Braided onions

What I thought was braided garlic turned out to be white onions which I only realized after I was done photographing them. Sent by my sister-in-law’s uncle from India, I honestly hadn’t seen anything like it before (i.e. for onions). The wife decided that this as a subject was the perfect challenge for me to photograph…. I was completely dumbfounded. (>.<) Continue Reading…

Paris 2014 : Part 2

It was time to head back since I was running out of time. I squeezed my way through the long lines under the Eiffel bridge (which also had scaffolding), sidestepped a few hawkers and waited among a hundred people to cross the road. The Elevator Continue Reading…

Paris 2014 : Part 1

There was an opportunity to travel to France last year that went for a toss thanks to the embassy here not processing my visa on time. A few wasted tickets and 10 months later I was back in line at the visa counters. Fortunately this time I was well equipped and got the visa dealt with on time. It was a short (two nights) work trip to cover the UNESCO -Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture award ceremony which essentially gave me a meager 3 hours to wander around.

Spiralling up Continue Reading…

Sri Lanka 2013 : The Last Day

After an elaborate complimentary breakfast at the Jetwing St.Andrews, we got picked up by our go-to driver Rudan (0777528518) to give us a short tour around Nuwara Eliya before we caught our train to Colombo from Nanu Oya. We let him decide the itinerary with a 5 hour deadline. He picked the PBC (Peradeniya, Badulla, Chenkalady) A5 highway that took us to the Ramboda valley.

The Ramboda valley is gorgeous. Waterfalls, tea plantations, streams… would make an interesting trek. Continue Reading…

Sri Lanka 2013 : Cloud Forest & World’s End

An early start to the day was in order so that we could make our way to the Hortan Plains national park at sunrise. It was an hours drive from the hotel on well paved (unlit) roads that snaked through small villages and the neighboring hills. We reached the plains just past sunrise with our first (and only) animal sighting of the common Sambar that were grazing nearby past the main entrance. The driver dropped us off at the parking lot right next to the park office/reception that was closed for maintenance. You have to a walk a short way on the path next to it to a gate where they check you for any  polythene that have been noted as a hazard to the park fauna. Continue Reading…

Sri Lanka 2013 : Nuwara Eliya

Unlike Ella, Nuwara Eliya isn’t a small village but a town that serves as a tourist hub for a lot of people who come to Sri Lanka. Prices are exorbitant in comparison, you get hassled by plenty of beggars (a first in Sri Lanka for us) and visiting the town at night feels awkward thanks to all those men clambering over at the local alcohol stores. So with such an influx of tourists, you’d expect the town to be up to scratch to meet those needs. Quite the opposite with the food being disappointing, the hotels were so-so and local rickshaws were a rip-off. Continue Reading…

Sri Lanka 2013 : Train to Nuwara Eliya

Clear blue skies welcomed us the next morning as we prepared to catch the 9:24am train to Nanu Oya; the closest station to Nuwara Eliya. After a quick breakfast of string hoppers, we made our way to the Ella train station which was about a 10 minute walk. We were travelling by the Podi Menike train which are the new Chinese-built ‘Blue trains’ that have better suspensions which translates into a more comfortable ride. The 1st class cabins are air conditioned and have cleaner toilets though the windows don’t open wide. Most of my time was spent hanging out of the door which gave me uninhabited views on both side of the train though the train can be a bit jumpy so had to make sure I didn’t get too adventurous. Continue Reading…

Sri Lanka 2013 : Stunning Ella

There’s one tip I’m glad I picked up before our trip to Sri Lanka which was to wake up early for a trek in the mountains. Clouds tend to roll in at around 9am so it’s recommended to get to all those points with breathtaking views before that. Also since we were travelling in the month of August-September, it tends to get quite warm so an early start is highly recommended.

We picked Ella with the idea of trekking around for a couple of days if not more thanks to its more or less centralized position to plenty of interesting places. It’s also seemed like a quieter place to be in. After reworking our plans, we decided to stay in Ella for two nights which looking back was clearly not enough. If we were ever going back to Sri Lanka, Ella would be on the top of our list. Continue Reading…

Sri Lanka 2013 : Drive to Ella

With the wedding behind us, we made our way into the heart of the Sri Lankan hill country. Our first of two stops was a little town called Ella known for its mountain treks and plantations. Since we started our journey from Mount Lavinia that lies in south Colombo, we ended up taking a route we hadn’t initially planned for. Instead of taking the Badulla road that ran along the Colombo-Badulla train track, we took the Colombo to Ratnapura route. Having taken the alternative route, we got an opportunity to see more of the country since we’d planned to take the train back which would take us through a complete different part of the hill country. Continue Reading…