Saturday, January 9, 2016

Good Morning...Mumbai!!

"To all our international guests, welcome to India..and to fellow Indians, welcome home"...with cheerful claps after a long yet safe journey this just instantly lifts the moods of everyone. Smart marketing move Jet Airways ;) tugs on the heartstrings everytime. 

I don't know why hearing this never gets old but eyes get misty and heart is brimming with happiness every time we land. Every indian in the cabin has similar thoughts of joy, relief, nostalgia and excitement of coming HOME (seeing family, friends, favourite spots; thinking of all those planned activities, shopping vagera vagera...)

At 600m above ground it was already 25C! When we landed it was 27! Yay...summer ;) Jet lag will slowly commence but in the meantime I'm already enjoying small pleasures....sitting on the window sill sipping hot filter coffee, eating hot south indian breakfast, catching up with all cousins and families as we all slowly regroup from all corners of the globe. "Cool" fresh Jan air makes this the best time to visit the city.

Notes for new visitors to the city: the most convenient way to reach your hotel/home in the wee hours of the morning  (or any time really) is by taking the pre-paid taxis. There's no haggling or bargaining needed with the driver. And trust your drivers driving skills, meandering through street traffic is their domain hands down :)

Hallo from Heathrow!

It's been ~12 yrs since I last passed through Heathrow and the airport just seems to grow larger. No more terminal C but now it's Terminal seems like an endless pada yatra (walking pilgrimage) to transfer between terminals. Even with brisk walking and a shuttle ride it seemed to take forever!!

No more 8 hr layovers either. Just a quick 3 hr stop...but that can always be dicey since you might unknowingly join the wrong line for customs (to exit the airport rather than transfer!) - sleep deprivation doesn't justify not reading signs :/

But a brisk walk was certainly welcome after the first flight. The airlines as usual messed up our meal request (I mean why is this still common in 2016??). Air Canada and code sharing airlines need to communicate better!

Food Options: While walking towards our gate I came across two cafes that have good veggie options... Pret A Manger (my absolute favorite!) and Costa.

Gosh everything looks so regal while in England! Makes me want to plan a European trip sometime...visit family, friends and new sites. Until then I'll wave out to all of my European friends while taxiing out of here 👋.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Travels have resumed!

Well my first trip for 2016 is a long distance one back home. That's 2 sets of 8-10 hr flights spanning two continents! Oh boy....

Its been a crazy last week between fighting off the flu and getting abstracts going for an upcoming conference. But the journey has started smoothly. Pearson airport here in the GTA has changed so much since I last came here 4 yrs ago for my last cross-continent travel and it looks so slick! Enjoyed the 30 mins of exploring before boarding. Some of the decor reminded me of the Houston airport layout.

My dad certainly seems to enjoy the perks of being a newly minted senior. He got invited to ride on those transport buggies that saves you the walk from customs to the gate. He didn't hide his excitement ;)

Food: be ready to fork out a lot more moolah than really valid for anything (food/drink). It's always hard to find vegan or veggie options at airports that too when pressed for time. But if your gate at Pearson is near the E block at Terminal 1..your best options are veggie-friendly places like Heirloom bakery cafe, Tim Hortons (desserts only no savouries), True burger Co, Asobu sushi, Fetta (a panini place), and Lee Palace. And thats in decreasing order btw. But again be ready to fork out at least 20$.

*update: the guy sitting next to me is an absolute foodie..and mentioned of a new Indian restaurant in the opposite direction of the spots I listed, at gate E called Marathi! All desi food...yum! It has tons of veggie options and from the sounds of it is quite cheap ($12 for a decent size plate of biryani). It looked and tasted amazing. The portion was so much, he shared it with 5 of us! I wish they have a second location somewhere outside the airport!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Why follow yet another travel blog??

Well, there's no real reason to follow this blog, really ;). But for me it's been a long time goal to capture my thoughts, combining my love for maps, GIS, travel and putting it in one spot to reflect and recollect on. The travel bug bit me young thanks to my mom's love for exploring/meticulous documenting, and my dad's readiness to be official driver - no matter what the distance or destination!

If you swing by my house, you'll find boxes after boxes of travel brochures, info pamphlets, books etc. of places I have visited. In an effort to spring clean through those boxes and only keep the truly favourite ones, I figured a blog would be a great paperless option to visualize all that info!

Furthermore, as a lacto-vegetarian I'm always eager to explore the vegan/veggie scene in any place I visit. Thanks to various apps like "Happy Cow", Foursquare etc...the search is becoming easier. Yet many spots are missed in those apps. So while I document travel spots, I'll also make small efforts to include the food scene.

So if you're visiting any place I might have and are interested in knowing what's there to see - keep checking in!

Safe travels!



Welcome to my blog page! You can see posts below on my various travel experiences.