• Travel

    Guest Post: Traditional Dubai

    Hello guys, welcome to a guest post from Neha who blogs at Dubaiwikia.  Dubai, the capital of glitz and glamour has a charming traditional side to it which brings to mind its transformation from a pearl diving and fishing village to the cosmopolitan giant it is now. Dubai’s history, along with that of the UAE, goes back for millennia. The city has a rich culture and a richer background which forms a tapestry of traditional jewels that adds to Dubai’s charm. Here are glimpses of Dubai’s traditional elements. You’ll see from them that the pearl-diving village still exists, underneath the glamorous layers. Al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood The Bastikaya Quarter, or old Dubai,…

  • Travel

    The Tall, Taller and Tallest in Manhattan

    “You can do what you like, sir, but I’ll tell you this. New York is the true capital of America. Every New Yorker knows it, and by God, we always shall.” That’s not me spouting off biased and borrowed wisdom in my two days of being here. I am not a New Yorker yet. I do not know if I shall ever be one in my heart. The quote is from ‘New York’, a historical novel by British author Edward Rutherford. If you like the kind of bulky tomes that you can hurl at people (who annoy you) and thereby cause serious injury, Rutherford is your man. If you are the kind…

  • Travel

    The Manhattan Story

    His face etched by age, the man in front of Big Wong stood with a faraway look in his face, his hands busy stuffing golden tobacco into the thin stem that stuck out from the side of a wooden bong. That’s not the bongo which would imply an antelope, or on the other end of the spectrum, a drum. But since you can spot our man in the featured photograph with the bong in his hand (behind the potbellied man in the blue tee), you could safely cross out both antelope and drum-shaped possibilities. Instead, you can probably figure out that the bong is a pipe with a filtration device that allows…

  • europe,  Travel

    Even a Shed in Ravello Would Do

    On the other side of Scala, far from the crowds of the Amalfi Coast is Ravello. The town hugs the top of a ridge that looks out onto the Gulf of Salerno. Our very first sight of it and we were irrevocably, irreversibly hooked. If a fairy godmother materialised and swished her wand for me, I would ask for a home in Ravello, on those mountains with a view of the inky Tyrrhenian. We would then be residents of a town with a history that goes back all the way to the 5th century when it was founded as refuge from attacks by barbarians. In time, it became a wool-producing, trading powerhouse in association…

  • europe,  Travel

    The Amalfi Dream

    On the string bean of a road on the Amalfi coastline, it is imperative that you shall be caught in the midst of substantial traffic jams. You will hear a fair bit of Italian cursing or laughter — depending upon the mood of the driver. You will also peek out of your window, curious about the ado, till you spot the troublemaker. A man in a blush pink blazer getting into his ramshackle car with a sheepish smile and a few scusas and molto bene grazies. But he has had his coffee, thank you. Such important matters of life are not to be bypassed in Italy even if it means that you park your…

  • Travel

    Girona

    Girona was mine when I walked its medieval ramparts. It was in the early half of February of this year, a grey day when the drab skies above my head seemed to intensify the cold in the ancient town that is located in Spain’s Catalonia region. The bitterness  of the day meant that I beheld a deserted town, but I was not going to bemoan the lack of day-trippers for the desolation compounded the aura of antiquity that hung around its terracotta roofs. I took the train from Barcelona Sants to Girona, early one morning. Forty minutes later I was transported to another world when I started climbing a certain…