Thursday, November 05, 2009


Took the train from Kanyakumari to Cochin. An early morning train that reaches Cochin around 2.00PM. You end up wasting a good portion of the day stuck in a hot train..yuck. And the oooh and aaah over the scenery can occupy you only for so long!

Went straight to a cousin's house and had a wonderful, albeit late lunch. Then took a rick to another cousin's place for dinner. Getting across from one end of Cochin to the other took a good part of 2 hours in rush-hour traffic. Another fabulous meal courtesy of cousin's wife, we hit the bed at The Arches. We went off the reviews on Yelp and boy! what a pleasant surprise this place was. Traditionally done in the Kerala style, with an amazing restaurant for breakfast. It was quite close to all the major attractions in Fort Kochi.
The next day the hotel arranged a car for us to take a short mini-trip of the Fort Cochin area - Chinese fishing nets and the Mattanchery palace. By the time we were done with the palace tour (sorry, no photography allowed), Jew Town was closed. So, we headed straight to CGH Earth's boat jetty to start off our house-boat stay.

The boat jetty is located amidst a cluster of small villages about a 2-hr drive from Fort Cochin on the way to Allepey. It took some time,asking for directions Indian style, to get us there. We received a very warm welcome by the staff and after a quick check-in were casting off for a cruise on the backwaters.

Shortly after boarding, we had an elaborate Keralas-style lunch. Food, food and more food. More than what the two of us could eat. As we cruised along the back waters, we had time to relax and take a small nap. A slight drizzle woke us up and our host plied us with hot pakoras and karupatti coffee.

While cruising the waters, we saw a local team practicing for the Onam snake boat races.

We cruised back to the jetty, anchored and prepped ourselves for another feast. Before that, we took a guided tour to the local village temple. Shortly after dinner, we hit the sack. The main reason being, there is only generator-powered lights on-board. The boat does have a small collection of fiction on board for your reading pleasure.

We woke up bright and early for another round of cruising while having breakfast. The boat dropped us off at the jetty around 10.00AM. Our host arranged for a car to drive us back to Allepey. On our way back, we took a short detour to see an Indian elephant. Although domesticated, this little elephant had run amok the previous day and destroyed a few huts in the vilage. So, he was medicated and left to lunch in peace that day when we caught up with him. We also made a trip to Cherthala , a small town known for its bronze artifacts. We picked up a gorgeous lamp for my sister and a couple of hanging lamps for our home.

The bus ride back to Trivandrum was a nightmare. We were in a hot bus that seemed to make every possible stop between Allepey and Trivandrum. We made a pit stop at the Arya Bhavan in Trivandrum before taking another bus to Kanyakumari and home.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

3 days in Hong Kong

Arrived early in Hong Kong and was around 8.00AM by the time we got to the hotel. We took the airport shuttle - $90 HK$ pp discounted to $140 for two. From the airport express station we took the free airport express shuttle to 'The Salisbury'. As it was a Saturday, we could not check in early. Since the YMCA is attached to the hotel, they offered us free shower passes.

SKIP this offer. We succumbed to the temptation to wash away the dirt after a 14-hour flight. While the shower facilities were nothing to complain about, the sight of half-naked and fully naked Chinese grandmoms still give me nightmares.

After suffering through 2 airline meals, we decided on some comfort food, Indian style. I was not in a very adventurous mood and wanted something familiar and vegetarian. So, we decided on the Woodlands restaurant. It was only a short 15 minute walk. But combined with the Hong Kong heat and a confusing map in the Frommers guide, it took us a while to figure out the place. We got there around 11.45 AM and the place does not open until noon. So, we did some shopping in the mall that the restaurant was located in. We were one of the first customers and the place soon filled up. The food was terrible and this place is definitely worth a miss.

We walked along the Tsim Shat Tsui promenade and got back to the hotel. Luckily, our room was ready and we hit the sack. Although our reservation was for a non-smoking room, the room reeked of cigartte smoke. A call to the front desk was of no use as they were all booked up for the weekend.

