Photo taken at Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari. Notice the ominous clouds in the background. Minutes after this photo was taken, there was a huge thunderstorm with squalls and the ferry service was suspended. While everyone were scurrying for cover, we enjoyed getting drenched.
One of the smarter moves done by the Airport Authority of India is to do away with the need for printed sheet of tickets booked. For years, all of us had to grudgingly bear with this really archaic process. Taking a printout was an additional irritant during the travel rush. I found the lazier way of asking for a print-out from the airline counter until they stated to levy Rs.100 per printout.
If the Railways can accept e-tickets, why can’t the Airports? Glad better sense prevailed.
With the new rules, I found the entry to be a breeze. All I had to do was whip out my phone and show the ticket. Surprisingly though, a lot of people still carried printed sheets. Maybe, they aren’t aware of the new rules. There wasn’t a single board that mentioned the change in rules. But hey, who am I to complain! I’m just for the positive change. My next wish? Do away with the stamping of luggage tags. I’m told that’s next in line.
When I visited TIME’s Top 25 blogs, the one that really caught my attention was the WanderingEarl blog. Its the blog of Derek Earl Baron, who is a perpetual traveler. What is that, you ask? Derek started out on a travel vacation 12 years ago and has not stopped ever since. He has covered 83 countries so far. Read his wonderful bio.
I found his profile fascinating enough to shoot him a mail requesting for an interview. He has agreed and now its time to ask him interesting questions. I have a few in my mind but I figured it would be add any questions you may too. As always your questions will be listed down in the list and the best will eventually be forwarded to Earl. You will be duly credited with links to your blog & Facebook profile. You can either leave your question in the comments section below or shoot the question to me at Kiruba@Kiruba.com
I took my wife and two daughters on a road trip. We set our eyes on Munnar and decided that we would stop at places en-route that caught our interest. We made night halts at Yelagiri and Yercaud.
We didn’t pre-book any of the hotel rooms and decided to pick a hotel after we landed at the places. While checking online with very scant connectivity, one particular place caught my eye. In fact, it was one particular type of accommodation that caught my eye…a Tree House. I immediately knew this was it.
I called up the owner, Mr.Gregory Bosen, and inquired about the availability of the Tree House. When he heard that I was bringing along two kids, he was quick to advise me against the tree house as it is perched on a tree 80 feet off the ground. That nailed it! I knew this is the place for us!
We landed up at Glenrock estates, spread over 100 acres of coffee, cardamom and pepper plantations. Mr.Greg relented seeing my perseverance and let us use the tree house.
We had to walk a good 10 minutes downhill into the foresty plantation before we came across this magnificent tree. The first thing that it reminded me of was the Eva tree in Avatar movie. It was massive and earned my complete respect. The tree would easily be over 100 years old.
While I was hoping for a rope ladder or even pegs hit against the trunk, it was a slight let down to see proper steps made out of iron rods that lead to the tree house. A little less adventurous but convenient for my wife and kids.
It was at dusk that we began to realize how lonely and secluded the place was. While there is basis light and water available at the tree house, it can get eerily lonely at night. My kids began to freak out by the sounds of the forest.
I later found out a wonderful wood house on a hill top with a brilliant view in the estate. But more importantly it was closer to the owner’s house and the kids felt a lot more comfortable. We shifted over but we will never forget the one hour that we spent on top of the tree house.
I’m starting a mini-travelogue documenting my trip to Detroit. In this travelogue, I’ll try and capture interesting experiences along the way.
Meeting the Phantom Limb Man :
On the Feb 7th night, I head to the Chennai airport to catch my JetAirways flight. While waiting to check-in at the counter, I was pleasantly surprised to find the famed V.S.Ramachandran standing behind me. I opened up the conversation mentioning that a couple of my friends met him at Landmark book store and he mentioned that he was here for the launch of his new book, The Tell Tale Brain. He spoke about how he had another title but his publishers recommended the new one as his old title sounded too academic. Requested him for a podcast but he politely refused saying he’d rather do it after two weeks. I’ll hold him to that.
Where the $*%#& does my flight leave from?
After checking-in, while waiting for boarding the flight, I noticed that the passengers were a bit harried and bugged. I soon realized why. There was no information which gates the flights are departing from. There are 10 gates and no info on which flight is leaving from which gate. And to make it worse there was no information kiosk to ask as well. The only saving grace was that the PA system was clear enough and one had to stay tuned to the announcements to get the results.
Just 1 Internet PC?
There is just one cybercafe from AirTel inside the waiting lounge for passengers waiting to catch their flights. And that solitary cybercafe has just one computer! No WiFi as well. Can you believe this? There must be atleast 500 passengers at any given point of time and just one internet PC! I asked the guy who was manning the AirTel counter why only one, and he shrugged saying, ‘Airport authorities have allowed permission for only one computer’! Geez. He then proceeded to say that Airtel is having this couner more for advertising reasons than as a business proposition. Right. What else can they expect to do with 1 PC?!
The Nicest Lady Captain I’ve Heard.
We had a lady pilot for the Chennai-Brussels flight and the most informative one that I’ve heard in my life. Most pilots spell out basic information in a robotic way but this lady captain was having a conversation. She must’ve spoken for a full 5 minutes and in a very friendly and interesting way. She said that the flight was burning 3000 litres of gasoline per hour! She also warned early that the its quite windy in Brussels and to expect a bumpy touchdown. True to her words, the climbdown resembled a DisneyWorld rollercoaster ride.
Movies and Food.
It was a really long flight. In addition to a little bit of sleep, managed to watch two full movies. ‘The Town’ and ‘Life as we know it’. I quite enjoyed the service by Jet Airways and the food was above-par and filling.
Landed at Brussels.
We landed at Brussels airport and I expected it to be snowing. Afterall its in Europe right and was surprised that it was warm at 11 degrees.
This post is part of the Binsar Travelogue. A group of six travel bloggers headed out on a 4 day trip to this beautiful Uttaranchal region.
On the 3rd day of our trip, we decided to rough it out. After getting pampered at the comfy rooms at the Club Mahindra resort, the call of the wild was too strong to resist. We asked Amarnath Bakshi, the resort manager, for suggestions and he told us exactly what we wanted to hear. An overnight camping in the woods. It got all of us quite excited.
There’s something about the hilly air that makes you ravenously hungry. We gorged on the food. The resort manager said that they won’t provide any non-vegetarian food because the smell of meat would attract unwanted visitors. I don’t think there were any dangerous animals around but realized that its the basic respect for the wild, just the same way we don’t play loud music or wear heavy perfume while trekking.
We spoke about our many trekking experiences. Then started antakshari, a favorite amongst the bollywood smitten locals. I knew as much about hindi songs as a fish knows about bicycles. So, played the background hummer for most part.
We retired around midnight. Each of us snucked inside warm sleeping bags. BTW, its my first ever experience in them. It was slightly claustrophobic but I had no choice with the cold.
Way beyond the mountains, were the himalayan peaks (not seen in this picture) that absolutely mesmerised us.