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Travel Fridays

A Temple Story : A Photo Blog

Spring of 2016 – Part I … Quincy Market, Boston

One always leaves a part of themselves in the city that they have once lived in. The part that you get to re-visit along with all other wonderful memories on trips back to the city. Boston is one such place of memories for me.

Spring break took us across the coast, west to east of the US and the travel started on a bit chaotic note. After a delayed flight, missed connection, forced night halt at SFO, we finally landed at Boston’s Logan airport almost 10 hours late, but happy we had finally made it!

Continue reading “Spring of 2016 – Part I … Quincy Market, Boston”

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A Dreadful Night While Traveling By Indian Railways

Travel is meant to be an enjoyable experience but there are times it becomes just the opposite. Our storyteller tells us about a horrifying experience while traveling by train in India a couple of years back. This story happened two years back but similar stories continue to happen even today and there is little to no measure in place to address it. There is also no dearth of onlookers who silently prefer witnessing the wrongdoings. 

Continue reading “A Dreadful Night While Traveling By Indian Railways”

The Fellow Passengers

Story -1 
He took an overnight train to go back to his family after being out for a week for work. Sometime around midnight, his chest tightened, he felt unbearable pressure as if an elephant has stepped on his chest. He was breathless and could barely manage to alert the co-passenger on the berth in front of him. The co-passenger slipped a white pill under his tongue and offered him a glass of water. Rest of it remains blurry.
He woke up feeling a lot better the next morning but the co-passenger was nowhere to be seen. He asked around but no one could tell. It was as if a stranger had disappeared taking with him a little secret from that night. He got down at his station and went home. Later that day, on insistence from his family he saw a doctor. He was told he had suffered a minor heart attack in the past 24 hours. That pill had averted a “massive” one. That co-passenger was either a doctor or a cardiac patient. He will never know.

But from that moment to now, he lives on with a deep sense of gratitude for the stranger, the co-passenger who saved his life. As unbelievable as it sounds, such miracles do happen in real life.

Safe Travels if you are traveling this weekend!
Story -2 
She was taking the train back to her college. The train always arrived around midnight. The platform seemed deserted except for a lone family and a small tea stall that had stayed open. The lady of that family sensed the girl’s unease and motioned for her to come sit with them. She went and sat next to the family, almost pretending their presence did not matter. She plugged her ear phone back and continued listening to whatever was playing on her little device. The train soon arrived and they boarded the same coach. She put her little backpack on her seat, rested her head on it and fell asleep. The next morning, she sat by the window listening to her music. The lady came up to her and offered a slice of coffee cake. She took it, smiled and ate hungrily, not taking off the ear plugs or making an eye contact though.
Monday, the first day back in the college, as the teacher for the first class entered the class room, she felt a knot in her stomach. The teacher was the lady from the train ride. The one she had ignored. The one she had not even thanked for the scrumptious slice of cake. That lady was her chemistry teacher for that semester.
Never forget to acknowledge and thank a co-passenger for his / her kindness. You never know in what circumstances life may bring you together again.
Written by : Piya Mukherjee Kalra 

The Lost and Found Case Of Mr. Pinocchio



On a beautiful cobbled street, in Old Town Prague, sat Mr. Pinocchio smiling at the passerby tourists and shoppers. The sun was extremely harsh and strong and scorching our backs.There was a little shade by the window where Mr. Pinocchio sat. So we took a break from walking and sat there by his window. 

He looked at us and we looked at him. Such warmth and life in him and he seemed exceptionally happy. After a while, we headed to where we were meant to go. 

But there was something very special about Prague(we fell in love with the city) and Mr.Pinocchio. For as many times we crossed that street by the Old Town Clock, he smiled gleefully at us. He stayed in our mind all throughout the stay in Prague. The day we were leaving Prague, we decided we cannot leave without him. We could not bring Prague home with us but we could absolutely bring Mr.Pinocchio home with us. 


Mr.Pinocchio’s old home was on this lane in Old Town Prague

So we rushed to Mr.Pinocchio’s old home, got him all wrapped up and brought him along with us to our next stop in the tour.  Mr.Pinocchio of course did not need a rail ticket or a passport or any kind of visa. He just needed a lot of space in our bag. So we swaddled him like a baby (quite literally) and made space for him in one of the bags

And he arrived with us at our next stop, Vienna, the music capital of the world. 

At Vienna, we felt living in a bag could be really uncomfortable for anyone, specially when the mercury was soaring to about 35 C. So we got Mr.Pinocchio out of the bag and gave him a nice cool spot in the roomy closet of our hotel room. The husband moved him around in the closet to give him an even more comfortable spot. In a few days, we moved again to Salzburg. Remember Love Locks ? It was only while unpacking in Salzburg, we realized we had left Mr.Pinocchio in Wien. A sudden sadness enveloped suddenly. 

Amidst the “who packed”, “who checked the closet”, “how could we” and clothes turned upside down on the bed of a hotel room, the husband and I called the Hotel in Vienna. The connection wasn’t the greatest and the receptionist on the other end had little patience. 

