Sunday, January 29, 2023

Good Morning Vietnam!


When we 3 damsels started to plan a girls trip, Vietnam was far down in our list. We started off with Greece (out of budget), Sri Lanka (political tension), Maldives (nothing much to do), Morocco (bad weather), Thailand (too cliche) and a few more before we finalised on Vietnam. We had very less expectations from the country esp after its war with the US and French colonial rule for 100s of years.

The day finally arrived on 11th of Jan 23 when we departed from Mumbai airport to Da Nang by VietJet flight, popularly known Sorry Airlines due to its frequent delays and bad service but we were lucky. Flight was on time and we reached Da Nang by 730 AM on 12th Jan. Exchanged dollars @23300 rate/$ and also got our sim cards that we had booked through Klook. The cab driver was on time who drove us to Brilliant Hotel, which lived upto its name. The room, food and service was indeed Brilliant. 

View of the Dragon Bridge from our stunning room

Day 1:

Had the world famous Banh Mi for breakfast after which we rested a while and went for Hoi An night tour. Our guide Hung was excellent and he guided us well. Stopped at Tien Hieu Marble Handicraft store on the way and saw some beautiful marble statues and sculptures. 

Went to silk museum first then to a Chinese temple (Quan Cong Temple). Japanese bridge (Cau Pagoda (Chùa Cầu), and old town looked very nice. Then had coffee at a local cafe, took a scenic boat ride with lanterns and candles and then shopped a bit at night market. 

Later had an amazing vegetarian dinner at a restaurant by the river (Tiem Ca Phe Nha Minh). Due to my migraine I couldn’t enjoy it to the fullest but hoping I can go back and spend more time in this ancient town which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Tip of the day: Keep a day’s gap after you travel as this immediate tour got hectic for us.

Day 2: 

Left for Ba Na hills at 8 after breakfast. It was a group tour & we went in a mini bus. Reached Sun World entrance, and boy was it well made! Beautiful decor and architecture. Went up by cable car (super clean and maintained) through scenic forests and valleys. French town was mind blowing, we thought we were in Europe. Really blown over. Experiences the amazin self controlled rollar coaster ride and roamed around a bit. Ate at the Indian restaurant and tried to see other stuff but ran out of time. Went to the next level where we saw the Golden bridge and pagoda. After we got back to the hotel, at 9 we went to the hotels 17th floor and saw the Dragon spit fire for few mins. This happens every Fri, Sat and Sun at 9 PM. If we had the time and energy we would have loved to witness this a bit closer. 
Tip of the day: Make sure you wear good shoes and carry a jacket .


Day 3: 

Flew to Hanoi from Da Nang through Vietnam Airlines, very good seats and good service. Checked in at Hanoi E Central hotel for a day. Decent enough for a day amidst the bustling Old Quarter. Lunched at Aalishan as we had already started craving for Indian food. Then took a cab to Lake Hoan Kiem and had coffee at Laika cafe. The place was at the centre of Old Quarter with a super cool vibe. Walked at the Hun Cuo Bridge which was lit red. This park around the lake is really a peaceful area in Hanoi, very beautiful place for evening or morning walking. Clicked some pics, then went to Aahar for dinner. Average food. On the way back to the hotel we witnessed lot of couples dancing on the road at the centre of Old Quarter to amazing latin songs. The whole vibe was so so chill!

Tip of the day: Don't miss the night life at Hanoi sp on weekends.

Day 4:

We drove to Ha Long bay which took about 3 hours, stopped at a pearl factory on the way. Once we reached Ha Long bay we took a small boat to reach the bigger one for around 45 mins. Glad we chose Dora Cruises who were excellent with their service and food. Lot of vegetarian options too. After lunch and freshening up, we went for kayaking. After that enjoyed the view from the jacuzzi at the deck! Dinner was nice too with good music and some cooking lessons from the chef. 

Tip of the day: Ask the cruise manager for night squid fishing which we missed. 

Day 5: 

Went to see the water caves early morning. It was freezing cold but the boat ride from the floating village was awesome. We passed by 2-3 water caves and interacted with other hotel guests. Checked out and reached Hanoi around 4 pm, checked in at The Chi Boutique which was much better than the previous Hanoi hotel. Went shopping at old quarter. 

Tip for the day: If you have the time, try to shop at one of the malls for good leather bags instead of street shopping. 

Day 6:

Left for a 2 hrs drive to Nin Binh. Guide Wendy/Queyn was very cute and sweet. First we stopped to see Bai Dinh Pagoda which took about an hr. Then had lunch at a local village. Weather was freezing today too. Next went to Trang An boating. 2 hrs rowing through a landscape similar to Ha long bay. After a cup of coffee and went on a hike to the Mua Caves a point to climb the 500 steps to the top of the mountain to see the best view of Ninh Binh and Lying Dragon statue.

