Tag Archives: travel

Mumbai: Monsoon, Malabar & Marine Drive

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I have been living in India for almost 3 years now (!!!!) and honestly have been the South Mumbai may be thrice or twice. Most of the time my time in Mumbai is spent at my parents’ place in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, which is different city altogether.  I always wanted to have a chance to visit South Mumbai more frequently and recently had just the opportunity. My mom’s childhood friend has a place in Malabar Hills and we decided that a trip to her place followed by lunch would be a perfect way to get over the hump Wednesday.

Enjoying the view from Malabar Hills

Enjoying the view from Malabar Hills

Traveling in any big city is a pain and Mumbai is no different. Even though South Mumbai is technically only 30 km away (approximately 15 miles), it takes pretty much an hour and half or longer to get there from Navi Mumbai. This time our travel had to be planned keeping my 3 month old daughter in mind. We decided to leave home around 8 to beat the traffic but as life goes with a baby we finally left home closer to 8:50. My daughter is getting accustomed to being in the car for longer distances and she was quite content till the last 30 mins when we kept hitting all the possible traffic signals. A few tears later we made it to my mom’s friend’s place in Malabar Hills, home to the infamous hanging gardens, in Mumbai. The Malabar Hills neighbourhood is quite picturesque with greenery, winding roads, hidden bungalows, and tall apartment buildings. We could see the entire Marine Drive from Aunty’s place! We feasted on a delicious breakfast while my daughter played. Taking advantage of being at a home, I decide to nap with my daughter so she doesn’t get too cranky later on.

Our nap and my mom’s catching up took us till around 2:00 PM when we finally decided to go out for a late lunch. Aunty had a great suggestion of going to Pizza by the Bay on Marine Lines. She said the restaurant would offer a beautiful view of the seaside on this rainy day. We went by her suggestion and weren’t disappointed at all. With breakfast still taking up quite the space in our stomach we resorted to ordering a veggie Pizza and a Chilli Cheese Sandwich to split between the three of us. The service was speedy and the food delicious. The view of the sea and people meandering around just added to overall ambience.

Pizza By the Bay

Pizza By the Bay

After our late lunch we decided it was time for us to make our way back to Navi Mumbai. So we bid adieu to my aunt, Mumbai, Marine Drive & the Monsoon. Till next time…

Marine Drive

Marine Drive

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Amazing Thailand!!!!

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Hello! Hello! I know it’s been a while for us writing…like my blogging partner said, the last 6 months of 2014 went by in a whirlwind. Honestly, a lot of times I did sit down in front of my laptop and thought about writing a post, but I then I was like “I have nothing to share.” So back again, I would switch off the laptop, and go on with the daily routine. My husband constantly asked why I wasn’t blogging and I kept saying I have nothing to write about; in all honesty, I was getting a bit lazy. But as they say, absence makes the heart go fonder and I am back!

Bangkok Traffic

Bangkok Traffic

A lot happened in 2014….probably the biggest is the fact that we are expecting a baby in May!!!! A million emotions are constantly running through me, feelings of excitement an d nervousness. I think I might write a separate post on all that I keep constantly thinking about.

Let me get back to what this blog is supposed to be about, as the title suggests, I just came from a quick 4 day trip to Bangkok. It’s the city I grew up in and even though most of my friends and family have moved on….the city still holds a super special place in my heart. The last time I visited Bangkok was almost 6/7 years ago and while a lot has changed, a lot hasn’t.

Strolling around Lumpini Park

Strolling around Lumpini Park

So what did I do in Bangkok? I ate, shopped, slept, ate, shopped, slept….on repeat. I guess that is what a good vacation is about. I constantly complain that the Thai food in India doesn’t quite make the cut. Some places (ex: Baan Tao or Polka Dots in Pune have good curries), but they don’t get that 100% authentic taste. Also they say, street food in Thailand is the best, so I was pretty much on a mission to make my husband try all the food that I grew up eating…from the krapao kai…to Swensens ice-cream to Paprika chips.

Mama Tom Yum

Mama Tom Yum

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Sticky Chewy Fantasy at Swensens….still my favorite ice cream flavor!

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Mango Ice Cream & Mango Custard at Mango Tango, Siam

 

We, also, did do a lot of shopping for the baby. Yes, you can find almost everything you need for a baby in India (thank you Amazon.in), but variety is an issue. I fell in love with almost all the baby things I saw and actually had to be told to stop shopping for the baby (the malls in Bangkok probably deserve a separate post as well).

It was a much needed trip. I am back feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to take on the next 6 weeks of work. Bangkok….I am not sure when we will meet next, but till next time….see ya!

The trendy Terminal 21 mall, which is designed like an airport with each floor representing a different global city.

The trendy Terminal 21 mall, which is designed like an airport with each floor representing a different global city.

Travel Diaries – Sri Lanka

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I just got back from a week long family holiday in Sri Lanka and the Maldives (that country deserves a separate post). We were initially a bit hesitant traveling with a toddler, not sure how well he would adjust to the traveling. But, he could not have enjoyed more-napping while we were on the road, and ready to run around the minute we had arrived at our destination. He managed to develop quite a fan club at the airports and hotels as well. DSC_1072

Going from India, a few things that hit you is how clean the country is, how green it is, and there is a distinct lack of honking on the streets. Also, everyone seems to follow traffic rules.

