Oceania


icebergs swim club bondi beach sydney
I had flown to Sydney, with the standard tourist ideas in mind: visit the opera house, the royal botanic gardens, and take a train to see the 3 sisters of Katoomba. But as luck would have it, I met with an old schoolmate who regaled me with ideas of what to do in Sydney, especially off-the-beaten track. And one of those was the Bondi to Coogee walk. Not so off-the-beaten track for the locals, but a definite must-do for a tourist. If I could set apart 2 to 3 hours of my time, that is. Sydney is much more than the […]

Sydney’s favourite walk: From Bondi beach to Coogee beach


seychelles islands 4
This is a list of countries that do not require a visa, or offer a visa on arrival for Indians. If you are looking for countries that offer electronic visas (E-visas), click this list. There are plenty of countries which do not require an advance visa for Indian citizens. And if you are an Indian – or if you have interacted with an Indian – the chances are likely that you will believe/hear the most commonly stated reason why Indians dont travel much. “I need a visa for every fricking country that I want to go to!” Click here for […]

Top 10 countries where Indians can travel without an advance visa!


Koror palau 2
After the exciting island-hopping saga across the pacific ocean, reaching Koror at 11PM, I was eager and excited to check out the night-scene. I had slept mostly throughout my 4 different flights to get here. I could have been jetlagged, but I wasn’t. After all, Palau was just 1 hour ahead of Singapore, where I had started from. And the night was still young. All I had to do was get to my budget motel, check-in, and then go out for a few drinks. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong! Again! My taxi-drive from the airport to my motel lasted about 15 […]

I went to Palau. And didn’t touch the water!



Yap airport micronesia 2
Manila It was an uneventful flight to Manila. I was no stranger to the Philippines. I lived here for 4 years. And even after I moved my base from the Philippines to the urbanscape that people called Singapore, I had visited Manila a couple of times. So, nothing exciting awaited me in Manila, save a couple of planned meetups with old friends. If you are looking for something interesting to do in Manila, go offbeat and check out the Ermita region for some amazing street photography opportunities. Owing to some confusion in my seat booking, Jetstar gave me a free upgrade to […]

Island-hopping on an airplane: Singapore to Palau


Project365 ends today! 22
1st July 2015 – Mamallapuram, India The memories will remain etched for ever Of a year that went by in poetry and pics. But its not the places that will spring to mind. Its only – and always – the people who will stick. I thought this day would never come, but it’s day 365 today!   Its been 35 countries (and Kosovo), spread across 3 different continents. With 21 international flights, 23 international border crossings by land and couchsurfing in 20 countries. Riding a motorbike through 12000 km of the indian subcontinent, including the cold Himalayan roads of Nepal and […]

Project 365: Day 365 – That’s all, ladies and gentlemen!


No emergencies. And no exits. - Melbourne, Australia 2
31st July 2014 – Melbourne, Australia In airports and terminals, I found a new game. Of hide-and-seek, with an edge of chaos and mayhem Time is playing a good referee, and keeps reminding me. The exits are always there. But I have no plans of taking them. They say time flies. Mine must have taken a concorde, because the realisation is a kickback when you are already typing out the 30th day post. The last one month was spent in 5 different countries, and that is a fairly good start. Click here to check out pictures from Vanuautu, one of my favourite countries the […]

Project 365: Day 30 – Going full circle



Play time. - Christchurch, New Zealand 2
30th July 2014 – Christchurch, New Zealand Beyond the construction sites, and the debris lying around, Beyond the grey walls, which withstood a calamity, Beyond the trams, and the still pace at which they moved, You realise that you still have a spring in the step, in this beautiful city. The 2011 earthquake has left most of the important monuments in Christchurch, still under reconstruction. Last night, I had met a bunch of local folks over a house dinner, and one of whom was an Engineer on the reconstruction projects. She informed me that it would be years before the city […]

Project 365: Day 29 – Check mate, nature!


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29th July 2014 – Christchurch, New Zealand Light has found a long-lost friend, And the shadows now face their foe. In the ruins and rubble of Christchurch, I found the golden hour, ending my woe.  To make this project easier, sometimes I resort to taking pictures at the beautiful hours. One of which is the sunrise, which explains why I have been waking up so early at times. The other is the golden hour, the twilight zone, which transforms even ordinary places into an amazing palette of colours. But apart from Vanuatu, I haven’t had much luck in my other […]

