Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

(click to open and zoom to see where I’m pointing)

  • German cannot really be a hard language to learn.  Even kids in Switzerland speak German fluently.  (Yeah, I guess now you get the tone of this post)


  • India and China seem to be the most prosperous countries and the ones least affected by the recession. 


  • More particularly Marwadis and Gujaratis seem to be the most prosperous communities.  And everyone seems to live in Bombay.


  • Switzerland as a honeymoon destination seems to have gone down well for second honeymoons rather than firsts.   


  • Playing in the snow isn’t that overrated after all.  It is actually fun.


  • Staying with the same, natural beauty isn’t that boring to look at.  At times, watching out of the window can be more interesting than reading Angels & Demons.


  • On books, in spite of being called the Rakhi Sawant of writers, Karan Bajaj’s ‘Johhny gone down’ was lapped up by me in 2 days straight; and considering that I was in Switzerland on vacation, where I didn’t really have a lot of time for reading a book, this just confirms that I love the Rakhi Sawant types.


  • Indian food stalls are a hit wherever you go. 


  • And Indians remain their own selves while standing in a queue for a buffet lunch, wherever you go.


  • And Indians remain their own smart selves buying their bottles of whiskey from the supermarket and carrying them in their pockets to restaurants, wherever you go.


  • Despite being a supposedly Arabic originated snack, Chicken Shwarma is much yummier in Switzerland.  It is called Doner.


  • The bigger the group, the more the fun; NRIs are most welcome in Indian groups and Joint families.  And small kids who blabber incessantly can be such ice-breakers.


  • Dubai is still an enigma amongst westerners.  For Indians, it is a colony somewhere in their neighborhood.


  • If you think people in Switzerland don’t speak a lot of English, you should visit Turkey.


  • When you’re drunk, you make a lot more and seemingly lot closer friendships.


  • Turkish people are unbelievably sweet with kids.  Unbelievably sweet.


  • And finally, the officers and people at the Dubai Immigration have to be the best in the world.  After a long trip and an exhausting night in the plane, it is good when they see you with a baby and make you jump the queue, the immigration officer greets you ‘Good morning Mr. Rakesh, You look sleepy’ with a smile, even do some small talk and also give your wife shopping ideas for your next vacation.  This is the thing about Dubai that makes me feel like I’m back home even when I come back from a trip to India.  Think about it, an Immigration officer is the first impression you have of any foreign country.  Shouldn’t they all be like this?

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Glimpses of Yemen

Two Hills in Sanaa called “The Breasts” in Arabic
‘Dar Al Hajjar’ – An old House of the Imam! Part of the house is inside the hill itself, the rooms carved out into a solid stone hill.

A face outside Dar-Al-Hajjar

Full view of the Dar Al Hajjar from the other side – Notice that this one has almost 9 stories all of which are not visible from the other side.

Quite a Contrast – Our Lexus against the Old Town.

A house standing only on mud and bamboos – no cement (and a prayer). This place is actually a heritage site so no construction is allowed and thus, there are no renovations made. The entire construction is as it was almost a 1000 years old, and people are still living in them.

Alleys adjacent to hills in the town adjoining “Dar Al Hajjar”

Another view of the town

And then we headed to Old Town, Sanaa to have a dinner of skewered Kababs cooked on coal.

Three of us dig into the delicious Kababs and Tomato puree as a dip

The alleys in Old Town Sanaa.

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Yemen Diary

Today somehow, I feel like writing a smartass post. You know the one where you say something you want to say without actually saying it but coating it in a smartass kind of sentence… For instance if you wanna say “I started jogging from today”, you’d say something like “2 kms on the treadmill made me realize that age has finally caught up with me!” So you see, you tell the world that you’ve started jogging without attracting reactions like “Who cares?” [Few of you may still come up with that kind of comment but that would mean you wouldn’t be attracting any traffic on your blog if you have one… unless you’re putting up topless photos of yourself ;-)]

So long story short, here is what I am thinking today…

Be careful what you wish for. A lazy friday relaxing all alone with a book may sound like a great break but doing that in a foreign country in a flat next to a mosque all alone all day and night with long power cuts isn’t that interesting.

People people everywhere, not a word to speak… except maybe my Arabic vocabulary of around 25 words which include yes, no, how, where, what, office, home, food, water, election etc. (and ya also shut up, homo and lousy).

A restaurant called Mumbai Darbar doesn’t necessarily mean the food tastes like the one served in palaces in Bombay.

Walking for 300 mts. and wearing a suit with a laptop slung on your shoulder is not a great idea at a place which is 1800 mts. above sea level. Oxygen is actually in short supply.

Global warming is a reality. Even at 1800 mts. above sea level, flats without fans are not good.

Wonder what’s with these guys. Even though I tell them I don’t understand their language, a guy at the PCO tries to convert me into a Muslim when I tell him, I’m a Hindu from India.

Regardless of the above statement, there’s nothing to be scared of in Sanaá, especially after lunch time when everybody is in a good mood and high on Kaat. Wish all terrorists of the world chewed Kaat.

Somehow the treatment I’m getting in even groceries seems like the treatment given to foreigners in India… Now I know why foreigners love India so much 🙂

Ok, enough of gyaan. Before parting, let me show you my newly acquired cooking skills



Looks good, innit? Yup, tasted as good as it looked.
And with fresh fruit to go with it… My Saturday dinner, any day better than Mumbai Darbar…

Thanks to my wife for explaining the recipe on the phone. My roaming bill was almost equal to the restaurant bill though.

And after I was done with dinner and plonked down on the couch to watch a movie (No channel showing Crickt at the flat), the lights went off. Felt like the good ol’ days of power cuts in India. But the darkness in the huge flat was a bit eerie…

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