Tip for the day: Good shoes again as lot of walking.

Vietnam you really blew us over with your beauty and amazing people. Till next time!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Mesmerizing Meghalaya

 19th Oct 2019

We left for our flight from Pune to Chennai by cab. 3 hours stop over in Chennai where we had our dinner and rested a while in the lounge.

20th Oct 2019

Flight from Chennai to Guwahati was comfortable, we reached at 8:00 AM, cab driver Swapan was waiting for us. He drove us to Shillong prudently. Had a nice breaky at Jiva veg on the way. We checked in at Pear Tree Hotel, very cozy and comfy room. Post lunch we went to see Wards lake. It was very serene and beautiful. Met Carl's family there who drove us around the city a bit and then we had dinner at City Hut Dhaba. Food was excellent. 

21st Oct 2019
Left from Shillong around 9 am and saw the following on the way, elephant falls, wakodok view point, garden of caves, wah khana falls n nokalika falls (couldn't see the falls clearly due to heavy fog) arwa caves. The road to Cherapunjee Holiday resort was very bad and there was a lot of oncoming traffic due to some market day. Reached resort around 6 PM. It gets very dark by 5 itself. Had early dinner and crashed. Room was nice food was delectable.

22nd Oct
Left around 9 after a heavy breakfast and started the trek around 9:45 AM. Hired a porter for the bags and thank God we did, as the trek was very treacherous. 3600 steps but very steep. Had to climb down a mountain and climb up another one but what a beauty throughout. Saw the longest root bridge then 2 more bridges and a root bridge later we reached Double Decker Root Bridge. Was breathtaking. Spent good 2 hrs there, mind soothing and calming place. Had a headache so popped a disprin. Fed fishes, walked barefeet in water and played with butterflies. Not many tourists too. The rainbow falls was another 2 hours so didn't go for that. Trek back was very fatiguing. Reached back around 5. Food at the resort was quite piquant.

23rd Oct
Left for Mawlynnong village around 9 am. Roads were OK but bits were bad. Village looked very clean with tar roads and proper villas. Had thali lunch there itself and after an hour of walking around, left for Dawki. Again end of the road towards the resort was very bad with no sign boards. We got a bit scared as the roads look deserted and maps didn't help. However, reached Beetle Nut resort safely. Room was very clean, ordered dinner from the same resto.  

24th Oct
It started drizzling in the morning. After breakfast went for boating in Dawki river but couldn't see crystal clear water due to rains :( but had a good time floating about in the river on a simple boat rowed by simple fishermen. Zip lining was also closed, they said they'll start in Dec. Checked out and left for Shillong. On the way went to Krang Suri waterfalls. Sasha was in the car and we both went using the ponchos, 15 mins trek, it was mind-blowingly beautiful and a very different type of landscape. Had thali there at a local resto, mast rice dal veggies and Glenn had fish. Headed towards Trishi falls but the road was bad and a car had got stuck so we got saved. Skipped it and reached Pear Tree directly.

25th Oct
Was raining whole day so went to Don Bosco museum by cab and clubbed with Swami Soumya Smaya and Sriya. We had met them at Cherrapunjee resort. Kids had fun, lunched at Three Little Birds cafe, awesome place and great food. Then they dropped us at police Bazar and we took a cab to meet Carl and family and we dined at Tripura Castle

26th Oct
Carl picked us up around 9 and we went to see Edmunds college and cathedral. Then checked out and left for Guwahati airport around 11. Flight was just a few mins late, reached Kolkatta and again got access to travel club lounge. Had a sumptuous dinner and boarded Pune flight which was around 45 mins delayed. Reached home by cab around 1:15 am.



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Knock Knock Knock

Trouble came knocking
Knock knock knock
I asked, "who is there?"
Trouble didn't answer
and so I opened the door anyway

I am here to stay, it said
Don't mind me, and BTW I won't make my bed
I wasn't bothered by the 1st line 
but 2nd one hell yeah!

I was sure it was just being a lazy guest
and it can't stay longer than happiness
Cause happiness always makes the bed
and even puts the toilet seat down!

I just have to keep making the bed 
a few more days.
Cause once I do that happiness
will come back smiling through the door.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Osciallting thoughts

When I read this article by Kim Zapata (source I couldn't believe what I was reading. It was as if she has ripped my heart out with those words and what I have been going through almost everyday for the past few months. Every time I see a brother protecting his sister from falling, every time a girl shares a FB post and tags her sister about the bond they share, every time a see a baby being smothered by kisses by her elder brother, my heart aches. My husband and I again go through the pros and cons and after a couple of days of struggling views, push the thought back, yet again. I am not sure if we'll ever go ahead with the decision, if we'll ever take the plunge, but when I read this today, I couldn't help but share it on my blog to remind me after a few years, in case we don't go for it, the struggles of my heart and mind, the oscillating thoughts and the heart ache of a mom who feels incomplete. Sasha - please forgive me if we are not able to give you a friend in the form of a brother or sister, to help you understand the bonds of a sibling, for the lifelong support that many share and a beautiful family of four that fills many a photo frame.

