Russia!

The Moment we landed, and got off the aircraft, walking towards the passport control. We knew we had arrived and waiting for Russia & Russians to welcome us. 
At the passport control, the representative kept scanning the passport and kept looking at me, without my glasses, with my glasses and what seemed to bother him the most, I believe was my Red Yankees cap. It had been fifteen minutes both my parents were now cleared, It was only me from the family that was waiting to be cleared and I guess because it was my first visa on my new passport and that too a Russian, that bothered him way too much,I guess that he couldn’t find anything more suspicious besides my “Red Yankees” that he finally set me free. And that was my “Warm welcome to Russia” 
Moscow is the capital of Russia and is named after the river  Moscow and pronounced Moskva.
The city famous landmark includes the Redsquare -The name Red Square has nothing to do with communism but derives from the word “Krasnyi”, which meant “beautiful”.
St.Basil Cathedral that was made by Ivan the terrible one of the landmark that is recognized as Moscow. The story goes Ivan the Terrible blinded the architecture after he constructed the st. Basil Cathedral. Another interesting fact about the cathedral. It was painted white to match the colour of Kremlin, the word ‘kremlin’ is used to describe a castle or an important Russian fortified complex. But, in 1700 the colours were added. And since 1990 St.Basil Cathedral has been part of Unesco Heritage Site. Moscow’s sightseeing is all around the red square, making it accessible to walk around all the sights. 
The other beauty of this city and country lies deep down underground. “The Underground Metro station” is a sight in itself with the detailing in design to the colours and style of each metro station being different right from the ancient design to the modern design the metro stations are all worth visiting. 
The Escalator lye minimum 150ft deep to 300ft.
The St. Petersburg Admiralteyskaya metro is   2nd deepest in the world.
Russia as a country was even more challenging than Japan, As here they just couldn’t understand English one bit. 
It’s a fact there are around 11 million more women than men.
We used the local “Gett” App Uber for Russia and the drivers too couldn’t understand anything, we had to always stay stationed around hotels like Four season & St.Regis to have our drivers meet us. Else we would have been fleeced and literally being taken for a ride. Traffic in Moscow is so bad that wealthy Russians hire fake ambulances to beat the jams.
St.Petersburg after being in Moscow for the last five days, we travelled to st. Petersburg- Was once named Petrograd  ‘Peters’ city but in 1991 it was renamed to its original German name “Sankt-Peterburg” in English it’s pronounced “Saint Petersburg”, It’s also the  Cultural capital of Russia with a lot of Museum’s. 
 The hermitage museum is one of the world’s largest art museum. Where even if you spend a minute admiring each art piece, you will take eleven years to see the complete collection. 
50 cats are employed in the State Hermitage. To protect the items from rats and mice.
Saint Petersburg will remind you a lot “like Venice” “Budapest” a little like  “Prague” “Germany”  and “ Amsterdam” With the bridges and the water all around The Neva river and Fontanka River. The Kazan Cathedral is best viewed from Dom Knigi “House of Books” Singer Cafe. 
The Midnight cruise from one am to two forty am is the best way to see the city by night, you can see the drawing bridges not one but a couple of them. And enjoy the sunrise at three am.
Interesting Trivia about Russia:
  • It has more time zones (11) than any other country, but only nine are used now.
  • The first railway of Russia appeared in Petersburg
  • Christ the Saviour Construction of the temple lasted for almost 44 years: it was founded in 1839, and consecrated – in 1883. It’s a unique cathedral with a height of 103,5 meters, The temple is visible from any point of the city, its bell ringing was resounded far beyond Moscow. 
  • The Hotel Astoria in St.Petersburg is where Hitler planned to hold a huge celebratory banquet once he’d conquered the city
  • Writer Alexei Tolstoi gave the cellar its name as he and others looked for a cultural refuge in the city, saying “Why are we running around like stray dogs?” And the name stuck.“The idea of the cafe was to establish a place where young creative people, maybe not always well-known, could get together, talk to each other and become inspired to create something.”

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Coorg : A Weekend Destination.  

It’s been more than a month.Since I have written a blog and the travel & work  has been one of the reasons.

This is a blog about my recent visit to Coorg. 
Having heard so much about the place and the Coffee Planation,Coorg was on my list. The journey was long and tiring ,But a very serene scenic place for the  weekendA four hour drive from Mangalore airport  through the hills and no network connection throughout is very exhausting and challenging for the ones who have been constantly connectedOnce you reach Coorg and walk in to the hotel. You are totally  walking in the woods and it’s one of the most amazing experience. The walks through the trees  overlooking greenery from the balcony is one of the most blissful experience which you wouldn’t haven’t experienced for a long time. The Walks are like treks every day, You are forced to exercise and love the healthy routine you should follow. The only sightseeing’s are the views which are like going through the sand dune safaris.  And  you are going through a rocky ride here.The corgi cuisine is very typical of the south Indian food and tasty enough to miss your diet and have a cheat day everyday

Amritsar -25th Birthday! 