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Elephant Orphanage

We were in Sri Lanka for four days before flying out to the Maldives, and since the trip was with a group, it did get a bit hectic. We flew down to Colombo, and straight off made our way to Kandy stopping on the way to visit the Pinnawalla Elephant Orphanage.

After a quick rest at our hotel, Mahaweli Reach, we headed for a cultural dance in the evening followed by a visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

Tea Estates of Nuwara Eliya

Tea Estates of Nuwara Eliya

The next day we did a day trip to Ashok Vatika in Nuwara Eliya, which was almost a three hour ride each way. This was a detour from our original plan, but a site many wanted to visit because of its importance in Hinduism. It is an uphill ride, and definitely not for those who get car sick easily.

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Next day we headed towards Dambulla to visit the UNESCO listed Golden Temple, then stopped to visit the Luckgrove Spice and Herbal Garden, before heading off to Bentota. We stayed at the gorgeous Cinnamon Bey Beruwala for the night, and really hoped that we had stayed there longer. It is such a gorgeous sea facing property.

On our final day in the country we visited a turtle hatchery, and then headed off to the capital. We drove around the city visiting popular landmarks, and ended the day with some shopping at the House of Fashion, which is basically an outlet mall. I ended up picking books and some clothes from Zara Baby and US Polo for my baby for a fraction of what it would have cost me here. My husband picked a sports jacket from Zara for roughly 1000 INR, and my sister in law picked dresses from Mango. We did an overnight at the Berjaya Hotel Colombo before catching our early flight to the super gorgeous, and our dream holiday destination-Maldives.

Summer in U.S.

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Last week I made a super quick trip back to the States! Looking back I can’t believe that I have been living in India for close to two years. How has it been? Well, somedays have been excruciatingly difficult-I was constantly questioning will I  ever adjust to India. Somedays, the smallest task would emotionally drain me. On other days, living in India was no different (I mean sure it is different – but I felt content on an emotional level); I felt like I actually fit in.

A lot of my friends asked me how it felt to be back in the States. My answer is that it felt very comforting. Having called the States my home for 10 years made me super familiar with things. I mean I knew where to go for things, how to get things done, the directions, what questions will be asked while ordering my favourite sushi or meal, etc., and it felt really good. In India, I am still figuring a lot of this out. In all honesty, going to a new place in India on my own freaks me out because I feel I never know what to expect or more importantly how people will react. In States, I feel, there is a certain decorum and I probably feel that way because I am so familiar with everything. In one way, I felt me and free. I think a lot of this stems from the fact that I did my “growing up” in the States-meaning I spent probably the most crucial years of me being who I am now there.

What I enjoyed the most during my one week stay was meeting up with people and talking as if nothing has changed. While in India, I am still getting to know most people; in the States, I have a group of friends, who are practically family, that have known me for years. We bonded over some amazing food and made new memories to hold on to.

Catching up with co-workers!

Catching up with co-workers!

Now no trip of mine is without food and oh boy did I try to fit as much as I could in my stomach. Now some might say, that I am all talk with food and usually just eat a bit or two and then I am done; I beg to differ in my thought. I stuffed my face with sushi from Pacific East, Chipotle, Melt sandwiches, Oreo Cheesecake, and Dave’s Cosmic Sub’s “The Grateful Dave”! Never did I think I would miss food so much-but I guess it’s the small things that you miss the most.

A beautiful morning run along Lakewood Park.

A beautiful morning run along Lakewood Park.

School is starting next week, so I am grateful that I had a chance to make this trip. The summer was a good one-nice balance of travel and rest. On my flight back to India, I also realised that it took me almost 3-4 years to completely adjust to the States, may be it will take me as long to start feeling 100% comfortable in India (I hope it’s sooner). So cheers to India! Let’s get start a new phase now!

A chicken burrito bowl from Chipotle- I dreamt about this in India!

A chicken burrito bowl from Chipotle- I dreamt about this in India!

Travel Diaries: Sri Lanka

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The close of 2013 took my husband and me to Sri Lanka! After a year of pretty much running around from here and there, we went on a much needed getaway. It was one of those holidays where we just put our feet up and relaxed. I mean, I even finished two books within the span of 5 days there (will do a separate post on the books I read). Sri Lanka offered us a bit of everything; mountains, beaches and various historical sites.

Some of our highlights from the trip.

1) Trekking up the Sigiriya Rock and enjoying the spectacular views. The Lion fort was built by King Kasyapa

Sigiriya

Sigiriya

2) Enjoying the infinity pool at Heritance Kandalama in Dambulla. My dream to swim in an infinity pool came true!!!

The good life of vacations!

The good life of vacations!

3) Water Sports  and bumming around the beaches of Bentota. We loved the tube ride so much that we did it twice 🙂

4) Delicious Fish Curry and String Hoppers for breakfast.

5) Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

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6) Temple of Tooth Relic in the picturesque city of Kandy (even had time to visit a tea factory there and came home with a delicious light tea blend).

7) Walking around the cobble stone streets of Galle, feasting on some yum gelatos!

Galle

Galle

I am sure we missed some other amazing spots in Sri Lanka and may be we will add them to our list for our next visit.

The pictures and memories of Sri Lanka will keep us happy till our next travel adventure! 🙂