In addition to teaching lots of dance classes, last year was a huge travel year for me. The big trips were Iceland and Cuba, smaller trips were Western Canada, Seattle and shorter trips to San Diego, Solvang and Catalina. This Feb. I spent 2 weeks in Northern India-mostly Rajasthan-touring palaces, forts, gardens, and of course the Taj Mahal. Additionally I rode an Elephant up to one of the palaces and a camel out on the high desert to meet a nomadic tribe of untouchables-the Kalbelia-the descendants of the original gypsy tribes that later traveled through Russia and Europe. As their only guest, (I had a driver and an English speaking guide) they invited us to dinner and played their authentic ancient musical instruments, sang and danced for and with me one evening. I also witnessed parts of many weddings-as I went during wedding season-(the auspicious time to be married according to astrology)-so saw bridegrooms on white horses paraded through the streets with live music and dancers followed by the grooms family, friends and guests-on their way to the brides house-often for their first meeting. Besides towns and cities, I spent time in several small villages meeting with crafts people-potters, weavers, marble carvers, painters-who learned their crafts the old way-handed down from their parents for 800+ years. I also visited several Hindu, Sihk and Jain temples, a Mosque and a Synagogue in New Delhi.
I had arrived with many stories-of poisonous snakes, beggars bombarding tourists, thieves at every turn, malaria, typhoid, terrible air and water pollution, and as I found in great supply in Cuba: Mosquitoes and fleas, friendly people but no potable drinking water, no refrigeration, no a/c or heat and few flushing toilets outside of the 4-5 star hotels. In the 10 days, I didn't see a single snake, the beggars were only in some sections of old Delhi, no thieves, didn't need the malaria and typhoid shots/pills I took, didn't have any illnesses or food poisoning, there was no need for heat or a/c in Feb. but plenty of hotels had these, and I had no difficulty finding "Western style" toilets, nor did I get bitten or see a single mosquito or flea-and I am highly susceptible to insect bites. (Got six of them when I'd been back in CA. for 2 weeks.) The only thing that was a concern was potable drinking water-and I learned which brands of bottled water to trust and was correctly warned not to use drinking fountains in airports, for example.
I came home so delighted with India, I will be leading several tours in 2016-17. Dec. 9-23, 2016, I'll be leading a zero chili tour of Northern India-for those like me that can't handle chili peppers, and another wedding tour to Rajasthan in Feb. 2017 featuring traditional music and dance.
Of course I have several dance cruises as always-and no you don't have to dance, though I offer included international folk, ballroom, Latin, country line and Vintage dancing lessons on board. Alaska (my 11th dance cruise to Alaska) will be Aug. 29 to Sept. 8 and Hawaii Oct. 29 to Nov. 13th-both are round trip SF on the Grand Princess-with an optional Steampunk (think Victorian Science Fiction) strand available with special activities, movies, salons, crafts and dancing. Please open attached fliers if you are interested in these.
New for me is leading a Mississippi River Cruise April 23 to May 1, 2017, which will sail from