Thai-land -Full moon party

Hadrin: It’s a pretty beach. Gorgeous  turquoise water, mountains around, a little crab here and there. One decided to stick to my bikini bottom. Completely freaked me out. After the calm waters of other beaches of Phi -phi  and Maya bay, there were waves here. U can bog up and down  on the wave and chill the day out.

There are volley ball , soccer games going around… People tanning themselves away.. The scene is that of any other good beach….BUT…. Come the Full moon Night and the beach transforms…..

25000 and counting…… people descend on same calm beach. Every inch is covered. They are merry, drinking from buckets, painted , dressed and what not. The shacks are pumping different kind of music…. each buzzing with its own sound. There are slides, firejump and pulsating music.

And it goes on all night…… till 9 in the morning. All you need to do is take a bucket- put some rum, redbull, and whatever else…. and u are set…. Some clicks form hadrin beach..

The blue men show

The blue men show

PInk Mushy

PInk Mushy

Full moon party

Full moon party

Painted

Painted

play time

play time

Suspenders

Suspenders

 Filling the sea

Filling the sea

Fire starters

Fire starters

Pink Bunny

Pink Bunny

And the morning comes....

And the morning comes....

Next to the mountains and beach

Next to the mountains and beach

Check out my glasses

Check out my glasses

I love

I love

Tired after a nice of party.

Tired after a nice of party.

Buy a bucket

Buy a bucket

A friend was extremely upset with the state of the beach when the sun descended. But then what do u expect when there are 25000 drunk people around. Good thing we went to the beach 2 days before the full moon burst.

Funny thing to be noticed: I don’t think anyone really looked at the moon that night or cared too much about it being full moon.

Meet the perfect ‘hunk’.

Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem

I have travelled and travelled and never never ever in my life met a man like Javier Bardem in any of my travels.

Good looking, charming, sensitive, adventurous all rolled into one. WoW!!!! Where  the hell does this happen. Only in the movies … I guess.

As I sat cribbing about it, my husband goes… he is also romancing Julia Roberts and she is pretty hot herself. Ahaa…. Well !!! True.

Then there was another one.

R met her man on an airport and then they were both on the same flight, seating next to each other. Good looking guy, single, doing well in life. And this one is not even a fairy tale.

And here are we, I always seem to attract mother’s with wailing kids. I have to smile at them else they will scream in my ear. Another kind I attract is elderly couple. Once I got a guy, geek engineer, who insisted how I should go to devon street once I land in chicago. Why? Devon street is mini India. Now why would I in the world want to go to mini India in chicago when I am traveling from India. Think I killed him with eye darts and watched 5 movies straight to avoid any further conversations.

So, where were we? No cute men when we travel….. Blame it on past karma.

:)

Me ain’t  no Julia Roberts!!!!

Damage to the mountains – Khardungla pass

We  go on endlessly about leh and its raw beauty. How the mountains and landscape change every few hours and how it is (or let me put it, was) still virgin and less touristy than the other done to death hill stations.

Well, leh has become the the buzz word as the next hot tourist destinations in the country. Thanks to the access and the umpteen number of flights (including the famous makemytrip carter flights this season), leh is becoming the next honeymooners destination.

And with that comes the perils of tourism. There is nothing like ‘responsible tourism’ or ‘responsible living’ in this country. We manage the convert the prettiest of the places into a dustbin.

Some images of what is happening to the highest motorable pass in the world – KhardungLa pass.

The rest point at kardungla pass

The rest point at khardungla pass

Diesel point

Diesel point

The mess we are creating at kardungla pass

The mess we are creating at khardungla pass

and more .... dump.

and more .... dump.

From a distance it looks white and serene. Only when we go closer, we see the muck we have created. True in most scenarios in life. If only we were more ‘aware travellers’.

Ramgarh: Small trek in the mountains

100 years old bridge in the middle of nowhere

100 years old bridge in the middle of nowhere

Found a bridge in the middle of nowhere. It’s a over 100 year old bridge, made by the british, but what purpose no one knows. It does not connect to any really big town or provides  a walk over any major stream.

Bridge over a stream

Bridge over a stream

There are no proper roads near this area… Just green land, farm land, forest, tiny villages and mountains. The only logical explanation we could get of the place is – must be used to transport armies across. The bridge is gorgeous. Super intact and in great condition. Nice grand entrance and exits as you can see. Hard, rock solid cables holding it together. It’s just gathered a grass top though .:-)

Clear blue water stream! It might just be cleaner than the water we drink in the cities.

Trees

Trees

Upturned trees!

Upturned trees!

Barren Tree

Barren Tree

Green Balls......

Green Balls......

And our destination. A hidden small water lake …. The myth goes if you can stay the night here, you will see “apsara’s” dancing and music playing. But you have to manage to have the guts to spend the night there.

As far as i could see you would have ‘langoor’s dancing on you.  The water is beautiful. Aqua blue and gorgeous green… U would want to jump right in. But they don’t let you. There are strong currents and the villagers consider the place scared. They don’t like people taking a dip in the water. Scared/Not scared.. keeps the place clean and non accessible in monsoons.

