Getting in the Mood

this is just a few suggestions and always wildly out of date…. I prefer to research rather than make lists-

Getting in the mood…
A little bit of preparation will not only enhance your anticipation for the coming journey, it will also enrich your experience.
The locations we choose to visit we choose because they are great, of course, but also because they are not like back home so a bit of preparation can go a long way.

May we suggest raiding the local library and video store for whatever you can find covering our locations- travel guides, histories, cook books, movies all will start to develop some insight into the counties we are visiting.
Our group leaders will also offer some suggestions on resource material they have found useful in their chosen area.

-Have a look at a Bollywood movie or two- lots of hype and glam but you will also get some idea of the intricacy of family relationships
– Gandhi– his presence is still very much an influence to life here

Doco- Micheal Woods BBC History of India
There are available many wonderful novels written by Indians in English, these are some I have read and enjoyed. The Indian 
use of English is a joy in itself, a real flair for developing a rich imagery- I feel India’s long history of poetry shines through 
somehow. [Fiona]
Rupa Bajwa– The Sari Shop- poignant story of a young man’s journey to improve himself.
Vikram Chandra Red Earth, Pouring Rain- this man can write! A good story, a bit of history and wonderful
insights into Indian culture.
-Sacred Games
– A Suitable Boy
Gayatri Devi –A Princess Remembers- memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur.
William Dalrymple– a British writer who lives in India, anything he writes is worth a Read.
-City of the Djinns- a year in Delhi- great insight into the history of Delhi.
-White Mughals
– The Age of Kali
Guruchandran Das– A Fine Family
-India Unbound – 
very readable works even this one which is on the economic changes India has been going through in the 
last 15 years that have set the stage for her to emerge on the International stage.
Madhyr Jaffrey– Climbing the Mango Trees- autobiography a of a well known food
writer, excellent read and great recipes
– any of her food books are worth having Cooking
Clive James
– Silver City- in India anything is possible but there are no safety nets. An evocative story of escaping the slums 
to luxury only to fall…
Sarah Macdonald – Holy Cow- Australian author’s experiences in India, entertaining
Gita Mehta A River Sutra- highly recommend any of her work
– Karma Cola
Reshma Rula Something Black in the Lentil Soup- a story showcasing the Indian way events just seem to unfold.
Kushwant Singh Delhi- a novel that encompasses the history of Delhi- a bit out there but excellent, an insightful and well 
known journalist, look for his other works as well
Bamber Gasgoigne.The Great Moghuls- Well written account of these fascinating rulers. Much of the wonderful 
architecture we will experience was built by them. History
Charmaine O’Brien
 The Flavours of Delhi- a food lover’s guide. A great guide with good recipes of Delhi, and its history of 
influences- yum! Cooking
Lizzie Collingham
 Curry- A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors. Great read- history and how it impacted on the wonderful 
cuisine of India Cooking
Amulya Malladi
 Serving Crazy with Curry insightful novel about the human heart; cooking was one woman’s way to 
understanding it.
Rama Mehta Inside the Haveli Insightful novel to understand traditional life inside a Haveli and purdah- compassionately 
Roy Moxham The Great Hedge of India as he writes, ” When I first started my research for the Customs Hedge, I had been 
looking for a harmless pieces of English eccentricity. It had been a shock to find the great hedge was in reality a monstrosity: 
a terrible instrument of British oppression.” Unbelievable the lengths and the toll it costs in human lives and suffering one 
group of people will go to fleece another group of people.History
Renuka Devi Chioudhrani- 
Pumpkin Fritters and other Classic Recepies from a Bengali Kitchen Cooking
Vijayan Kannampilly 
The Essential Kerala Cookbook Cooking
Vir Sanghvi- 
Rude Food-Collectd Food Writings of Vir Sanghvi– daytime insightful political columnist, evening gourmet, with 
amusing and insightful comments on the Indian culinary scene. Cooking
Monisha Bharadwaj 
The Indian Kitchen– excellent reference to the ingredients found in an Indian Kitchen and very tasty 
recipes to try the ingredients out. [quite possibly the “must have” reference for your shelves] Cooking

