Birds at Bali

At the Bali Bird Park

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A few months back, I was enthralled to visit the tiny island of Bali – the most popular isle of Indonesia. While the journey was a revelation – as most journeys should be – the island had a striking appeal that made me realize the reason for its crazed popularity amidst all kinds of travelers – hippies, surfers, beach aficionados, temple trailers et al. Whatever you could ask for – food, culture, history, geography – the island gave you back in the plenty. But that is a separate story that needs to wait. Yet another surprise that awaited me was […]

‘Thar she blows!’: Whale-watching around Sydney

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Come winter, and Australia’s coastline becomes a migratory superhighway for the whales of Antarctica. These blubberous behemoths thrive in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, but not their calves which do not have substantial fat to insulate them. Therefore, when winter comes, the whales migrate northwards to warmer climes to calve – c’mon, everyone deserves a tropical vacation once in a while! Naturally, cities like Sydney and Brisbane become hotspots for whale watching on the eastern coast, with operators diligently and enthusiastically offering cruises to get closer to these peace loving cetaceans. Having been around in Sydney for three […]

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A Louis Vuitton in Paris

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If you are lucky, Life sometimes takes you back to the most vibrant of your down memory lanes. If you can withstand the overwhelmia and still breathe in peace to savor a fresh set of memories, you can’t get luckier… Why do I write this, you might wonder? After seven years, a close friend has gone back to Paris! Paris – the place where the insanity for Bohemia all began. Sometimes it all feels like fast moving scenes in some old, pastel colored movie set – an imposing cathedral here, an art noveau edifice there; small, artistic shops selling bits and […]

At Shoal Bay (1/3)

Port Stephens – A promise of tranquility

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The rich coast of New South Wales offers an overabundance of sleepy retreats. The coastline, running for over 2000 km, is no doubt then, one long sandy festoon, bedecked with a string of pearls. Starting all the way with Byron Bay from the north, the pearls in this necklace take the guise of Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, among many others, to arrive midway at the large pendant of Sydney, then continues beyond to Wollongong, Jervis Bay, Bateman’s Bay , Narooma and Eden. Each pearl is unique, shining with its own kaleidoscope of colors. And I have been lucky to […]

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A wine called Wellington

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It has been a wet weekend here. But a perfectly wet one, to be honest. Perfect as the sky has remained depressed the entire day, melancholic with clouds. But not sad enough that it would rain and squander the clouds to bring forth the sun. In the artist’s words, it is the perfect amount of depression – tantalizing enough to eke out the emotions, and yet not enough to sob and waste away the rawness of the thoughts. Anyway, thinking of rains brought forth memories of Wellington – wet, wintry and cold. Yet beautiful. As I sit back and start […]

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Tiger, tiger, burning bright!

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For any wildlife enthusiast in Sydney, Taronga Zoo is the easiest way out with assured returns 😛 I had been to Taronga many a time in the past  – but this time I couldn’t resist myself for a new addition to the zoo – Tigers! My luck of seeing big cats in the wild has been incredibly poor, having seen only one leopard many years back in Bandipur, Karnataka and returning empty handed even after touring some of the most popular tiger national parks back home (read Jim Corbett, Pench, Masinagudi, Sariska et al). So when I read that Taronga […]

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There’s something about Welly!

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It’s cold, windy, rainy and even has earthquakes. ‘Of course, it shakes, it sits on the freaking Ring of Fire!’ was how a colleague ranted about Wellington before we landed here. How can anyone then, ever love such a place? I would have thought the same. Only that the place was Wellington. And yes, I was an artist.  This city has a charm, a strange vibe that can best be felt, yet is difficult to describe. One needs to walk through its hilly boulevards, admire its street art, window shop in its tastefully decorated studios, get mesmerised in its rustic-yet-rich old books […]

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Plane-spotting

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I am standing at the Majestic centre in the heart of Wellington. Majestic indeed, for it claims to be the tallest tower in Wellington, commanding unparalleled views. I look at the cerulean waters of the enclosed harbour, the crispy sunny skies and the beautiful chalets and apartments bedecking the hills, inching and spreading bit by bit on the slopes and tiringly claiming man’s victory over the world. But what attracts – rather distracts – me is an aeroplane. First one, then two, and three…it goes on. The airport seems to be located behind the curtain of hills rising in front […]

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The lake in the valley: Camping at Lake St. Clair, Hunter Valley

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Once in a while, man comes close to nature as an artist. He recreates the landscape into something more beautiful, more picturesque than the canvas that he inherited. No, not ugly towers nor decapitated glades, but something raw in nature, something close indeed to the earthy world. These were precisely my thoughts when I was standing in front of the dreamy blue expanse of Lake St. Clair, hidden in the Hunter Valley. Far from the intoxication of the vineyards and the usual busloads of trumpeting tourists, there lies this little jewel for those who seek a bit more.  A man-made […]