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Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Lock-Down Dairies – 29 May 2020 : COVID Hospital Bills, Rail Adukku Pathiram-Travel kit

Came across a photograph of a Bill/check belonging to a COVID +ve patient. The duration of the treatment is 14 days and half the amount is for the Room/bed charges. Rest of the amount is for the tests, medication, doctor consultation and care. The bill is running to almost Rs3 lakhs which is a lot of money by any standards. This bill is from a private hospital. Dont really know how much is billed by a government hospital.

I am fond of traditional Cookware and this Travel Kit called ‘ Rail Adukku Pathiram’ is going viral in social media. It is attracting almost everyone.

14 different utensils of different shapes and sizes fit into one big Utensil. This was carried when people went on pilgrimages more than 150 years ago. They cooked food in these vessels as there were no restaurants.

It will be very interesting to see variants of this kit coming up soon in various other metals.


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Fun times at Granny’s Village – Mar 2019

Got an opportunity to visit my Granny’s Village , (My Maternal Grandmother). The Village is near Nellore. This time my Sister ,nice , nephew , me and my son were able to make a trip for a few days.

Love the Village atmosphere . I can never get tired of going there any number of times.

Every moment from Sunrise to Sunset is something that we can never ever experience in the Cities that we live in.

Being able to actually watch the Sun Rise , the cool morning Golden Sun rays , the cool morning breeze, the cocks crowing , the pure Oxygen filled air that you can fill your lungs without thinking of the pollution ……Village folks going about their activities , sounds of brooms while women sweep / clean their front porches , followed by Muggu / kolam …. tractors moving through the village on their way to the fields , sounds from the few Autos / Bikes in the village… Street vendors selling their wares , the villages kids playing with crude toys , young village boys playing Volley ball in the evenings , the sounds of bells from the Goats being taken for grazing , Bird calls , Sound of breeze from the waving paddy fields , the paddy dancing in the breeze, buffaloes on their way back home, the cool sea breeze flowing in from the sea from 3 pm onward, lying on a cot in the open air and watching the starlit sky, having dinner under the stars sitting on the cot .

Close up of Rice Panicle
The Road leading to our village.
Walking on the Beach near our village with my Niece.

These are life’s simple pleasures that I always look forward to.

Food tastes yummier in the village 🙂 don’t know why 🙂 .

There are hardly any thoughts … just being in the present moment.

A drive to the Beach via roads with paddy fields on either side, animals grazing lazily … An evening at the Beach which is a few kilometers from our Village,walking on the beach barefoot without a care… picking sea shells .. watching how the ocean never tires of sending waves since eternity.. watching fishermen with their boats on the horizon and wondering if I can go on one of the boats someday 🙂

Already looking forward to my next visit.


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Hyderabad to Pondicherry- Dec 2018

The plan was to visit Kanchipuram and Chidambaram while staying at Pondicherry. There is a direct flight to Pondicherry from Hyderabad. A one and half hour journey which is the best way to reach Pondy quickly. The other option is to go via Chennai and then drive to Pondy by road. One can also spend a few hours at Mahabalipuram which is on the way. We took the flight.

Here is a Summary of our stay in Puducherry.


What to see –

Beaches

View of Promenade Beach and the walking path from the Terrace of Le Cafe
Le Cafe and the Walking Path along the beach.
The Rocky , noisy Promenade Beach
Serenity Beach

There are four well known beaches namely the Promenade beach , Serenity beach, Paradise beach and Auro beach. We were able to spend an evening at the Promenade and Serenity beaches. Promenade is good for a nice long walk along the road at Sunset. Lots of rocks placed on the shore to prevent erosion. Serenity beach is good for spending some time in the water. Lots of fishing boats parked here. If you are adventurous try some surfing here. The sand is nice and white and the place is quite clean too.

Whitetown This is a part of the town which was colonized by the French and has several buildings (Official and Residential) built in European Architecture style . This area is adjacent to Promenade beach. One can take a stroll around the area to appreciate the architecture , visit the numerous restaurants, cafes , art museums dotted all over the place. Several villas have been converted into Heritage accommodations and have a colonial ambiance. The restaurants serve excellent French Cuisine.

