Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Munnar is a very lovely spot high in the Mountains of the State of Kerala in southern India. The town itself is the highest point in Kerala and it is at 6000 ft above sea level. Once known as the High Range of Travancore, it is now the commercial center of some of the world’s highest tea growing estates. It is very green and does remind one a bit of Ireland with its rugged terrain, many shades of green and goats aplenty.
We landed around noon the first day meet our driver Mr. Saji loaded up the van and drove four hours up into the mountains. The tea plantations, waterfalls and scenery were unbelievable. The pictures do not do the place justice.
We stayed at a very remote retreat called Tree Top resort. It was very quiet but not the most ideal place for kids. The “cottage” we stayed at had one bedroom, which was down stairs. There was a spiral staircase leading up to the sitting room. We had to put a dresser in front of the stairs at night to keep the kids from attempting to come and visit us during the night.

The meals were served buffet style and 7:30 am and 7:30 pm and the food was surprisingly good. We were told it was all Indian food and the kids would not like, that was not the case.

The next day we set out for Eravikulam National Park. This park fulfills two important functions it protects the endangered Nilgiri Tahar, which is a very social sheep. The second function of the park is to also protect the Neelkuriniji, which is a purple flower that blooms once every 12 years, and it is sight we are glad we saw!! We took it as a sign that the flower is blooming the year we are here (but then again, maybe it blooms every year and the 12 yr thing is just a marketing ploy. We'll never know....)

We arrived at the entrance to the park and the lines were incredible. It was a holiday and we expected to have to wait however we were whisked right into the office and charged the foreigner rate which was 100 rupees per adult and 50 rupees for the kids and then put on the first bus! The rate for locals is 10 rupees but then you have to wait in line.:(

We went to the top of the mountain and walked up about a mile and ran into the sheep. All the people wanted to take pictures of the kids, which happens all the time here. The flowers were awesome the views were beautiful.

All the way to the park we kept seeing these vendors selling carrots and these carrots were the most incredible orange we have ever seen. We bought some and they were great, Kay ate them down to the nub!!

We then drove on to tour some tea plantations, which we found very cool. We had no idea what they would look like and they are a lot like a winery and very well maintained.

We then traveled off to this man made dam which is called Kundata Dam. It is quite large there is no swimming as it provides all the water needed to power the area. There is a spot called Echo point which if you shoot you can hear a multitude of echoes and all the people we having fun with this. The kids were sleeping when we announced it was time for the elephant ride, as you know from previous blog only Billy liked it.

It was back to the hotel to get packed up so we could be ready to leave the next morning, and to have dinner. It was the feast of Diwali, which is the celebration of light and a very big Indian holiday. The hotel had a celebration but failed to tell any of the guests about it. Everyone should up at 7:30 for dinner and people got a little put out that we had to wait for the “program” to be over which would be about and hour. It started off with a local group doing an interpretive dance and went down hill from there. Our kids needed to eat and so did some other kids and by 8:20 everyone was in the restaurant eating dinner. We felt sorry for the performers and don’t know if they finished the program or not.The next morning we had breakfast let the kids play on the giant swing and then got into the van for our four hour drive to Kochi ( Cochin) .

We would HIGHLY reccommend Munnar. There was a Reki "spa/training center" right next to our resort and it is an incredible relaxing and beautiful get away!

Our next blog is Cochin, stay tuned!


was in the restaurant eating dinner. We felt sorry for the performers and don’t know if they finished the program or not.The next morning we had breakfast let the kids p[lay on the giant swing and then got into the van for our four hour drive to Kochi ( Cochin) .


3. . 3 3.333. . ....

Monday, October 30, 2006

The 10 things I learned on vacation

Hi all
Tom will be doing a separate historical perspective of our trip to Kerala, but I wanted to share with you my top 10 list of "What I learned on vacation" ...

1) If you go on an elephant ride up (and down) a mountian, the ONLY person guaranteed to enjoy themselves is your 22 month old. Everyone else will be scared to death and crying, begging to have it end (Mom and Dad included).

2) Jimmy Loves Kay - During a rather hectic part of the trip, Kay vomited 7up and chips all over Tom and the seat. Jimmy became really really concerned and began hopping from foot to foot. "What can I do? Kay are you ok? Oh no Oh no... KK, I love you. Do you need anything? Do you need a hug, a kiss, a backrub? Oh no Oh no". This continued until we were safely back in the car. At which point Jimmy decided that he loves Kay SO MUCH that the next time she vomits on a car trip, he'll clean the whole thing up so that Mommy, Daddy and Saravanan (our driver) dont have to worry. I am holding him to this.

