On the Beaches of Praslin Island, Seychelles

Praslin in Seychelles is a small island with exquisite beaches that are often featured on the best beaches of the world. In addition to the Coco de Mer in Valle de Mai, the beaches in Praslin often bring tourists to the islands. When we decided on Seychelles, we were looking for an island to relax on and with no temptations of crazy hikes. Praslin won the lottery for those reasons.

After two days of walking, we decided to spend the rest of our week exploring beaches in Praslin. While we chose public transportation for some of our exploration, it required planning since the buses went to our hotel every hour or so. We decided to rent a car to explore the beaches so we wouldn’t have to time our beach day. On a bright and warm Seychelles morning, we began our beach exploration with the Anse Lazio beach. Anse Lazio is one of the best beaches situated in the northwest of Praslin. After parking our car, we trekked our way to the beach.  Fairly secluded, the road made way to beautiful expanse of blue water against white sand.  I cannot swim and when people hear I am going to the islands, they wonder what I could be doing at the beach. While I get my feet wet, and being Indian I don’t really need to sunbathe for a tan, I enjoy the beauty ahead of me. I try to capture God’s creation through my lens and in through my eyes. I make a snapshot of the beauty in my heart and head forever. Anse Lazio was my muse and I captured every corner of the beach through my lens. We ended our day at PK restaurant where we had the best Creole food.

In addition to Anse Lazio, we visited various beaches in Seychelles such as Cote D’Or. Sometimes it was a conscious decision to visit a specific beach, and sometimes we just stumbled upon an expanse of water that was too beautiful to resist. Seychelles provided several moments that were almost inexplicable. The islands have the best beaches I have ever seen in my life, and I am so glad I chose to end our couplehood with Seychelles before we began our journey into parenthood. Seychelles allowed me to relax with her sun and sand, amazing food and the warmth of the people.  I don’t know what Paradise if like, but Seychelles is the closest I have been to paradise on earth.

 

Advertisements

Praline Island, Seychelles & Coco De Mer

Seychelles, an island between Africa and India has always been on my top two travel destination barring Switzerland. When my husband and I decided to get married, Seychelles was one of the first destinations we looked at for our honeymoon. As new college grads, Seychelles was way more than we could afford. So in June 2016 when we decided to travel to India to pick up our new daughter, Seychelles was our vacation destination before we go from a family of three to four. On a warm June afternoon, we began our long journey to India. We would then take two more flights from India to Seychelles. We chose this route because it seemed more economical since it was cheaper to travel to Seychelles from India than from California.

 

Upon reaching Bangalore in India at 4:00AM, we realized someone mistook our baggage for theirs. In all the chaos and commotion, we missed our flight to Seychelles and spent 10 hours in Bangalore airport waiting for our next flight. The guy who took our luggage returned it at some point in the 10 hours making it totally worthwhile. We were on our way to Seychelles finally. Upon reaching Mahe in Seychelles, we had to take a ferry to Praslin, our island. I was thankful to my husband for insisting I take my motion sickness pill because that ferry ride was no joke. I sat there watching victim after victim fall to motion sickness, all the while praying I survive the ride. We finally arrived in Praslin amidst deep blue water and green lushness. I am not sure what Paradise looks like, but this was the closest I had ever been to one. The only other place I can think of that looked so beautiful was the Dominica islands.

 

We made our way to the Coco de Mer Black Parrot Suites hotel and were welcomed by a much needed drink. Thus began our expedition of Seychelles. We began our adventure by walking almost 2 hours to the city to buy some water and withdraw some Seychelles money. In spite of getting baked in the hot sun during our walk, the beauty around us made every step worthwhile. We returned back to our hotel, battled some major heat exhaustion for another day but it was the perfect beginning to our adventure.

