Finding a Permanent Home

by Mridula on September 26, 2014

in Uncategorized

I would be moving my blog to my own domain traveltalesfromindia.in. The feeling is a little like when we moved into our own house, about 10 years before. However, Gonomad would always be my other virtual home. Thank you Max for giving me the first break. Gonomad and you will always remain special.

To those kind folks who subscribe to my feed, I would request you to move it to the new URL. All new blogging would happen over there from now on.

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It is time to travel again, as I have to rummage my folders to find images for Sky Watch. I still have more than enough to wrote about from my previous trips. However, I wonder how I missed out on this treasure trove of mountains seen on the Delhi-Paro-Delhi flights. The return flight was Paro-Kathmandu-Delhi flight.

Mount Kanchenjunga on the Delhi Paro Flight

Mount Kanchenjunga on the Delhi Paro Flight

While going to Paro (you need a left hand side seat) I only saw the tip of Mount Kanchenjunga from the flight. Even that was fascinating. But it was nothing compared to what I saw while coming back!

Mt. Kanchenjunga

Mt. Kanchenjunga

I was in awe of the scene and kept staring at it till it vanished from my view. However, I do wish to see it again, this time hopefully on a clear day! The Druk Air pilots always announced where to look for whenever we passed over a majestic mountain range!

A Faint View of Mount Everest

A Faint View of Mount Everest (Left)

While coming back the flight was Paro-Kathmandu-Delhi. On the Paro-Kathmandu leg I saw Kanchenjunga in its splendor! When we took off from Kathmandu, the co-pilot announced that the flight would later go over the Everest and they would give us more details then. I was waiting for that announcement eagerly. I thought there was awe in the voice of the pilot as well when he started talking about Mt. Everest. It is on the left hand side. Because of the other mountain being closer to the flight, it looks taller than the Everest. I witnessed this phenomenon all through my Everest Base Camp Trek as well.  I remember the pilot saying, “there you can see clouds on the ridge of the Everest, which means it is bad weather. I sincerely wish I get to see a better view of both the mountains soon!

PS. This post is part of Sky Watch Friday, an incredibly fun community to belong to.

PPS. I was invited my Makemytrip.com to visit Bhutan.

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It has been difficult to write about Kashmir. I barely manged to get out before the floods. What I saw on the roads left me shaken. And yet Gulmarg on a rainy day was beautiful. The water has receded and the state will now face different set of problems. One of it would be mass cancellation of vacation bookings. I have faced a somewhat similar situation in Uttarakhand, but I was going visiting after the floods. I am of the view that as soon as a place is ready to support tourism, it would be a good deed to visit it rather than canceling the trip! Now that the worst of the floods in Srinagar are behind us, I am going to write about Gulmarg without guilt. Before I do that, let me put another record straight, as a rule I am not a big fan of rains.

Gulamarg, Kashmir

Gulamar on a Rainy Day! #canon550D

I understand the necessity of the rains in the eco-system otherwise I would have tried to banish them. All they lead to is water logging and traffic jams and make my life miserable. For me rains on a normal day mean only traffic jams. I like them somewhat over the weekends though, when I don’t have to commute. I like rains after the scorching summers of Delhi/NCR. But that is it, any other time I don’t like them, on a balance I don’t like them. And in Gulmarg all we got was rains!

A Stream at Gulmarg

A Stream at Gulmarg #canon550D

After being cooped inside for a day at The Khyber, we decided to venture out in the rains. Being cooped inside The Khyber was not such a bad idea because of the spa and the heated swimming pool but none the less, it was still being cooped inside which is never too good a thing. When we got got, I agree the greens were extra green in the rains but then the sky was also extra grey which ruins all the pictures.

The Golf Course at Gulmarg

The Golf Course at Gulmarg #canon550D

It was fun trying to hold an umbrella and  click pictures. After all, neither the cell phone, nor my precious, my SLR, like water! And even though every flower was drenched with water, I am not too good with macro photography! So instead of looking beautiful, it felt if as they were mocking me!

An Empty Gulmarg

Beautiful Gulmarg #canon550D

However, there was one advantage of being out in rains, other than our group there was no one out there, we had almost the whole city to us. Otherwise, I can imagine the same scene full of people with half of them taking a selfie, sitting on that bench!

Wild Flowers at Gulmarg

Wild Flowers at Gulmarg #lumia1020

Given a choice will I take Gulmarg with rains or without rains? I would any day choose it without rains! Without the rains I could see the mountains which were just not visible otherwise. Without them I could easily take a walk. And without the excessive rains there would have been no flood.

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When I saw the requirements for visa on arrival for Hong Kong, it looked easy. You needed a valid passport with two blank pages and that was pretty much it. Like everywhere else a return ticket and hotel bookings help in getting the visa. My travel agency advised me to carry 2 passport size photographs, so, I carried it. As I was traveling with two kids I was a bit apprehensive about everything. However, the kids managed to sleep in the flight by twisting and turning at impossible angles. I managed to watch my movies as usual!

