I blog, therefore I am

Showing posts with label travel-tales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel-tales. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ever since I've started this blog, I had wished to participate in contests arranged via BlogAdda. But due to my busy schedule (at least I thought so), was never successfully able to write a contest post in time.

One fine evening at work, I was browsing through the internet, when I came across a contest whose winners were to fly to Goa for a fun-filled weekend. I checked the end time, and it was midnight. That means I had only a few hours left to write a post, and not just write any post, I had to make it stand out in order to win. By 8 in the evening, I was home. After dinner, I started writing at 9. And successfully submitted this post by 10. Honestly speaking, I wasn't expecting to win since I thought I wrote in a hurry, and couldn't do justice with the post. But hope, that never dies!

Few days later, the team at BlogAdda announced the results. And I was one of the winners. It was a moment of sheer joy. Joy for not just winning, or visiting Goa for that matter, it was the joy of getting to meet various bloggers across the country. It had to be a lifetime experience; time to make new friends. A series of emails and phone calls from the team at BlogAdda got me going. I was prepared to rock the weekend. They also sent across the following custom-made banner:

I'll be there driving Renault Lodgy in Goa

Just a couple of days before we had to fly, I received the names of my team members. Jobo, Piyush, Ayan and yours truly were a team. We called ourselves #TeamPenDrive, courtesy Piyush.

I met Piyush and Jobo at the Bangalore airport itself. Our first task was to take snap of the boarding pass:

At the Goa airport, buses were arranged to take us to our destination - the Leela Kempinski Hotel located in Cavelossim, Goa. We received a warm welcome by the staff there:

We were then handed our room keys. Piyush was my room mate. After the tiresome journey, all I was craving for was some tea. The awesome team at BlogAdda had already anticipated that! Evening tea and snacks were waiting for us. After having those delicious samosas and tea, we were headed to our rooms to relax.

In the evening, there was a small meet-and-greet arranged at The Hampi - the conference hall in the premises. There we got to know that Archana was our host for the event. After all the introductions were done, there was a small treasure hunt game. Guess what, our team, won it and topped the leaderboards. That was the end of the first logical day.

Next day, myself and Piyush got ready early and went to The Restaurant for breakfast. A mandatory selfie was clicked:

After we were all done eating, it was time to drive. The Renault Lodgy was waiting for us:

The amazing photography also made the above tweet the best tweet of the event. Well done Jobo :)

The drive began from the hotel premises. There were 10 teams with a total of 40 bloggers. Each team had a Renault Lodgy to drive. The idea was to drive all the way down to The Lalit Golf and Spa Resort located in Canacona, Goa. It was around 37 kms from our source. There were a lot of tasks which were to be done on the way. We clicked a lot of photos and also made a few videos with the car.

Watch our team's impromptu skits:




We had a delicious lunch at The Lalit, and then were on our way back. The return journey was intentionally made slow, to enjoy the scenic beauty Goa has to offer. :D

Prashanth, Santosh, Giridhar and yours truly spent some time on the beach in the evening. Was it productive? Decide yourself:



The evening again was fun-filled. Arun, Ayan and Neha shared their stories and their views on blogging. Also, Prateek hosted an informative session featuring Omkar, Rutavi, Aditi, Rekha and Madhumita. The best band of Goa was there to make us dance to their tune. The evening ended with cocktails and food. Oh, and not to forget, Neha sang a melodious song as well.

Next day was a lazy one. Got up late, had breakfast, and checked out of the rooms by noon. Rest of the time was spent strolling around the beautiful campus. The flight back to Bangalore was delayed by a couple of hours. The team of 12 bloggers from Bangalore had their lunch and left for the airport.

The trip might have ended, but its memories are still alive. They say Goa leaves a hangover effect. Believe me, it does! For the complete next week, I was mentally present in Goa, although physically I was at work.

I am thankful to Harish, Ankita, Sushma, Ankita (yes, BlogAdda has two with the same name) and Tridib for such an amazing time.

