Elderly couple from Kerala, who has travelled to 17 countries, flown in by a tour operator to Dubai
Dubai: Kerala’s globetrotting tea seller couple, who has hit the headlines in India for travelling the world by selling tea, has visited Dubai in an all-expense-paid trip.
This is the second time Vijayan K.R., 67, and wife Mohana, 65, — the owners of a nondescript tea stall named ‘Sree Balaji Coffee House’ in Kochi in the South Indian state — visited UAE.
Their last visit in 2008 was just a stopover on their way back home after an 18-day trip to Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine.
Ten years later, the elderly couple’s wish to visit Burj Khalifa and other places here was fulfilled with the sponsorship from Rashid Abbas, managing director, international operations, Arooha Tours.
They went to At the Top — Burj Khalifa, Miracle Garden, Global Village, and also enjoyed a dhow cruise, a desert safari trip and a city tour during the four-day trip.
Before heading to the airport to catch their flight back home on Sunday, Vijayan and Mohana said the wonderful city has totally bowled them over.
“This is a miracle city,” Vijayan told Gulf News.
“Dubai wasn’t developed this much last time when we came. But we couldn’t go for any sightseeing then. We didn’t have any money left with us.”
He said it was a surprise offer from Arooha Travels to visit the city.
“We will come back here again with our children and grandchildren on our own. I have taken them only to Singapore and Malaysia. I really want them to see this wonderful place, all these towers and traffic which I have not seen anywhere else.”
The couple, who has been selling tea and snacks for 40 years, said they started travelling abroad only after they got their two daughters — Sashikala and Usha — married. Before that, they visited various places across India.
After every trip overseas, they would work hard to save the money for their next trip. They have visited 17 countries, excluding the UAE, and seen five of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Their visit to their dream destination, the United States, was sponsored through a crowd funding campaign following media reports in which they expressed their desire to see US.
“The people who helped us that time included [Bollywood celebrities] Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher and [Indian diplomat-turned politician] Shashi Tharoor and others. We have not seen any of them,” said Vijayan.
A short documentary film, Invisible Wings, which captured their undying passion for travelling and how they fulfil their dreams by working hard, has won many awards.
“Every trip is a life-changing experience. The more you see people and places, the better your attitude becomes … I have never experienced anything bad in any of the trips so far. It is all by the grace of God,” said Vijayan.
Mohana considers getting a husband bitten by the travel bug as her biggest blessing.
“Before my wedding, I didn’t even imagine I will see the world like this,” said the sari-clad grandma who accompanies her husband who also prefers to wear traditional mundu, the South Indian dhoti, even during their foreign trips.
Their next destination is China later this year. But the trip of their lifetime would be a polar expedition to Antarctica.
“I want to go to the southern point of the earth and look north. That will be the real trip of a lifetime,” said Vijayan.