Monday, 31 March 2014

Back in the groove - tips on better holiday !

There have been times when I have returned from a trip and  felt that I needed a break to get over the break. Happened to you too ? Well after almost  many such breaks I finally put some “learnings’ into practice and for once in my life I returned from a holiday and was ready for daily grind ..well almost. Here is what helped me this time to get back into the groove

1 . Clean your house before you leave or at least make your bed : My packing is always last minute, I am always rushing to find the hat I  picked in the last trip or the lovely silk scarf which will go fabulously with all dresses , end result house it topsy turvy and I  just have time to lock the door and run.  This also means that when I  return and I am  so tired and one look at the mess and all I  want to do is to run away. So the tip this time was to clean up at least the living area before I left  and also since we were reaching back late in night , I made the bed. Once back,  the house look good enough for at least not to make me call housekeeping and run away J  I peeled over the bed covers and slept my jet lag away.

2. Account a ‘break in’ day :  So typically our holiday ends on Sunday and we have to be back in office by Monday. This time we actually returned on Saturday that gave us a day to unpack , chill , load up on grocery water the plants and gently get back into the groove, by evening we were feeling so good and relaxed that we actually caught a movie and slept early . Monday was not too terrible for once.

3. Arrange for food : You know what time you would be arriving home so arrange for breakfast / lunch / dinner accordingly. After all these days of eating out , home food is what one really craves for and ofcorse kitchen is not the first place you want to be in. Personally , we are lucky  to have a place our area that delivers homemade food . In case you don’t have any such place ask your friends and family nearby. My mum and Aunt live within couple of kms  and they have a wonderful arrangement going on , whenever any of them travels the other  ensures that hot food is delivered at her place on arrival day. You can have a similar arrangement , in case your friends don’t travel much you might want to ‘repay’ the favour by babysitting for them or taking them out for a nice meal or better still inviting them for dinner while you prepare the new exotic recipe you learnt on your trip. Win - Win for all.

4. Unpack right away : A huge point of contention with my husband always. Whenever he is back from a trip (and he travels a lot – 20 days a month !),  he simply unpacks right away, putting clothes in washing machine and such,  and I always hated it. Gradually I have realized that this is probably the right way. I may not do the laundry right away but I do put away clothes batches to be cleaned later and clean up the suitcases to be stored away. This also ensures that if I bought perishables (And I always buy local food), they are stored properly and not found stinking after couple of days. 



I followed all these tips after a 2 week break this time and somehow the ordeal of getting back to daily routine was not that painful. Try it this time when you are heading to your spring / summer break and you just might be as glad as I am.

P.S. looking for a perfect scarf , i really like this one .

ANNA CORONEOWatermelon-print silk scarf








Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Happy dance !!!

Would you believe it , "my" article was published in Travel and Leisure magazine way back in September and found it just now ! Well as they would say better late than .... Check it out here 
http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-blog/carry-on/2013/9/6/100-ways-to-travel-better-3-tips-from-a-lazy-traveler

Monday, 24 March 2014

Ulaanbataar Day 2


After the rather chilling but very exciting experience of day 1 in Ulaanbaatar, next day we planned to take a trip down to Terelj national park , about 60-70 kms away from the city center . Its a national park which is largely un developed and is best to view and understand the landscape of Mongolia away from hustle bustle of capital city . The travel to national park is pictresque with miles and miles of imposing mountains and hardly any settlement .


Terij National Park
Landscape on the way

Terij National Park


While in summer the there are plenty of activity at the park like Rafting horse riding, hiking and you can even stay in the famous Ger tents , with snow all around for us it was more of the journey than the actual destination. You can attempt skiing in winter but we are yet to learn to ski so there was nothing much 'to do'. We had a rather nice lunch at Terelj international resort and spa hotel .

On the way to national park , there is a mini stopover at Genghis khan statue complex , an imposing structure over 40 meter tall set against the barren hilly landscape. The complex is still work in progress and there is a small museum in the complex. While the museum's collection is not very grand its interesting nonetheless. Do check out the small video playing in a corner room which describes how this structure was made and put together.





Genghis khan statue complex 
The imposing structure
Genghis khan Statue
Lanscape from the statue complex

There are couple of interesting rock formation on the way like this turtle structure :) 






We had hired a cab from our hotel Kempinski Hotel Khan palace   and it was great choice , the driver was knowledgeable and car very very comfortable.



And  the best part of the trip, we got to see dianosaurs  !!


Ok so they were rock stuctures but given the surreal landscape you would almost think they were real, dont you think so :)


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Ulaanbaatar - Day 1

It all started with a business trip and like per almost always husband's business trip. He gets to travel to some really exotic parts of the world due to his job and although he is not good with exotic or even anything remote, preferring to travel cities and beaches , somehow he thought this was different enough for a return trip and that I must visit it.

Well this exotic place is Ulaanbatar . Don't fret if you have not heard of the place before most of us had not. It's capital of Mongolia. A country landlocked between Russia & China . While i was little tempted with the pictures i saw of him there i was very much skeptical, i mean if  i am spending time and money in going somewhere why don't we go to switzerland or even eastern europe,  surely prettier and more 'known' , but for once husband was in mood of trying the off beaten path and i was curious enough so i said yes.