I made so many great friends on this trip.
Aditi I still need to know all those Bollywood masala stories. And hope you find some time to reply to my email :P
Murtaza keep writing those awesome reviews.
Rutavi thanks for that evening tip ;)
Madhumita I shall always click pictures for you ;)
Giri, Tiger, Santosh and Prashanth, when are we next planning a movie?
Pari thanks for the drive to and from the airport. Also thanks for those cute pics of Gauri. :D
Piyush nice moves you had there ;) Keep dancing!
Nirav and Prateek we shall keep meeting for other tech launches :D
Ragini I wish you don't miss your bag again :P But it was fun at the airport. And congrats for the Bolt :)
Senthil hope you reached aaram se ;)
Neha you sing so well. And you do love SRK and Hrithik a lot :P
Omkar keep enjoying the coffee like you did that morning :D
Nawabi Neha, hope you now remember that I am from Bangalore too :P
Tiger may you enjoy your delicious non-veg meals forever :D
Ashwini keep sending me links to your poems :)
Ayan I need more of those words of wisdom :)
Jobo how was the Audi you got to drive next?
Atul you were very good with that "happy and contemplative" photo series.

Until next time...

I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by BlogAdda.com in association with Renault India.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In my country, cricket is a religion, with the number of followers far more greater than many other religions prevailing in the land. Having said that, the Cricket World Cup tournament, the biggest international event in the world of cricket, is the most watched and celebrated sports tournament in India. The fact that the 1987 Cricket World Cup was held in India and Pakistan (jointly), and it was the first time hosted outside England (the place where the game began), is enough to prove my point.

How are the hosts for this prestigious event selected?


Quoting Wikipedia,

"The International Cricket Council's executive committee votes for the hosts of the tournament after examining the bids made by the nations keen to hold a Cricket World Cup."

Since the advent of the event, there have been 11 tournaments so far (including the one currently going on). Following is the breakdown of the events and their respective venues (including the proposed ones):

1.      1975    England
2.      1979    England
3.      1983    England & Wales
4.      1987    India & Pakistan
5.      1992    Australia & New Zealand
6.      1996    India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka
7.      1999    England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland & Netherlands
8.      2003    South Africa, Zimbabwe & Kenya
9.      2007    West Indies
10.    2011    India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh
11.    2015    Australia & New Zealand
12.    2019    England & Wales
13.    2023    India (Source)

Including that of 2023, India will become the second nation to host the event 4 times, first one being England. This again proves the importance of the game in an average Indian's life. Being an international event, it covers almost all the continents of the world.

From the country of the fathers of the game, the Cricket World Cup is spreading its reach to more nations who participate as Associate Teams. Best example being Sri Lanka, who hosted the event for the first time in 1996 (and also won it)! Other good examples are Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh - to name a few. If the trend continues, we may see countries like Bermuda, UAE and Afghanistan hosting the Cup one day.

Given the vast presence of the tournament, it is like a heaven for travel enthusiasts - lets them cover most of the world if they just follow this event. Below I list down a few must-visit cricket destinations in the history of Cricket World Cup:

1. London, England


London from a hot air balloon

The city of London is home to two of the oldest grounds in the history of cricket - The Kia Oval (aka The Oval) and Lord's (aka the Mecca of Cricket). If you are a cricket lover, you get to visit the MCC Museum (the oldest sports museum in the world) and the MCC Library.

Apart from cricket, you have numerous places to visit while you are in London. London Eye, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern, Madame Tussads, Tower Bridge and Big Ben are the not-to-be-missed attractions. Well, given the fact that I haven't visited London (yet), you must visit the top ten attractions of the city. Also, if experts are to be believed, you must avoid these eight places!