 

Praslin Islands are home to the famous Coco de Mer which call the Valle De Mai Natural reserve home. Coco De Mer, sea coconut or double coconut is  funky looking coconut that was found at the bottom of the sea. Inherit to Seychelles and islands around there, Valle De Mai is the only reserve in the world that still has Coco de Mer trees. One can find tour guides in the reserve, and it is a good idea to take a tour as they explain how the coco de mer is fertilized and how pollination happens between the male and the female.  
The Praslin Island is a beautiful and pristine island with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In the coming weeks, I will write a blog posting about the several beaches we visited in Praslin, Seychelles.

 

 

A New Journey Begins…!

Every relationship is the beginning of a new journey. At fourteen years of age, I wanted to begin a journey to adopt a baby. I knew then that it would be the greatest journeys I would embark on. I never did then, but the desire continued to grow with me until three years back when my husband and I signed on the dotted lines to begin our adoption journey. This past month I traveled to Seychelles and India with my husband for a month. This adventure signaled my life coming full circle. While adoption held my heart strings at fourteen, Seychelles tickled my imagination just as much. I remember watching Miss World/Universe on TV in India and seeing the amazing beauty of Seychelles. I knew then if there was one place on earth I could visit, I would choose Seychelles. It was a week in paradise and the perfect end to being just the two of us.

 

After a week in paradise, my husband and I traveled to India. India is and will always be home. There is a serenity and peace that India fills me with. No matter where I go or where my address might reside, India is home. But this trip was even more special. After years of wondering who she is, or what she might look like, we found our new travel buddy in our 11 month old daughter, M. She is feisty, adventurous and crazy just like us. And thus began a new journey. We are now a crazy travel foursome, my husband, Zed our puppy, M and I. Stay tuned for our adventures in Seychelles and India in the coming weeks.

Pristine Point Reyes in California

Point Reyes in California promised pristine beaches, sun and sand, and delivered with tons of memories. This past weekend my husband and I along with our year old German Shepherd puppy Zed spent the weekend in Point Reyes. This was not our first attempt at visiting Point Reyes. Seven years back, my husband and I decided to visit Point Reyes for a day.  We knew CA-1 was windy but I had no idea how windy it could be. While being beautiful beyond words, the ride had me reeling with terrible motion sickness. I couldn’t remember much of the day beyond trying to hold my composure. This weekend was our second attempt at visiting Point Reyes, but this time we decided to spend few days there at Nick’s Cove.

 

We decided to take the lesser windy path this time around. We reached Nick’s Cove and after a briefing on our cottage we were ready for the day. As soon as we walked outside to our porch, we were welcomed by the beautiful coastline. We decided to visit the Kehoe beach, but ended up at Millerton Point. With limited to no reception in the area, and no google to help us, we decided to explore Millerton Point. We thought we were going on a hike but were pleasantly surprised by a beach in addition to our hike. Our puppy Zed is not very excited by the gushing beach waves, but Millerton Point with its calm waters was exactly what Zed was looking for. He marveled at the water, tried chewing on a mussel. I love mussels but I learned the hard way that touching uncooked mussel can be disgusting. The smell stuck on my hands as I tried to remove the mussel from his mouth, and I had to use his poop bag as my version of Michael Jackson gloves to ward off the mussel smell. We ended our night with a dinner at Nick’s Cove.

 

On Sunday we began our journey to Bolinas Lagoon, a 24 mile drive from Nick’s Cove. We walked the beach while Zed acquainted himself with some puppy friends. Our next stop was at the Samuel P Taylor Park where we hiked for an hour before returning back to Nick’s Cove. We took Zed to the waters near Nick’s Cove hoping our puppy would finally enjoy some beach fun. After 30 minutes of analyzing the waves, growling at the water, digging up sand holes, Zed was slowly turning into a beach bum. He frolicked in the water, tried to catch the gushing waves and at the end of our two hour beach fun was covered with sand all over his black lustrous coat.  On Monday, we did some more beaching at the Limantour Beach, a pristine beautiful beach on a windy path. Being a workday, we had very few companions on the beach giving it a perfect secluded aura. If ever I am stuck in a island, I would hope for these two beach bums- my husband and Zed were with me. Zed dug some more holes and tried eating crab shells. In short the weekend was a beautiful and serene getaway.

