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Ancestral Shade

Fellow travelers from our organized tour were catching some rest in the shade of the tongkonan, the ancestral houses of the Toraja people in southern Sulawesi (the Indonesian island formerly know as Celebes).

This was one of the first package holiday tours we went on, after having started to experiment with this form of group travel in the late 1980s, when it began to feel like we’d exhausted many of the places we could reach by car (and sometimes ferry): Europe, North Africa, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon. But just as important, flights were also getting considerably cheaper.

Our very first package trip we can also credit to my grandson. Being teachers, we were used to traveling every year during Easter holidays, but stubborn little Bertrand decided to be born in April — leading us to travel earlier in the year. I looked around for places where the weather was nice in February and discovered, to my surprise, that we could afford an organized tour ... to Florida!

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Green

Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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