2. Mumbai, India


Mumbai skyline at night

Being a cricket-loving nation, India has a lot of grounds which host all kinds of cricket games, viz. first-class, List A, Test, ODI and Twenty20. All these pitches are spread all around the country. But, I prefer Mumbai as the cricket travel destination. Firstly, it is home to the God of cricket (aka The Legend aka Master Blaster). Secondly, the city boasts three international ODI grounds - Wankhede Stadium (hosted 1987 Cricket World cup semi-final, and 2011 Cricket World Cup final), Brabourne Stadium, and DY Patil Stadium (This venue has not conducted any international ODI matches so far. The 7th India vs Australia ODI during Australia's 2009 tour of India was supposed to be the first international cricket match to take place here but was cancelled due to heavy rain). Thirdly, Mumbai has Bollywood (one of the largest centres of film production in the world).

Mumbai has a lot to offer to its tourists. Gateway of India, Siddhivinayak Temple, Essel World, Chowpatty, Haji Ali Dargah, Elephanta Caves, Aksa Beach - the city has something for all age groups. Nothing can beat the Vada Pav you get there. Here is a list of the ten places you must visit while you are there.

3. Melbourne, Australia


Melbourne skyline

The city of Melbourne is the second most populous city in the country. It has been ranked the most livable city in the world since 2011. Travelers beware, it is also the fourth most expensive city in the world. The legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is part of this city itself. It is the thirteenth largest stadium in the world, the largest in Australia. It also has the highest light towers at any sporting venue! It is also one of the world's most famous cricket venues. Do you still wonder why I chose Melbourne to be in this list?

On the tourism front, Melbourne is not back at all! Eureka Tower, Royal Botanic Gardens, Yarra Valley, Shrine of Remembrance, National Sports Museum, one can just go on-and-on-and-on. If you are in Melbourne, do these ten things.

4. Colombo, Sri Lanka


Colombo at night

Colombo is home to the three best grounds of the country - the R. Premadasa Stadium, the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground (aka the Lord's of Sri Lanka), and the P. Sara Oval (aka the Colombo Oval). It is also the capital city, and the largest city of Sri Lanka.

Cricket legend Ian Botham shares his travel experience in Sri Lanka. Mount Lavinia, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Viharamahadevi Park, National Museum, and St. Thomas Chapel are a few places worth seeing. If you plan to visit, do these twelve things.

5. Johannesburg, South Africa


Johannesburg skyline

The city of Johannesburg boasts three international cricket grounds - the Ellis Park Stadium, Old Wanderers, and the New Wanderers Stadium. It is the largest city in South Africa. It is also one of the  fifty largest agglomerations in the world. It is also the world's largest city not situated on the banks of a river body! Did you know? I bet you didn't ;)

Apartheid Museum, Cradle of Humankind, Lion Park, and Hector Pieterson Museum are the must visit places in the city. Go there and do these things.

Have you already visited any (or more) of these places? If yes, do care to share your experiences via comments below. If not, when are you packing your bags?

This post is part of Blogger Dream Team (#BloggerDreamTeam).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

After winning the #BlogForZovi contest held by Zovi, I got this opportunity to guest blog for the brand. This post is the first guest post I am writing for them. In case you are unaware of what I'm talking about, read the winning post.

As a part of the prize, I was asked to blog on a specific theme. The theme I  received was "The Spring/Summer look". Since, I am no expert in fashion, I might not meet the expectations you would have made after reading the title. However, I am trying my best, and would love any kind of feedback.

As the title of this post reflects, I had been to Ooty the past weekend. What better place than such a beautiful hill-station to spend time with friends, and also flaunt the new summer look (courtesy Zovi)? (If you are interested in the complete trip details, hop over to my friend's blogpost where he has shared his experience.)

This time, I selected the following items (Thanks Hemanth for helping me choose them) -

Evening Cricket White Graphic T-shirt
Slim Fit Casual Blue And White Checkered Shirt With Welt pocket
Slim Stretch Fit Black Solid Trousers

This time, too, I was happy with their delivery service. Due to my late activity, I placed my order on 17th Feb. But I had to leave for Ooty on 21st Feb, so the max I could afford was to get it delivered by 20th Feb. This is when I tweeted them this:


To my surprise,  I received the order the very next day! It was awesome. In this context, I would like to mention that there are tons of brands existing to sell their stuff to you. But, successful are the ones who delight their customer. Zovi does that - delights me every time. Are you aware of the bad experience the guys at Emirates gave me? Read here.