 

Point Reyes epitomizes California with its sunny weather and beautiful beaches. It also made me feel like I was miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area with its fog capped mountain, pristine and untainted landscape and the serenity of the ambiance around.

MESMERIZING MACHU PICCHU

I remember the moment I first saw Machu Picchu in Peru  in person. I had seen several pictures of it and had researched since the time we booked our tickets. I thought I knew it all but standing there watching the magnificent Machu Picchu in person felt unreal. It blew my mind and senses, and I felt every emotion from being awe struck to absolute serenity. I have relived that moment every time I talk about it to someone, and I still stand spellbound and humbled to have visited Machu Picchu.

 

Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site in the Cusco area of Peru. While there are several Inca sites around Peru, Machu Picchu is the center of Peruvian tourism. It is located in the Sacred Valley about 80 kilometers from Cusco. Visiting the magnificent Machu Picchu was a dream and we were determined to spend as many days as possible enjoying Cusco and Machu Picchu. After a long flight from San Francisco to Cusco Peru, we were welcomed by the city of Cusco. Like many, I assumed Cusco would be bustling with activity and tourism. The city was quaint and serene. We had ten days in Cusco and we had not decided when we were planning on conquering Machu Picchu. My husband came down with altitude sickness which neither of us were aware of. After three days of constant headaches, mood swings and fatigue, he was diagnosed with altitude sickness. Few days of oxygen and we were ready to visit Machu Picchu. We took a train and then a bus to the foothills of the Inca site. We hired one of the guides on site and began our hike. We walked through the ruins and came face to face with Machu Picchu. As we scaled the mountains, we were briefed on how Machu Picchu was created manually by the Inca people. Every rock, every stone was carried and placed strategically. As an engineer, I couldn’t help but marvel at the masterpiece ahead of me.

 

With every step that I took scaling Machu Picchu I felt serenity engulf me. Post cards and pictures could not do justice to the magnificence of the place. We were told they limit the number of people hiking Machu Picchu to 80 a day. We were fortunate to have hiked Machu Picchu and will always remain spellbound and humbled by the experience.

Helicoptering through California

On a bright and sunny April day, my husband and I stood at the Bay Aerial tours gates waiting to be let in. We had come here few weeks before hoping to helicopter our way through the Bay Area sights. The ride was at 4:00pm. The pilot checked the weather prior to taking us to the helicopter, and as we sat there watching the live doppler of the area, we could see fog slowly cover the horizon. We were bummed but needless to say we decided to postpone it. Mr D(my husband) was upset that his surprise was out of the bag. So here we were on our second try to go on our helicopter ride.

 

The gates opened and we were carted to our personal helicopter. That’s right, we owned a helicopter for one hour and it was amazing! I guess I know what it feels to be rich. The helicopter ride was my birthday gift from Mr. D. He had me in the loops for weeks until the weather cleared up, often throwing hints at me. Sometimes he asked me the one question you ask no woman, “What is your weight?”. He hates flights, and helicopter was a no-no in our marriage contract. I am not good with surprises. It’s not that I hate surprises as much as I cannot stand the suspense around it. This was one of the best surprises ever next to the time he got me books as a Valentine’s day gift. Books are my diamonds, and I was on cloud nine. For the adrenalin junkie in me, the helicopter ride was a close second. Knowing how much he absolutely hated flying, I definitely appreciated the gift much more.

 

We were summarized on some of the do’s and don’ts of the aerial tour. It was take off time, and as the helicopter fans started roaring I could feel my heartbeat increase from the adrenalin in my system. Most people who read my blog know I suffer from motion sickness. I was prepared with  my dramamine, although the cocky me thought I would not need it. As the helicopter made its first turn, I felt my stomach in my throat. That was 10 min into the 1 hr of our time slot. The ride took us through Oakland, San Francisco, Angel Island, Half Moon Bay, Alcatraz and finally back to redwood city airport. My absolute favorite was when the helicopter flew below the Golden Gate Bridge. My other favorite was seeing some parts of the San Andreas fault near Half Moon Bay.

