Message In A Bottle

If you have found this message and bothered to read it in its entirety, then you and I both believe in serendipity. This message does not reveal an extraordinary secret from the past or a clue to the future. All it is is a message in a bottle. An ordinary message. It’s the fact that you found it, that is extraordinary. All I ask of you is to write your own message and pass it on to the one who will find this same bottle. We may have passed on by then. We will always, however, be connected by our words until the very end of time.

Swiss Food

Having Switzerland be the first destination outside the country that I went to was a scary proposition. It was the year 2008. I was less than 2 years out of college and I was travelling alone. I had only heard about how expensive Switzerland was in general. So when I first landed there for a short work stint, I was handed my spending money upfront. I had to ration that out over the 15 days. My stay was covered separately, so I didn’t have to worry about that.

My hotel stay had breakfast included. I was initially regaled by the wide array of breads and cheeses on offer.

I spent the next five days saving money on food by buying bread and cheese at the local supermarkets. Sixth day onwards I started feeling nausea whenever I thought about food and the bread and cheese I was going to have to eat. One day it got so bad that I decided I would go out and just eat whatever I wanted (that wasn’t insanely expensive). I discovered a local resto that served some decent margarita pizzas. The first time I ordered it I had a hard time even trying to understand what were my options as a vegetarian thanks to my non-existent German language skills. But it was good inexpensive food and I had the same thing several times thereafter. There may have been other vegetarian options but procuring that information was too arduous an exercise so I just settled for the Margarita.

On another day that I went exploring I came across a McDonalds. Again just one vegetarian burger. This again tasted blissfully good. I decided from then on that the few days I had remaining I would have McDonald’s every day if I needed to. It was also when I stopped converting every price in Swiss Francs to Indian Rupees.

Over my stay there I came across several eateries that looked very interesting, that I stupidly refused to try thanks to my fear of running out of my allotment of Swiss Francs. A lifelong regret.

Roads of Bhutan

Those winding roads of Bhutan offer not just spectacular views but a smooth ride and drivers with great discipline. When there was a rare traffic hold up, nobody selfishly tried to get ahead by driving on the wrong side or honking unto eternity. An interesting fact is that a lot of the road work is done by India.

Podcasts I discovered last year

Last year was when I really got back into the listening to podcasts regularly. These are a few good ones that I discovered.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

Conan OҀ™Brien Needs A Friend

This is a very interesting premise for a comedy podcast. Conan interviews several of his celebrity guests in the hope of discovering why it is that he never formed any lasting friendships with any of them. It’s a funny podcast that gives you some insights into not just the guests themselves but also about his close employees. If you are regular listener of podcasts, you will also be familiar with the most common ads that are a part of each show. Conan puts his own little spin on these with hilarious results. These are a highlight for me and I could watch the podcast for these alone.

Everything is Alive

Everything is Alive

In Everything is Alive every episode features a mock interview with an inanimate object. I never expected to like a podcast with such a quirky premise but somehow they made it work. The production quality is top notch and the conviction with which the voice actors deliver their lines is beyond compare.

Cabinet of Curiosities

Aaron Mahnke's Cabinet of Curiosities

This podcast comes from the creator of the more widely known podcast Lore. While episode of lore is a longer dive into one specific event from the past, this new podcast feature more bite sized episodes lasting no longer than 10 minutes about similar types of incidents that are mostly having to do with extraordinary coincidences and surprising origin stories of some famous people. It’s a breezy listen for when your short on time

Year Ending Memories

We didn’t cross new destinations off our list this year thanks to the birth of my son. However, in the last few months, we have been flying ever higher. Caring for him has been a brand new journey all of its own. When he lights up with a smile, most things pale in comparison to it. The innocence of a child, the way his mere presence makes us cross question all of our own ways, his ability to light up so many other lives and the special warmth that you feel when you hold him close to your heart are just some of the new experiences I have had this year. The most important one though is how much one appreciates one’s own parents when you become one. Unconditional love is something I would never have understood until I became a parent myself.

Blue Peru

I miss Peru so dearly. The place and the unforgettable conversations with strangers. The wholly unexpected fulfillment of the dream to visit Machu Picchu. The sleepless nights I spent trying to get my visa in time for my departure. It all keeps coming back every time I go through my collection of photos from Peru.

Orange Tram

San Francisco is a city of incredible contrasts. One minute I would find myself walking through a glitzy section like Union Square and just a few blocks later something that felt so far removed from it. Ugly graffiti, poorly maintained streets and the distinct smell of weed following you everywhere you went.

Bhutan Bridges

Bhutan is an amazing destination for Indian travellers. No visa hassles, easy to get to and very light on the pocket. When I think about the word that comes to mind when I think about my trip there, it was peace.

Ballard Estate

When I first stepped into this area in Mumbai, I could not believe that I was still in the same city. If I had been beamed into the place, other than the presence of the Indian vehicles, I could easily have mistaken it for someplace in Europe.

Camel’s Back Road

How does a place get it’s name? There is always an interesting story behind. The answer to this one is in another post. What I can say is this is a perfect road for a walk. A beautiful valley view and no motor vehicles means it is a perfect audio visual balm for the weary soul.