Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Malaysia Photos

The Malaysia Formula 1

View of KL city from KL towers

Petronas Towers - KL

Genting, Malaysia

Tioman Islands, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur!

Kuala Lumpur ... a place which reminds me a lot about India, but is much more advanced, planned and well developed that most Indian metros! I had been to KL to actually see the Malaysian F1 GP on Mar 23rd, but since we were going there, we thought we might as well touch Genting and KL itself.

Bikram, Krishna, Naveen, Sandeep and I travelled from Singapore to KL by bus on the night of last thursday. Keerthi who stays in KL, had done all arrangments for us including our F1 tickets, hotel accomodation etc.

On Friday we headed straight to Genting. Forgive me for this, but I am still confused whether this is called Genting or Jenting. Rather, people say its pronounced as Gunting ... anyways ... whatever it is called ... this place resembles closest to the concept of fairyland that you might have heard in your childhood! It a hill station a few 10's of miles from KL. You can either drive up the picturesque road or take a cable car. We took the cable car up and drove down - both thrilling experiences!

For some reason, through out this KL trip, the skies were really happy with me :) .. clouds made beautiful patterns and the color was bright and tempting! My snaps will speak about it a bit.

The cable car journey is another memorable part of the journey. Between every two sets of posts, the car runs ar varying angles from 20 deg to upto 70 degrees. Check out some of the photos of that at http://picasaweb.google.com/alokbhagwat/GentingMalaysia

Genting is one huge hill-establishment at an hour's distance from KL. It has a massive outdoor amusement park as well as the world's largest indoor amusement park. Some of the most memorable rides is the space shot ... where you are seated on a chair ... ok - tied to the chair! Then 12 such chairs are elevated on a HIGH pole, from the top of which you can almost see KL. And then the chairs are released in a free fall :-)

The roller coaster on the edge of the mountain is another thrilling experience, so is the superman ride. Archery is engrossing as well. Among the rides in the indoor park the simulation of sky diving is worth a mention. The casinos are also worth a visit ... if you are too confident of your luck :-)

We also went around KL a bit. We went up KL towers ... 235m high to catch amazing panoramic views of the city. Its tough to believe that the city is hardly a 120 years old! Some of those snaps are at http://picasaweb.google.com/alokbhagwat/KualaLumpurCityAsSeenFromKLTowers

The petronas twin towers are another mesmerizing experience. Look at my snaps at http://picasaweb.google.com/alokbhagwat/PetronasTwinTowersKualaLumpur. No words can describe them!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pulao Tioman

I had been to Tioman Island in Malaysia on the last weekend with a few friends. I had only heard about Tioman and that it is beautiful beyond words and indeed, it is. But still this futile attempt to capture in words what the eyes saw at Pulao Tioman.

Tioman is a beautiful island off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Malaysia is a beautiful country by itself and fairly easily accessible from Singapore. The best way to reach Tioman is to take a ferry from Mersing in Johar, Malaysia. We took a bus from Singapore to Mersing. You have to undergo two security checks on either side of the bridge that joins Singapore with Malaysia.

On entering Malaysia, you cannot help but notice the various boards/hoardings written in Malay language. I dont know Malay, but I bet that it would be one of the easiet language to learn. Simply because you do not have to mug up the spellings of words. They are spelt exactly as they are pronounced. Central is written as Sentral, Taxi as Teksi and Express as Ekspres

We took a ferry from Mersing to Tioman. The atmosphere was cloudy and the sea calm. Totally intoxicating!! :-) Couldnt help but take some snaps of the beautiful patterns clouds were forming in the skies. Many islands, one more beautiful that the prior came and went by and we kept wondering if THIS one is Tioman. The onward ferry was a slow one and after sailing almost an hour and a half, there was no island in sight. All we saw in front were thick (real thick) clouds!

But suddenly some hills started peeping from the haze and Pulao Tioman made a dramatic appearance from amid the mist - a 'la "Pirates of the Carribean". The island was beautiful ... beautiful, marvellous, splendid, stunning and much more ... for the lack of better words in English! Water so pure that you can practically see the corals below with your eyes, and greenery that fills the island with some real splendour! It like a hill in the middle of the sea, and that too covered with thick forest ... now can you beat that combination!!!

