Posts Tagged ‘ holiday ’

solo trip to Ladakh – the beginning

been almost 2 months since i posted anything… was drowning in work, as always, until i took a week off and went to Ladakh on a solo trip. was the best decision i ever made! have been thinking about going there for about 4 years, and every year as i missed the ‘season’ of jul/ aug, i thought to myself, oh well, next year. somehow it never seemed to happen. almost didn’t, even for this trip. i wanted to go to Bhutan, but all tickets were booked when i wanted to go.

tried Lakshadweep, again, ticket issues plus the fares were really expensive. thought of Cambodia, but by that time, the date i was to go on leave was approaching so it seemed doubtful i would manage all the paperwork. then someone suggested i should go to ladakh. since its still winter there, arranging the trip wasn’t a problem. so 5 days before i was to go on leave, i booked myself on the flights – first to Delhi and from there to Leh. (what has surprised me since i came back is the number of people asking – oh, Leh has an airport?!!)

i knew it was still winter and i should carry enough warm clothing. living in mumbai, its obvious i would be under equipped! so i stopped off in Delhi at my friend anku’s – she lent me her sweatshirt to add as an extra layer, thank god for that! it therefore played a starring role in several photos! of course the trip to Delhi itself was not uneventful. after boarding the flight on time, listening to yana and all yada, we sat on the runway for almost an hour until they announced that the AC wasn’t working (no kidding, we could figure that out ourselves) and we had to deplane and get on a new one.

needless to say, by my usual luck, i had a snoring man and a wailing baby very close to me to ensure i don’t get too comfortable. by the time i got to anku’s it was 8 hours since i had left home and i was exhausted. the Leh flight was early morning so i didn’t get much sleep at all. not exactly the way to head to a holiday! but nothing could take away from my excitement at finally going to a place i have only thought about for so long.

for all you ignorant ones, let me tell you that Ladakh is part of Jammu & Kashmir and shares its border with China or should i say Tibet. the Vodafone call centre chap, when asked if Vodafone network was available there, asked, ” is Ladakh in Nepal?”

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Girl Gangs & Driving Trips

drove down to Panchgani with the girl gang last weekend… had never driven down to anyplace further than a cojuple of hours away… so this was fantastic! with ipod, itrip, snacks, water & fuel all organised we were set for a great trip, and super excited. the roads are superb and i loved it so much that i pretty much hogged the wheel. after the expressway, the road gets better, much more scenic with beautiful gulmohar trees dotted along the way. the drive itself is quite easy now that the golden quadrilateral section has been built along the entire distance.

apart from driving around panchgani & mahableshwar, we had a strawberry overdose, it was practically death by strawberry – strawberry with cream, with ice cream, strawberry juice, just strawberry, strawberry ice-cream… you get the drift. we also went go karting with a little bit of sight seeing thrown in… captured some great examples of indian english 🙂

enthused enough to want to go for more such trips. who needs chauffeurs? driving yourself is much more fun… maybe its time for me to upgrade from the baby zen to an adult car.

i think the drive was the best part, the road is the destination as someone once said to me, wholly convinced that i wouldn’t understand!! well i understand now!

i have all these dreams of setting off on the weekend, not knowing the final destination, cos there isn’t one. who wants to join me?

I Love Penguins!

My first brush with eco tourism was in Australia, at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade and it was the best part of the trip! Every evening, Little Penguins swim up to the shore and waddle up to their nests on the island. Much like cricket stadium stands, there are stands erected on the beach where people sit and wait for the Penguins to come home. No photography allowed. The idea is to keep it as natural as possible so that you get to see the Penguins in their own environment. The first sight, of white specks all together in a bunch, coming closer, and finally seeing the penguins can’t be described in words. Its amazing. Its sad that humans kill other species so brutally for parts of their body, when seeing any creature in its natural habitat is such a beautiful experience.

Visit http://www.penguins.org.au for more info on this unique activity.

The Great Ocean Road – doesn’t that sound like heaven?




i have no idea why i haven’t put up a post in 2 months! started this then, completing it now…

The real highlight of my trip to Australia was the road trip down the Great Ocean Road. Stretching more than 400 kilometres, it passes through numerous beaches, quaint towns & landmark scenery from Geelong to Nelson – kicking off near Melbourne. We rented a car and drove through most of it leading to the Grampians National Park and then back to Melbourne.

Highlights of the trip

1. The typical Mumbai city road signs… No Entry, One Way, No Stopping… the typical Australian country road signs… Drive on left in Australia (for those who have never lived in a former British colony!), Kangaroos next 50 kms, Koalas next 10 kms, Ducks Crossing.
2. At night there are so many stars, and the expanse of sky means that you can actually see the milky way!
3. Driving 50-80 kms in a national park in pitch dark in an area full of roos is not a good idea! we were driving upto the Grampians National Park at about 9 pm as we had booked a YHA there for the night, and we spent it on tenterhooks watching out for the kangaroos cos we definitely didn’t want to run over one. and we spotted 7! one of them was bounding across the road when the headlights lit up that section. thankfully we were still some distance away! and there was no other vehicle on the road the entire time.
3. My friend, T forgot her undies so her husband J created a special song while we were roo spotting – roo, roo, where is your chaddooo! – so while we were all watching out for the roos, he was also singing this song in hip hop style.
4. Nothing can prepare you for the expanse of the ocean and its sea green colour… and being on a deserted beach with perfect sand and translucent water is as close to heaven as it sounds like!
5. A road trip has a way of making you one with the road, where the road is the destination. It has a way of cutting out all surround noise, worries, frills… of getting right down to the basics.
6. When travelling with 3 other people, its very important not only that you like them, but that you can also tolerate all idiosyncrasies! do those have a way of surprising you! whatever you think you know about your friends, if you haven’t been in close proximity with them (meaning spending hours and days together in a car), be prepared. very prepared!
7. A road trip makes it all memorable…. flying from point A to point B doesn’t quite have the same effect. And with a coastline like that, driving is the ONLY choice.

Down Under is aaaah-sum!


had a fantastic trip to Australia, visiting some friends who live in Sydney at a fantastic location in the eastern suburbs. 30 secs to Clovelly beach from the house… and a beautiful coastal walk across the major eastern beaches to Bondi and beyond. Coogee, Clovelly, Bronte, Tamarama, Bondi and more… an awesome experience to be able to wake up in the morning and see the sun rise here within walking distance!

there are a few things that strike you about Sydney

1. rubber chappals are almost the official footwear… but they call them thongs. so if chappals are called thongs, what are thongs called? no one has given me an answer to that one as yet!
2. the number of people wearing indian clothes and kolhapuris make you wonder if you are in Australia!
3. for Sydneysiders, even bread is bee-yoo-tiful. everything is gorgeous or beautiful, sourdough bread included!
4. yeah so the typical sign off is “see you lai-ter, maite” but hearing indians say “see you latter, met” is not good. no, no. just not good.
5. with such spectacular beaches & parks, its no wonder most people stop working at 5 pm. after all, isn’t getting stuck in traffic on mahim causeway motivation to spend some more time at work?!
6. while london has its “mind the gap” from the underground rail network sydney has “swim between the flags” from the beach lifeguards – a clear sign of the difference in lifestyle!
7. why doesn’t anyone have a paunch?! in the eastern suburbs, even the daddies look hot. and yes, so do the mummies. people run at all odd hours. 36 degrees or cold and windy, they run.
8. yes, the water does run the other way in the southern hemisphere

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