Aurobindo Ashram

The building is quite big when seen from the outside , but once you go in your movements are restricted. Lots of containers with flowering plants greet you as soon as you enter the path leading to the Samadhis. Haven’t been to a place which is as calm as this place though there were a lot of people paying their homage at the Samadhi , which is made in marble and beautifully decorated with a lot of fragrant flowers . Several foreigners paying their respect and several others sitting nearby in quiet complemplation only to be disturbed by the shrieks of parrots. They have a bookstore with books translated from French into several Indian and Foreign languages. Books compiled by disciples from the various speeches given by Shri Aurobindo and the Mother. I bought books that were related to Healing and found that the gist of the writings are very useful for those who want to help / heal themselves in a Spiritual way.

Churches

There are several churches in Whitetown. We stopped at the Lady of Angels Church while going on a tour of Whitetown in a Rick.

Temples

Among the several Temples in Pondicherry we visited the Manakula Vinayagar temple in Whitetown. This is a popular ancient temple which a few centuries old and was revived in spite of several attempts by the french to demolish.

Street Shopping Every town has a few streets that are popular for cheap goodies. Nehru Market is supposed to be very popular and is crowded on Sundays. Our Cab driver told us that Vehicles are not allowed in these streets on Sundays. One can also do some shopping just outside the Vinayagar Temple.

Where to Stay –

Hotels / Villas / Homestays etc are available and one can choose as per their convenience. Several French Villas are converted into Boutique Hotels and do have a restaurant. There are several options closer to the beach too. We stayed in a Hotel as we preferred an elaborate Buffet Breakfast 🙂 coz we would be travelling the whole day and were not sure when/where the next food stop would be.

Where to eat –

Lots of South Indian Restaurants if you wish to try the traditional Tamil/Chettinad food. We went to Karai Chettinad and the Shrimp curry there was awesome. One must try French Cuisine at the several restaurants in Whitetown. Had Dinner at the open air restaurant in Le Dupleix. The food was too good with Live music.

Vegetable Ratatouille. A yummy dish with lots of veggies in a silken gravy and rice.

Auroville

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The Golden Globe . Matrimandir .
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One of the huge Banyan trees near Matrimandir.
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The Boutiques near Visitors Center
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One of the placards displayed in the campus.

A major attraction in Puducherry after the beaches and Whitetown is Auroville. Its a half day trip 10km up north of Pondicherry. As we reached the visitors centre we learnt the tickets to enter Matrimandir were sold out. One has to buy tickets in person. It was a disappointment but it appears they want people to visit the place two times. We watched the Intro video at the visitors center and started walking towards Matrimandir which is 1km from the VC. I preferred taking the battery vehicle which caters to those with kids and elders. I requested to let me go in the vehicle though I didn’t belong to either of the groups and they obliged 🙂 . On our way back I preferred to walk. The place is a young artificial forest , 20 sqkm ,with a variety of trees. The path is beautiful and shady. Only Bicycles and Bikes are allowed inside the campus. Highly advisable to rent a Bike/Bicycle to go around the campus. The Boutiques near the VC, which have a beautiful display of handicrafts and hand made items. Clothes, Crockery , Lamps , processed foods made with Organic produce like jams , snacks etc. We also visited the famous Auroville Bakery . One should stay and spend a few days at Auroville to get a feel of the place and for the mystery of Auroville to be revealed.

How to travel within Puducherry –

Several modes of transport are available. Most youngsters rent a Bike/Bicycle which is actually very comfortable as the traffic is quite less compared to other big cities in India. Several Online Bike Rentals are available and there are a lot of choices. Ola cabs service is good. At the end of a trip , Ola drivers will invariably ask you if you have other plans to travel around Puducherry. When we told them about our plans to Kanchipuram and Chidambaram ,they quickly arranged a cab for a reasonable price compared to the prices quoted by a travel agency. There are autos too plying around but I haven’t seen too many.

I will definitely want to visit Pondicherry again to spend time on the beaches , walking along the streets in Whitetown , eating Chettinad food and French cuisine and also spend more time in Auroville .