3) Kay can not say one of the letters of the alphabet. Can you guess which one from our car conversations?
"Do you yove me Jimmy?" (see above)
"Baa Baa Yack Sheep"
"Here Daddy, here's the yist" When Tom was looking for the room service brochure
"Can I sit on your yap?"
"My yip hurts"

4) Contrary to popular belief, eating room service on a white linen table cloth with candles is NOT romantic when you are eating in the hotel bathroom in an effort to not wake the kids.

5) It is possible for both boys and girls to pee & poop on the side of the road when there isnt a bathroom for miles and miles. Visualization: Step on 5 yr olds feet while holding his arms/hands way above his head and have him lean back. Try to control his squirming and giggling. Hold your 3yr old in a "swing" position. You squat and your daughter sits with her hamstrings in your hand. Then she's in a sitting position and if your feet are wide enough apart, you'll miss getting "hit". Note: This only works if your 3 yr old weighs 25lbs.

6) Someone will get sick on vacation and it will happen on the worst possible day. Case in point, Billy had a 101-102 tempature on the one day that it was 95 outside. He insisted on crawling into my skin and being held tight all day. I think I lost 5 lbs in sweat.

7) As many of you know, getting a massage in Asia is a mildly violating experience. Needless to say, its no different in India. 2 gallons of oil, a wooden table, one piece of cloth and one string. I'll let you imagine the rest.

8) The kids favorite part of the trip wont be the mountains, or elephant or fishing village or 200+ yr old temple or mountain goats or Diwali dancers ... No... their favorite part (which they keep reminding you of) is the swimming pool at the hotel that is not even as nice as Lifetime. We traveled 20+ hours over 4 days for this?!

9) Dont let your 3 yr old eat her airplane meal unsupervised. 10 minutes into the flight she popped a raw jalepeno into her mouth. The woman sitting behind us tried to warn us but we were busy trying to get Billy to stop crying (100 temp) and Jimmy to put his seat belt on and stop kicking the seat in front of him. I am sure the rest of the airplane was nominating us for the parents of the year award when she proceeded to scream the rest of the hour flight.

10) Bangalore is "home". We landed after our 5 day adventure and pulled into our house at 9:45pm Tuesday night. Jimmy exclaimed "Its good to be home".

I think that says it all!

(Final Tip of Day- When you get home, double check if school is open the next day. This will prevent you from hauling 3 kids out of bed at the crack of dawn, fighting with them to eat and brush their teeth and then standing at the bus stop for 30 minutes while you wonder why the bus is late....Not to mention your 5yr crying the whole way back home because he is sure he is going to miss assembly....)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Veg or Non-Veg

It is a well known and undoubtedly fact that here in India the are,ROUS.
Without highlighting this fact we found out a little know fact about ROUS.
It appears that our driver has one for a pet. That's right and he keeps it in a cage age IN his house, the good news is that it is a white one. What is the difference you might ask.
Now we also have been informed by a fairly reliable source that the black ROUS is afraid of the white ROUS, who knew!
There are several other aspects of the white ROUS that are well .... QUITE HARD TO BELIEVE.
First and foremost the white ROUS brings good luck to the person that has it. So we figure that since our driver is in the process of getting married his friends gave him this white ROUS to bring him luck.
Secondly the white ROUS are used in certain situations when you may perhaps have too many black ROUS, that may not necessarily live in cages, scurrying about your home. You would then bring in the white ROUS to scare off the black one and we are told they are quite effective.
However non of that compares to the most recent news about white ROUS.
The before mentioned white "pet" has escaped it's cage.
Now to some of us that may be nerve racking however to those in the know this is no real problem because the white ROUS, is a vegetarian.
Isn't that great.

Song of the day - 2

REM - Losing my Religion

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Song of the day

Tears for Fears - Everybody wants to rule the world.

A look into the life of Tom Murphy


Two small children ages 3 and 1 3/4.

Hard of hearing, mischievous and not good eaters.

Skilled in throwing food,pitching fits,pinching,screaming,coloring on walls, jumping from one bed to another ,not napping, cutting their lip and eating chocolate.

Available most days between 5:30-8:00 PM.

Will drive you to drink.

No caretaking experience needed they know everything.

Older brother who now enjoys Indian food and for some reason has acquired the ability to listen available for consultation fee basis only.