After that i got busy with official meetings and trip and just 2 day before we were to leave i finally reached back home to basically pack and leave for holiday. Now before going to any place i like to read up a little about the place, weather , to dos etc but this time i just didn't get any time. Before i started packing i quickly checked the weather  and WHAT ?? -30 degree C , seriously why are we going there again ?? I am so not equipped to handle that .  I now live in bangalore , i have not shopped for anything woolen in last 3 years and would we even step out of hotel in this weather. Anyways too late to think now , we were leaving next day . So i pretty much packed everything from my cupboard (big mistake, more in next post)

We flew Dragon air (Code share Cathay pacific ) from Bangalore  to Hongkong  (, after a brief stop over of couple of hours next flight from HK to Ulaanbaatar , we reached in evening after 6 pm.

I was wearing layers and layers of cloth but the moment i stepped out of airport a chill blast hit me really hard. Now i have lived in Chicago and london during cold weather but this is something else. I froze in that 2 minutes walk to cab. On way to Hotel , although it was almost dark outside from whatever i saw it felt little bizzare , like i have landed into Narnia type of place. It was surely not real, unfortunately the traffic jam at the next red light made it all too real and since it got really dark outside and the cacophony of traffic made me lose interest in whatever was outside , i was happily smug in heated comfort of car.

We were to spend 3 days in the city , so on day one we decided to do a city tour of sorts . There are not too many things in the city to really visit but some places worth visiting Sukhbaatar palace , Winter Palace, Zaisan memorial and Choijin Lama Temple Museum. There is also a national museum but we decided to skip that so really cant comment on how good it is. But the first stop we made was at State Department store (must visit in Ulaanbaatar for all your shopping need) , after having foretified ourselves with suitable gloves and caps socks we stepped out to tour the city.

Like most of the developing asian country Ulaanbaatar or UB as it is better known is in middle of crazy growth and that means high end stores (LV has a huge building next to main sqaure), big cars and crazy crazy traffic ! Although its a small city do account for snail pace traffic time to account for travel time.

Here are some photos from day 1 , Day 2 in next post

Ulaanbaatar

Choijin Lama Temple Museum



Ulaanbaatar

Choijin Lama Temple Museum



Ulaanbaatar

Sukhbaatar Square


Ulaanbaatar

Sukhbaatar Square






Zaisan Memorial



UB

City in development , View from the top 



Winter Palace 


UB

All wrapped up :) 











Sunday, 16 March 2014

Of a boy and a girl

Ok so this is a story of a boy and a girl ( well realistically man and woman , but it sounds better that ways ) , so this boy and girl had been married for a while and like most of the marriages their marriage had ups and downs but anyways, this story is not about their marriage, moving on..

Now this girl was the practical sorts , head over heart mostly and the boy was emotional variety . Now in course of her job , the girl had to be in U.S. for some work for three months . So she went and since she had few friends around and she had been to the country before she knew her way around and with work and everything she was having a good time . Also in the meanwhile the boy planned a trip and spent a week with her and they went around a few places spent a good week together and then the boy went back to India to take care of his work.
After 10 days it was the girls birthday , although the girl was cool about being alone on her birthday , the boy insisted she spends her birthday in Newyork ( hour and half away by train - and it was a weekend ) . They discussed how she would spend her birthday - watching a broadway show , which she had never done before and probably get a tattoo done visiting the Met museum and generally spending a night in NY. The hotel booking and everything was taken care by the boy so she gets a nice birthday treat. So on her birthday she left for NY , spent some time in time square  browsing through the street shop, had a quick lunch , took all birthday calls from mom dad uncle aunty cousins and the boy also. Then she went for Mama Mia, ofcorse she had her first broadway theatre experience and such a wonderful show !

Next stop was MET museum just couple of blocks away, as she left the hall she got another call from the boy, to check  about the show and then asking to turn  right , well that was crazy why should she ..he insisted and well she did. And there he was standing right in the middle of time square with a single orchid stem to wish her birthday. Saying she was stupefied will be an understatement , she was laughing crying all at the same time . There was her boy in person to wish her birthday  and to spend just  few hours with. He just spent 3-4 hours with her because he had a return flight next day morning , but that feeling will last her a lifetime ! 

This article is written for Indiblogger contest for British airways 



Friday, 14 March 2014

Square pegs round holes

I usually don't write review about any movie on this blog, and this is not a review per se. Just that I saw two movies recently Queen and Hansee to Phasee and could not stop myself from appreciating all the good things that is happening with 'mainstream' Hindi cinema . Wow what characterisation ! both the movies with such strong female protagonist . Girls from our day today life , while Kangana Ranaut in Queen who goes for her 'honeymoon' alone is so naive to shop for 'massager' a Sex shop for her grandfather but have guts to fight for herself with a roadside thug and a cocky chef and in the end learns to stand for herself while still being her sweet self. It's endearing that this coming to age story doesn't take away the innocence of Rani and she is still herself just a bit more aware . I am more amazed by Pareenti Chopra in HTP. It takes guts to that role.
A 'heroine' who is eccentric, constantly twitching and gulping anti depressants and pees in her saree. Such courage and such finer nuanced performances.

Really hats off to these girl for taking Indian cinema to another level of brilliance and have the courage to try something so extraordinarily different . 

'Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things'

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Garlic fried rice

Sometime simple is sooo good , this fried  rice is incredibly simple and full on flavour perfect for an easy weekday lunch . 

You need 
1 leftover bowl of rice ( white / brown)
Garlic minced - 1 teaspoon
Egg - 1 beaten 
Soy sauce -1 small teaspoon 
Tabasco sauce / sriracha sauce - per taste ( optional)
Salt & pepper 
Oil - 1 teaspoon 
Spring onion to garnish 

Heat oil in wok , add minced garlic.
Add beaten egg , scramble for a minute 
Add soy sauce , tobacco sauce salt and pepper.
Mix for 30 seconds , add rice.
Mix well, turn off heat, add chopped spring onion.
Serve hot