On my way back from Ooty, I got the following pictures clicked (Thanks Bhaskar for clicking them for me) -







Model: Yours truly ;)

The summer look I have tried to create here consists of a white t-shirt graphically representing a person playing cricket (Cricket World Cup fever is on!). On top of it is an unbuttoned checkered shirt. To match with this awesome stuff, the black trousers do a very good job. All-in-all, this look is pretty decent and cool at the same time.

I loved the products, especially the stretchable trousers.

If you feel like, go ahead and buy some of the cool stuff that the team at Zovi has to offer, and flaunt in style.

This blogpost is part of #BlogForZovi held by zovi.com.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

They say that the success mantra for any business to excel over its competitors is to treat its customers like a king. It is a metaphor, no doubt. But the management gurus at Emirates do not seem to believe in it. Not even a bit of it.

Oh my God!

I traveled to Europe for a couple of months. Emirates was selected for the cause. I was quite excited to travel with them because I had heard quite a few positive reviews about them.

I will mention three incidents below which made me dislike their services. Individually they are more than three, but I have grouped them into three to save them some embarrassment.

Incident 1:

This was on my way to Frankfurt. The origin was Dubai. The date was September 22, 2014. According to the booked tickets, I was expecting to be served with an Asian Vegetarian meal. But the flight attendant apologized for not having such an option on that flight. He offered me to accept either chicken or fish. I was disappointed, but didn't think much about it since only the main course was non-vegetarian. I happily ate the rest of the meal, and didn't give it much thought.

Incident 2:

This was on my way back to Bengaluru. The origin was Dubai. The date was November 22, 2014. Their in-flight interactive screen featuring ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) was not working for my seat. I reported the issue to the attendant. She assured me of resolving it at the earliest. When nothing happened, I re-inquired about the issue. I suggested her to reset the console from the main control. They did follow my instructions, only that they were not done for my seat. The lady passenger next to me found her screen being reset. I burst into laughter. I called the attendant for the third time, explaining her how she did the right thing, but for the wrong passenger. She somehow agreed to what I meant to say, and then re-assured me and left. After a lot of waiting, I got really pissed. When I called them again, one of them came up to me and blamed me for interrupting the reboot process by pressing the buttons on the remote control. I was furious. They actually never rebooted my screen, but she wasn't ready to budge. I decided not to bother them anymore.

Incident 3:

This was in the same flight as before. It was time for dinner. As before, I was expecting to be served with an Asian Vegetarian meal. But the attendant felt sorry, stating that such meals were over. Already furious about the screen not working, I was getting angrier. In fact, this time I was not the only one. The lady on my right, the gentleman one ahead on my left, and the gentleman two ahead on my right had the same issues. They were also conveyed that the meal was over. They only had chicken meals left. This made me remember how the same happened on my flight to Frankfurt. (Maybe at that time also there were more unhappy customers; maybe I just didn't notice.) When you commit a mistake once, it's a mistake; when you do it again; it's a choice! At least, that's how it appeared to be. We were all wondering whether they really counted the different kinds of meals required on the flight before they took-off. After all, they knew it at the time of ticket booking.

Given the female nature, the lady passenger started shouting at the top of her voice. There was chaos all around. To calm her down, they served her with a vegetarian meal. Everyone wondered where it came from; it was supposed to be over. The gentleman one ahead on my left was promised to be served with vegetarian pasta, which was on the stove at the time of promising. Needless to mention, he never got that pasta! It was clear enough that they were trying to somehow keep the situation under control.

Unsatisfied customers got even


If there were four unhappy customers (including me) in such a small area of the flight, I kept wondering how many people went unhappy that day. That is when I decided to write this post.

I am not sure about those three, but Emirates has definitely lost me as their customer. I will happily go for other not-so-popular airline services over Emirates, given my poor experience with them.

Bad service?


Did you also face such a situation ever? Was it with Emirates?

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