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Picture story from a recent visit to our Village – Apr 2018

Here are a few Pics from my recent visit to our Village near Nellore.

Free Range hens with their little ones . This is one of the most common sights as soon as you leave a city or town. The moment you see them near you , you would be tempted to rush and catch hold of one of those little ones but would fail miserably 🙂

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Another common sight is the Dry Hay Stack. Once the harvest season is completed , all the Hay is collected and shaped into this form . It is then tied with a rope, made out the hay, to protect the hay stack from the wind. Cows and Buffaloes munch on this Hay when there is no grass during Summers.

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Time to go home after grazing and playing in the fields , the whole day.

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This woman has brought her wares , fresh green leafy veggies and Raw Mangoes . She has come all the way from the neighboring village where these are grown. She carries her stuff in a cloth and an Aluminium vessel. People in the villages get to eat fresh veggies which are harvested in the morning or on the previous day. The veggies that we get in the cities , that are on the shelves of the supermarkets and sold by other friendly neighborhood vegetable vendors are from the cold storage’s and would have been lying there for days / weeks / months.

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Mango Chutney is being made in the traditional way, using a Stone Mortar and Wooden Pestle . The taste of chutneys is doubled when prepared in this way rather than in a Mixer Grinder. Good exercise for the body too as one has to sit on the floor .

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Rice balls (Rice powder + Jaggery water + Ghee ) steamed in a clay pot.

 

Time for the ducks to go home after eating/playing in the adjacent fields.

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Looking forward to my next visit 🙂


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Road trip from Hyderabad to Kavali

Time for my yearly sojourn to Granny’s village near Kavali. From 23 Dec 2017 to 27 Dec 2017.

Drove from Hyderabad to Kavali via Nalgonda-Narsaraopet-Chilakaluripet-Ongole.

 

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Started at 7am and planned to have breakfast at Village Aharam , an organic restaurant which is around 20km after exiting the ORR. We saw huge crowds  and so decided to go to NGrill resto which is 50km from the ORR. This was equally crowded and had to wait for a table.

This stretch is a busy one , with lots of people driving between Hyderabad and Vijayawada and prefer to have breakfast in one of these places.

Stopped for lunch after crossing Narasaraopet . Found a kachcha road on the left and parked under a tree.

A pleasant drive with all the greenery and great weather. This time of the year is beautiful for travelling by road. Excellent roads especially the stretch from Chilakaluripet to Kavali which is part of the National Quadrilateral. It is an 8 lane express highway  , maintained beautifully and is as good as any interstate highway in the USA and other developed countries. Thanks to our erstwhile Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee , we are able to drive on such roads in India.

We drove through a variety of fields . It is the season for various crops like Chilli , Cotton , Tobacco and Paddy during this time of the year.

Reached Kavali by 4pm. A non-stop drive would take 7 hours.

Life in a village is like life on another planet . They have their own set of joys and challenges.

Here are a few sights along the drive :

A Marigold field.

The Krishna river near Miryalaguda. The left bank of the river is in Telangana and the right bank is in Andhra Pradesh.

There is a Restaurant above this Toll gate.

Following pics are from our village :

 

Paddy fields.

Spent a few days in our village which is 5km from the Bay of Bengal. The population in the village is around 500 . Each time I visit , I  see a few developments in the village . One of the road leading to the village is being widened as a small harbour is being developed around this part of the ocean . Lots of Autos in the village now . The erstwhile Bus has been stopped due to increase in the number of Autos. A water tanker supplies water to every house in the village for washing/cleaning  purposes. There are no water supply yet, though pipelines have been laid. Filtered drinking water is also supplied in 20 liter plastic drums from a water treatment plant for a decent price. The underground water in this area is salty and not fit for drinking. There is just one well on the outskirts of the village which has sweet water. One of them in the village has bought a Car and an Air Conditioner. The first signs of urbanisation in the village 🙂 Sign of prosperity .

Recently TTD has started construction of a Rama temple in the village.

IMG-20171004-WA0015Smartphones are being used to check weather conditions , levels of water in the surrounding lakes as the irrigiation is through canals . They also check information about government schemes.