Airport Train, Hong Kong

Chhavi and Vasu on the Airport Train, Hong Kong

We arrived early in the morning without any adventures! The kids were not too cranky but I was! As I started following the sings for immigration, we reached a point at which we had to board a train. This was a first for the kids. They were quite surprised and excited.

When we managed to find the visa on arrival queue after getting down from the train, it was not too bad. Maybe because of the early morning arrival, we missed long queues. I also liked the fact that the immigration staff was concerned about the speed of the queue and would direct you to the relevant counter.

Hong Kong Airport

Easy Visa on Arrival at the Hong Kong Airport

I asked the kids to behave at the Hong Kong immigration counter or we would be sent back home. At New Delhi they were all over the counter, almost trying to climb on to it. When our turn came they simply asked for the passports, they did not ask for any photographs. Once again, I had all the documents in my hand but I was not asked for anything. The man at the counter simply asked me lift up Chhavi as he could not see her. They put a small white square ticket in our passports and we were off! The best part is that Hong Kong gives free visa on arrival, there is no visa fee for tourists.

Flying out of Hong Kong

Flying out of Hong Kong

It was only while going out of Hong Kong I realized that they do not stamp the passports! Now what a lovely thing to do, that surely saved me at least one fresh page of my passport. As this was the first trip abroad for the kids, they simply have the IGI stamps!

So it was that easy to get a visa on arrival at Hong Kong Airport for me!

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Screen full of stuff, that is how I describe these pictures! They are easy to take and a feast for the eyes. Also you will find them easily in our markets. So, without further delay, here is my screen full of stuff!

10. Cats, Dilli Haat

A Screen Full of Cats

A Screen Full of Cats #canon550D

If you live in Delhi/NCR and if you ever wish to go to a colorful place to take pictures, look no further than Dilli Haat. The food is great and the stalls keep changing, so you get new colorful, screen full of things to click.

9. Hydrangeas at Lancaster, UK

Hydrangeas

A Screen Full of Hydrangeas #SamsungST70

Hydrangeas grow quite commonly in the Indian Himalayas too. But there was something about these from the Lancaster University, UK that made me pause. They were growing so tightly that nothing but the flowers could be scene. Such scenarios make for the best screen full pictures!

8. Bangles from Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh

Bangles

A Screen Full of Bangles #lumia1020

Pragpur is a small place in Himachal Pradesh where I stayed at the Judge’s Court. The place has a delightful tiny little market and these bangles were on display in one of the shops.

7. Pink Eggs, Aranyaprathyat Border Market, Thailand

Pink Eggs

A Screen Full of Pink Eggs #canon550D

The pink eggs were such a delight! I spotted them at the Thailand Cambodia border market of Aranyaprathyat. They are black from inside, they taste quite good. The pink color is due to some preservation process. What a delight they were to watch!

6. Colorful Threads, Dilli Haat

Colorful Threads

A Screen Full of Colorful Threads #panasoniclumixdmc

You must have noticed how well the hawkers present their stuff. While my daughter Chhavi was getting a colorful thread weaved through her hairs, I was happy clicking the spread!

5. Floral Arrangement, Fort Kochi

Flowers

A Screen Full of Flowers #canon550D

This beautiful floral arrangement was displayed at the restaurant of the Fort House Hotel. I simply loved it. I saw a girl arranging these flowers one morning. I complimented her and she said she noticed me clicking them the previous day as well, so she knew I liked them!

4. Pretty Umbrellas, Bangkok

Thai Umbrellas

A Screen Full of Thai Umbrellas #lumia1020

Thailand is my most visited country after UK. I have been to UK 5 times and to Thailand 3 times. I enjoy visiting both the countries a lot. I spotted these beautiful umbrellas in an exhibition cum sale at Bangkok. Next time, I am going to buy one for my daughter!

3. Roses at Palio, Khao Yai, Thailand

Roses

A Screen Full of Roses #lumia1020

Alas they were artificial, yet the roses look so pretty. Would you be able to tell if I do not mention that they are artificial? One day I hope I will manage to click a bunch as big as this of natural roses.

2. Mirchi Market, Raipur, Rajasthan

Red Chillies

A Screen Full of Red Chilies #canon550D

When I visited the Chili Market at Raipur near Lakshman Sagar, I was quite impressed. Even now when I look at the photo I can almost smell the chilies. When I visited the place, it was just the start of the season and hence this small patch!

1. Apples and Oranges, Chennai

Apples and Oranges

A Screen Full of Apples and Oranges #NokiaX7

Well, we may not be able to compare apples and oranges but stacked next to each other neatly in a local shop in Chennai, they made for a beautiful picture for sure! Simple things actually make for such delightful pictures!

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Lazy Sunday Photo- Red Ibis

by Mridula on September 21, 2014

in Birds,Malaysia

I was playing around with the pictures from my past trips. I stopped and started at this Red Ibis and decided, why not, let this be the Lazy Sunday Photo.

Red Ibis

Red Ibis

I clicked this picture at the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. I would love to see the Red Ibis in the wild too! Have a lazy Sunday folks.

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