Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Due to the extra rains this year, the desert bloom was supposed to be intense. We probably missed the best of it, but it was still pretty at the Anza Borrego State Park near San Diego. More than the flowers, I actually enjoyed the top-down driving through the windy roads leading in and out of the park on a sunny but cool day. A few photos (still need to learn all the settings for better output from my p&s).
Just some rambles to take advantage of free airport wifi.
Not the most pleasant thing to do on very early Monday morning…..but there I go again – all the way across the country this time. And I am holding on to my car keys with dear life this time around.
So Sunday included a five hours round trip drive (fortunately, I wasn’t driving) to essentially get Biryani from a Bangladeshi place in LA. Then being a total Bong bhadralok & buying lots of fish (which in a very non-typical Bong manner, I will actually will not eat – yes I know, Bongs have been trying to disown me on this technicality for a while). Plus a bunch of old Bong movie DVDs.
Yes – they do have biryani in SD, but not the aromatic, slightly moist with ghee and pieces of of succulent, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of mutto type of biryani. Delicious stuff.
It was universally agreed upon that LA has the fugliest downtown in America.
But plane-spotting is definitely fun near LAX. Especially if you can get a seat outside at the In-and-Out on Century Blvd. Heaven for airplane-geeks.
The part of LA where biryani and fish were picked up could very well be in a different country. Driving north on S Vermont Ave, every sign is in Korean (and every other shopfront offer acupuncture and some sort of herbal therapy). A few Bengali signs after that.
Watched bits and pieces of the Oscars while devouring said biryani. Under-whelmed. Both by the ceremonies, and most of the live-tweets.
What was with the people going on and on introducing the best actor/actress nominees ? Looked very awkward. IMHO, only Colin Ferrel was able to pull it off. And the sudden ending was weird as well. Like the theater caretaker was pointing to his watch and asking people to hurry along and finish up, he had to lockup and leave before his diner closed up.
Guy behind me: I don’t need to know the entire love-life, breakup and therapy of whoever you are talking to very loudly on the phone with.
Gearing up for almost a week at San Francisco to attend the Biophysical Society annual meeting. Easily my favorite conference, which features not only cool science, but lots of fun people (and errr…..some irritatingly nerdy ones too) to meet-up with. Plus, looking forward to hanging out with the good folks from down under. Good amount of drinking is in the forecast (given that it seems like weather will be kinda dreary).
Suggestions for watering holes and brekkie/coffee joints near the downtown area will be highly appreciated (I am scouring Yelp, but recos always help).
Off to my favorite scientific conference. I wish the organizers had chosen a warmer clime, but then hopefully the science within the heated indoors will more than make up for it. So here is looking forward to meeting old friends, making new ones, networking, and of course, some awesome science.
After the conference, a bit of nothing to do (unless someone wants to offer me a job interview ) and then San Francisco for a couple of days.
Any lurkers from Boston/Bay Area, give a toot. Beer shall be consumed in good company then.
…actually no, it isn’t (but I do love the Alvin and the Chipmunks version of the song).
Warm (~30Celcius) weather and long summer days does not put one into the same type of holiday mood as does a good covering of white fluffy snow on the ground. Add to that a curious lack of carols and songs on the radio, malls and cafeteria here in Oz. Not even much of Christmas-like decorations in our neighborhood. So all in all, not the usual x-mas mood I have been used for the eight odd years in the US.
But hey, if it something the Aussies do well – it is taking holidays, partying, and fun-stuff like drinking.
Speaking of drinking, Christmas in summer means that the usual egg-nog (with a good amount of brandy) is not such a good option. Hence , to enjoy the holidays, I made up this sweeter derivative of the classic Mint Julep:
A Festive Julep
Muddle 1-2 teaspoon of sugar with 5-6 mints leaves and a dash of water. Add crushed ice (it is important to add crushed ice to this drink instead of cubes) and pour 2 oz (60ml) Kentucky Bourbon (or Jack Daniels) and 2oz (60ml) Southern Comfort mix lightly and top off with sparkling water. Finally, drop in a maraschino cherry (add a bit of the syrup too if you want it even sweeter).
