Hop on a hot air ballon in Cambodia, Siem Reap

The joys of ballooning! Standing unharnessed in the wicker basket, flying and swaying gently with the wind, almost makes me believe it to be like the planquins of the gods:-)

This ride takes me back to Jaipur and the hot air balloon there, going up reaching the skies early morning and near sunset- magical, so adventourous!

However getting into a balloon for a ride or getting off it, is not as easy as getting into a bus, or tying a seatbelt in an aircraft, The 6500m balloon needs to be inflated with not hot air cannons that spew air but with an inflator fan!

There are no ladders to climb into the ballon when inflated and looking gigantic- you simply hop on into the basket which also stores lpg gas cylinders that pump air into the hot air balloon during the flight,

I was so captivated with this balloon and the skies and the ride I forgot I had my camera for clickling photos with me! Passing over pvt pools, and castles and heritage sites, with people below all reduced to a mere speck! I eventually went trigger happy.

An expereince worth having I promise:-)


Inquisition at Kabini Jungle Resort

The evening sun slid down in the horizon as we stood silently with the jeep’s engine off, watching a baby elephant stand right in the middle of our path in the jungle!

Within touching distance under the headlights of the jeep we were completely struck by the beauty of nature and how this baby looked so lost

Barely had few seconds elapsed, when the roar of a heard of elephants echoed all around us, dust was swirling with much snorting and stumping! The driver switched off the jeep lights afraid the elephants would attack us all; we were now surrounded by darkness, our eyes adjusting slowly to the natural night-light

The baby elephant was now surrounded by a giant heard of elephants who came threateningly close to our jeeps with their trunks up, making angry noises. The message was clear ‘it is our land”.

This heard stood in our path for an eternity I had forgotten my camera, and wondered in my head several times what if they attacked our open jeep? The driver had no weapon on him- we were unarmed and miraculously alive after such a thrilling episode of our lives! In the time the elephants glared and snorted at us angrily standing barely 6 feet away I felt afraid with this raw power of animals, felt meek in front of this giant sized animal, felt humbled by natures magic of such diversity and yet so similar to a mother protecting her child in my world,

The 20 odd herd of elephants decided to move onwards to their home in the night and the driver visibly shaken – he has been driving this jeep for the last 20years and had never felt so threatened he said to us later - we slowly brought the engine alive, put the headlights back on and made our way with stealth back to the jungle resort lights


Ibiza in Bentota

Surfing is an art, a sport, perhaps even a small science, but in Sri Lanka, Bentota it is simple fun, provided you are in luck. The waters are clean and the beaches prettily shaded with palms, but at times the sea gets rough. It is the same beach that saw 10 feet high waves during tsunami, but you’d never figure that looking at the plush hotels and resorts lining the coast.

Many friends got themselves a surfing instructor and that added a sense of adventure to the holiday there. Otherwise this town is a bland resort town teeming with rich Europeans in fragrant corridors

Colombo is comparable to Marine Drive in Bombay. A walk on this promenade is a perfect way to sample a local hangout, if you were stretched for time like I was. It is bustling with candyfloss sellers, street food vendors, hundreds of couples holding umbrellas intact in the face of the sea winds, children frolicking in the water and families out for a fun evening. This is also a city that incorporates the finer things in life such as art, exhibitions, dance, and drama and not to forget great food for non-vegetarians.

Sri Lankans are happy people, humble and tanned. To be on the move in local transport here means you have to ride in a deep red auto rickshaw to feel the Sinhalese power.
There are Tata buses too and the funny vehicles dragged by generator -run engines. There is no better way to interact with locals than to board their local vehicles

And if you are a veggie like me- hunt hard and far for a veg. restaurant besides your own hotel resort. Best luck!