 

I have seen San Francisco several times before, but flying over San Francisco skyline was amazing. While the winds were still a little unsettled considering we were flying at 11am which made the ride bumpy, the beautiful scenery around made it an amazing adventure. I have always felt a certain serendipity with nature, and flying over God’s wonderful artistry had me spellbound. In spite of how horrible I felt with every turn of the helicopter, I would do the helicopter ride a million times again. I cannot guarantee Mr D would be along for the ride.

 

Here are some pictures from our amazing helicopter ride!

 

 

Nostalgic Bangalore

Long before the travel bug took me to exotic places, I was a young kid growing up in Bangalore, India. Today Bangalore has been replaced by Bengaluru, the cool untainted air has been replaced by the pollution from the IT industry but the one thing that has never been replaced is the childhood memories Bangalore has always evoked in me. The streets of Bangalore holds stories of my childhood, playing street cricket with the boys, crushes and puppy love and the place I spent the best years of my life with the man whose dimples made my heart flutter- my dad or Acha as I called him in my language.

 

Bangalore is often called the garden city of India. The city has many iconic parks such as Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh. Cubbon Park is Bangalore’s Central Park that sits in the bustling business district in Bangalore. The park is encrusted by the Vidhana Soudha, the legislative chamber of the state government, Central Library and High Court.  My first memories of Cubbon Park includes going there from my school in kindergarten. We went on a field trip to the park which is India is fondly called picnic. I have been to the park several times in my years of living in Bangalore and recently introduced the Park to my husband when we visited India in 2009. It continues to evoke nostalgia in me. Lal Bagh is an Botanical garden in Bangalore which houses several varieties of trees and plants. The gardens spreads across 240 acres and was laid out in 1760 by Hyder Ali. I have spent several hours in Lal Bagh with my friends and family. I learned the species of plants walking through Lal Bagh holding my dad’s hands and in those moments I learned to love gardening.

 

Growing up in India in the 90’s, one spent most of their time playing with family and friends. During one such summer when my cousins visited Bangalore from the Middle East, we ended up visiting Tipu Sultan’s Palace in Bangalore. The Palace is well preserved with history and the artifacts are reminiscent to the era gone by. Tipu Sultan ruled over Bangalore 1800’s and was very powerful as a ruler. He is iconic to the history of India, and his palaces can be found in Mysore and Bangalore. Bangalore is iconic for shopping, and is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in India. MG Road in Bangalore has an array of stores and brand names. Today, there are malls all over the city but in the 90’s MG Road was the fashion hub of Bangalore. For kids like me, a trip to MG Road was similar to going to disneyland. Shops like Big Kids Kemp had people dressed up as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

 

While Bangalore is a metropolitan, there are several places around the city where one can spend a weekend enjoying nature or history depending upon their fancy. Mysore, near Bangalore is home to Tipu Sultan’s historic Palaces. If nature feeds your fancy, there are several waterfalls around Bangalore such as the magnificent Jog Falls, Shivasamudra Water Falls. Jog Falls is my absolute favorite. Labeled India’s second highest plunging waterfall, the drop is estimated to be about 253m. If coffee is in your staple, a trip to the coffee mecca near Bangalore called Coorg is an absolute must. Coorg borders Karnataka and Kerala. While coffee draws people to Coorg, the beautiful talakaveri brings the locals in heaps. River Cauveri that runs through Bangalore and is the main source of water begins at Talakaveri.
As I started writing this blog, I realized I had not seen many of  the tourist spots of Bangalore having lived there for over 12 years of my life. Yet, I decided to write this blog because Bangalore is more than a city to me, Bangalore is home. It evokes memories of the days I spent with my dad before he passed away, it reminds me of a carefree time in my life. The streets signal memories of cricket. Irrespective of where the journey has taken me, or where my physical address resides, Bangalore will forever be home.

 

Conquering the world one word at a time!

%d bloggers like this: