Youtube Travelogue debut


Yes, it is not gonna be that fancy, but whilst on vacation and rummaging through my hard disks, I realized I have quite a bit of content captured over a period of time that deserves to be sorted up and put in the public domain. While I do have time right now, it is probably wise to finish off the back log and henceforth  do post processing of audiovisuals immediately after a trip.

I am beginning with this year and rolling back and as a start am getting all the videos put up in Youtube, whilst the photographs need to go up most likely in Flickr and Facebook Page.

Soon I will put up blog entries of trips to different places that I make.

6 years into blogging, I have not been able to do justice to my write ups thanks to immersing myself in sharpening my skills to provide optimal patient care. #Excited   

Preamble to the Hong Kong trip


hong kong

My first visit to the country was assured by the fact that I was being accompanied by two friends/colleagues who had been there before. So i did not spend much time online researching travel options, accommodation, what to do once I get there etc.

yatraYatra.com has been my reliable confidante when it comes to booking flight and accommodation online.

I booked the Singapore Airlines – SilkAir the regional wing of it. The flight was from Cochin to Hong Kong with a transit through Singapore for an hour. I joined the Krish Flyer program and decided to mobile check in and opted for my meals and seats of my liking.

silkair

While arriving at the airport what unfolded was the most bizarre set of sequences, few of them expected callousness. While I tried to queue up onto the Business/Internet baggage drop counter, I was told that online check in does not offer me any privelege other than meals and seats, so I was forced to queue up in the routine non online checked in queue. I waited with patience, even though frustrated, as being a frequent traveler, I have seen worse. Once I got to the queue, I was told the seat that I had opted for through online check – in was CHANGED due to high priority, overriding my selection to some other person from the Cochin office. When I asked for an explaination, they said they are in no position to divulge the reason. I was absolutely flustered by their response.

 

Once I reached the boarding gate, I readdressed the issue with the ground staff and one fellow was kind enough to FINALLY see me as I boarded the flight. He apologized for the seat change (apparently pretty much the only option I had to choose from was taken away) and said it is AIRLINES POLICY to override customer seat selections if the need arises, which in this case was apparently a disabled person. What was even more ironic was this Disabled person was the first to jump off his seat as the flight landed – a typical Indian jumping out of his seat as soon as the flight touched down. I have been traveling for a long time, most of it as a kid, and for a good share in the last 12 years and this is the worst experience I have ever had.

To add salt to the wounds, when we landed at the Hong Kong airport, our baggages did not accompany us. We waited for another hour for another flight to come to receive our baggage. The lock of my bag was broken however nothing was lost!!

The response to an official complaint is awaited. The return flight was delayed by 40 min, thanks to poor weather conditions in Singapore and unfortunately that just compounded my distaste.

icici

ICICI bank offers a platinum travel card with 15 different international currencies. Being a faithful ICICI bank customer, I visited the bank to purchase one as I needed Hong Kong dollars for my travel. The response of the Forex manager was, and I quote “Sorry sir, we do not provide Hong Kong dollars because of possible fraudulent activity”. If a person genuinely comes to purchase currency to use for personal purpose while traveling to another country, is the risk of fraudulence a bigger concern for ICICI that it would rather not implement what they offer? Pathetic indeed.

As I continue to embark on more journeys I realize how pessimistic Indians are when they chose the ‘safe’ confines of the word ‘sorry’ and move on with their lives!

Maldives.. the honeymoon.


 

DSC_2324

Rainbow captured as we were mid air flying back from Male

Months before the day of tying the knot I have been told by compatriots, colleagues and friends to find a place for the honeymoon getaway. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted. Whether to trod through sightseeing, or sit back and enjoy a romantic couple time. Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Mauritius, Maldives, Europe were up there amongst the top most honeymoon destinations Indian couples pursued. Eventually it boiled down to going for the romantic getaway away from the buzz and the crowd.. quiet, private and in nature’s arms. This trip, the planning etc would not have worked out had it not been for my good friend Jobin who took pains to ensure I got the best of what was available.

