Saturday 30 November 2013

DAY 30 – New York

And finally, Day 30 arrives and with it comes the wisdom of being another year older. I'm 30. And I feel good about it. I didn't think I would though. I expected myself to be sad about the things I haven't yet done or being 'old' per say. But I feel good. I look back at my little accomplishments and feel grateful for life's opportunities. It truly has been a good run so far, and I know I can only expect better to come. So, to all my readers, thank you for joining me on this journey. I promise the ride along will only be more awesome!

And now, the destination I chose for my grand 30th birthday...

Walking in New York city is like walking inside a movie. The streets, buildings, subways, parks and yellow cabs, everything about this city has been beautifully represented in cinema for decades. The Empire State building in Sleepless in Seattle, Wollman’s Rink in Central Park in Serendipity, Times Square in New Year’s Eve, Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Katz's Delicatessen in When Harry Met Sally, to name only a few. Everywhere you walk, a movie scene pops into your head and gives you a feeling of reliving it in real-time. You can’t help but feel alive with the magnetic energy that surrounds you.


Before I chose New York as the destination to celebrate my 30th birthday, most of my friends asked me why I wanted to visit a destination I already had instead of opting for a new one. I didn’t have a very convincing answer for them, but I just knew I wanted to be in NYC. It is the only city I wish to live in. The eclecticism of the people who inhabit it and the general vibe of the city is intoxicating. I wanted to walk the streets in the chilly winter in with a cup of eggnog latte in my hand and smile gleefully at passer-bys as I rediscover the city.

Besides, NYC cannot be explored in just one trip; there’s so much to see and do.

On this trip, I wanted to get to know the city’s different neighbourhoods better. So to start with, I took a historic tour of Harlem with Big Onion Tours and a food tour of Brooklyn with Urban Oyster. I will be sharing individual posts on each soon, so more on that later. I also attended two fun events through Couchsurfing giving me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and discussing facets of our individual cultures. My birthday was quiet, but really nice. Since I was at the food tour in Brooklyn, Joe, our guide, was kind enough to get me a cupcake and have the group sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. It all went well till they reached ‘happy birthday to…’ and a long pause ensued. Awkward! Anyhow, I ended the day hanging out with new friends at my hostel. Truly, it was a memorable one, just like I hoped it would be.

My birthday cupcake at One Girl Cookies, Brooklyn 


Friday 29 November 2013

DAY 29 – Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

A palace in the middle of the desert where every meal of the day is a royal feast and your every need is fulfilled in an instant—if that isn’t a trip fit for royalty, I don’t know what is. This is exactly how my first visit to Jaisalmer played out. Sure, there were wide expanses of sand dunes and camels riding along, but then there was Suryagarh. A hotel that resembles a fortress of yore, Suryagarh exudes sheer luxury with spacious bedrooms, a well-stocked bar and restaurant, an in-house spa, a swimming pool and gym.


But being treated like royalty wasn’t the most interesting part of my trip. It was also a chance to meet a group of talented travel bloggers from different parts of the country. Sometimes you’re so caught up in doing your day job, you let your passion take a backseat. I needed to be reminded about what I truly love; and interacting with these bloggers got me back on track to focusing on my blog and sharing my travels with people. More reason to travel, no?

FINALLY! DAY 30 – New York

Thursday 28 November 2013

DAY 28 – Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

I’d visited Mussoorie before, but this trip was different. This time, it was more than a stopover. It was a vacation in the clouds.

Chai from the tapri, fried pakodas, fried jalebis, steamed momos and ice cream. 

Oh, there was also pizza and pancakes. Okay, maybe it was more of a food tour.

But the highlight of the trip was meeting legendary author Ruskin Bond. As we walked along Mall Road, we came across Cambridge Bookstore, which had a board mentioning Mr Bond’s visit. It said he’d be at the store for two hours interacting with readers and signing their books. I took this opportunity to do a quick interview with him (you can read it here). This truly was a moment of sheer luck and I’m glad that for once, I was at the right place at the right time. 

Wednesday 27 November 2013

DAY 27 – Chicago

It’s called the ‘windy city’. And they are not exaggerating. It was a cold day in February when I spent the day in Chicago; and the piercing wind literally feels like a slap on your face. I think at one point my face froze for several minutes, causing my words to lose their flow and come out as a stutter instead. So my advice? Layer up.

Since I was barely in Chicago for a day, I followed the tourist trail.

Millennium Park
Art installations, open-air concerts, cultural programs and an ice skating rink, Millennium Park is always buzzing with activity all-year-round. They have new activities every week, check out their monthly schedule here.

Willis Towers
Undoubtedly one of most popular attractions in Chicago, the observation deck—also called the Skydeck—lies on the 103rd floor. This Skydeck has a glass ledge balcony that extends 4.3 feet, where you can look straight down 1,353 feet. Aside from the view that is incredible from such a great height, it’s the excitement of standing on transparent glass looking at the world below. Do not miss this thrill when in Chicago. Touristy or not, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Museum of Science and Industry
Opened way back in 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry is home to more than 35,000 artifacts. The exhibits are detailed and easy to comprehend even for children, making it a great source for learning for both, kids and adults. You'd be surprised at the things you can learn even at the age of 28. They even have LIVE science experiences too that you can participate in. Find our more before you visit: click here.

NEXT: DAY 28 – Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

Tuesday 26 November 2013

DAY 26 – Las Vegas, USA

The thing with Vegas is, if you can remember your trip there or you didn’t get married via an Elvis impersonator, then what was the point of your visit? Well, I hate to dampen the enthusiasm a Las Vegas post would bring, but I fell ill on what was going to be a mind-blowing weekend. However, I did stay at The Venetian and watch the Cirque du Soleil performance, which in effect was ‘mind-blowing’. Here are some photographs of the infamous Las Vegas strip seen in over a hundred films and TV shows.

NEXT: DAY 27 – Chicago