Swapping Coffee for Chai!

IMG_0101It’s October, my birth month, auspicious, and I do feel re-calibrated, after a practically two month absence from Jamaica, land I love.

I traveled from my father’s Florida hospital bedside, an intense 3 weeks, where he was given every procedure possible and covered by Medicare. From there, to Manor Care Rehab Centre, in Winter Park, where he is doing remarkably well. I’m amazed, though I shouldn’t be, my father is one strong willed individual, and he’s always embraced a fight.

Wolf Chanoff at MOMA

Wolf Chanoff at MOMA

I segwayed through New York City, and hung out with my godson Wolf, a cool 17. He even indulged me a trip to MOMA. Old friends are so dear, and I saw many, on outings that included delicious meals, great movies*, museums and wonderful theatre. On my own, I walked and walked. I adored finding Richard and Jason Sharp’s Peaberry Coffee Beans being sold at Roasting Plant Coffee, an uber-hip coffee shop on Orchard Street.IMG_0228 Here, you select the green coffee beans you want to brew, from a world wide array of specially selected Estate Coffees.  Your beans are roasted and coffee brewed to order, using a Willy Wonka set up of coffee making equipment. It was sweet to see Jamaica’s renowned Blue Mountain Coffee shining like a star on Roasting Plant’s menu! Also on the lower east side I stumbled on the Tenement Museum, (www.tenement.org) with it’s focus on story-telling and a sophisticated but simple approach to imparting history, and an ace education program, it felt an ideal prototype for Falmouth, I gathered brochures and inspiration.

And then it was time to fly to India. I traveled with a unique collection 10 women, for the most part practicing healers and yoginis, one husband, one Indian caretaker, co-coordinated by the generous and delicious Nicola DeLisser, who manoeuvers through India with tremendous style.

We toured Rajasthan, from Delhi, to Jaipur, Udaipur, Narlai, Jodhpur and Pushkar, staying at incredible boutique hotels, reminding me of our precious Island Outpost resorts and wishing Jamaica had many many more.

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Pushkar

Pushkar

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Narlai, the sacred mountain Caroline DeLisser, Andrea Bickhoff and I would climb for sunrise.

Narlai, the sacred mountain Caroline DeLisser, Andrea Bickhoff and I would climb for sunrise.

Sunrise, something to behold!

Sunrise, something to behold!

We found a fantastic experience, great food, storybook characters, camaraderie, Ayurvedic healing and counselling and adventure on a 12 night sojourn at an Ashram – Shri Jasnath Asan, near Nagaur. The Ashram, is housed in a 16th century medieval fort – we were immersed in Indian culture and followed an Ayurvedic lifestyle, I vow to cultivate here at home. And Jamaica does offer some underpinnings that help make that possible. Living closely with nature, community, clean air and water, fresh simple food, a slow pace. Blessings indeed.

In front of the Ashram.

In front of the Ashram.

Inside, setting for Breakfast.

Inside, setting for Breakfast.

 

Cooking Class.

Cooking Class.

Guru

Guru

Just outside Ashram gates.

Just outside Ashram gates.

 

Everywhere – we visited Forts, Palaces, and Temples; every Fort, Palace and Temple more extraordinary than the one before. The artistry and craftsmanship are mind-boggling. My favorite was the last, the 1459 Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.  Everything you see is ancient treasure, with a story of a society who’s aesthetic was dazzling – the color, the skill, the devotion to beauty and the decorative arts! The world is indeed a wonderful, terrible place.IMG_0323IMG_0445

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My perfect companion was Rudyard Kipling and his classic story of Kim, ‘Friend of all the World’. Kipling, well over 100 years ago, poetically described the vast landscape I witnessed, as well as the marvels, mysteries and complexity of the society – all felt relevant to the India I enjoyed in September.

I am happy to be home, and so far, swapping coffee for chai! There are spectacular tours planned for 2016, a new website is brewing, and Christmas is just around the corner – deck the halls!   Call me anytime!                                                                           Namaste,                                                                                                                   Lyndalee

* Movies not to miss!                                                                                                   Learning to Drive                                                                                                           Custody

 

About the author

Lynda Lee Burks has lived in Jamaica most of her adult life. She supports her passion for living by the sea, by organizing tours of Jamaica, producing events – dub poets to destination weddings, and as artist and teacher.  

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