Yosemite

This place surely has some enigmatic aura and it is complex to decipher the pull it has on the mind.

…may be geographically the landscapes have their own identity which is very unique to this terrain.

Or may be it is the experience of the journey that leads to Yosemite… after the seemingly long and never ending curvy roads … you start to get the glimpse of the granite treasures.

Or may be on a more poetic note…the mountains and cliffs stand out as the ancestors of the past wanting to tell their story. A story of the turmoiled, rebelling and unsettled soul.. looking into our eyes and asking for our attention and respect.

Reasons could be infinite but there can be only one motive … to cherish the memories and experiences of this pristine place. I hope it gets more beautiful by the day and more resilient to averse global warning changes.

God Bless You Yosemite… You are precious!

The price of dreams

A very interesting person we met in San Francisco, he happened to be our taxi driver. He is Indian but staying in the US for 22 years now. He was quick to judge and guess that we are Indians too and then he narrated his story…

He is from Jalandar, Punjab. 22 years back, he took 6 odd months (which currently takes 16 hours by flight) to reach US via the Mexican border to fulfil his American dream.

Here is the visual map of the places he was transported before he made it to the U S of A.

I leave it to the reader’s imagination on what must have been the quality of travel and sanity of his mind! But what intrigues me is that people believe and have such dreams and are willing to pay unimaginable price to achieve it.

And when he reached Mexico, the agent showed him the border and asked him to fend for himself. We could sense from his tone that he was not too happy with this deal as he was asked to pay more but was only shown the path unlike his previous travels where he was transported (convenience) from one place to another! 🙂

But, today he is happy that he is a legal resident. He has 2 sons and feels gratified that he now has the power to call anyone to US via the legal channel!

No dream is too big or small, no endeavour is trivial or magnificent… in their own right, they are all priceless.

map courtesy – geology.com

Disclaimer – This post is not for or against the Wall. This post is only to illustrate the power of dreams.

Ka-chow California!

A very memorable trip! San Francisco, Yosemite, Monterey and beautiful memories enroute.

The state maintains a good mix of contrasting ideas – old and new. It lives up to the expectations and also surprises with more! Kids will be happy and so will the parents enjoy this trip. To keep it crisp, I am sharing some highlights from our travel.

Yes it was the Christmas season, but a happy kid is the not what we had expected after 16 hrs of travel. The vibrancy of the city got us from the hotel rooms to the streets.

And here we were on the streets of San Francisco enjoying the antics and affection.

Playing with bubbles around Union Square

Getting Fire Warden Sticker from the Fire Dept.


San Francisco Zoo – What a wonderful zoo! I have never seen the animals so happy and the staff so loving and caring towards the institution. 

Gauhati the rhino from Assam, shares his moment of success after breaking apart his toy! 

Didn’t know that Rafiki was a real monkey, till we met this family!

The little toy train is worthy of a ride! 


Exploratorium – Must see and enjoy place for kids and also adults

Personally for me, I have never sensed such closeness to design ever not even in the art galleries – demystified science is design and nature’s art.


California Academy of Sciences is an interesting place with a variety of indoor exhibits.


Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area – Enjoy snow sports at the Badger Pass


Monterey Aquarium is one of its kind. It replicates the sea ecosystem in the aquarium just as shown in the movie ‘Finding Dory’


Whale watching in Monterey

We were lucky to have witnessed migration of grey whale family.


Submit yourself and travel local across the roads and water.


10 days and so much action but truly a child’s delight and a parent’s paradise.

I will probably have to write different blog for our experiences at Yosemite, Red woods and some travel tips! but till that time I hope this is useful for you.

Some waves meet the land and some meet each other :)

Koh Nangyuan beautiful islands near Koh Samui, Thailand. The crazy and choppy catamaran ride was worth it 😱.

There is beauty left in this world but we as global citizens have to be weary of plastic. Although there are restrictions in Koh Nang Yuan, few plastic bottles are seen and thats very sad!

Even in Koh Samui which is bigger island, plastic is used blatantly. The guavas that we bought from local market was packed in each plastic bag!!!

The Tesco’s and other super markets are not helping either. There are piles and piles of packaged drinking water, I wonder what were the options before the advent of commercial drinking water and what do locals drink.

There are laundrettes and water dispensing kiosks but the service is not publicised enough.

So travellers when you go to pristine locations and even otherwise, it is your responsibility to guard it. Please carry cloth bags and re- usable water bottles. Be eco friendly so that we can cherish the planet a little longer.

Beautiful Bali

It was an interesting experience to view Hindu culture from a foreigner’s perspective not that I am very religious in any part of the world 🙂

  1. Religion and Show Off

It was thrilling to see statues from Mahabharata and Ramayama, beautifully presented in white and gold and full of virtue. Less colours more emotions!

Yes, Bali has largest Hindu population, but there isn’t any mention of longest, tallest or wealthiest temple. No gods seemed to be fighting for popularism and each one seemed to be at peace with the space, pace and tranquility. In short it appeared that human politics and insecurity has not corrupted religious aspirations.

There is a tendency to find and acknowledge guiding forces in everyday things. I was very surprised to see statue of ‘Rice Goddess Dewasri’. The statue stood in her most graceful self in the paddy feilds.

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2. Religion and Attitude

Balinese have revered the practice of offering to the natural forces, be it the seashore, the 5 star rated resort or a moving car, this practice was followed 3 times a day. It was a very humbling experience to notice that irrespective of their social and economic statuses Balinese don’t forget to be thankful to their surrounding forces and I think that the reason why they are so humble and welcoming.

Another striking characteristics is the creativity. Bali appears to be mecca of all creative arts. Silver/gold jewelry, leather works, handloom, batik, wooden and stone sculptures… Bali has it all. You also find arts from the other parts of the world! but it just means that they can master any art.

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  1. Religion and Sense of Humor

Kecak Dance – The most intriguing part of this musical show is the there are no musical instruments used in it, the troupe creates music by repeating sounds i.e Kecak kecak kecak…

It had a class and spontaneity and the whole crowd enjoyed it. It wasn’t religious and didnt feel the need to be righteous. Hanuman would flirt with the crowd, the narrator would rave about Sita’s beauty in an envious way just a reminder that the gods were as humans.

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Apart from this, yes there are pristine beaches and green paddy feilds and genuine smiles.

yeh hai Hong Kong meri jaan!

Selling iphone 6 on the pavements just outside apple store! So the shop is sold out but there are lots available outside. Only cash accepted 🙂 and obviously you pay more than the shop price.

I think this is an overkill and this is an understatement! Exclusivity is such an important factor of a brand. But the moment every 3rd person has it, how far it will go and how far can it be stretched?

And when goods are manufactured at this scale, is the premium price really justified?

Here is interesting facet to long queues, it may hold true but I dont think iphone owners need a social proof

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-real-reason-youll-wait-in-line-for-an-iphone-2014-09-17

I think this link gives the real picture,

http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/20/6641673/iphone-lines-apple-stores-casey-neistat-chinese-mafia

Now China has the highest population and also they are quite rich and getting richer

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2014/06/20/in-china-rich-population-growth-beats-world-average/

And Chinese rich are different 🙂

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/understanding_chinas_wealthy

But frankly I think the wheel has begun to turn!