Party, Fiesta. Have Fun. See the World. But how can you choose among all the fabulous experiences that await you? Natch, we want to help. After you’ve been shaken up by divorce, we want you to be shaken up by extraordinary life experiences, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorites. We hope these will remind you how life offers a feast of visual delights, dazzling locales and darn good fun. To do so we’ve consulted the gurus behind the most-watched travel show in the world, Globe Trekker, and the book Globe Trekker's World: A Month-By-Month Guide to What's on in the World… and When. So grab your date book and get ready to hit the road.
The Pushkar Camel Fair
November 5 through 13, 2008
The camels are just part of the fun in November in this peaceful lakeside town near Jaipur. According to legend, the Hindu gods visit Pushkar five days a year to bless devout Hindus. Hordes of people travel to the town for these sacred days that coincide with the renowned Camel Fair. The festivities begin on November 5 with traditional camel racing, followed a camel beauty contest, with beasts in elaborate costumes led on parade by a nose ring, and of course camel trading. Locals offer their camels for rides over the nearby dunes. The emphasis switches on November 10, when it becomes more religious. Visit either of the nearby hilltop temples, which are devoted to Lord Brahma, the Hindu God of creation. Pushkar's sister city of Ajmer is three hours by train from Jaipur and seven hours by train from Delhi; at Ajmer, you will transfer to a bus or taxi for the seven mile trip over the mountain to Pushkar. Train timetables from Delhi are available here.
Day of the Dead
November 1 and 2
November 1 is All Saints Day and November 2 is All Souls Day. Together those days are observed in Mexico as Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. OK, there are two days, the first to remember infants and children, the second for adults. Gifts (toys for children, booze for adults) are brought to gravesites, and elaborate altars are built. Children wear costumes, and throughout Mexico there are parades, flowers, candles, and fireworks. Our pick for best place to observe Day of the Dead: the mountain town of Pátzcuaro in Michoacán, where people light candles and ride mariposas, boats with wide nets on both sides that look like the wings of butterflies, to an island in the middle of Pátzcuaro Lake. There they make a procession to the cemetery, where they honor the dead. Pátzcuaro is a four-hour bus ride from Guadalajara; the nearest airport is Morelia, where there are regular flights from Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Mexico City.
The Biggest Liar in the World Competition
Santon Bridge, Cumbria, England
November 20 at 7 pm
No, this wasn’t started by your ex-husband nor a friend who turned frenemy. It started at the Wasdale Head Inn in 1890 in memory of its former landlord, Will Ritson, who used to entertain customers with tall tales. Now each year people gather from around the globe on the third Thursday in November to listen to tall tales at the Bridge Inn in nearby Santon Bridge. Contestants are allowed up to five minutes to win over the judges with their most convincing story. Contest supervisors say everyone is welcome except politicians or lawyers. The prize is a trophy and a good story to tell. Information here. Santon Bridge, in the Lake District, is 300 miles, about 5 hours by car, from London.
Brotherhood of Goat Meat Eaters Festival
Bellegarde-en-Marche, Limousin, central France
November dates at 5 pm (call for the exact dates)
Goats are a big part of life in this tiny village and once a year local residents get the goats all gussied up for a parade. Those that aren’t so lucky end up on the spit or in soup. Legend has it that residents fended off English invaders with sharpened goat horns which launched this appreciation for their goats. Bellegarde, near Clermont-Ferrand, is 250 miles south of Paris by car. Information is available from the Mairie de Bellegarde, 011-33-(0)-555-67-6527.
XXI International Kite Festival
Fuerteventura Island, Canary Islands, Spain
November 7 through 9
The strong trade winds over the Canary Islands, just off Morocco, provide all the fuel that’s needed for this free-flying weekend, which draws kite flyers from around the globe. The weekend begins with a "free fly" on Friday afternoon to see the huge variety of kites, many flown by locals and amateurs, on the Playa del Burro (Donkey Beach) on the island of Fuerteventura. Think more of a scaled down Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade than any other kites you’ve seen. On Saturday, the expert kite fliers step in to show off their skills. Sunday around 150 kites are handed out for the children, while little parachuting teddy bears drop candy from the sky and kids try to catch them. The highlight on Sunday is the exhilarating kite combat, aerial warfare. Sunday night, there are fireworks and it’s time for a massage to east the strained neck from looking skywards. There are daily flights to Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, an Autonomous Community of Spain, from Heathrow in London and from Madrid.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
November 23 through 27
The marijuana burns freely when growers from around the world compete to see who has this year’s best weed; some of the Dutch coffee shops and cafes even sell samples of the winning entries. Our pick: Barney’s Breakfast Bar, now called Barney’s Coffee Shop, at Haarlemmerstraat 102 in the western central district of Amsterdam, which has won five of the last seven Cannabis Cups. High Times magazine sponsors the event and, aside from sampling herb, visitors can see new hemp fashions and sample hemp burgers and hemp cheese. There are even hemp oils, jewelry, and cosmetics. With 400 coffee shops that legally sell marijuana in Amsterdam, this place, as Jim Carey may say, is “Smokin.’” Also in attendance: organizations promoting legalization of marijuana around the world. In the evenings, people make their way to the center of town, often to an old dairy now called the Melkweg Club, where there are live music and talks by visiting celebrity judges. The Melkweg Club is near the Leidseplein, at Lijnbaansgracht 234a.