El Toro

Madrid… not just a load of bull..
When you think of visiting London, the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace come to mind. Paris, brings images of the Eiffel tower and cafes along the Seine. Rome comes with gladiators and the Coliseum. However,  Madrid was one of those places where nothing really stands out. And that is quite a shame. There is lot to do in Madrid and it seems to me that Spain has not done a terribly good job of promoting itself in India. Apart from being the party/clubbing capital of Europe, it is also a major centre for art, culture and of course, sport.

Trampled byY Trip at Thursday, October 28, 2010 3 comments Links to this post

The Great Wall of meh!

  The Great Wall at Ba Da Ling

The Great Wall as you may have heard is a series of walls built over centuries to defend China from Mongol invaders. The great earth wall stands sentinel over the hills and silently glares down at all who dare to trespass. In this day and age, it stands just as silent, but far from defending, is meekly trodden upon by the millions who visit it from all over the world, just so that they can say ‘I’ve done that’.

Trampled byY Trip at Saturday, October 16, 2010 0 comments Links to this post

Sultanahmet : a Blast from the past

 The Blue Mosque – Sultanahmet Camii
It’s pretty easy to imagine Aladdin flying his magic carpet around the minarets of the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque in an attempt to get away from the evil Sultan. The mixture of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture and history that is almost 1500 years old makes this place and this city a  must do on your bucket list. Having been at the crossroads of culture and civilization, Istanbul IS the connection between the east and the west. And Sultanahmet is the center of it all…

Trampled byY Trip at Friday, July 23, 2010 0 comments Links to this post

A picture for your thoughts

I bought my first digital camera in June 2004 at Fry's store somewhere near Palo Alto, CA. Since then I’m pretty sure that I have taken over 10,000 photographs. There have been numerous occasions where I have needed to choose the  best pictures of a particular set, either categorised by event (birthdays) or by location (Great Wall). In either circumstance, it has been pretty easy since there really is no limitation on the number of photos that I can pick and choose. Even then, it is hard to decide what stays in and what, figuratively, hits the cutting room floor. I had never even thought of my ‘5 Best Travel Pictures’.. until I saw the contest from BlogAdda for the 5 best travel photographs

Trampled byY Trip at Tuesday, June 01, 2010 13 comments Links to this post

Nazar Pendants and a missed arbitrage opportunity

I know it now. I will never, ever be a shrewd, ice-cold businessman displaying the sharpest of acumen.  No, I am not talking about bottom fishing during a recession and selling out when the market hits the top. Nor am I talking about trading currency futures which was out there for everyone to see. I missed out on a very very lucrative opportunity of selling  Nazar Suraksha Kawach  that keeps coming on late night TV shopping ads all the time. The opportunity of trading these pendants would have been so fruitful that I really could have set myself up for life if I had simply followed common sense and of course, the requisite killer instinct to zoom in on a positive-only cash flow trading situation

Trampled byY Trip at Friday, May 28, 2010 5 comments Links to this post

Trouble in Bangkok

Looking at @vaitor's timeline on Twitter and reading his blog took me back to the brief visit to Bangkok in early 2007. The country had just come off a coup d'état a few months and the military were still showing off their might with tanks in the main area near the Palace and armed guards. I thought of making this post to quickly write about the few things that I saw and experienced. From the rides on the long-tails to the incessant badgering of the tuk-tuks to the trips to the pearl and emarald 'museums', it was in all, quite fascinating

The Grand Palace by night

Trampled byY Trip at Friday, May 21, 2010 1 comments Links to this post

In China, do they go to Chinese Restaurants? Or just Restaurants?

"Eat anything with four legs except tables and eat anything that flies except airplanes"
-Ancient Confucian saying, circa 2009 A.D

Typical restaurant table - you will note that my plate is empty

Shanghai is not an easy place to be a foodie. If you eat meat, you have the problem of excess and choices to the heavens. If you are a veggie-foodie, things start getting a little dicey. But you can still manage if you plan your meals very very well, and much in advance and after a lot of research. Oh.. you should also deliberately dull your sense of smell, sight, taste, touch and hearing to just eat in a Shanghainese restaurant

Trampled byY Trip at Thursday, May 06, 2010 9 comments Links to this post

The REAL World Trade Center

Ancient kingdoms fought wars over trade routes, gambled massive fortunes and bartered away women and pillaged foreign lands just to get the right trade paths and exotic spices to European consumers.Travelers from the west, our man Marco Polo included, must have wondered and gaped at the sacks of spices, bundles of gold and beautiful women of the East. They would also have seen opportunity to bring in goods, trade them for baubles and ultimately control the supplies and the lands around.

Trampled byY Trip at Sunday, April 18, 2010 3 comments Links to this post

Tales of the Tulip

Legend has it, once upon a time, a lovelorn young man was sitting outside the Hagia Sophia looking quite glum. He was the veritable picture of sorrow since, he had been just turned down by the girl he was courting. He had taken a tulip to give to her and after the rejection had stuck it in his turban and completely forgotten about it.

Trampled byY Trip at Sunday, April 11, 2010 9 comments Links to this post

Trespassing in the Forbidden City

Quick! What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of China and Beijing?

The Great Wall, right ? There's a lot more than just that. You have the Forbidden City, the hutongs, the 'pants building', the Olympic area, numerous palaces, temples and structures that trace the lineage of a city that by some claims has been inhabited for three thousand odd years.

Trampled byY Trip at Monday, March 22, 2010 2 comments Links to this post

Flash Backs from Lanka

Every now and then, there are moments when you push back the veils of the past and dig into your memories to try to relive those happy occasions again and again. It might be the taste of the payasam made by your grandma during your vacation, fighting with a favorite cousin over a tri-cycle and ultimately breaking it, or it might be learning how to cheat at bluff, donkey, rummy, carom or even hide and seek from your uncle.

Trampled byY Trip at Wednesday, March 17, 2010 4 comments Links to this post

The heights of Huang Shan

High in the mountains of Anhui Province

When one thinks of Chinese scroll paintings, one thinks of mountains in the background, breaking through cloud cover again and again. It forms a mystical illusion and gives a sense of the mountains having no beginning and no end. You might think that such paintings are just the offspring of an artists fertile imaginations and no such place can exist on earth.

That is until you see the mountains of Anhui province and most particularly, the mountains around Huang Shan (Huángshān, 黄山). The area around Huang Shan is an artist's dream and a poet's muse all rolled into one mist covered vista.

Trampled byY Trip at Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5 comments Links to this post

In a sea of faces....

There is a common misconception that ALL people of Chinese origin look alike. That is simply not true. Have you seen Yao Ming .. the guy is ginormous ??

But once in a while, it does so happen that confusion arises, often with consequences that are hilarious in retrospect, but at that particular moment is a humongous #facepalm moment.

Trampled byY Trip at Saturday, March 13, 2010 3 comments Links to this post