Enjoyed fresh unpolluted air and fresh food. Started back on the 5th day at 9am and reached Hyderabad at 5pm. Had our packed lunch under a huge tamarind tree . Had Tea at Vivera restaurant near Narketpally. One can buy some fresh veggies too at this place.

Back to the hustle bustle of the city…as we enter the Financial district in Hyderabad …

Till my next visit…..

 


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Drive from Hyderabad to Annavaram

A wish of mine, which is about travelling to the ‘Kerala of the East’ materialized quite soon. My cousin planned his Son’s wedding in Annavaram. This little town close to the Indian East coast is popular for its Satyanarayana Swamy temple. The temple is on a little hill which is part of the Eastern ghats in South India.

hyd to annavaram route map

We drove from Hyderabad to Annavaram , via Vijayawada and Rajahmundry. Started at 7am and had breakfast at N Grill Resto on NH65 . This place is 50km after you exit the Outer Ring Road . It is a new restaurant, spic and span with good food and well maintained rest rooms.

We didn’t stop anywhere else till we reached Vijayawada. Had lunch at my Cousin’s place in Vijayawada where the ‘Pellikoduku’ event took place. After lunch we started off to Annavaram via Rajahmundry at around 4pm. The road from Vijayawada up to Eluru was very bad ,in-spite of toll being collected on this stretch. Supposed to be one of the busiest stretches in the country.

Took almost 5 hours to reach Annavaram , checked into Hotel Abhay . Not up to my expectations, but we were too tired to crib about the upkeep of the place and crashed for the day. Woke up to a beautiful view of the Pampa Reservoir and the Eastern Ghats , adjacent to the hotel . The reservoir was full owing to the recent bountiful rains.

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This was the best part of our journey.

Went for the early morning darshan. Annavaram Temple is very popular for performing mass ‘Satyanarayana Swamy Vratam’ by couples and also for performing Mass weddings. Saw lots of newly weds all over the place. There are small temporary Mandaps in a few places where the wedding vows are made. Reminded me of an Assembly line production factory where married couples are churned out 🙂 .

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Got back to our room after darshan of Sri Satyanarayana Swamy and got dressed for the wedding , to be held at one of the A/C halls adjacent to the temple.

Met lots of Cousins and their families. Started back to Hyderabad immediately after the wedding via Rajamundry and Vijayawada.

On my way back I noticed stubble burning in the recently harvested fields. All the while I assumed that stubble burning is restricted to Punjab and other states around Delhi , but to my surprise I saw lots of fields being burnt in Andhra Pradesh too.

Mechanical Harvesters are being used all over the country . This is clearly a side effect of using Mechanical Harvesters which leave a stubble one feet in height while harvesting.

The farmers have no time to let the stubble rot in the soil as they have to immediately sow the next crop. Hence burning is the easiest way out with no cost involved. High time to solve this menace and stop all the pollution.

As we got closer to Rajahmundry , we came across lots of plant nurseries stretching for several kilometers on either side of the road . Did not have the time to stop by as we would get late. All the plant nurseries in Hyderbad are maintained by folks coming from this place.

Had dinner at Hotel Vivera near Narketpally , which is around 55km from Outer Ring Road. One of the best places , closer to Hyderabad , where once can stop for a quick snack or even have lunch/dinner.

This trip almost fulfilled another wish of mine where I wanted to stay by a riverside for a few days. However, I got the opportunity to spend a beautiful morning by a reservoir flanked by hills and sipping coffee 🙂


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Diwali and cancellation of my Official trip to Delhi.

Every festival in India is celebrated with gaiety . Diwali too is celebrated in all parts of India in different ways. 

Almost all the Hindus clean up their homes , all family members get involved in decorating the house with Rangoli , thoran and diyas . Most Hindus also perform puja to Goddess Lakshmi in the evening .

There was a time when I too would look forward to Diwali , I still do but now there is some nervousness.

It is due to the burning of firecrackers during Diwali. All the towns and cities turn  into gas chambers and the fog worsens the situation as the weather transitions from Rainy season to the Winter season . The environment turns toxic owning to the harmful chemicals used in the making of  these crackers. 

