Cerebral Shangrila

Friday, June 25, 2010

Seems like a month of Travel. Sitting at Changi to board a flight to San Francisco. Going to be an hectic business trip with 3 days each in San Diego, Las Vegas and Bay Area.

I am trying something crazy. Thanks to the numerous domestic flights I am taking and the fact that they charge for check- in luggage, I am traveling without check- in luggage! Will try for a Guinness entry " first man to travel long haul with no Luggage!"

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup So Far ...

It has been a dull world cup so far. Plenty of surprises and not a single team ( with the exception of Argentina) has impressed the fans. There is one man who seems destined to rescue this messy world cup from its mess - oh yeah - he is Messi.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

ARR's Tamizh Manadu Theme Song

Quick Thoughts - Slick Video, Usual ARR style peppy music, Interesting choice of singers ( Slightly high number of Carnatic singers). Why didn't ARR experiment with some traditional instruments and folk music?

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Who will win the Football World Cup?

Given the current form and the Group they are in, I am betting on Spain. Who do you think will win?

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Would love to be him...

Kashi Samaddar, 52, a Dubai-based businessman (born in Calcutta, India) has travelled to 218 countries-setting the world record for the Most countries visited. He is also the first person to visit all 194 sovereign states with his mission of Travel, Tourism and Peace.

“Indians need a visa to travel anywhere outside their country. There were times when I had opportunities to get an Australian or Canadian citizenship but I declined the offer because I wanted to prove to the world that an Indian is capable of travelling so much without changing his passport,” he says.

For Samaddar in his 50s, it all began way back in 2003 on October 28, when he was denied a visa from a southern African country because of his nationality. Feeling humiliated he made a promise to himself that he would travel to all the countries in the world as a mark of defiance. Through travelling, Samaddar also hopes to bridge the gap between several cultures. “People are friendly in most parts of the world but they perceive Indians as troublemakers and therefore reject their visa,” he says.

But visa issues aside, Kashi says his around- the-world trip included plenty of postcard moments, including visiting the Alps mountain range and some fantastic spots in South America. “I think Brazil is a very good destination, for everybody,” says Kashi. “In Rio de Janeiro, when you get in the taxi, if you are from England they’ll play an English music cassette, if you’re Chinese they play a Chinese cassette and if you’re Indian they’ll play an Indian cassette. “The people are lovely.”

"Some of the great destinations that I would suggest are Copacabana Beach in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil, the Kovalom Beach in India, Colonia at Micronesia- Margarita in Venezuela and Mala Mala at Nadi Fiji." "The towns at the foot of the Alps, Andes or Himalayas are just magnificent. I came across breath-taking views at Black River, Amazon." Samaddar added he is concerned about global warming and that he saw the Arctic icecaps melting.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Europe Travel Diary - Part One

I intend to write a series of posts on my Europe trip with an intention of helping fellow travelers undertake this exciting journey. I did meticulous planning , learnt a lot of lessons on the ground and hope these lessons would benefit the future travelers to Europe.

Planning an Europe trip isn't an easy task. Three questions pop up immediately " Where, When and How". Let me explain my thought process on this:

a) Where : It is completely an individual decision. Europe is an exciting destination and needs at least 5-6 trips ( each lasting at least 2 weeks) in a lifetime. Ever since my childhood, Italy has fascinated me as a country ( Venice in particular). So with a Child like enthusiasm, I decided that Italy had to be part of the Itinerary, come what may. Having already visited France & UK earlier, I decided to skip these two countries ( Which are the most visited by tourists in Europe). If Italy comes ; can Swiss be far behind ? Delightfully perched close to Italy and a paradise for tourists ( for the eyes definitely not for the wallet), Switzerland self-invited itself.

Being a huge Western Classical music fan, Austria too invited itself to the Itinerary. Romantic vision of caressing the violin that Mozart used and attending an Opera in Vienna, led me to include that as the final country in my Itinerary.The fact that it was right next to both Italy & Swiss certainly helped.

b) When: I definitely decided not to go there in the peak season ( Mid June to Late August). Peak season is a bad time to travel for multiple reasons. Europe tends to be crowded, the weather is quite hot ( Places like Italy can be stifling at 35c+) and the room rates are very expensive.

I decided that the shoulder season ( When the temperature is pleasant switching from spring to summer) was the best. In my opinion , Mid-May to Mid-June is a great time to travel - weather is fantastic, it is less crowded and room rates are reasonable.

c) How: Should I do a arranged tour ( Cox & Kings, SITA and their ilk) or do it on my own? This was never a question to ponder because as an independent traveler ,I would never fit into a arranged tour schedule. I also decided to learn the art of planning a long trip and thus decided to do it on my own ( In hindsight, no regrets, would do it any day).

So, What next? coming up soon.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Investing in Stocks - The best article that you have never read

This article is absolutely hilarious - a clever mix of common sense, lampoon and self deprecating humor. Now you know why Scott Adams is the best :-)

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Europe Vacation

Back after a 16 day long Europe Vacation. Went to Italy, Swiss & Austria.

Got tons to blog about. A series of Europe travel primer will soon follow.

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