Seven New Deadly Sins

I couldn’t resist this one although it is not strictly speaking travel and/or India related and ventures very close to the forbidden topic of religion but I read about it in the Indian Express so I decided that it counts.

It seems it is the time of the new “sevens” – seven new wonders of the world and now seven new deadly sins, compiled and released by the Vatican itself. The old sloth-envy-gluttony-greed-lust-wrath-pride line-up was apparently considered a tad out of date even by the Pope, formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany and so now we have a new line-up:
1. genetic modification (so its too late for me given all the bacteria and viruses I genetically modified back in my lab days)
2. experiments on humans (big blow to the pharma industry because what else is a phase I drug trial other than an experiment on a human?)
3. polluting the environment – now that I buy, that is good, I worry a bit about all the catholics in Kerala
4. causing social injustice – good one, too
5. causing poverty – likewise, full support
6. becoming obscenely wealthy – ooohhoo that one won’t go over well in Silicon Valley but who gives a damn there what the catholic church says anyway
7. taking drugs – I thought our understanding of addiction had evolved beyond the sin idea, but here we go. The reason it made the list seems to be that drugs have a tendency to “leave many youth out of the reach of the church” – and here I am quoting the Indian Express which is quoting some Vatican official.

I am happy to see that nothing relating to sexual behavior has made the list, that’s real progress. I would have hoped to see something along the lines of “waging war for no good reason” or telling blatant lies to the public to conceal personal stupidity – but I am sliding seamlessly into the second forbidden topic: politics (I am trying to stay clear of politics and religion in this travel blog to avoid alienating 90% of my readers).

Back from Varkala

Back to travel: we made it home from Varkala in one piece. We avoided the mad rush for the cheap seats and found our seats right away in the three tier sleeper coach. This was actually much better than the airplane-like arrangement on the way to Varkala as various ladders leading up to the unoccupied beds provided a play-ground on tracks for the Max-man. Between the ladders, the cheese cake we discovered in a so called German Bakery near the cliff and “Diego, Animal Rescue” the trip seemed much shorter. Coming home we found the Internet down and a major rain storm approaching. What followed gave us a good idea of the coming monsoon season and why it might be a splendid idea to catch a plane before it starts in earnest. The days are getting hotter – hard to believe – and, I swear, humidity must be well above 100% – although that might be even harder to believe. Now one starts sweating while taking a shower, not just a fraction of a second after turning the cold water off.

We are planning one last visit to the fishing nets of Kochi

With two more days to go here in India I am desperately trying to stuff saris, tea, wooden elephants, anklets and cinnamon bark into the suitcases. We have already decided that it is time to expand and add just one more teeny-wheeny duffle-bag to the luggage which maxes out our luggage allowance (this just dawned on me while writing, that sucks) making me feel a little panicky. Tomorrow we want to do – one last time – Max’s “India routine” and take the ferry to Old Kochi. With any luck I’ll get a thunderstorm against the backdrop of the Chinese fisher nets and am able to remember the rules for photographing thunderstorms and therefore will get an award winning picture that will open a career as a travel photographer – or so the fairytale goes.

Today we went back to Jayalakshmi to give the sales girls there some of the pictures I took and had printed. I have never seen 100 pictures disappear so quickly but they were delighted and very happy to get the pictures. Before we could turn around and escape another dozen or more where lined up with the most gorgeous saris draped over their shoulders to have more pictures taken. I saw a couple gorgeous blue-green and a few nice purple ones but I am proud to report that I resisted, didn’t buy one, didn’t even think of buying one. But now that greed is no longer a mortal sin I should maybe reconsider …..

Saris everywhere but the suitcases are (more than) full.

Leaves the issue of the suitcases, though.

Of Kids and Drugs

We have been prep’ing Max for a couple of days now on the upcoming change. Travel and change of routine seems to work fairly well with him when he knows what is coming so that, by the time it is actually happening, it feels like old news to him. So three times a day or so we repeat the story of how we will drive to the airport, fly to Mumbai, ….. eventually end up in Frigiliana, Spain, our next destination.

Another traveling with kids observation I wanted to share for quite a while but always forgot has to do with drugs (no, not the ones that keep the kids from the church but those that hopefully keep them out of the hospital). Pharmaceutical companies obviously can’t be bothered to develop special formulations of luxury things like malaria drugs for kids. Why would they, there is so much more money to be made with a new remedy for “restless leg syndrom”.

So you are stuck with the pills for adults and the good advice to give your child a quarter pill every week. Ever tried to cut a hard pill into 4 exact quarters? Good luck, it ain’t possible. So you end up with a crumbly pile and the bad feeling that you are either under- or overdosing and don’t know what’s worse. But that was just the start because now your picky toddler is supposed to eat that stuff – and it’s bitter. Toddler, though, is used to colorful chewable fluoride tablets which taste yummy and chews – good-heartedly – the first malaria crumble you put into his mouth only to spit it out fractions of a second later. I am sure those restless leg syndrom thingies come sugar-coated, with BBQ flavor, and in a formulation that you can mix into your wine cooler but they can’t sugar-coat those darn malaria pills?

After two huge screaming fits and two weeks of worrying about what to do with a little boy with malaria we found the following remedy: buy two-tiered cookies with chocolate cream in the middle, open two, scrape chocolate filling from one, take malaria crumble and cut it up real finely (you do not need to cut it on a mirror, although the process eerily resembles the cutting of cocaine), mix cocaine – eehm, malaria drug – into extra chocolate filling, smear on other cookie, close, put on table first thing in the morning, before breakfast with child good and hungry, watch satisfied as the malaria pill disappears in seconds AND child is happy (side remark: make sure to inform husband about the prep’ed cookie else repeat).

Good thing lying and cheating your child didn’t make it on the list of the seven new deadly sins.