Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
or on the Qantas site:
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Australian Jerry Dohnal and American Chandra Tameiko Wilson during their 'Kerala' wedding on a houseboat in Alappuzha on Friday.
Wedding dreams can be of different dimensions, but few get to play it out in their own way. Australian Jerry Dohnal and his fiancé Chandra Tameiko Wilson, a United States citizen, wanted to get married in true “Kerala style” after being enchanted with what they had heard about God’s Own Country.
Though the Kerala connection was missing when they actually exchanged vows in March last, the couple did not let go of the dream and five months later, when the circumstances came together, they headed down South. With Dohnal being a legal professional in Sydney and Chandra Tameiko being an airhostess, arranging affairs through the U.K.-based Kerala Connections travel agency and Companion Holidays was not a tough issue.
And on Friday, they lived the dream, tying the knot in ‘desi’ style in a ‘mandap’ set on a houseboat, floating along the placid waters of the Pampa River at Pallathuruthy here. The wedding, conducted as per Hindu rituals and customs, was at sharp 12.30 p.m. in the presence of a select few friends.
The couple will have a daylong houseboat cruise in Alappuzha on Saturday, before heading to Kovalam for a two-day halt before flying out of the country.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Aysha and her family on her wedding day
Nayana, Varghese, Ajish, Aysha, Baby and Daphne
The wedding was between Aysha the eldest daughter of Varghese (our oldest Keralite friend) and Ajish. Varghese was the man who suggested we start up a travel company to promote Kerala – so if it were not for him there would be no Kerala Connections. We first met him in 1989 and met Aysha aged 4 in 1991.
Aysha aged 4 with her sister Nayana
For a week or two most years we became part of their family. Aysha and her younger sister Nayana got to know us very well and saw us as an extra set of parents during our time there. When Aysha was 13 she came to the UK to stay with us for the two month school holidays. Some of the relations were very nervous about Varghese letting his young daughter go with ‘foreigners’ to a strange land. Now Aysha is 24 and has recently qualified as a nurse.
When we were first told of Aysha’s marriage – we were worried as only English shared parents of an India girl about to enter an arrange marriage can be. We had not met the young man in question – and what if we did not think he was good enough for our daughter? But we should not have worried – our co-parents found a lovely guy and anyway – Aysha is a sensible girl, she would not agree to a marriage if she felt it was not right. But it is hard for us British citizens to understand the arranged marriage system. We think we should fall in love first and then get married. They do it the other way round – select a suitable partner based on religion, family background, education etc, etc. If the two people and their families think it is a good match they get married and then (hopefully) fall in love.
Ajish fitted the bill perfectly – and he is also a nurse. So we are now the proud shared in-laws of Ajish and he seems to be fine with this!
Aysha looked absolutely stunning on the Engagement Day (Wednesday 22 June) and again on the Wedding Day on Sunday 26 June. Ajish looked extremely smart with suits he bought in Abu Dhabi where he works (as this kind of thing is not readily available in Kerala).
The Engagement. A thoughful moment from Ajish with his wife to be looking on fondly
Aysha about to leave for the church
Aysha with her 'two' mothers
At the end of the day - Aysha in the beautiful sari chosen by her new husband and presented to her as part of the wedding ceremony.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Comments from clients this season:
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Fish Molee is a popular dish in Central Kerala among the Syrian Christian community.
• 8 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 3 (4- to 5-inch-long) thin fresh hot green chilies, or to taste, thinly sliced, including seeds if desired
• 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
• 1 sprig fresh curry leaves (about 15 leaves; see cooks' note, below)
• 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (do not shake)
• 1 (1 1/4-lb) piece halibut fillet (3/4 inch thick)
• 1 medium tomato, sliced 1/2 inch thick
• Garnish: fried red onions; golden raisins; cashews
• Mince and mash half of garlic to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt, then stir together with spices.
• Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook onions, chiles, ginger, curry leaves, and remaining garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
• Meanwhile, spoon off thick cream from coconut milk (about 1/2 cup) and reserve separately from remaining coconut milk.
• Push onion mixture to edge of skillet and put fish in center, then pile onion mixture on top of fish. Add thin coconut milk and simmer, covered, shaking skillet occasionally, until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, covered.
• Add thick coconut cream and tomato to skillet and simmer until tomato is slightly softened, about 1 minute. Season sauce with salt and spoon over fish.
Some of our clients praise for Nimmy:
“I spent my 50th with the wonderful Nimmy and Paul and will write to them to thank them again”
“Gave us a superb meal - good to have her showing us how she prepared some of her dishes”
Aanavilasam Luxury Plantation House
This stylish property is owned by Salim Pushpanath, a well known photographer and publisher and an old friend of Kerala Connections as we have been buying his photographs for use in our brochures and websites for many years. It has two suites in the main building and two pool villas, and the guest rooms offer spacious accommodation. The property is set in 7 acres of land and is a short drive from the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Salim is a perfectionist and this shows in the attention to detail that he has put into this new property. Salim is not always available but there is a delightful host (Pirkko Paxton) to welcome you and ensure that you are comfortable. Pirkko (originally from Finland) and her British husband John fell in love with Kerala on their first visit, a holiday arranged by Kerala Connections a number of years ago. The food is home cooked and cookery lessons are available on request. With advance notice photography instructions with Salim can also be arranged. Aanavilasam is a relatively new property but it is already a firm favourite with our customers and on Trip Advisor.
Comments from clients that have stayed recently:
“Outstanding in every way and Pirkko went out of her way to make sure we made the most of our stay. The chef, Krishna provided us with amazing meals. We felt very well looked after – house guests rather than visitors”
“Best rooms - spacious, well furnished and spotlessly clean. Best shower in India”
“Perfect – no other words for it – everything perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Pirkko went out of her way to make it an exceptional stay.”
“We really enjoyed this place and became very friendly with Pirkko and John”