The beaches in and around Tioman are calm and relaxing. You want to forget all you worldly desires and just stay there ... as long as you can! Beach volleyball there was one of the most memorable aspects of my trip ... the sprains in the leg and the sun burns, though came as after thoughts!

Another attraction of Tioman are the coral islands close by and of course ... snorkelling. A ride in a motor boat to thr coral island itself is a thrilling experience! When your boat bounces on the waves like a ball on a carpet ... you cannot help but get goosebumps! Also, the sea has various shades here lots of blues and greens! A photographer can practically spend a lifetime here just capturing the various colors.

Snorkelling is an activity where you wear a mask on your face and float on the water to see the corals and life underwater. People who can swim can be a little overconfident here, but there is a huge difference between swimming and snorkelling. In Swimming you never see anything below the water, forget getting a distorted idea of the depth ... in snorkelling you have to get used to it. But once that adjustment happens ... its fun to say the least!

The Tioman islands have been rated as one of the top ten islands in the world tourism map. To understand why .. either go through my photo album at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/alokbhagwat/TiomanIslandsMalaysia ... but better than that ... visit the place once in a lifetime. You will realize what I have been trying to say ...


Its been ages that I have written a blog and I still get reports about a steady stream of readers for my blogs. So I thought I might as well begin writing again! :)

So watch out this space for more!

Monday, April 18, 2005

10 reasons why I miss Hyderabad!

Its been almost a month that I left Hyderabad to come back to Pune ... and I cannot believe myself when I miss that place! Hyderabad was the first place when I lived away from home ... all alone, in a city where I hardly knew anyone. It was the place where all my assumptions of maturity, independence and ability to take care of myself got changed! Here are 10 reasons why I will always miss Hyderabad!

1. I get a good night's sleep on Sunday and Friday nights. :-) Frankly I am not used to it! Staying in hyderabad I was used to travel every weekend - it was in a way a test of my own patience! This happens no more! So much that still on a Sunday morning people call me to pull my leg and ask "at what time is your bus today"

2. 41 Rao & Raju Colony, Banjara Hills! This was the house (I would prefer to call it home instead) where I stayed for almost 2 years. Here I learnt that managing a home is not easy - groceries, light bills, keeping it clean & tidy ... man, I feel I am really pampered at home (in Pune, that is)

3. Friends - Kushal, Kapil, Suyog, Ajit, Mahesh, Nishchal, Pravin and of course my team at Microsoft ... in a city of strangers ... these are the people who made me feel at home! Moments like the one when I left my debit card in the ATM itself, getting hungry at 12.00 in the night and driving to the city to find some samosas and of course the memorable drive-down to Pune - Man!!! can I ever get to live them again!

4. Prasadz - This place ROCKS! Its difficult to find such a classy mall cum theatre at such affordable rates! I miss the 11th hour movie plans ... the Spidermans, the Fida, the Blacks ... after a quick dinner at Ohris!

5. The Restaurant food - Be it Ohris, Indian harvest, Angeethi, Pickles ... Hyderabad food has been just awesome!!

6. The Home food - Food at home was typically bachelor-food - the bread-omlets, parathas, jeera-aloo and of course ... amul shrikhand!

7. KBR Park - You need to visit this park at least once in life and go for a walk around it early morning to understand why I miss it!

8. Subway - My favourite lunch place ... especially my Corn & Peas (with a little extra corn ... ;-))

9. The art of accomodating 10 people in a poor 3-seater rick ... Its possible nowhere on earth!

10. Last but NEVER the least - my very reason of being in Hyderabad - MICROSOFT!!! The best Employer in the world ... I respect the organization even more after leaving it! The work, the friends, the office, the food, the outings ... man ... why couldn't Microsoft come to Pune!

For these and more, even today during a sound night's sleep ...
I dream of
9th floor of Cyber Towers,
the new Microsoft Campus and the view of ISB from there,
the Begampet railway station,
Ameerpet (from where I usually took my bus to Pune),
and ... Mithaas!!

Even today and always ... my heart would continue to live in these places!