The buildup to the wedding was nervy. But on the day things went on smoothly. We managed to creep well within all time limits set out for us; the remainder of the week swept by with us again running around with deadlines to meet relatives. A quick visit to Guruvayurappan the morning before our flight capped off our endless travel.+

VBDSC_1391

VBDSC_2197

first time on a Bombardier aircraft

It was an awkward time to pick up an international flight. Almost all international flights depart early morning. So the international terminal was sparsely populated. We were offered to upgrade our seats to the first row behind the pilot. The Spice jet staff was prompt to emphasize that Bombardier flights are noisy pretty much everywhere else. I have never been on a Bombardier before, so I accepted the offer. No creepy questions from the immigration officer.

VBDSC_2207

hot smiles and not so warm meals

VBDSC_2317

aerial shots of Atolls of Maldives

VBDSC_2314VBDSC_2286VBDSC_2255VBDSC_2251VBDSC_2242

The bombardier was a 50 seater like a Volvo bus we travel in, only difference is you can’t stand straight in this one. We were offered prepaid sandwiches (by hot smiles and not too warm meals).  Before I closed my eyes, the pilot announced we were about to land. The strenuous long drives on Kerala roads made this one and a half hour journey to a neighbouring country seem simply too simple. We had a person waiting with my name on a placard. He greeted us with a welcome smile and soon we were waiting to pick our speed boat to the Paradise Island Resort.

VBDSC_1403

VBDSC_1407

welcome drink

VBDSC_1416VBDSC_1410VBDSC_1402VBDSC_1398

The rain gods had heard our prayers and made sure there was no hindrance to the wedding. They were even kind enough extend the offer whilst we were at Maldives. The scorching sun bathed the island. We walked into the speed boat and took a 20 min drive to our island. As we were within 500m of the shore, the water markedly changed color from the deep blue sea into a gentle turquoise blue charading the white sand sea shore.

VBDSC_1421VBDSC_1423VBDSC_1435VBDSC_1436VBDSC_1437

VBDSC_1438VBDSC_1440

We were given welcome drinks and face towels as they explained to us the ‘what lies where’ of the island and took us to our water villa. Three days, four nights  – and not a single day went without a smiling face greeting us. The pleasant nature of the staff made our stay comfy.

VBDSC_1620

lucky to have had a full moon during our stay there.

VBDSC_1526VBDSC_1501VBDSC_1583

VBDSC_2021

shark feeding time

VBDSC_1835

to tingle the nerves..

VBDSC_1487VBDSC_1489VBDSC_1488VBDSC_2115VBDSC_2168

VBDSC_1858VBDSC_2123

 

Surrounded by water all around, with sea life, varying tides and exotic food three times a day, we were pampered to the core. Away from the crowded busy life of ours riddled with deadlines, this seemed the perfect getaway.

VBDSC_2175

As I sit here editing the photographs and writing this up, it brings a smile to my face and makes me want to relive the moments yet again.

The Two Wheel Dream


A quiet 48 hours spent at home, ushering in 2012, just me and mom, no partying, just a quiet welcome and it was pleasantly different.

I picked the evening train last night back home and was glad the sun was back taking things into its own hands.. had feared some trains being cancelled with the weather report constantly saying more showers to hit south Kerala.

Train was unusually half an hour late, and the drive back was soothing and calm. I saw 2 guys on 2 Yamaha FZ with back packs on.. (probably returning after a lovely New Year celeb) and I couldn’t resist the temptation of actually being in their place. I love long drives, and I seem to have been handicapped by the injury to my cam and the lack of time. Think I should stop cribbing about it and simply make it happen

I can’t believe I still haven’t owned a bike of my own, hopefully 2012 will be the year  🙂 Enjoy the first week of 2012!