Dear Little One,
I should probably start by saying that I’m not pregnant with you and I’m not having you. At least not anytime soon. At least not yet.
Make no mistake: I want to have you. For months now, I have dreamed of carrying your little body close - of tickling your toes and holding your little hand in mine. I have spent many hours trying to imagine what it would feel like to conceive you and carry you and hear your heartbeat for the very first time. I’ve puffed out my stomach and arched my back, wondering what I would look like; wondering what I would feel like. And I’ve spent hours talking with my husband (and your father) about why now is the right time - or the best time - to have you.
I’m trying to convince him why we should transform our trio into a family of four.
Yet even though I am “ready” - ready to carry you and nurture you and to have a second child - I am still terrified. I am still scared to death. Because things didn’t go as planned with your sister. Shortly after she was born, I struggled. I struggled mentally and emotionally. We - as a family - struggled financially. Your father and I struggled with our relationship. One day I nearly walked out; one day I asked for a divorce.
Depression nearly destroyed me. Postpartum depression nearly took my life.
And while that, in an of itself, is a damn good reason to be frightened and afraid, it isn’t postpartum depression that scares me most this time around. (Not anymore, at least.) No, this time, the fear is all about me, and my own personal inadequacies.
You see, selfishly I am afraid that if - and when - I have you I will become angry and resentful, because there is not enough of me to go around. Right now, with your sister, there is already not enough of me to go around.
I worry that in having you, I will have to make a difficult choice: I will have to put you in daycare much younger than your sister or I will have to sacrifice my job - the career of my dreams and the career I fought for an entire decade to obtain.
I’m afraid that I’ll be so exhausted and stressed that I’ll take it out on you, or on your sister.
I’m afraid that, if the PPD returns, I won’t be good enough or “well enough” to care of you.
I won’t be the mother you need or deserve.
I’m afraid that your sister’s antics - being an older, outgoing, and a risk-taking toddler — may cause me to miss out on your childhood. I will cover my eyes and count to 20, but when I remove my hands you will be crawling. Before I find your sister, during our never-ending game of hide and seek, you will be walking. And then you will be grown.
I’ll mourn the memories we never made.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spin the Globe

I once dreamt of travelling the world,
See in real what the tabloid boasted off.
Big wide roads and cool shopping malls,
A life many dont get to see.

Out of the blue
My stars started to grace me.
I took up to the sky
Flying like a cuckoo.

From east to west,
I underwent a change I never imagined.
Tall towers and lovely beaches,
meeting people and funny creatures.

The introvert became a tourer
Learning more about different cultures
Then she met the man of her dreams
Now I call for bookings and say "for two" :)

The Incomplete post #1

Here is a post I found in my drafts today: 

Since the time that G & I got to know that we are going to have a third member in the family, I have been meaning to write a post about our feelings and the amazing journey we'll be taking together - capture few emotions in words worth reading after years!

It was the first month of the new year, day 17, I can never take those 2 pink lines out of my head :) felt so surreal and G had tears in his eyes. It was every couples dream, every parents wish to hear that they are going to become grandparents - grand news indeed for all family n friends! We decided to keep the news amongst immediate family till the 1st trimester went smooth. Mugdha Parasnis - our OB advised us to go for the first sono after 2 weeks.

The first trimester was a mix of nausea, giddiness and frequent visit to the loo'se ;) but overall went faster than I daunted.

My Inspiration

When I opened my blog site today (after what seems like a decade) to share it with a friend , I realised that the last post was written by me in Jan 2012 - that's exactly when I got to know I am pregnant :)

I thought it's time to get back to writing and what more do I need for inspiration than my beautiful angle Sasha! She turned one last September and the times been flying like a Boeing aircraft and I feel like a passenger in it without a seat belt.

It seems like just yesterday that she was born and today she is stacking dabbas in the kitchen and calling out my name like a cute little bunny. Seeing God's miracle everyday firsthand is what makes people have kids, I guess. Cause who would otherwise want to sign up for a year long sleepless night shift ;)

Right now I am juggling between office work, house keeping, photoshoots, editing work, album designing and the most important being a mother. All this is possible cause of my hubby Glenn, my spine and my to whom I everyday whine ;) I hope I continue to post my thoughts here from time to time so that years later when I sit and read these with my daughter, I can share a good laugh and a soulful tear with her. Thank you Almighty to have blessed me with such a beautiful life!

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