Newsbytheway's Blog

January 6, 2010

New Delhi to London.. Via Colombo and Male

Filed under: Travelogue — Rabea Khan @ 10:15 am
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Money can make you do crazy things. Crazy enough, that in order to save some you can convince yourself to take a 24-hour journey to a destination 9 hours away. I was crazy.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

1910 I boarded the Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 196 to Colombo. It was slightly delayed but I didn’t let myself  to get annoyed  too much.  After all it’s just a pre cursor to my journey. Food: passé .In-flight entertainment: nil.

2300 I landed in Colombo. My flight to London is scheduled at 1115 next day. I am so not looking forward to spending a night at the airport.  Disembarking from the plane I vowed never to book a multi-stop flight, no matter how cheap it is.

I contacted the information counter, to figure out which lounge will be my destination for the night. She forwarded me to the transfer counter saying that you’ll be provided with accommodation in a hotel.  Suddenly the idea of taking a via Colombo flight didn’t seem so stupid. Bless you Sri Lankan airlines.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

0100 I reached the hotel called Brown’s Beach.  My expectations weren’t too high. Was just glad to be able to see the city, breathe the fresh air, even if it was for few hours.  Receptionist gave me a form to fill up and directed me to a lounge sofa. I look up and realized that I was just 50 feet away from the beach. It was a beach resort! God bless Sri Lankan airlines.

0715 I woke up and it took me few minutes to realize where I am.  My cab is expected at 0830. I got ready quickly so that I can grab a few bites aka breakfast buffet before I leave for the airport. The receptionist gave me the news that my flight is delayed and the cab will now be coming @ 0950. I never thought one can be happy when flights are delayed. Bless you Sri Lankan airlines.

I thought of utilizing my time by having a lazy breakfast and take a stroll at the beach. After a quick stroll I ventured out of the hotel. It’s still early in the morning so shops are closed and there is nothing much to explore. I returned to the hotel looking forward to a coffee and some sunbathing on the beach.

The transit holiday was uneventful till an elderly man approached me. He looked decent and I thought he was just trying to have a polite conversation with a fellow countryman. After exchanging niceties I was bidding him goodbye. He replied smiling

“ Why are you in such a hurry? We can spend some time together, if you want I can come to your room.”

I stared and curtly replied “ no thanks” and left hurriedly.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

Fuming I reached the lobby. The cab hasn’t arrived yet. Gladly there was a wedding photo shoot taking place at  the beach with a  pretty bridesmaids and a lovely bride in white flowing gown. Quite a picturesque setting. It did uplift my mood.

1000 I left from the hotel looking forward to seeing the city in the daytime.  Driver was nice and chatty and gave me an express tour of the town.  I reached airport by 1030

1400 Flight UL 509 took off from Colombo finally. I was seated next to a chatty woman from Maldives. A bollywood enthusiast, she knew more gossips about the Indian film stars than me. We reached Male, Maldives @ 1515 on an airport situated literally in the sea. Amazing.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

1615 We took off from Male for our final destination, London. I was again seated next a woman from Maldives and I realized that I am capable for not speaking for half a day, even if some one is just sitting next to me. We didn’t exchange a single word. At least the aircraft had a TV set. I watched four movies.

0400 I am at last in London. Local time 2230. Temperature: -3.  Lowest temperature I have ever experienced. Thankfully the cab I have booked was prompt and I reached uni in no time.

Overall it wasn’t such a bad experience, long journeys can be fun too.

I asked myself, Will I do it again? No way.

I am not crazy.


December 22, 2009

Goa: Whose paradise is it anyway?

Filed under: Travelogue — Rabea Khan @ 6:52 pm
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Goa, the Miami of India, defines cosmopolitan in its true sense. It’s so cosmopolitan that an Indian can end up feeling like a tourist in his/her own country.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

It was my second trip to Goa. Nothing has changed. It still welcomes you with a breezy embrace on its sunny beaches.  The smallest state of India, Goa, has the biggest heart. Just a stroll on its beaches and lanes will make you realize why.

Here you’ll find more foreigners than Indians. And more importantly more foreigners who have made this beautiful place their home. Most of them living here are on long vacations with their families. They live in nice little cottages on the beach living their dream. Goa is the Bahamas of the not so affluent. It’s cheap, beautiful and feels like home.

Paradise for newlyweds

The other category of people who one will come across in Goa are the Indian honeymoon couples.  They stand out on the beaches walking hand in hand coyly unlike the foreigners who just blend in. Infact non-Indians are an indispensable part of the backdrop of Goa, swimming and sun bathing on its beaches.

You may find few odd Indian honeymooners venturing into the waters. But they are an exception rather than the rule. And sighting an Indian couple in swimsuits is like spotting a rare species while bird watching.  Usually you will find the husband in his shorts enjoying a quick dip while the wife gives him the company from the shore, jeans rolled up till knees.

It’s true that though Goa has opened its heart, Indians are still too conservative to embrace it. While the foreigners have not only accepted the city, they have made it into their home.

No wonder then that for most Indians going to Goa feels like going out of the country.While for those who come from abroad, it feels like coming home.

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