Parents will pay up to 500 rupees send inquiries to ; Tracy.Murphy@Target.com

Father is unavailable as he's at the Oak Grill drowning his sorrows
Villa 83 Phase II

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We've been sending so many updates on the lack of music scene here that we thought we'd blog it. Thanks to all of you back home that are going to all our favorite artists and seeing really great music. We hate you:)

The closest we get to good music (besides our CD's) is the new radio station - Radio Indigo, the color of music. So far, I have heard ....
Madonna, Like a Prayer
Price, Little Red Corvette
Dire Straigths - Walk of Life
Simon and Garfunkel - Cecilia
The Bangles - Walk like an Eygptian
EVERYTHING by Bryan Adams (he's a big hit over here)
Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark
Sting - AND the question of the day one day was "name the band that Sting was in prior to going solo ..." God Help ME?!
So... are you seeing a trend here? I am thinking of posting a song of the day on the blog so that you can get the full effect of our lack of good music.

Also, the only concert we have seen advertised here was INXS. They were here last Friday night. Needless to say we had other plans...

The station we were listening to before this one was all Bollywood Hindi music. Even all the advertisements were in Hindi. We knew we were in trouble when Jimmy started singing the jingle "Hit Milla Hit Milla Hit Milla Hit" (Basically Popular Hits Popular Hits Popular Hits) and then when Tom woke up whistling a commercial for a new apartment complex we new we had to switch. What is Bollywood music you ask? Imagine lots of drumming, knocking, falsetto singing and a lingering sense that the song never really ends, that it just melds into the next one. In actually, it can be kind of hypnotic....

Jimmy is taking piano and knows how to play "Twinkle Twinkle", "Mary had a little Lamb" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep". Not bad for only 2 lessons. He LOVES George his piano teacher. He even tells the other kids he cant play with them because George is coming over.

Kay keeps singing "I release and I let go" - Go Spirit in Action!

Billy's new favorite song is "Happy Birthday" - If you have a birthday coming up, let us know and we'll send you a singing telegram, its quite cute. "Happy Birdday to ewe" Happy Birdday to ewe"....

Hang with me on this next story, it does include music....

We went to some friends house on Sunday and ate their steak, ate their giant prawns and drank all their good red wine. The kids had every toy out, watched Shrek 2 all the way through and Tom was hung over the next day. All in all a VERY successful party. In fact, the other family that was there, that we met for the 1st time, is from Vermont. They have 3 kids (8,6,3) and their 3 yr old is from Korea. Kay started singing "I see the moon" (Greg Brown kid song) and they all started singing with her. Turns out they have both of Greg's kids albums but didnt know he did adult music. How is that for strange?? So, we are in India, meet a family with a boy that's been adopted from Korea and they actually know who Greg Brown is although they havent enjoyed his finer music. We told them we'd lend them CD's. The bummer of the story is that they are leaving for Vermont in 2 weeks. So much for making new friends.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Us Ex-Pat Kay Marie Jeon Murphy Poops Dateline 9 October 2006

It has been reported today that Kay Marie Jeon Murphy has for the first time since living in Bangalore, India gone poop, on the toilet.
Murphy pictured here hurrying back from the playground with her younger brother Bill, known in Bangalore as “ Baloo” stated to her father” Dad hurry up I have to go poopie”
Murphy, than rushed in to house and proceeded, by herself, to take her shorts off,then climbed onto the toilet and went poop.
Her father was unavailable for comment.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The things kids say....

So... the kids have been full of funny expressions lately. It sort of scares me when I think about how smart they are and how much they pick up. Here are some samples...

Kay has been talking non stop lately and Billy repeats everything she says. Its a little scary. He is talking way earlier and better than Jimmy and Kay were at that age. We are going to have one loud(er) household once they all get going. They already have fights on who gets to "talk".

Kay's latest phrases are ... "Run for your Lives!" "That's not a good idea" (when Tom and I are leaving) and "Hey, I have a good idea, why don't we...." "Why" "What" "How come" "When", etc.... 1,001 questions....

Billy says "come come" and "tell me" (VERY Indian phrases). He also call us Mommy or Daddy not by who we are but by what he wants from us ... "Daddy Uppie" anytime he wants either Tom or I to pick him up. "Cup Mommy" anytime he wants a drink etc... Strange kid.

Jimmy is funny as always but is still too smart for his own good. One example ...

They were with our housekeeper last night and we called home to see how they were doing ... here's the exchange at 10:00pm...

