europe. Perhaps it was because in school, Asia hardly appeared in the curriculum, and while I was studying art in high school, it was as if only Europeans painted. Maybe my lack of interest in Europe was not overkill, but what I have since discovered—some hidden Asian DNA that had me eager to explore that part of the world (and still does). But when travelling with someone else, there’s always compromise which led us to touch down in Greece.

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The trouble with India

When I first arrived in India, there were aspects that drove me to the end of my tether—the crowds and the music. I’m not referring to the Ravi Shanka sita, bita genre, but the Bolly, Kolly kind that belted out of radios at top volume with those high pitched female squealers. They were enough to drive me to toddy.

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Kovalam Beach

From the tip of India we ventured north to Kovalam Beach in the state of Kerala. Have you ever dreamed of having a tropical beach to yourself? When I arrived at Kovalam Beach in the mid-seventies, that’s exactly what I found. Tourists began flocking to Goa, but Kerala was still under the radar. There was one empty resort on the southern point, and beyond stretched a deserted beach. The surf thumped and sizzled over the sand enticing me into the pristine sea that I shared with no one but my children. 

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At the very tip of India

On the southern most tip of India was Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari. I visited this wind swept pilgrimage destination before the rows of souvenir stalls were constructed. I sheltered under a stone structure erected near the ocean but was interrupted by hawkers selling bottles of sand. Chanting like mantras, they claimed the bottles’ contents came from sand by the three seas—the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean which converged at India’s southern point.

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India’s southern cities

I like the sound of Bangalore and Mysore. Sadly, I remember little about these south Indian cities I visited. My only recollection is asking a man in the street if he knew about a particular institution. What an odd memory to hold when I’m sure these cities had a lot to offer. 

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The Sun Temple of Konrak

We entered the 13th century Odisha complex, and the first image I spied was a wheel that was part of a giant sculptured chariot. I had seen a replica of the wheel duplicated at the entrance to the Oberoi Hotel in Delhi. Beyond the wheel were sculptured people in different sexual positions along the walls. 

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