Sunday, April 08, 2007

London and other pictures!


The Royal Holloway College - even at 11 AM, this looks straight out postcard. Like a mediviel castle spiralling into the fog above.










I am not the ones who would normally go 'oh how cute' when I see kids. But this one was an exception. Easily one of the most cherubic faces I've seen.










It takes more than just a camera to catch a pigeon on a signpost in the Buckingham Palace gardens on a bright, sunny London morning.
Feathery fellows. Easy to mistake for a football if it were not for the beaks. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Very Vancouver





Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Jordan: Piercing the Veil

I came to Jordan with a blank slate: not knowing what to expect. The idea was to form opinions after my experience, instead of carrying a baggage of stereotypes. I did not do anything to prepare myself for the Middle Eastern country: though a hastily dumped copy of 'The Middle East for Dummies' told a different story. I confess though, that I never even opened it once

As the Royal Jordanian A320 circled over Amman, I saw the first sights of the city that would be my home for the next three weeks. From the sky, I thought it was decidedly primitive: it was a grid of small, one or two storeyed dull white houses, patched with a rare high-rise and the mosque completed the picture. This landscape covered most of what I later learnt was 'Old Amman'.


The Arab Connection: man and beast.












Wadi Rum: the world's most beautiful desert. It’s vast, rugged and merciless. Yet beautiful, calm and serene. Words are not enough: take a look at these pictures (best viewed full screen).

*The small speck you see at the center of the picture below is actually a 4x4: just shows how grand the desert is.

Sunset at Wadi Rum is unbelievable: the orange ball of fire immerses seamlessly into the red sand far away: and dusk falls into the Rum.



The Bedouins live in and off the desert: they raise camels and sheep, and live in small homes like this one. I actually had tea with one Bedouin family: and the kids were facsinated by our 4x4.


Camels roam untamed into what has been their territory since the stone age.

I could draw parallels between Amman and Mumbai: in the heart of Old Amman, I could see the markets of Mumbai. Doesn't this picture look straight out of Crawford Market?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Carribean Blues

Getting on a boat heading straight to the Carribeans from Miami filled me with deja-vu. It was almost exactly 19 years ago to this month that I set sail from Calcutta, as a 4 year old toddler in my mother's arms. My father was an officer with a shipping company, and you cannot leave 4 year old toddlers behind. Though most memories are blurred, some that still stand out include me staring out of the window at a boat much smaller than ours. The smaller boat actually tugged our ship, so it entered the harbor safely. Then there was me fighting with a German boy my age over who gets to maneuovre the merry-go-round. And peeping wide-eyed into the frozen food storage chamber. That journey was a long one: over four months. We started from Calcutta, stopping at Chittagong, then rounded off Sri Lanka and into the Arabian Sea. Travelled through the pipe-like Red Sea, and through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. Briefly stopped at Morocco, and then went northwards through the English Channel into the North Sea. Stopped at Rostock in Germany and at Denmark. Still northbound, into the Baltic Sea and in the Gulf of Bothnia that separates Sweden and Finland. Here we turned back, and came down, except turning eastwards in the Arabian Sea to get off the ship at Bombay Harbor.

The Carribean Cruise was much shorter lived: but as enriching an experience. Here is the cruise through my camera lens.

Blue is the theme...



A Miami Sunrise...
Snorkelling, an unbelievable experience.


More blue...
Paragliding....
The town of Nassau, Bahamas!

Bikers ahoy! San Juan, Peurto Rico.

The Fort of San Filipe, San Juan.


Shining Glory.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nederlande

This country is blessed. Everything just seems to fit in: the canals, the windmills, the cycle lanes, and the cheese factories. And the coffee shops!



I firmly believe that inspirations for fairy tales must've come from the Dutch countryside. You just need a camera: just point and shoot at random, and chances are you'd land up with a great picture 8 times out of 10.


The flattest country in the world, Nederlande is the cyclist's haven. Exclusive cycle-only lanes mark the length and breadth of the country, with cyclists having right-of-way over pedestrians and motorists alike.



Things to do: Rent a bike for a day, and go cycling up the Dutch countryside. Carry enough fluid and chocolate too!

Paris

Paris.
When I visited Paris, I wanted to do some of- the-beaten-track stuff along with the regular touristy stuff. Hot chocolate at Angelina's on the Rue de Rivoli was one such thing.






The other thing that struck me was that its total tolerance towards all kinds of people. Nobody, no matter how diverse, is frowned upon. Its a melting pot. Such a pity they lost the Olympic bid!

Aachen

Aachen. This small town is the westernmost point in Germany. It is located at a point where 3 nations meet: Germany, Nederlande and Belgium. I stayed in this town for 3 months. Small, quaint, yet complete.

Srinagar

Srinagar. I seriously think this city has the potential to become a tourist hotspot in the subcontinent. Education and Marketing are the only things missing.


The photo below shows two children going to school on a beautiful summer morning. Families who can afford to send their kids to school by boat like this do so.


Others, like these, simply don't. Infrastructure remains in doldrums in this troubled capital of Kashmir.

It's easy to sense the all-too-palpable insecurity in the minds of the ordinary people here. Hopefully, these kids would grow up to a more stable environment.

Mumbai


Its so apt that I start this blog with the city that I grew up in. Bombay, or Mumbai, the spirits stay high!