Project 365: Day 28 – The search for the golden hour


The simple pleasures of travel. - Picton, New Zealand. 3
28th July 2014 – Picton, New Zealand The lack of protein has begun to show And the nicotine doesn’t want to go slow With all this hectic travel, sometimes I wonder. If it is blood, or caffeine, that rides the flow.  Those who don’t travel, often keep telling me how jealous they are about what I do. But the wise ones, the ones that travel, keep warning me. “Watch out. You will tire yourself once in a while. Be ready to rejuvenate, and to reinvent yourself every once in a while.” Today was one of those days. The harsh cold winter of New Zealand, […]

Project 365: Day 27 – In coffee, we trust



I said hi. - Wellington, New Zealand. 2
27th July 2014 – Wellington, New Zealand The kiwi was a recluse on a vacation And the sea gulls already had their moment. The penguins never bothered to say hi, So I had to reluctantly seal my intent. Yeoni, my CS host, felt like taking a good, long drive today. And since it was a Sunday, we did take a good, long drive. We drove all the way from Wellington, to Cape Palliser, which has a beautiful light house overlooking a cliff and some beautiful black, sand beaches.What we didn’t prepare for, was the wildlife. On the way, there was a […]

Project 365: Day 26 – No penguins. No Kiwis. Cant complain.


Floating company. - Wellington, New Zealand 5
26th July 2014 – Wellington, New Zealand The early bird caught the sunrise. The golden arches, into which the pines etch.  In a country eponymous with a bird, It’s not the kiwi. It’s the seagull that rules this stretch.    Took a midnight bus from Taupo to Wellington, reaching at a freezing 7 AM in the morning. It has been an descending trip for me so far in New Zealand. Auckland was cold. Taupo was colder. And Wellington almost has my balls in the freezer. And hell, its only July. Was picked up by Yeoni in Wellington, which makes my first complete […]

Project 365: Day 25 – I see gulls. Many of them!


HDR wins the day. - Taupo, New Zealand 2
25th July 2014 – Taupo, New Zealand Beyond pine trees, and timber forests, the water flowed home, with no levy nor toll. I paused to stare, to admire, to adore. The strength and the surrealism, of the waterfall. The paracetamol helped. Woke up at noon, though. Checked out of the hostel, kept my stuff in the storage room, and started walking to Huka falls, only 6 KMs away. Oh, this was going to be a long day, with a total of 12 KMs walked!! Check out the amazing sunrise in Wellington, New Zealand. Click here! It’s a nice walk though, […]

Project 365: Day 24 – Reality is too bland



It's time for boarding. Taupo, New Zealand 2
24th July 2014 – Taupo, New Zealand Maybe it was the lake, stretched out in miles Or maybe it was the decline in temperature. But I saw a plane, ogled at it for ages, Then fell sick, and drew myself a silly caricature.  They say New Zealand is ridiculously expensive. True, but the most precious thing here seems to be sleep, which I am yet to find cheap. The trend continued today too. After a late night of drinking, woke up early in the morning to catch a bus to Taupo. When travelling in New Zealand, I suggest a bus […]

Project 365: Day 23 – Is it a plane?


Docking in. Docking out. - Auckland, New Zealand 2
23rd July 2014 – Auckland, New Zealand The hangovers came again. Like unwanted visitors. As you sow, so shall you reap. They seemed to say. The promised gardens awaited me at Eden. But the apple stayed close to the waters today.  Was happy to see someone last night. His name was Jim Beam, so we made it a fun night at home. The drinking lasted till 3 AM. The next day, the grogginess and hangover lasted till noon. Check out the skyscrapers of Auckland. Click here! At noon, met a school-friend, who I last met 15 years ago, at Auckland hospital. He is […]

Project 365: Day 22 – Of craters and coastlines


Needle in the sky. Auckland, New Zealand. 2
22nd July 2014 – Auckland, New Zealand The cold winds pierced my skin, And the city lights pierced my senses high. And while the winds blew and the city slept The forlorn needle pierced the forgotten sky. Took the flight from Nadi to Auckland at noon, and the immigration went smoother than imagined. Except for the biosecurity bit, which scared me for a can of tuna that was in my bag. But once they checked the can, and everything was clear, the tuna never caused a problem anymore. Met a good friend, Bishu, who is married to another one of my good […]

Project 365: Day 21 – From country roads to city lights



One last day in the sun. Wailoaloa beach, Fiji 3
21st July 2014 – Wailoaloa, Fiji Had the itch today. For the internet, for the sun, And for a little bit of the debauchery that men long to do. The beach was promised. And promises were kept. And like a flower that found its spring, I found my blossom too. Fi and Api, were amazing CS hosts. But I had to leave them today, to head to bamboo backpackers, for 3 reasons. For better internet, since my daily posts were pending. For the beach, which I have been missing for a while. And for the airport, which is close to Wailoaloa […]

