palau islands
This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Palau. I hopped across the ocean, from one island to another. Found out what hidden legs were, on my way to a hidden shore. In search of a mysterious land, of which what I now remember Is an unseen jellyfish lake and tropical rains galore.   Who goes all […]

A Sonnet to Palau

Blue mountains in katoomba
This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Australia. It didn’t hurt, nor was there a flavor of fallen grace. It didn’t feel like the rain, nor bursts of thunder. It was a rather banal affair, very commonplace When I finally lost my virginity, down under.   The winter hesitated, then shoved its deep claws Into me, […]

A sonnet to Australia

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

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
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

No emergencies. And no exits. - Melbourne, Australia
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
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!

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.
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.
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 2
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
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
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
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.
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 1
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
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
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
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?

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

goodbye vanuatu 2
This was the 15th post (Day 15) of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here.   16th July 2014 – Efate, Vanuatu When the cards are full, and the tripod has sand. […]

Goodbye Vanuatu

Kava making in vanuatu
This was the 14th post (Day 14) of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here.   15th July 2014 – Efate, Vanuatu The blade dangled by his side, like a third arm. […]

Before the Kava Bar opened: Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu travel tips 2
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. Further Reading: For another amazing country in the Pacific, check out my stories from Fiji. Oh, it can get very expensive, as I found out. Starting from the flights to get in, […]

6 Tips for Travelling Cheap in Vanuatu