Francois Jadov
– Under the Sign of the Blue Dragon. Beautiful journal of her travels in Vietnam- very inspiring to visit the 
place as well as a working method.
Bobby Chinn Wild, Wild East- Recipes and Stories from Vietnam yum! Cooking
Veitnam Cultural Traveller Publication- 
The Cuisine of Viet Nam- Nourishing a Culture Very interesting collection of 
essays looking at the cuisine of Vietnam as it has developed over the course of the history of the country, a country which is 
rich in natural resoureces and one which foriegn invades have come and left their mark over the millenium only to be sent 
packing by that unique force that is “Vietnamese”. Cooking and history
Pham Xanh 
Ho Chi Minh Ho Chi Minh is the father of modern Vietnam, the inspiration for their independence from foreign 
powers and pride in their identity, Very much a revered person to this day.
Carol Howland Dragons on the Roof- A year in Vietnam a collection of anectdates of her year in Vietnam, very insightful for 
a feel of the culture and a liberal sprinkling of Vietnamese history. Greatpreparation for a visit to the country to help you 
understand its wealth of history and people.
Through Vietnam’s Eyes A selection of short stories from Viet Nam News Sunday edition. Very enjoyable
Vu Trong Phung Dumb Luck Vietnamese Classic orginally appearing in serial form in the 1930’s following the exploits of 
‘Red Hiared Xuan’
Andrew X Pham Catfish and Mandala Born in the 60’s just after the American war, Pham was raised in America this is the 
story of a young man learning more about his adoptedhomeland and the land of his birth.

Inspiring Travel Journals
Ibn Battutah 
The Travels of Ibn Battutah edited by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. In 1325 Moroccan Muslin scholar Ibn Battutah set 
out to see the world. It took him 29 years to do so, this yarn of his adventures is witty, full of insight into the medieval world 
and gossip. My hero! what a traveller!
Opal WhiteleyThe Singing Creek where the Willows Grow. Journal of a young nature writer, inspiring observations of her 
world, her wonder is inspiring as a way of greeting the world for any traveller.
Chet Raymo The Path- a one mile walk through the Universe “tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones 
and good in everything” so said Shakespeare. Raymo draws these threads together in this wonderful observation of his local 
Basho Narrow Road to a Far Province translated by Dorothy Britton. 17th Century pilgrim poet Basho undertook a perilous 
journey, he kept a diary of his journey in prose- poetry and wrote a haiku per day.
Richard Bernstein Ultimate Journey-Retracing the Path of an Ancient Buddhist Monk who crossed Asia in Search of 
 Highly regarded in both India and China Hsuan Tsang traced the journey of Buddhism from China back to 
India. He set our in 629 looking for TRUTH, to settle what he called the “perplexities of my mind.”
Richard Bernstein, turned 50 and retracing this journey was on his must do list, this tale tells of his journey and re-tells Hsuan 
Tsang’s. Great read

Travel and new experiences- general
Elizabeth Gilbert
 Eat, Pray, Love- Especially what she has to say in the first section is a great primer for experiencing new 
places. The whole book is a great primer for life.

Europe and UK
Tracy Chevalier
 The Lady and the Unicorn- Fictional imagination of how these wonderful tapestries may have come about- 
excellent read and just wait to you see the real thing!- they must have such a rich history woven into them- let us dream it… as 
no documentation exists. [The Girl and the Pearl Earring is wonderful as well]

Exploring your creativity and life
Julia Cameron
 The Artist’s Way- a course in discovering and recovering your creative self.
The Secret DVD and books