A beautiful hidden water Cove

A beautiful hidden water Cove

-Quay!

Fairy tale pop-up house! @ Ramgarh.

Our place of stay , Soulitude,at Ramgarh, a quaint hill station near nanital.

It’s a pop up house out of the’cindrella’ story or any fairy tale book which I read when I was a kid.

Warm, colorful, yellow tea kettle on the fire place in room, the other room sporting a pink one, skylights in rooms and some loos to lie in bed and watch the stars and trees in the night. I don’t have words… I fell in love with the place.

Top view to the pop up house

Top view to the pop up house

Top view of the house, snow peaked mountains and the valley!

Look up to the cottage

Look up to the cottage

The Cottage we were staying in. We could see the main house and the valley around from here.

Mushroom garden in front of the house!

Mushroom garden in front of the house!

Cutest little garden I have seen. The tree has a swallow tap attached to it and fully functional. Check the little mushrooms.

Spring man

Spring man

Springing Guard of the little garden!!!

Stars and trees

Stars and trees

Each room had a skylight ! This one is from the study.

Food Place at the main house

Food Place at the main house

View from the bar to the food place. and What food!!! Every meal we would eat more than we could handle. And then say no more for the next meal. But when the food was laid out…. we PIGGED !

Home cooked, all varieties, esp the fried Bhindi’s…… Yum!!!

And the bread rolls for breakfast.

The view of the mountains from the lounge room windows.

The view of the mountains from the lounge room windows.

The yellow kettle at the fire place, the ceramic ducks. Imagine the winters, with the snowed out view, a fire roaring in the fire… you inside with a warm blanket and coffee!!!

I end the post with the thinking turtle …….!!!!

(Sitting on a shelf  of the little book library!)

Chao!

The thinking Turtle

The thinking Turtle

Woodways

As part of my bike ride with RoadVeda, we landed at woodways for breakfast. Woodways is a quaint little 6 bedroom homestay in the midst of a coffee plantation estate in Chikmagalur.

It’s a pleasant ride to the place. Once u leave the main city, you get a taste of the curves and the forest. U make your way among coffee plantations and eventually hit a small road taking you right to the homestay.

woodways

woodways

A fresh home cooked breakfast of poori, allu and an authentic dish of the area (Something like an idli with a curry made in that region, I have happened to forget the name of the dish, i was so engrossed in drowning my stomach with it) was all we needed. Icing to the breakfast was the coffee… :-)

Breakfast place

Breakfast place

They have a separate open air breakfast place behind the house. One can get a view of the entire region from there. We regretted having to leave from there in an hour or so, it’s a place where one needs to spend atleast a day or two. The house itself is extremely tastefully done, all credit goes to Sushmita for it. You can have a small bonfire in the evening, maybe go for a trek to some close by hills… or best just lie in the hammock and take the sun and the view.

Front view

Front view

The view from the homestay

The view from the homestay

Sushmita and Sreedev (owner and hosts) of wood ways, happily chatted away with us, telling us how they set the place, what they want it to be.

Sreedev, besides running the coffee plantation is also a environmentalist in his own ways and u can sure be entertained with the stories and the information he provides. U might convince him to take u for leopard spotting.

-Quay!

On route Houses

One highlight of my Bangalore-Goa ride with Roadveda was the colored houses I found on the way.

I must say, they are on something…. to paint the house exteriors such mad colors. I wonder what the insides would look like.

I managed to capture some while I was on the bike. (Missed some really mad looking ones, thanks to these guys not stopping to let me fulfill my colored houses mania).

Check these out……

This is what I call a 'bright'

This is what I call a 'bright' house

Green and White

Green and White

Yellow house

Yellow house

shades of green - got a glimpse while rushing on the bike.

shades of green - got a glimpse while rushing on the bike.

Mera wala Pink.

Mera wala Pink.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Blusey

Blusey

Paint my world purple

Paint my world purple

Parrot........

Parrot........

Oranges.....

Oranges.....

almost go it... looks psychedelic.

almost go it... looks psychedelic.

Misadventure to the Red Fort.

 

Red Fort Delhi

Red Fort Delhi

10/07/09

 

It finally rained in Delhi today. The weather felt great to step out and just hang around. So, the two of us picked our car and headed for Red Fort. We had been wanting to do this for a while. 

Only, once we reached there, we were stumped. In the mist of the exotica of old delhi, the narrow lanes, busy streets, the crazy excitement to the place, the beautiful view to the friday afternoon namaz of the Jama Masjid, we could not find a parking spot. 

We assumed a fort of such national importance and an extremely touristy spot for visitors to Delhi would have a parking area dedicated to self. Well…. we assumed too much, I think. Number of people visiting the Fort in a single day vary from 7000 to 10000 – according to one article of Times of India

We did round and round circles….  then up and down and finally, in frustration, left. 

We initially enquired about the entry of the fort. This was in other side of the road at Jama Masjid. We were informed by policemen that we could park here but the entry to the fort is from another side and it would be better parking there. “Great. Is there enough parking there” we asked. “Yes, u can park there, sirji” said the policemen. 