Ring Ring - Jimmy "Hello"?
Mommy & Daddy - "Jimmy ? What are you doing?"
Jimmy - "Talking on the phone" Duh, parents so stupid
M & D - "But why are you up? Where's Raj?" (the housekeeper)
Jimmy - "He's sleeping, I'm watching TV".
M & D - "What are Kay and Billy doing?" said with slight worry in our tone ...
Jimmy - "I think they are all sleeping"
M & D - "Can you go get Raj?"
Jimmy - "No, he'll be crabby at me if I wake him up"
M &D - "Go get Raj Jimmy please" relatively politely
Jimmy - "No, I am hanging up now..." Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "Hello"?
Mommy & Daddy - "Jimmy ? Go get Raj"
Jimmy - "No, I told you, he'll be crabby at me if I wake him up"
M &D - "Go get Raj Jimmy" less polite now
Jimmy - "No, I am hanging up now..." Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "What?"
Mommy & Daddy - "Jimmy? Please, we need to talk to Raj" worry increasing as we realize our 5 yr old has run of the house at 10:15pm ..... Also all politeness is gone
Jimmy - "No, I already told you that" Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "What?"
Mommy & Daddy - "This isn't funny, you need to go get Raj, you are going to be in big trouble" how much can we threaten when we aren't there....
Jimmy - Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Jimmy "Stop calling this number, every time it rings I have to get up and answer it" Line goes dead

Ring Ring - Before Jimmy can answer or hang up ...
M &D - "We'll give you 1 rupee if you go get Raj" Basically bribing our kid with something that's 45 rupees to the dollar.
Jimmy - "Just 1 rupee?"
M & D - "Yes"
Jimmy - "Can I spend it on anything I want?"
M & D - "YES!"
Jimmy .... from a distance... "Raj, wake up!" .....

I can only image what will happen when he's in jr high. We are buying deadbolts that lock from the outside....

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Mysore is a town about 2.5 hours south west of Bangalore. Mysore was named after the mythical Mahisuru, where the goddess Chanundi slew the demon Mahishasura. It was for many centuries the richest most lavishly built and most powerful state in the region and the former capital of the illustrious Wodeyar Kings! (Or so the guidebook says)
We got early on Saturday morning to make the trip. We stopped along the way for some take out dosa (hot potato, egg and sauce) wrapped up in a tortilla type wrap. The food was wrapped in plastic cellophane and the rolled up in newspaper and then tied with string, no Styrofoam containers here!!
The way there was beautiful, rolling green meadows, high slopping hills along with several amazing rock formations.
Our destinations were the Mysore Zoo, water show/dam and Palace.
The Mysore Zoo is a rather large zoo with all the usual attractions, Elephant, tigers and Pheasants; this zoo had an incredible display of snakes. We saw the cobra, king cobra and a humongous python. There is also a huge display of plants and flowers from around the world. We had a great time and the kids of course loved the peanuts.
The water show, calling this event a water show does not do it justus. There is a dam in Mysore, which is the beginning of the water reservoir for the drinking water for Bangalore. The whole area is a series of pools that are joined and run into fountains which change colors and erupt to musical scores while people chant and sing and clap along, quite amazing. This is all of course happens at night and the colors of the fountains at the songs and the people clapping and singing along adds to the beauty of the place.
We then retired for the night at the Hotel Metropole. It is an old mansion with only 30 guest rooms, which are somewhat small. The staff is very friendly and helpful we were worn out from the travel and order Pizza Hut for dinner.
The breakfast buffet as usual was quite an elaborate affair with pancakes, omelets as well as many Indian dishes. After fortifying ourselves we headed off the Maharaja’s Palace. This is a fantastic Indo-Saracen Palace. The original Palace burnt down in 1897 and this new one was built in 1912 for 4.2 million rupees.
You are not allowed to bring in cameras however the place is beautiful. It has many areas of stained glass, viewing area for parades, flowers and wall after wall of portraits. We decided that after viewing many of these portraits in became clear that the royalty are not very photogenic. There is a part of the palace called a gopuraam, which is in the temple area and is where you would go to pray meditate, ect. I was taken for $1.00 by a very elaborate scam carried out by the palace police. It seems these folks will volunteer to give you the 30-second spiel on the palace and in return they ask you where you are from and if you happen to have any money from your country and could you give to them for the “collection” of non-Indian money. Very smart.!!
Before we left the palace we road on an elephant, a camel and in a horse drawn buggy. It was all great fun and we had a great time.