There is a rise in patients getting admitted to hospitals immediately after Diwali with complaints of respiratory issues. Small children and old are the most affected. In spite of the rise in pollution people do not realize the harm that we are causing to ourselves and the planet by burning crackers.  

Glad that in 2016 the Supreme Court had banned the burning of crackers in Delhi . But, how many heed to the order. Every day some of the News Channels display the pollution levels in the bigger towns and cities in the Country. This year it is learnt that Crackers are already illegally stocked up by the traders in spite of the ban . They will find numerous discreet ways to sell their wares.

I am allergic to dust and all kinds of smoke. I do my best to avoid such environments.This year Diwali is being celebrated on 19 Oct.  I had to cancel my Official trip to Delhi on 23 Oct  for this reason. I cannot take the risk of travelling during this time as the smog in Delhi is very severe and pollution reaches very dangerous levels. Emissions from vehicles, Thermal power plants around Delhi and crop stubble burning around Delhi are the reasons for the severe Smog in Delhi during this part of the year. Add to this all the toxic emissions from burning Fire crackers and you create a recipe for disaster. Delhi turns into the worst polluted city in the world.

Unfortunately , people do not understand and compete with friends and neighbors as to who burns the most crackers. It also pains that the supreme court ban is being  politicized and communal color added 🙁

Looking forward to the day when Firecrackers are banned all over the country . High time the manufacturing of these crackers are banned. Hope to celebrate a noiseless , smokeless  and pollution free Diwali in the near future. 

 

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Happy Deepawali !!

 

 

 

 

 


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Go Goa !

Time to get some Vitamin Sea :))

Been to Goa a few days ago , from 1 Apr to 4 Apr 2017.

This is not the right time of the year to visit Goa. Summer has just begun . However , I didn’t find it too humid. Loved the weather , except for some discomfort during midday.

We drove through this small residential area called Fontainhas, which has some of the most beautiful Goan houses ….or rather Portuguese styled houses…very colourful and well maintained .. Felt as though we were transported to Portugal itself 🙂

Mum’s Kitchen is one of the best Goan Restaurants. Went there for lunch one day. Great food !!.Tasted ‘Goan Port wine’ for the first time. Supposed to be a short form of ‘Portugese wine’ as it has Portugese influence. I don’t drink but I wanted to taste this one. It is a Red wine and was very sweet. I think I liked it :). My Ayurvedic doctor says I can have little bit of Red wine once or twice a week.

Visited St Francis church.

Also went to see Aguada fort.

I love Goan food . Been there once before. Nothing like fresh seafood … something that I yearn for, while I am in Hyderabad. Goan flavours are too good ..the combination of  coconut and Kokum in fish and prawn curries is yummm 🙂

‘Saturday Night Market in Arpora’ is an exciting experience.

Lots of stalls selling Junk Jewellery, casual clothes and local handicrafts. There’s a live band playing in the center of the market , surrounded by food stalls. Bought some junk stuff too …too tempting not to buy 🙂

Went to Calangute beach one evening, for water sports. Took the Scooter ride. My first such ride. The guy was too fast .It is a 30 second ride . The waves were rough. Each time I tell myself that I will not do any more rides but I invariably end up doing a new one each time 🙂

Had lunch at Brittos , one of the best Beach Shacks in Goa. This one is on Baga Beach.Food was tooo good.

We also had dinner at one of the less crowded shacks…at Mama Cecilias Shack on Candolim beach…

We were staying in Candolim and hence preferred to walk  down to the beach…which is 500m away…in fact ,there were very few folks here….unlike the beaches at calangute or Baga which are too crowded because of  water sports…spent a lot of time on this beach … watched the Sun set ….  watched the moon rise …. had dinner at the shack . It is a different experience altogether.  The laziest time I have ever spent…. feels as though you own the beach…almost like a private beach with just the sand ,the sea …Watching the sun set and then the stars …Feeling the breeze… Having dinner with the sounds from the sea as background music… loved the experience.

Something about the sea makes you live in the present moment…And time stands still

 


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Jabali Theertham : Hanuman temple on Tirumala Hills

Suddenly there was this wish to visit a Temple which is located far from maddening crowds and one that has few visitors.

