One of this year’s European Capitals of Culture (the other being Stavanger in Norway), the city seemed to be gearing up for a summer influx of tourists with scaffolding everywhere and road works being undertaken in earnest.
The Riad – A home away from home
We spent most of the five days in Marrakech, in Southern Morocco, a couple of hours away from the sea. We decided to stay in a riad which are old Moroccan homes converted into guesthouses. They usually have 3-5 rooms each and the owners or care takers stay on the premises. You get home cooked meals, a flavor of Moroccan life, and a chance to meet other tourists as well.
Riad Ghallia – on Derb El Khemis, Place Mokhef
Ever so often… usually when I’m stuck in traffic for about 45 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon, I claim that I want to run away to a more pleasant environs. Where there are rolling meadows and clear air and clean water and… well… pretty much nothing else.
About 20 minutes into ‘sitting quietly and contemplating nature’ and I want to run to a coffee shop, take in a movie and shop at my neighbourhood grocery for everything from instant rava dosa mix to olives stuffed with pimientos.
As I said, I’m a city girl.
But on a recent excursion into more pristine environs, I had the luck to catch some of mother nature’s truly outstanding creations.
Picture taken by Appa during Whale watching trip in Junea, Alaska. May-Jun 2007
Susegad, is a way of life in Goa. It’s roots lie in the portugese word socegado which – loosely transalated – means ‘laid back’. A less charitable reviewer even called it ‘indolent’.
What is true however, is that the pace of life in Goa is slower, much slower than anything I’ve ever experienced.
In our quest to have a ‘real beach holiday’ we scouted around for a quiet, non-touristy beach. We finally hit the jackpot in South Goa near Palolem where we found a piece of unspoiled coast. For as far as the eye could see, we were the only ones on the beach. Four days with no cellphone access was a completely new experience for me. I’d never been so ‘out of touch’.
It all started when this modern day Cinders expressed a desire to see Bombay. (Do you also get the feeling that this is going to be a long story?)
Until about a year ago, my only memories of Bombay were of its airports. Our flight would land at Sahar International in the middle of the night. My mum and I would then spend several hours hunting down, variously :
* The uncle designated to fly down from Chennai to escort us back home
* A luggage trolley for our Delsey bags filled with Camay soap, Pistas and Charlie purses.
* The Airport Manager who, for some reason, was usually more well hidden than most guerrilla fighters are.
After moving to Ahmedabad, I now get to see Santa Cruz on a more regular basis. Alas! Many many things have changed since I was a kid. The city is called Mumbai now. Everything else is now named after Shivaji, including both airports, a train terminus, about three roads and several tea stalls.
To cut a long story to about medium length, after having seen nothing of Bombay except the airports and the consulate, I decided it was time to remedy the situation. Which is how I landed up in Bombay last weekend.