Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Shivgange Trip

Went for a trek to Shivgange on Saturday, courtesy Mensa India (Bangalore). Supposed to be a picnic, more like a walk in the park, but turned out to be quite an adventure with fighting off ravaging monkeys, climbing impossible inclines, hanging on to handrails and what not. However, considering that it was a Mensa crowd, we had no dearth of interesting topics to fight on ... and that made the journey extremely fun.

Blues, browns & greens!

A green carpet

Stairway to heaven

To steal a phrase - a lot of bull ;-)

Spotlight from above

There are lots of monkeys on Shivgange. Pic of some intrepid Mensans.

Monkey see, monkey do.

On top of the world... er ... Bangalore, at least

If the Titanic could have flown, a picture would have looked like this!

Rock 'n roll

Monday, September 05, 2005

Nice diary

  • Lufthansa flight from Bangalore to Frankfurt over-booked. Free upgrade to business class for me!

  • They had given me the normal economy class boarding pass at check-in, and switched the ticket during boarding and told me there is a seat change. I told the guy I had asked for an aisle seat and now they were giving me a window seat. He replied that it was a business class upgrade; do I want to decline it? I grabbed the ticket and fled before he could say anything else. The unrestricted view from the business class window seat was amazing. And free champagne – unfortunately I don’t drink.

  • French are obsessive about their bread, water and wine

  • Extremely lucky to have a great bunch of colleagues in Nice, they ensured that I visited a new place every evening, ate at a different restaurant every night and guided me so that I could visit maximum places in and around Nice

  • Two Lamborghinis and a red Ferrari parked outside the Carlton in Cannes. All with Saudi number plates. Apparently, the oil rich sheiks like to bring their cars along on vacation

  • Out clubbing almost ever night and back to the hotel not before 3 AM. Up again at 7 AM for work (in theory, at least)

  • Visited two Salsa clubs in Nice – WOW! Danced Salsa with a French mademoiselle, she said “Merci” or “Mercy” at the end of the dance, not sure which was it

  • Salsa dancers in Nice club (Barrio’s) were amazing. Especially the ladies. They would do multiple turns in a couple of basics effortlessly

  • French dance Salsa with closed hold. I learnt it with open hold. System incompatibility!

  • Dinner in France is longer than an Indian marriage – start at 8 PM, finish at 11 PM. Every day!

  • The French Riviera coast is simply too beautiful. The train ride from Saint Laurent du Var to Vintimillie is absolutely breathtaking

  • Paris metro is too good. I took a 3 day pass and would have taken around 50 metro rides in 3 days

  • Paris is too crowded during summer – average waiting time at Eiffel was half an hour for a ticket. So I walked up till second stage since the queue for that was smaller

  • Stupid people standing in front of priceless paintings at Muses Louvre & Musee d’Orsay and having their pictures taken while showing a “V” sign!

  • Bought books for close to 100 Euros – one from every museum in Paris

  • Liked Musee d’Orsay better than Musee Louvre

  • Went to Italy to have ice-cream (apparently, they make the best ice-cream). There they call it gelato. It’s glace in French

  • Pizza in France is amazing. Couldn’t have it from Italy because of lack of time. Only thin crust pizza available. Apparently thick crust & stuffed crust are Pizza Hut innovations

  • Saw many people play “Petanque” – a French ball game played with steel balls which is kind of similar to the game of marbles played in India.

  • Rs 150 for half a liter of water!

  • Ate scorpion fish. Remember reading somewhere that they are poisonous… But survived nevertheless

  • If you are vegetarian and you see “Fruits de la Mer” on a French menu under Pizza – it means “Fruits of the sea”. A Pizza with clams & oysters & shrimp as topping

  • Very few American or Japanese cars on road. Most cars are French or German


Monte Carlo

F1 & other souvenir in Monte Carlo

Lamp post in Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo harbor

Statue on a street in Vintimillie, Italy

Saint Paul de Vence, Cote d'Azur

Graveyard on Saint Paul de Vence, Cote d'Azur

Cote d'Azur

Flight about to land on Nice airport

Picturesque window sill in Montmartre

Basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart)

Basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart)

View from Eiffel

View of Paris from Eiffel

View of Paris from Eiffel

View of Paris from Eiffel

Musee d'Orsay - A former train station now converted into a museum. Amazing collection of Impressionist art.

Clock in Musee d'Orsay

Garden of Chateau de Versailles

Statue in Chateau de Versailles

Flower from garden of Chateau de Versailles

Flower from garden of Chateau de Versailles

Promenade, Nice

Hotel situated on the Promenade

A "discovered" structure

Cote d'Azur beach

Cote d'Azur beach

Boats on the Cote d'Azur

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More photos from Seoul

A room with a view: from the 24th floor window of the COEX InterContinental hotel that I stayed in. Notice the wide roads.

An exhibit in the COEX aquarium.

Another one. I like the lighting in this picture.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Random notes from Korea diary

Ate octopus. They had live ones on the menu, settled for dead and cooked. More than tasting exotic stuff, I enjoy freaking out the pure veggies back home by telling them what I ate.

Aishwarya Rai on a Longines ad in Seoul COEX mall.

Kimchi - salted, pickled vegetable dish. Side dish with every Korean meal. Supposed to be very healthy, one engineer even claimed Korea did not have SARS because of eating Kimchi.

Fantastic infrastructure. Road, rail, airport.

'88 Seoul Olympics stadium and park are big landmarks. Lots of infrastructure developed for Olympics.

Hyundai seems to have majority market share in automobiles. Daewoo Matiz is there, so is Hyundai Sonata, Accent equivalent and Terracan.

Indian restaurants available. Very expensive. $20 for a set meal in Chakra, Seoul.

Mobile phones all pervasive. Only CDMA, no GSM. LG and Samsung big players.

School kids throng malls and McDonalds.

Baseball is popular.

Within the city, people live in high rises that are built like a brick. No time or effort wasted on design of apartment (exteriors).

Photos from Seoul, Korea

The following pictures were shot at the COEX Aquarium in Seoul, one of the few places I managed to visit while in Korea.

Exposed for the background lighted tank reducing the people in the forground to silhouettes.

Shot through glass, so not very sharp.