Project 365: Day 20 – Winter is coming


It's alliteration day at Sigatoka, Fiji 3
20th July 2014 – Sigatoka, Fiji Grains of sand – like time and space – Slipped away, and burnt like coal. The elements are at odds today, not backing out. Earth lost. For today, water was my call.  Finally, I caught the early morning bus from Lautoka to Nadi, and from Nadi to Sigatoka, to see the famous sand dunes. In a small village, which is called ‘rugby town’, i wanted to find out why this name. And I did. The sand dunes are used by the rugby teams to practice, as they got stronger by running up the high dunes. […]

Project 365: Day 19 – Sleepy sunday in Sigatoka


Alone in a crowd. - Nadi, Fiji 2
19th July 2014 – Nadi, Fiji Like a hundred unborn children crying aloud, For a little bit of sunlight they never shall get. Like a wind carrying the waves on its shoulder, such was the silence, and the noise, of the market.      Last night happened to be another long Kava night, ending around 3 AM. The locals don’t believe me when I tell them that Kava does nothing to affect my sobriety, so they kept making me drink. The only thing it did, was make me sleep till noon, and thus screwing up my plans to visit the Sigatoka […]

Project 365: Day 18 – Through sounds and silence



Hiding the ray - Nadi, Fiji 2
18th July 2014 – Nadi, Fiji Rafi blared aloud, and tikka overwhelmed my nostrils. And a little bit of India I found, in a colourful temple dome. While the flowers were showered, and the poojas done, I had to remind myself again. I am still not home. Took a morning bus from Lautoka to Nadi town. There is pretty much nothing in Nadi for me. Yes, there are plenty for the Aussie or European travellers, with Nadi being so much like India. There were hindi songs everywhere, and Indian restaurants everywhere. But, nothing for me. I didn’t come so far to […]

Project 365: Day 17 – Am I home already?


I DID follow her. - Lautoka, Fiji 4
17th July 2014 – Lautoka, Fiji Soft sand cuddled her toes, And the cool wind kisses her cheek. As the ocean lay bare beyond her, she asked, “Follow me?”. But no answer did she seek. The immigration process at Nadi airport was one of the longest I’ve had so far. They asked me questions for nearly an hour. And I could understand their predicament. Almost all the Indians who have come to Fiji, have NEVER LEFT! They stayed there for generations, and at one point, 65% of the population of Fiji was Indian. Even now, you can’t take a corner in […]

Project 365: Day 16 – Osmann would be proud


Words are not needed. - Efate, Vanuatu. 4
16th July 2014 – Efate, Vanuatu When the cards are full, and the tripod has sand. Like a reflection of the 7 days that has passed, so fast. You know that the bags are ready to be packed And that sometimes, goodbyes are what actually last. I can’t believe that it has been 7 days since I’ve been to Port Vila. They say time slows down when you travel. I dont know what on earth THEY were smoking, because my time has literally done an Usain Bolt here in this idyllic city. I have nearly 2000 pics on my camera, and […]

Project 365: Day 15 – Goodbyes are not a happy affair



The blade and the root. - Efate, Vanuatu 2
15th July 2014 – Efate, Vanuatu The blade dangled by his side, like a third arm. As ruthless swings ran a relay, like some vintage reel. But it’s not just rusty steel that can cause you harm. Even smiles do hurt. But they always do heal.   I have just 2 more days left in Vanuatu, so finally decided to gather the courage to try some Kava, which is the only legalised narcotic drink that I know of. Some friends told me that it tastes revolting. That the smell was disgusting. And that it causes liver damage. Oh, have I told you I love these kind […]

Project 365: Day 14 – The blade and the smile


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Let’s admit it. For their small size, the Micronesian and Melanesian nations are spoilt by tourism. Prices are sky-high, and you would not be wrong to assume that you are in a developed country. I want to do an extensive South Pacific tour sometime, and I choose Vanuatu as a first point to visit. Just to get my feet wet, and see exactly how expensive it can get. Check out the Mele Cascades in Vanuatu. Click here! Oh, it can get very expensive, as I found out. Starting from the flights to get in, to the accommodation, to the food […]

How to: Travelling Vanuatu in the cheap


The movers. - Port Vila, Vanuatu 3
14th July 2014 – Port Vila, Vanuatu Their lips were wet, and the breath was warm. They waited eons. Created messiahs. For this one kiss. But like the chill morning breeze slicing through a dream, Oh Albiceleste, how cruel is fate. And this heartbreaking miss. The last day of the world cup, and the last early morning day for me. And the most cruel one. The South American dream was shattered yet again, as Argentina succumbed to a tragic last-minute goal to Germany. And not a last-minute goal in regular time, mind you. This dream was shattered in extra time. But have […]

Project 365: Day 13 – No white and blue sky today