So off, we went, U turn, then right turn from the red light. Saw another round of the crowd at the Masjid and people walking to and from it. Straight down, U turn again, we found the entrance of the fort but …oppppsss we cannot park inside. There was no provision to, we were told by a cop. We debated that we were informed of a parking facility. No sir, go back to the parking place you have come from. We can park there or any place we can get around. 

Ok. We drove back-straight and then left turn. As we parked, we wondered why there were such few cars and  autos parked in so much space. Such a contrast to the swamped streets we just crossed. Just then a man in uniform, not cop uniform, but a uniform came up to us and said we can’t park here. This is not a parking spot. We explained the entire information we have for as above and that we wanted to visit the Red Fort. But, of course, it made no sense to him and fell on deaf years.

To the extent that M lost his cool, and they have a nice conversation on whose’s responsibility is what?

Man in uniform: “Hame kya pata kahan park kare, hamari problem nahi hai”

M: (fuming) tu kiski problem hai, aap government worker hai, government is problem hai to provide parking space.”

We left from there wondering how come there was this maruti also parked which was a pvt. vehicle. 

Anyway, away we went U turn and right… view of the Masjid and people. Feels like Deja vu.

We looked for legitimate parking in front of a temple. As we waited patiently for a car to back out, so we could get that spot, another santro came swiftly from the left side and parked it’s ass right in the middle and conquered our spot. 

We went as far as the railway station and post office and back. Another spot we found was illegal- one fellow said it was ok to park unless we are going through ‘bad luck’ and tried selling us a trip to jammu. Another riksha wala said not safe to park. 

Conversation between M and riksha wala:

M: then where do we park?

Riksha wala: Sirji, sab jagah parking hai, bahut parking hai. 

M: but sab full hai, do baar ghoom ke aa chuke hai

Risha wala: Sirji, parking tu bahut hai, phar full rahti hai. …

What does one say to that?

Riksha wala: Sirji, novelty ke paas jayee, bahut aachi parking hai. 

M: Novelty kaha hai?

Riksha wala: Sir, right chale jayee (pointing to left)

eesshhhhh!!!

We sat in the car, drove looking for novelty… gave up.. had spent almost 2 hours in this nonsense, cribbed about why we drove here and not took the Metro or auto, appreciated the back side of Red Fort, cribbed some more, had lunch at Andhra Bhawan and came back.

Red Fort – will happen another Day!!!

 

The Downtown-Suburbs divide!!

The city life!!!

The city life!!!

It’s an interesting concept I see in North America.

It would be the most regular day-to-day thing for most people living in this country. But for me, its unusual, coming from India.

I stepped out at around 10:00 in the morning on my sister’s balcony and I saw no people on the streets. Zero. I factored it to the cold weather that still prevails here in Chicago (compared to the heat of my city at 42 degrees).

I stepped out after an hour and wow!!! there was still not a soul on the street. And u can imagine how deprived I felt of people coming from a country where  I do not even need to peep out my window to sense the overwehlming existence of people.

But then I realize, one- this country is not as crowded.  And second- my sister lives in a  quite neighbourhood. :-) I would see people all the time had I been in downtown.

Another thing, was I did not kids around. Babies yes, babies upto 4 maybe, yes… lots…

But not school going kids. In the city or downtown or peripheries of downtown, you would see young single people, young couples, (old people – kids have moved off)… but no kids.

Lack of space and not good schools in downtown being the cause of the same. Unless of course u are filthy rich and can afford to send ur kids to a private school.

So, there is this clear distinction… You are a family and with kids… u live in the suburbs… and If u are single or a couple or basically two people living together and want a lot of action around… downtown is a good place to be.

The only thing I am curious is is it just real estate that is driving families out to the suburbs or there is more to it?

Like why are there no good public schools in the city? Is there also a deliberate attempt by the government to ensure that people spread out and do not get concerntrated in one area and building pressure – sicologically, environmentally, economically on one place?

-Que. 

Colored Buildings of Cairo

We had just landed in Cairo. While we were on our way to the Great Pyramids, Giza, I came across some crazily painted buildings off the streets. Some pictures taken off  the car we were traveling in.

You will have to excuse the some of the pictures quality… I was clicking from a moving car.

Check the pink frame to the glass entrance

Check the pink frame to the glass entrance

Stands out among the brick buildings

Stands out among the brick buildings

Check the Patterns and Multiple colors on each floor

Check the Patterns and Multiple colors on each floor

It was crazy to see some of these mad buildings pop up in the midst of the red exposed brick buildings.

Lime green and white shot

Lime green and white shot

Check the building next to it. That’s how most of the buildings were on this stretch.

And the next one is my fav. The brightest one I saw around.

Wow!!! Lo alo... Thats a bright one.

Wow!!! Lo alo... Thats a bright one.

Wish I could have got a closer shot of  the above one. Damn!!!

Not as exciting, but yup!!

Not as exciting, but yup!!

An orange one finally!!

An orange one finally!!

I am sure there would more crazy colored buildings scattered across Cairo. I wish I had more time to explore the same.

-Que