Meanwhile planned a visit Tirumala and made all the arrangements.

Before we actually left for to Tirumala , I was casually scanning the Internet for other sightseeing places located in and around Tirumala. Places that we could visit during half a day.

Came across several interesting places including Akasaganga, Paapanasam, Srivaari Paadalu, Natural Arch formation , Museum etc. We had visited all these places several times during our previous visits. This time I was curious about this temple named ‘Jabali/Japali Theertham’ ,which we had never visited . I might have overlooked this in my previous scans . The place is around 3km by road, from the main temple.It is said that a sage named Jabali meditated here and had the vision of Lord Hanuman.

We had half a day at our disposal and decided to go there.

Reached the entrance to the Temple in a car in less than 10min. Driving through the winding road on the hills with the windows drawn and breathing in fresh cool air blowing through the trees all around was fun. Very soon our driver stopped at this arch .

 

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The temple was not in sight but we saw a lot of stairs .We began walking up the stairs barefoot. Thankfully the steps were not steep :).  After some 50 long steps and no temple in sight , we asked a lady selling raw mangoes and cucumbers , ‘How far before we reach the temple ?’. She replied ‘Around 100 steps up and 100 steps down’.

We took a deep breath and continued till we reached the top and from here we were able to see the steps going down. The walkway is neat and clean and smooth. Appeared as though the concrete path was laid recently. Very comfortable walk and enjoyable for those who are young and healthy. A bit difficult if you get tired easily. Take long breaks all along the path and go move on 🙂

We saw huge wild squirrels , wild hens , monkeys . It was 4pm. Came across very old and tall trees as we got closer to the temple. It was a beautiful sight. We were actually in a valley .

The Golden coloured Temple is ensconced in a little valley , surrounded by lush greenery with a pond (Theertham) in front of it. This pond supposedly receives a continuous trickle of water from a lake situated behind the temple.

There were a few shops and hardly 20 people in and around the temple.

After Darshan of Lord Hanuman , we sat on the steps and that is when I realized that my wish had come true. To visit a Temple which is located far from the crowds 🙂

It was a strange feeling . Woww , my wish was fulfilled so quickly.

The place gives a glimpse of life in a jungle where Rishis and sadhus would have lived and meditated. The feeling is indescribable and ethereal.

We bought a few souvenirs from the few shops nearby. It was 6pm and we started walking back. The sun was setting and there was a golden hue all around above the trees. We walked back with background music from chirping birds settling in their homes ,while eating raw mango and cucumber pieces dipped in salt and red chilli powder 🙂

Loved the whole experience .

As I close my eyes I see myself sitting on the stairs in front of the temple and can vividly visualize that I am surrounded by tall trees, the pond, the temple and chirping birds .

It is these places and experiences which get etched in our memories and make life beautiful.

A must visit when you are in Tirumala.


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Our Trip to Dubai !!

Flight experience and service on board Emirates Airlines was good. A 3 hour 15 min flight from Hyderabad , India.We landed in Dubai at 12.15pm.
Dubai airport is huuge. We picked our baggage and looked for Etisalat and Du counters. Found Etisalat and got a prepaid card within a few minutes.
Was surprised to see women drivers at the taxi stand. Our driver was a Filipino.

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On the way to our hotel we got a glimpse of sky scrapers and Burj khalifa too. Was surprised to see a lot of flower beds by the roadside .I didnt expect to find any in the desert.Apparently they have installed drip irrigation.

Reached our hotel by 3pm and the receptionist delighted us by upgrading our room to an Executive suite and we guessed the reason was because we had booked well in advance and paid the full amount.

Day 1:

We settled down by 4pm and quickly freshened up. As per our schedule we should be going to The Mall of Emirates which is about 300m to the right of our hotel. We saw a metro station about 100m to the left of our hotel and we wanted to take a ride on that 🙂

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I liked the discipline with which people got in and out of the train.Dubai metro is the longest driverless metro in the world.
We exited at the next station adjacent to the mall and just when we were wondering about how we should cross the road we found that there was a sky-way from the station leading directly into the mall.
The Mall was huge. We hadnt planned on visiting SkiDubai which is adjacent/part of the mall of Emirates as the three of us (hubby, son and I) are allergic to cold weather and prefer to avoid . I felt bad that we would be missing one of the longest indoor snow worlds . We reached one end of the mall and spotted a lot of people watching something.  We got curious and went closer and what we see is the ski dubai through a glass partition.