You really don’t realise how long it has actually been,Until you sit down and think when was the last time… As my parents have been visiting the Golden Temple for years but for the last 5 years and I have missed the opportunity of visiting Amritsar , because of work commitments.This Year I decided for my 25th I wanted to visit the Holy city of Punjab,Amritsar.
It’s been more than two weeks already since we have got  back.But,my birthday weekend was a memorable one.Eating the typical street food from the city,Having the Banta (Lemon juice+Soda+Shikanji) a type of Lemonade.But you just don’t get the same taste.This time I watched him closely,Should try again making at home. 
The Chole+Kulcha and the Kulcha’s had the perfect weather to digest them all,When you  could  Hogg  all day.The Weather being all breezy and Cold.Couldn’t have been a better time to visit the city. 
The Visit to the Golden Temple on our first day in the evening was the calmest and most peaceful visit to any temple so far. 
With just the family-4 of us Mom,Dad,Sister and Me of Course it was a great trip! 
Oh! Not to forget our Amritsar Guide -Ggunjan  for the hospitality and warmth made it a Memorable trip to remember.

2018 Dairies !!

2018 has been a Journey filled with lots of travel Stories. Right From Jaipur to Jodhpur in India to Monoco and Morocco for Work. And not to forget the highlight –  Japan for Family Holiday. 
Culture
Experiencing the Rajasthan culture in India to experiencing the Japanese culture and living the  Moroccan life. 
All these places either had Food, lifestyle or architecture. And these  Culture  became another Journey in itself.
Books worth the Read In 2018. 
Journeys through the books. 
Starting from Exiting West to Landing at the port of Mokha and Many reads in between from open by Andre Agassi to “Killing Commendatore by Murakami  below are the top 5 reads of 2018.
1.Exit West – by Mohsin Hamid  stories of immigrants. 
2.Homo Deus – by Yuval Harari  How the Technology  is collecting data and using it. 
3.Born a Crime – by Trevor Noah A true story of a comedian born in South Africa with a mother being a black and father a white. 
4.Monk of Mokha –  by Dave  Eggers – Story of how The port of Mocha coffee travelled across the international waters.
5.Killing Commendatore – by Murakami
Noteworthy Movies of 2018 
1.Puzzle -How a simple gift of a puzzle changes the perspective of one individual 
2.Crazy Rich Asians – The Big fat Indian wedding going global 
3.Searching – How technology helps track down a father daughter and her murderer. 
4.Ben is Back – A  young drug addict and his mother’s story to come in terms with reality. 
And the Hindi film industry had many movies to choose to watch this year! 
But there a few out there you couldn’t miss at all . 
1.Pad Man by R.Balki was one of the great stories the year began with and continued till Raid, The income tax issue can sometime come as a surprise-Ajay Devgn needs to experiment.
2.Hichki -Though a inspiration from the west.Brought Rani Mukherji Back as a actor and the production house for their content. 
3.Missing the only missing from this psychology thriller was the audience who missed one of the best thrillers of the year.
4.October – Simple stories are the most difficult to tell.And October by Shoojit Sircar was one such story.
5.Beyond the cloud by Majid Majidi -Had the world  take notice of Ishan Khattar as an actor & performer 
Raazi,Soorma,Parmanu,Andhadhun,Badhaai Ho ! And Manmarziyaan were a few movies to watch out. 

The Monk of Mokha -Book Review !

The Monk of Mokha is a true story about Mokthar alkhanshali who did many odd jobs until one day when a lady asked  #Mokhtar have you seen the statue across the street?  and she was surprised he had never seen the statue. 
That’s a statue of Yemini dude Al Shadhili  known as the monk of Mokha. drinking a big cup of coffee, she told him. 
That’s got to mean something.May be this is your thing.You’re 25.Pick a direction for your life.
And thus began the journey for Mokthar and Port of Mokha. But it wasn’t easy and all the struggle during the civil war in Yemen is narrated and the final escape from Aden to US to exporting the grounds is nail biting.Just like as if you are reading a thriller.
Trivia:
1.Port of Mokha – Was  the primary point of all coffee grown in Yemen.
2. 2014 mokhtar became the worlds  1st Arab Q grader of arabica coffees.
3.Q Grading program :The Q grader program was first launched in 2004, It’s six full days of intense training.The certification is useful for purchasing coffee, selecting roast profiles and production/processing methods, understanding coffee origins, and more.
4.In 80 years it was the 1st time coffee left from the port of Mokha in Yemen during the civil war 
5.As of spring 2017 farmers replaced 17,000 qat plants with Coffee trees.
6.The 1st container of 18,000 kg of port of Mokha was sold out across 4 continents in 45 days.
7. February  2017 -Coffee review awarded port of Mokha’s haymah microlat 97 rating the highest score issued in the publication 20 years.
8.The first coffee house was called Qahveh Qahveh