Traditionally a drink associated with southern USA, especially the Kentucky Derby, this is quite a refreshing cocktail. Santa would appreciate at the end of the gift runs !
Merry Christmas, happy holidays etc !
Me, I am off to Melbourne tomorrow (sadly not in attendance at the MCG for Boxing Day though), with a drive along the Great Ocean Road, and checking out the vineyards of the Barossa and McLaran Vales in store.
Watching the majestic flying machines take-off/land , or simply taxi along, while the sun sets in the background……all the while sipping on a Sapphire-and-tonic (no Vermouth available, hence the second choice) – and playing with a new toy and blogging (courtesy free wifi at the Royal Silk Lounge)……..goes a long way towards taking the pain off a 16-hour layoff at a not too passenger friendly airport (I have been spoiled by Singapore’s Changi)
1: Of all commercial airplanes, and that includes the Concorde and the recent A-380s, dont you agree that the Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo’ jets are the most majestic.
…but I am too tired. The heat, humidity and traffic in Kolkata is getting to me, as is the intricate bureaucratic set-up that is the local passport office and the police.
In other news, had a quick, pleasant mid-week trip to Mumbai. The main trip is next week. And still doing the rounds, trying to get a bloody Police Clearance Certificate from the Kolkata passport office.
……Bavarian beers on tap are not to be missed at the Löwenbräu Keller. The crispy and aromatic Löwenbräu Original lager is great for the middle of a hot day. In the evening, the dark, somewhat smoky, mocha-flavored wheat-beer, (Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier) is to be savored, especially satisfaying along with a shot of sour-apple schnapps.
They also have an excellent (if slightly expensive) menu consisting of hearty German
delicacies meals and a live Oom-Pah band to keep you entertained.
Oh – did I mention the gorgeous ladies dressed in traditional Bavarian garb (including bustiers) ?
Some non-touristy, possibly quirky photos from Tasmania
Launceston policemen playing cricket in the city center on Christmas Day (obviously very little crime was being committed):
Suspension bridge at the Cataract Gorge (the bridge was swinging as we crossed, but made it safely):
One of the many murals in Sheffield, a small town near the Cradle Mountains:
(all real names – and in most cases, well deserved – of places in Tasmania)
Back from an incredible time in Tasmania where the nature, people, and not to mention, the food and drink combines to provide the closest experience to heaven you can get. Details and loads of pictures soon.
A very Happy New Year to everyone. Regular programming will resume shortly.
Off to Van Diemen’s Land tomorrow. A slice of history – the original penal colonies and heritage architecture – along with pristine beaches, rainforests, mountains, highland lakes, wildlife (hopefully a sneak peak at the fabled Tasmanian Devil) etc are expected to be the highlights of the trip. Some interesting wines, local brews, fresh produces and possibly even a trip to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory should be part of the gastronomic pleasures. Will also spend the New Years Eve in Hobart on the final day of the boat race.
So a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all stumblers, lurkers and regular readers here. It has been a rather weird year personally with the sudden change in location, jobs etc. and blogging has not been at its brightest and best either. But it was also a year when a few new friends were made – both online and off. So here’s to newer mates and looking forward to more weirdness and fun in the coming year. Cheers !
PS – The only small regret is that I will possibly miss chunks of the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia. But no worries – comments, rants and arm-chair expertise will resume from the second test.
Five days of idyllic existence in an remote coral island within the Great Barrier Reef with no phone/internet/TV, not even the daily newspaper. Extensive snorkeling among colorful fishes (even some sharks), reef walking, lazy strolls on the beach, or simply gazing out towards the aquamarine blue splendor of the ocean. And of course, ample gastronomic delights. One is tempted to get used to such indulgence.
Reconnecting with reality is not easy.