Morocco and Andulucia
Amin Malouf 
Leo the African.A tale when the three people of the book [Christian, Jew and Muslim] lived in harmony and that 
world crumbling and one man’s journey through it.
Annie Hawes A Handful of Honey- One woman’s experiences in this region- great read- Fiona
Dean King Skeletons on the Zahara-Story of survivors of an 1815 ship wreck, great for a feel of the harshness of life in the desert.
NOTE we will NOT be travelling under these conditions.
Ibn Battutah The Travels of Ibn Battutah edited by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. In 1325 Moroccan Muslin scholar Ibn Battutah set 
out to see the world. It took him 29 years to do so, this yarn of his adventures is witty, full of insight into the medieval world 
and gossip. My hero- what a traveller!
Washington Irving Tales of the Alhambra essential reading before visiting Granada- sets the scene for the stories and 
myths surrounding this magical place.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry The Little Prince So wise and such a poignant story, what might be possible in the sands of the 
Elias Canetti The Voices of Marrakesh Poignant observations of life in Marrakesh observed during a visit in the 60’s. His 
observations on bargaining in the market are educational.
A blog to whet your appetite- of Marrakech

Syria– interesting travel blog- good to get a feel of recent travellers experiences of this 
friendly country
Salam Cafe- Comedy show on Australian TV run by a host of Muslim comics-witty and educational -a great insight into Muslim 
Ibn Battutah The Travels of Ibn Battutah edited by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. In 1325 Moroccan Muslin scholar Ibn Battutah set 
out to see the world. It took him 29 years to do so, this yarn of his adventures is witty, full of insight into the medieval world 
and gossip. My hero- what a traveller!
Agatha Christie Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir- It is little known that Agatha Christie’s husband 
Max Mellor was an inspired archeologist who spent some considerable time in Syria as did Christie in often inhospitable 
conditions.- Dijanne
Ross Burns –Monuments Of Syria: A Historical Guide. This book is a must for anyone is interested in archeological sites and 
the wonderful monuments and ancient sites still in existence in Syria. Burns was a diplomat in Syria and fell in love with the 
place- Dijanne
 Damascus: A HistoryAmin Malouf –Samarkand. Amin Maalouf writes in French and has won the prestigious Prix Goncourt and even in translation 
his books are wonderful tales of a past and glorious history . Samarkand follows the very eventful life of Omar Kayyam ( lived 
around 1207 and reputed to have been a tentmaker by trade) author of the Rubayyait which he was ordered to write in a 
blank book as punishment for intrigue against the sultan. -Dijanne
-Balthasar’s Odyssey Another kind of journey in pursuit of a rare and old book “The Hundredth Name” through Syrian and 
Turkish lands to London and back. – Dijanne
The Crusades through Arab EyesShelagh Weir Embroidery From Palestine (fabric Folios)
William Dalrymple From The Holy Mountain: A Journey In The Shadow Of Byzantium Early Chritianity in the Middle East- 
fascinating…visiting some of the areas he talks of…you have to wonder how did they survive living as hermits in the desertous 
In Xanudu: a quest A tale of following Marco Polo’s journals, via Aleppo, Syria

Preparations for a journey add significantly to your experience when there…..
and whet your appetite!

Fair Trade 
Places where the money you spend goes directly to the people who did the work….

think about Fair Trade -this is a bit of a

Micro Loans– such a small amount of money can help turn around someones life- it happens I have seen it!
These guys help you make a difference and it is interesting to watch it happen
David Borgenstein 
How to Change the World- Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas -as the title suggests this 
book shows how with determination and innovation, even a single person can make a surprising difference. Inspiring.

Following are places we know personally and trust, there are others out there -let us know of what you find.

Many of these organizations appreciate the help of volunteers and you would have a wonderful experience with them !

Self-Help Organizations
Urmal Trust

Blue Dragon An organization to help street kids, get off the street, be kids and get an education.
Hoa An excellent restaurant and training facility set up to help street kids get an education and 
career. They make the best hot chocolate I have had, ever! An excellent restaurant and training facility set up to help street kids get an education and 


Global Mamas

lots of Fair trade coffee and cocoa