“A puppet. A marionette. It must be in the closet. It’s in a white bubble pack. 2 feet long.It’s a Pinocchio. Room-216. Please check for us,” we must have repeated this twenty times over on a poor phone connection. 

The response back was plain and cold. “Sorry, we found nothing in the room.” 

A Bird’s eye view of the city of Salzburg. 
We were immensely disheartened. But what more could we do. We spent the day in the charming city of Salzburg, heard great music on the street (it is Mozart’s birthplace after all), had the best Italian food of our life and retired for the day. But not before sending one last email to the hotel. I think the good food did the trick. Mr.Pinocchio was hovering our minds as well. The husband coaxed me into writing and I wrote a nice email overusing “Please” to the hotel without putting up my hopes too much. 

The next morning, a surprise reply came back from the hotel. 

Dear Ms.Mukherjee, 

We found the marionette in your room. Please let us know where we could ship this to you.

Hotel Z 

We did a little dance, sent out our address and arranged for the logistics.The kids jumped on the bed of sheer joy. It was now a matter of days that Mr.Pinocchio would be home with us. We reached home and a few days later, Mr.Pinocchio was finally delivered at our doorstep too. We opened the box, unwrapped the package and there he was smiling ear to ear as he looked at us. “I am finally home.” 

We told you how we found Mr. Pinocchio. But how did we lose him in the first place ? 
I am always the last one to inspect the room for any personal belongings before we check out of a hotel room. It is my job. I like to do that and invariably find something important. That one final check before the keys are turned in.  But I missed Mr.Pinocchio. The answer came in through a seemingly important question the husband asked me the night Mr.Pinocchio arrived home. 

“Didn’t you check the top rack of the closet when you last checked the room in Wien?” , he asked. 
“What top rack are you talking about ?” 
“The topmost one above the safe in the closet. I had put Mr.Pinocchio there.” 
“Oh!” 
“Yes. I thought he would be safe there. What do you mean by Oh! ?” 

From where we stand, my husband and I both see things differently. Very differently unless there is a step stool available for my perusal. He most often forgets the simple fact that visibility is directly proportionate to one’s stature and ours is almost a feet apart.

Pictures and Story By : Piya Mukherjee Kalra  

The one that started them all – Talihina Sky



In October of 2011, Neha and Jay were both in a training program at Deloitte University, Dallas, Texas. This was also around the time when love was making its way in the life of these two travel enthusiasts. So they decided to take a weekend off to drive to a beautiful small town of Oklahoma. One of the many trips that they would make in the years to come. Today they write and share their travel stories with the world at Weavobe

Continue reading “The one that started them all – Talihina Sky”

Shanghai – A Photoblog (Part 2)

Last month we had shared the first part of Prithvi’s travels through Shanghai. Today we share the second part of the travels of this young, enthusiastic, and vivacious globe trotting author.

Jade Buddha Temple


My travels have taken me through an unexpected spiritual journey to the world’s most famous and sacred religious places. In Shanghai, the journey continues at the world-renown Jade Buddha temple…

The most famous pieces of the temple are two Jade Buddhas imported from Burma in 1882. The first Buddha is sitting, a reflection of his moment of enlightenment. The second Buddha is reclining, reflecting his departure from this world in serenity. 

Visiting the Jade Buddha temple was one of the more peaceful and self-preserving experiences I had through my travels and I hope to return there again some day…

Yu Yuan Garden of Happiness

We spent one of our nights taking a stroll through Old Town Shanghai…my favorite kind of streets lined with souvenirs and hole in the wall restaurants, tea houses, and the amazing view of the gardens.




KASKADE!!!

Last, but definitely not the least – I had the amazing opportunity to see Kaskade, one of my favorite DJs, while traveling in Shanghai! Needless to say, he was fantastic and I can’t believe I touched his magic hand!! It’s too bad I got food poisoning halfway into the night and had to turn back to rest for the next few days 😦 Nevertheless, totally worth it!!

 

Pictures and Travel Story By : Prithvi Guruprasad. Prithvi is a recent U.C. Berkeley alum who lives and works as a professional consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves to travel, meet new people, and explore unfamiliar cultures and languages. With an innate appreciation for music, fashion, and art, Prithvi hopes to bring distant places close to home through her blog. She blogs at adaywithp.blogspot.com

"FIE" – A Trip To Boston Tea Party Museum


For our Travel Friday this week, Shish Kabob, one of our young author takes us on a trip to Boston Tea Party and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and there is re-enactment too. 

340 chests of British East India Company Tea onboard three ships were smashed open with axes and dumped into Boston Harbor on the night of December 16,1773.The damage caused could have brewed an estimated 18,523,000 cups of tea and was worth $1.7 million US dollars (in today’s money). The Boston Team party organized by the Sons Liberty led by Samuel Adams is an iconic event of the American revolution. 

Stories about tea always fascinates us. 