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We were glad that we got a glimpse of this huge indoor ski world without actually going inside.
We were hungry and looked for food stalls in the mall. We settled down at an Indian restaurant and were surprised to see a lot of non Indians at this restaurant. Appears Indian food is a favorite of a lot of non Indians . The food was very good.

Day 2:

Had an excellent continental buffet breakfast and headed to ‘The lost chambers’ on Jumeirah palm. Was stupefied seeing the artificial island and the kind of construction on it. We learnt that people prefer to live closer to the sea as it is cooler and hence a lot of demand for residences on the palm.Lakhs of people live on the island. Our taxi driver suggested that we take a ride on the mono rail which goes from the Base of the palm to the tip and back.
We were not aware of the mono rail. We went by road to the tip of the palm where the monorail starts . We got a good glimpse of the artificial island and its fronds with villas on either side and each villa having its own beach. The ride on the monorail is a must to get a glimpse of the fronds.

Went up and down the palm ,on the monorail ,which is 5km from the Base to the tip.

 

The Lost chambers is attached to The Atlantis hotel which is at the tip of the palm.
This is an aquarium which is themed as a city that is lost under water.

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Always nice to spend some time with species living in water.

Went to Saravana Bhavan restaurant in Al Barsha for lunch. The variety of dishes in the South IndianThali was similar to any south indian restaurant in India and tasted authentic too. All the veggies must surely be imported.There are several Saravana Bhavan restaurants all over Dubai.

Got back to our room and relaxed for a while before we headed towards Dubai Mall. Entrance to Burj Khalifa is from inside the mall. We had booked tickets to Burj Khalifa in advance for the most preferred slot from 5 to 6pm. We reached on time and were ushered inside. After winding through a long passage with exhibits, visuals , arabian music and models of the Burj we reached the lift. We reached 125th floor in less than one and half minutes after a smooth vertical ride. Felt nice to be At The Top of the highest man made structure.

Great 360 degree views of the ocean and the desert . We were allowed to stay beyond our time limit.There was no compulsion to leave. It rained while we were At The Top. We bought a few souvenirs too.

The musical fountain was shutdown because of the rain !! :((

Got down the Burj and spent sometime in the Mall. As expected we did get lost several times and had to look/ask for directions.There are interactive maps at a few places.

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More such maps should be placed all over the place.The Mall is like a mini city . Never ending stores. 1200 stores !!

 

 

Day 3:

We planned a local tour in the forenoon and Dhow Cruise in the evening.

We hadn’t planned on visiting ‘Miracle garden’ but our driver insisted that we see it.

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The whole place is decorated with flowers. A lot of small pots with a variety of flowers are placed in various shapes.Mostly Petunias, chrysanthemum and geranium.

We then went to Jumeirah beach. Time to wet our feet in the sea and get a closer view of Burj Al Arab.

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We then went to Dubai Museum. Appears very small from the outside but they do have a nice collection in the underground floor too.Old boats, knifes and implements,lifestyle of the people in the past using wax like models, archaeological finds etc.
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There was a short film on how Dubai grew from a small trading town which was famous for pearling to the current city with the tallest biggest fastest stuff in the world.

Time for lunch and we decided to go to another Saravana Bhavan restaurant ,which is adjacent to the creek and close to Gold Souk which was next destination as per our schedule. Had Masala Dosa which was yummy. Took a ride on the Abra boat for one Dirham per person to the opposite side  of the creek where the Gold souk and Spice souk are located. It was a 5 minute ride.
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Spent some time in the small lanes of Gold souk watching all the gold chains hanging down from the displays. There was more of diamond jewellery. I bought cinnamon in the Spice souk as I drink a decoction of ginger and cinnamon first thing in the morning. It smelt good.
We went back to our hotel all the way back to Al Barsha. Relaxed a bit , freshened up and drove back to Diera creek just in time for the Dhow cruise which starts at 8pm.

