Colin and Elizabeth:
India and Japan Trips
Colin and Elizabeth spent last Christmas visiting India. We went back to Orissa where Elizabeth was born - her first time back since she left in 1953 when she was 7. Many people we met still remembered her parents and some told tall stories about her father's driving (with a wheel falling off), motorbike riding (faster than a boiling kettle) and strength (greater than three other men). We met Heather in Delhi and she went with us to Bolangir and Diptipur where their parents had worked. We are now trying to give whatever help we can to the Christian Hospital Diptipur which their parents help found.
For the last week of this three week trip to Indian, we went down to Kerala for a bit of luxury - including the traditional elephant ride (see photo) and an overnight boat-trip on the Kerala back waters. We had a great time and found the food to be absolutely delicious.
In March, Colin and Elizabeth visited Japan where a long-standing friend, Peter Jamieson, now lives. It was great to spend so much time with him and his Japanese friends who were keen to practise their English. We saw some amazing sights. Mount Fuji, having been shrouded in mist the first day we were in sight of it, revealed itself in all its splendour the next day. We drove up it as high as the snow would permit. In Tokyo we stayed in a fabulous hotel built on reclaimed land in the harbour and connected to the mainland by monorail.
As we travelled around Japan, we saw two of the themes of the cherry blossom time that make the time just perfect for the Japanese - picnics under trees in full blossom and white weddings on grand hotel staircases! Hiroshima and Nagasaki were other high points of the visit though for more sombre reasons.
An unexpected novelty was to spend an evening with a trainee geisha - a maiko. This was a treat that our Japanese lady companions were particularly keen to enjoy. It involved eating Japanese style on the floor, being entertained with singing and dancing and playing a game. The following day we went to a performance by all the geisha and maiko of Kyoto in a theatre, apparently a focus of the Japanese cultural year.