Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the month “February, 2014”

Travel photos: Beautiful Nepal

I was recently in Nepal for a couple of days. Such a gorgeous country only an hour away from Delhi. When the plane comes closer to the tarmac, the majestic Himalayas beckon – come play they say. There are places in Kathmandu which amaze you, transport you back centuries… The food, oh my the divine food, the taste still lingers… If you ever get the chance head to Nepal because one trip  is never enough… Here’s my visual ode to the beautiful country…

(All pictures have been taken with Nikon Coolpix L26)

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The prayer flags… blowin’ in the wind at Swayambhu

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The arduous climb is totally worth the view from the top

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Prayer wheels

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A Nepalese thali

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Views from Durbar Square

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Sunset from Boudhanath Stupa

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The setting sun from the lap of the Himalayas – at Nagarkot

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Zip, zip… zoom!

I moved a step forward, to the edge of the wooden floor about five storeys up. The couple next to me seemed nervous. Harnessed together, the woman squeezed her partner’s shoulder anxiously. The husband smiled reassuringly, “It will be fun,” he said. I looked to my right. A young guy, his face was radiant. “Let’s go for it,” he shouted.

I looked down. Barring the thick white ropes, all I could see was green. A canopy of trees overshadowing everything. Then, slightly afar, white sand leading up to a small man-made island on the sea shores. I really couldn’t wait. I wanted to zip across to the other side immediately!

Yes, it was my first time zip lining. I’ve always been an adreneline junkie, waiting to try something new very possible day. It’s the thrill, the first gush of excitement that grips you… it’s addictive, very addictive.

Sentosa in Singapore has something for everybody. While there recently, I had to try ziplining because my recent attempts to try it in India had failed. (Twice I’ve had to cancel my trip to Rajasthan because of work.) But not this time.

The only possible time I ever get scared is when I stand on the weighing machine! Never when I’m actually doing the stunt. Anyhow, weighed in, harnessed and standing on my tiptoes, I couldn’t wait to start zipping. Soon the safety door opened and I was suspended in mid air, my red sweater flapping in the wind. I gripped the rope once and as the mechanism started, I let go.

Cutting across the wind as it grazed my cheeks, I felt alive. My long hair kept blocking my view, of the greens — light and dark with specks of gold — but I didn’t care. I didn’t shout neither did I scream unlike the people on my right and left. I was at peace. The only fault with the whole experience was that it finished before it began! Once I landed on the other side (you can see the gorgeous spot in the picture below), my only thought was — when can I do it again!

A memento from Sentosa

A memento from Sentosa

Have you ever tried zip lining? 

When Singapore came calling

Sunset at Sentosa

Sunset at Sentosa

I always love going back to Singapore. This time round was no different. The moment the wheels hit the Changi tarmac, a big smile plastered across my face. Why you ask? Well, only because Singapore is heaven for street food lovers!

I went back after a while this time. The immediate impressions hadn’t changed since the last time I was there – the locals love their shopping and fitness mantras. I’m not really a shopper nor do I tend to work out as much as I would like to, but the most important thing prevalent there is the love for food among the people. They seriously eat five-six meals a day. And with such a strategic location geographically, Singapore’s cuisine is a melting pot of varied cultures and influences. Indian, Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai or local Singaporean, every bite is orgasmic.

The Marina Bay Sands is really hard to miss!

The Marina Bay Sands is really hard to miss!

Yes, yes I did fall into the tourist trap the last time I was there. From visiting Sentosa to Marina Bay Sands, taking pictures at China Town to drinking at Clarquay. Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff but this time I wanted to do newer things, eat better, see the fireworks (thank you Chinese New Year)!

It’s the year of the horse. I was lucky to be staying near China Town because the whole of New Bridge Road is decorated with gorgeous paper lanterns and horses. As dusk sets in, the street lights up giving everyone a perfect opportunity to take pictures. With ample time on my hands in the evenings (it was a work trip after all) what better way to explore the city than eat my way around town!

China Town in the morning

China Town in the morning

It's the year of the horse!

It’s the year of the horse!

Chinese New Year decorations

Chinese New Year decorations

I participated in Yu Sheng (the communal tossing of a raw fish salad) which ushers in the new year. Each element of the salad symbolises an important aspect of life and tossing it together (the higher you go the better) is supposed to bring you good luck and health. Well, fingers crossed! (For the record, head to StraitsKitchen at the Grand Hyatt for a buffet lunch. Serving local and South eastern delicacies, it will be worth every penny)

The salad was gorgeous, bursting with flavours

The salad was gorgeous, bursting with flavours

Tossing and tossing!

Tossing and tossing!

How do you spend your evenings? Well, personally, I love heading to Clarkquay or Arab Street with friends. Oh did I mention I have friends in the country? I’m so glad I got to meet some of them during this short trip because its been a while. Its always wonderful to catch up on gossip over margherita pitchers or mouthwatering shawarmas. (Do try Blu Jaz at Arab Street. The atmosphere and crowd is great, so is their mozzarella sticks and Arayes).

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Surprise surprise!

Surprise surprise!

If you want a glimpse into Singapore’s past, head to the Fullerton Hotel. A grand building which used to house the GPO, its a city landmark. And if you’re lucky, you can catch a spectacular fireworks show (again, thank you new year celebrations). Purple, green and golden, beautiful colours lit up the the night sky as surprised, tourists and locals alike, stood amazed, gaping at the spectacle.

The iconic building

The iconic building

Cappuccino at the Fullerton

Cappuccino at the Fullerton

The one thing I do like to shop for is shoes. Not Carrie Bradshaw crazy but yes, I like to keep a pair or two. So, what do I do? Head to Bugis for a good bargain. For all you shoppers, go there for good deals on dresses, bags and shoes. Vibrant colours and lavish designs will make the shopper in you scream out. Also, the cheese pancakes and iced juices (I love the cherry apple and dragonfruit flavours) ain’t that bad!

For good deals!

For good deals!

Most tourists love to head to Marina Bay Sands to take a picture of the Singapore skyline. It’s gorgeous yes, but once the new sports hub opens, the views from there will trump everything. It’s still underconstruction but I was left very impressed. It’s going to be huge and if they deliver on their promises, I think Singapore will be the new sports hub thanks to the facilities.

View from the sports hub

View from the sports hub

Now, I promised you streetfood. One generally finds noodles or rice as the staple. That is garnished with beef, chicken or gorgeous fresh seafood. Thick coconut milk and chillies, oh my mouth waters as I think about it. The beef rendang, cockles or prawn laksa, nasi lemak, chicken rice, chilli mud crabs, char kway teow, prawn hokkien mee, satays, oyster omelette… the possibilities are endless. And if you’re feeling brave, try the pig intestine soups or stirfrys. They are simply delicious. How do you go about it? Just head to the nearest hawker centre (Adam Food Court is my personal favourite) and indulge. Singapore is literally a food paradise and you can’t go wrong. Thanks to the low prices, one can often indulge in good quality dishes without burning a hole in the pocket. I love the fact that you can walk into a food court, select your food which will then be freshly made. Add the embellishments and dig in with chopsticks, a good meal under 7 SDG.

You can't go wrong with food

You can’t go wrong with food

And more food

And more food

Bring on the prawns!

Bring on the prawns!

Oh chicken rice and satays!

Oh chicken rice and satays!

This trip was short, too short for my liking but I hope to be back soon. Very soon.

Bye bye Singapore port

Bye bye Singapore port

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