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That’s the view of another Dhow boat (a wooden boat) from our boat. We had booked Rikka cruise which is opposite to Radisson . There was a Tanoura dance performance after dinner. It is a 2 hour trip up and down Diera creek. Everyone is seated at their tables. There are two floors and one can choose to sit on either of the floors if you come in early.There were almost 80 people on each floor.Dinner buffet was good. Got back to the hotel by 10.30pm. A one hour quick trip should be good enough.

Day 4:

Enjoyed continental buffet at our hotel. The buffet spread is excellent.

Reached ‘The yellow boats’ starting point near Spinneys on Marina Bay. A one and half trip on a speed boat starting in the Marina Bay which goes around Jumeirah Palm, gets close to the Atlantis, Burj Al Arab and then back to Marina Bay.
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Was fun speeding at 25knots , water splashing on you and the boat bumping on the waves 🙂

Got back to our Hotel , had lunch at the Thai restaurant and got ready for the Desert Safari. We booked on Rayna Tours and their vehicle arrived at 3pm to our hotel. We picked up 3 more tourists on the way. Once we got away from the city we got to see the real desert and the dunes . We saw a few vehicles doing the dune bashing thing. The vehicles go up and down the dunes and people seem to enjoy.The driver stopped after a while and asked us to get off and get in another vehicle  which would take us inside the desert. This was a land cruiser and the ride to the Desert camp was half as bumpy as Dune bashing.
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The camp was quite spacious with camels rides , mehendi , a few shops selling local artifacts, photo session wearing Arabian dress and a falcon . Quad bikes are available for rent. Tea/coffee was unlimited. Buffet dinner was good . There was a Tanoura dance, followed by Fire dance , followed by Belly dancing.  A nice evening in the desert.We go back to our room by 10pm.

Day 5:

Started for Abu Dhabi by 9.30am to spend the day at Ferrari World. Reached Abu Dhabi by 10.45am . Entrance to Ferrari world is through Yas world (a Mall ) . We had taken a ‘3 fast pass ticket’ as it was a weekend and we expected crowds and queues. It was not as crowded as I had expected.The fast pass is definitely useful if one comes in a bit late in the day.
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My son enjoyed going on the Ferrari Rossa two times and was ready to go a third time. Supposed to be the fastest coaster.

Our driver advised that we visit Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque in the evening. He was right. The mosque did appear ethereal and glowed with all the lighting. Made completely with marble . The interiors are beautifully designed. There are flower and leaf motifs made with colorful marble.The marble inlays on the floor, pillars and roof of the domes are very pretty too.

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The doors and windows had beautiful designs etched in glass. The place is serene . All women are expected to wear full sleeves and fully covered clothing while entering the mosque. A scarf or shawl will help in covering the head too. I usually carried a shawl wherever i went and was wearing full sleeves and fully covered so i didn’t have to wear the traditional Arabian dress given to others before entering the mosque.

On our way back to Dubai from Abu Dhabi we visited Ibn Battuta Mall. This is another huge mall . We bought some gifts for family.

Day 6:

Time to pack up and fly back to Hyderabad, India. All the gifts/souvenirs/chocolates for our families and friends were neatly packed . We didn’t have time to visit the terrace of our hotel which is on Sheikh zayed road. We would reach our hotel very late everyday and were too tired by end of the day 🙂 .After packing we decided to go the terrace . There was  a cute lil swimming pool and a nice bar too.

 
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Nice view of Jumeirah palm , Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa from the terrace of Holiday Inn , Al Barsha.

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Open WiFi connection is available at most public places.
We hired a taxi for most of the days except on the first and last day. It is quite easy to book a taxi by phone . We didnt try the mobile app of the state run taxi service.
Food is quite hygienically prepared and we learnt that the food inspectors do a good job. I didnt have to worry about eating out. I did take some snacks from home and bought fruits at the nearby supermarket but there is no need to worry about food at all.

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Bye Bye Dubai !!