Sunday, June 14, 2009

Real Splurge!!

Real Madrid has gone berserk with two mega signings back to back just after the finish of this year soccer season. First it was Kaka, who moved from AC Milan and then it was Ronaldo whose move from ManU is considered to be costliest move till date by any player. I believe last year’s below par performance has hurted their ego big time considering their rival Barcelona won all the three cups last year and certainly looks very strong team for few more seasons. Apart from Kaka and Ronaldo, Real is also pursuing for Bayern Munich’s Ribary and Valencia’s David Villa.With all these signinngs Real will definitely be a team to watch out for next season and who knows year of Royal Galacticos can soon be back.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Backpacking in Nilgiris !

Sometime back I was checking some travel site where there was a survey that asked people to vote their first preference between Beaches and Hills. There were about 1000 responses out of which 65% were tilted towards Beaches and rest towards Hills. I also indecently voted for Beaches. There I found an interesting observation by one visitor. He wrote, “If you think you are an open person then you are more prone to liking Mountains and if you think you are closed person then you are more prone to liking Beaches. People go for vacation to get out of their routine life and normally gives preference accordingly to their thinking about who they are”. Whooo!! Quite an interesting observation I thought!!

Well last weekend I went to Ooty second time since coming to Bangalore three years ago. Unfortunately both the time I went during rainy season and I would be frank enough to say it’s not a good place to visit in rainy season. Still I had a very good time there. I along with 5 of my colleagues (Omar, Rishi, Vikash, Pratap and Suresh) started Friday evening for our Nilgiri sojourn. We reached early morning in ooty and there we got a fair idea of what is laying ahead of us for next two days. It was raining at the time we landed and I foolishly quite underestimated the cold there and have to face the brunt of it. We checked into the hotel and prepared ourselves for a long day ahead. We had planned to go for trekking initially while starting from Bangalore and decided to stick by it in spite of rain. We hire a trekking Guide named “John” and decided to go for trekking of around 12-13 km from a place called 9th Mile to Piker lake. I saw Vikas’s jaw getting dropped hearing our exaggerated plan in this rain and he was first to one to step out from this. We kept our plan in dilemma and went to 9th Mile. It was very cold there with quite a strong chilled wind blowing around. We all (including Vikash) started our trek accompanying John in spite of consistent rain. It was very foggy and cold and I immediately knew it was going to be an eventful trek quite unlike I was part of earlier. We trekked for around 2 Km and climbed on top of a hill to find a watchtower. It was truly an amazing experience being there with amalgamation of heavy rain, dense fog and very strong chilled breeze running around. After a brief stop there we started towards our next destination, eucalyptus oil factory right in the middle of Jungle.John tried to scare us by telling us not to make noise as there might be Tiger in the Jungle. Though I was sure tiger in Nilgiri is not a possibility, I was a bit concerned of any wild animal. So I asked him twice whether there is any danger and he assured there is none. We trekked for another 2 Km amidst rain in Jungle that in some stretches felt like Amazon. We reached Eucalyptus Oil factory which seems quite small from what I had initially expected. A family was residing there and was in charge of the factory. John explained us how Eucalyptus oil is produced using its leaves. I saw the guy smoking ‘beedi’ and asked for one as I could not resist my smoke-urge. Both Suresh and me had a healthy smoke as we saw rain pouring outside factory. We started towards our next destination of local tribal village. We trekked for around 1KM more to reach a tribal village. By now it started raining very heavily and we had to stop for brief moment in shade at the village. John urge an old lady to prepare tea and we had a much needed tea break. Finally we started for our last stretch of trekking towards Pykara Lake. We reached near Pykara Lake, which seems to me a bit dry from what I saw last time. We didn’t waited long there and decided to move towards our starting point where our vehicle was waiting for us. By the time we reached there we all were completely drenched in rain and were exhausted. We get into the vehicle went straight back to our Hotel. In the evening we went for shopping and went to bed early after having a light dinner.

--In front of tribal Toda House.

We went to Coonor next day but unfortunately were down with one person. Omar had suffered from Food poisoning, courtesy our last day’s heavy lunch and wasn’t able to accompany us to Coonoor.We booked tickets from Ooty in Nilgiri Express towards Coonoor in early morning train. Fortunately it wasn’t raining in Coonoor and we had a sight of sun first time since landing in Ooty.We had hired a vehicle a from Ooty and he took us to all the tourist places around Coonoor.We saw Lamb’s Rock, Sim’s park and Dolphin’s Nose. We went there amidst long stretch of tea estate, which was simply breadth-taking. While returning to Ooty we stop by in Dodabetta peak, supposedly highest peak in Nilgiris.It was completely foggy there and no view from the peak was possible. We return back to our hotel by evening and spend out rest of time in Hotel playing cards. We left our Hotel by late evening as we had bus to catch to get back to Bangalore.

In all it was quite a good weekend getaway and best and most memorable part of the trip was undoubtedly Trekking. Trek amidst such a heavy rain was quite an eventful experience that I would definitely cherish for long time to come. Meanwhile, I believe I traveled around 700 Km on road in this trip which have increased my travel meter to 2700 KM on road in this year and I hope to bring the meter down again in my next trip pretty soon.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Meter Down !

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” - Saint Augustine

Finally the long awaited time has come. My ‘Travel Meter’ has been stuck at 1400KM since last two-three months and thanks to my last week Tirupati trip it went on to cross 2000 Km but certainly 15K Km on road, which was one of my new year resolution this year seems very far away. Nevertheless I have fuelled it again while I embark on my second tour to Nilgiris with my office colleagues tomorrow.

 There is something about displacement that simply amazes me (Don’t read too much between the lines). Of all the things I fear in life, Monotonicity perhaps will be on top. People say ‘patience is a virtue’ but somehow it doesn’t boils down well with me. After all you have only one life to live. Last few months has been the longest duration I haven’t went for traveling since I came to Bangalore three years ago. During this time I have lost count of how many trip plans I have made and let go. Right from evening beach stroll in Gokarna to Cycle-ride in Hampi to Snorkling at Lakshwadeep to Pubbing at Pattaya has come in my mind and has gone away. But thankfully the wait is finally over. I have been to Ooty before but I didn’t have a second thought for re-visiting the place. There is nothing much coming to my mind currently perhaps I am too  overwhelmed by our Ooty sojourn this weekend. All I want is to jot down few lines from Steppenwolf’s classic “Born to be Wild”.

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space 

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Born to be wild
Born to be wild