Day 2: We had planned to go up to Victoria Peak. Although it was a cloudy day, it was our one full day in Hong Kong. I had missed going to this place on my previous visits. We decided to do the walking tour outlined in the Frommer's guide. We took the ferry over to the Hong Kong side. We meandered our way through the financial district, walking past the IFC2 mall, the Bank of China tower and other skyscrapers. My Tokina 11-16mm lens was put to good use. It being a Sunday, all the Fillipino workers were out in full force enjoying their day off, having one giant picnic on the streets. By the time we hit the Victoria Peak tram station, we were exhausted and decided to take a break. There was a lone shop right across from the church open and we got ourselves a cold drink. Within seconds, the skies opened up. And from nowhere, loads of people turned up to take shelter from the rain. We went from being the only 2 people in the shop to sharing the space with a huge crowd. Once the showers stopped, the crowd melted away.

We got off our behinds and made our way to the tram station. We purchased 2 two-way tickets to the peak, but did not purchase the observation tower tickets. Good choice coz by the time we hit the peak, it was all cloudy and foggy. We had lunch at the DeliFrance at the peak. Good options for vegetarians too.

For dinner, we decided to try an Indian restaurant. Can't remember the name, but it was pretty good food.

Day 3: Po-Lin monastery. Took the MTR to the Lantau island and the cable car to the top of the mountain. Beautiful views of the airport on the way up. but, it was a hot,hot day. By the time we reached the island, we were exhausted. We decided to try the monastery lunch. We chose the deluxe option..pricey, but gets u a table with tablecloth and such. Contrary to reviews, the food was blah.
We took a turn around the monastery garden and then set out to climb the steps leading to the Buddha. Buying the lunch gets you free access to the museum housed in the base of the statue. Highlight of the musuem - bone fragment of the original Buddha and the air-conditioning.

On the way back, we took the bus to the MTR station. Passed through some cute Chinese towns.
Got back to the hotel, picked up our bags and headed to the airport - free shuttle, MTR and on the plane home.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Upcoming India trip

Off on a month long vacation to see the family. This time we have planned a 3-day stopover in Hong Kong. A trip to Kochi/Allepey is also in the works.

Itinerary so far:
HKG - Chennai
Chennai-Nagercoil : sometime mid-July
Nagercoil - Cochin
Cochin- Allepey

Mom is also planning a few temple trips. So, lets see how that goes.

I really enjoy an active vacay, while P enjoys a laid back one. So, its always a struggle to find a balance. Hey, as long as I get my way, I am not really complaining :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Long time..

Its been a while since I even logged into blogger. Every time a post comes to mind, I think more about shutting down the blog than writing.

But, looking back at some old posts and reading about various trips has been fun. So..maybe I should just make this a travel blog (?)

What have I been upto since my last post?

- Decided on Haas and am half way through the first semester. Only 5 more to go..woohoo!
- My parents visited over the summer..Lincoln City (Oregon), Vegas, Grand Canyon, stuffing up on mom's food, arguing with dad, shopping...all happened, not necessarily in that order :)
- My sister's dogs stayed with us for a couple of months. I don't know if D&D (the dogs) had fun, but I sure did. They were a riot and a lot of work too. My sister so owes me :)

To the present..The Blue Angels are practicing right outside my office window. Its Fleet Week in San Francisco. Too bad I will be in class all day Saturday slogging over my finals.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MBA update

Got the good news from Haas today. I got into the Evening-Weekend program. I am also in at the Anderson School (UCLA). Now, will have to decide between the two. Yah!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shame, Shame!!

I was at the Olympic torch relay in San Francisco today. The torch was going to be about a block from my workplace and I was not going to miss the chance.

I didn't see the torch. What I did see were a whole lot of 'Free Tibet' supporters outnumbering the pro-China (and hence pro- torch) supporters.
The shouts of 'Beijing 2008, .....(something unintelligible), were drowned out by the 'Shame on China' jeers.

I say SHAME on the city of San Francisco, for disappointing me and a few thousand spectators who turned out to watch the torch run.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"The best way to make God laugh is to make a plan."
-Author Unknown