On 16 December, 1773, a group of patriots called  the sons of liberty, in protest against the cruel, unfair taxation on all imported tea, disguised themselves as native Americans and snuck on a British ship full of tea and threw all of it overboard. Here are a few quick facts about the Boston Tea Party – http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/boston-tea-party-facts

Today you can take part in the reenactment at the Boston Tea Party Museum. This is from my recent visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Mueseum in Boston, Massachussets. 


I sat in the meetinghouse, listening to my good friend Samuel Adams complain about the tyrannical King George putting taxes on all of our tea. It was 1773, and I, Joseph Shed, was getting very frustrated at the mention of the King. He was making us pay a tax on all imported tea to pay the debts of the seven years’ war. As soon as Sam Adams uttered the name King George, I, along with everyone else in the meetinghouse put their hand on their nose and bellowed, “FIE!”


We disguised ourselves as Indians as we prepared for our big plan that night. Then, we quietly snuck onto the British ship carrying the tea, knowing that we could be imprisoned just for standing there on that boat. All of us started to fling the chests of tea into the ocean. We did not spare a single vulnerable, defenseless, poor tea leaf. I stared at the tea that was sinking to the bottom of the sea, then ran off the ship, thinking about how shocked the redcoats were going to be when they stepped on the ship tomorrow!




So if you are in Boston, a must do in Boston is the Tea Party Museum. 



Story and Pictures by: Shish Kabob – an intrepid adventurer, a cartoonist and an aspiring young author.

Shanghai – A PhotoBlog (Part -1)

Everyone of us has dreamt of packing up our bags and traveling around the world at some point in life. But not many of us ended up doing so. Life consumes the better part of that dream. 


But not for our today’s author. She is young, enthusiastic and vivacious. She loves to travel and has been globe trotting  and backpacking quite a bit in the past few years. Her enthusiasm for travel and curiosity to learn more about the different cultures, places and people in the world makes anyone determined to firm up a travel plan. This is one of her many travels, her favorite of the itineraries. 

Since I’ve come back from my travels the most common question I get is: “What was your favorite destination?” It’s always an internal battle to choose, but the answer is always the same: “China!” 

When I landed in Pudong airport in Shanghai, I had no idea what to expect from China. Would it be similar to India? A huge socioeconomic difference between the rich and the poor, with 5 star hotels and homeless alike…Or would it be more like Israel? Developed to a large extent and exploding with growth, yet paralleled with a strong sense of culture?

China was nothing like I had imagined. Of course, it encompassed elements of other countries and was partly like India, partly like Israel, and partly like so many other places. Yet, it was uniquely unpredictable too. I wasn’t expecting European architecture and high-end rooftop bars coupled with rows of food carts and street vendors. Shanghai and Xian were far more infrastructurally developed than anything I had seen in India, while the cultural grounding and abundant cheap labor surpassed the Zurichs and Londons of the world.

I deeply cherish every one of my experiences in China, no matter how crazy (coming up: getting food poisoning while watching my favorite DJ at a nightclub, missing my flight to Xian and getting stranded for a whole day, trying to find vegetarian food at the top of a mountain, nearly dying trying to scale said mountain, getting lost in the subway without knowing a word of Mandarin, and so much more) – so I hope that you enjoy the posts ahead!

Shanghai

First stop – a whirlwind of local cultures, people, food, and life. A few pictures through my lens:

A motorized three wheeler ride for public 
Magazine Stand 
Shopping The “Brands”

And a few picture of the street food –
         

Food Truck Is Popular 

Wait till you see the next picture. There are veggie options too. 
Who says you cannot find a Vegetarian option

The Bund


The Bund: a cultural cross-section of Shanghai running along the Huangpu River. Originally developed by European settlements, the Bund was an international hodgepodge of banks, consulates, and government buildings. Today, the Bund houses the major financial institutions of the world and serves as a global business hub. It’s architectural diversity is uniquely alluring, making it one of Shanghai’s most popular tourist destinations.


The Author Herself 

Reminds you of square in any European city ? 

This last shot is from the rooftop VUE bar, overlooking the Bund on a gloomy Shanghai day.

Lujiazui – Shanghai’s Financial District

The Shanghai public infrastructure explosion is world-famous. Lujiazui, Shanghai’s Financial District, is a testament to Chinese growth and development. The landmark buildings that exemplify the Shanghai skyline include the Shanghai Tower, the Jin Mao Building, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Shanghai World Financial Center. 
We took a high-speed elevator to the top of the skyscrapers for a beautiful view of the business district. The Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the World, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The high-speed elevator is modeled similarly after the one in Dubai, a strategic tool that has fueled tourism and business-related travel in Shanghai. 
Lujiazui by day and night: 

We hope you all enjoyed this post. This is Part -1 of the author’s travelogue to Shanghai. This shows the modern and contemporary Shanghai. More to come on the traditional part of Shanghai!

Pictures and Travel Story By : Prithvi Guruprasad. Prithvi is a recent U.C. Berkeley alum who lives and works as a professional consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves to travel, meet new people, and explore unfamiliar cultures and languages. With an innate appreciation for music, fashion, and art, Prithvi hopes to bring distant places close to home through her blog. She blogs at adaywithp.blogspot.com

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