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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Horse Betting!!

Always seemed curious to know exactly how does betting in horse races actually happen. No,Not that I had no idea at all.
Of course I knew a little or to confess actually nothing,You really can’t believe and trust what the movies show is actually that happens,They of course take the creative liberty, that’s why It’s known as a creative field.
So when I did get an invite for an event at the race course,As this was also the last race of the season.I not only made sure,I was in town.But, had my parents and their friends to come down for this particular event. For which I accidentally got invited and grabbed it with both my hands literally! Had a total number of nine people from my side.
We after absorbing the atmosphere out there, finally paid attention to one of the actual reasons why we made it a point to attend the evening. The races, So as the rush to go and bet on the horses was really high, without having any clue. We all chose are numbers,Keeping in mind the most popular Horse number, Numerology (The lucky numbers) and going with the instinct Of which horse might win and placed our bets on a couple of numbers. And out of the five number we had placed the bet on we were lucky the ”7” was one of them that won. This was just the beginning of the circle, well.If I have won this let me try out my luck once again (No,We did not want to consciously keep in mind that this would be our beginner’s luck .) So we go again and this time we learn something. What numbers would you like to place for the “WIN” and what numbers would you like to keep on Place”. We were now literally glued to know more and kept wondering what “Place” would be. No,We did not want to ask anybody We did not want to embarrass ourselves. So came up with a theory it might be an alternative number, that we would like to “Place” a bet on. So, not happy with the validation our last resort,”Google” will know it for sure and it happens “Place” Is the Horse number that you believe is going to either be finishing in the first Postion or the second position.While I got to know “Place” besides the “Win” options. I thought i knew the basic for the next season. I learnt a few more things.
There is something known as “Show” too in horse betting.
Well,Hold your horses! I am coming to that point, What exactly is “Show” now. Well! you will have to excuse me because here I will have to tell you and wouldn’t able to show it to you. Unlike the show business Where you show and don’t tell. “Show” is your horse has to either finish first,Second or Third.

There are a few other terms too, which I am going to share out here right now! For you to brag when you too would be going to experience the races.

Exactia – Who would the first two finisher’s (Pick them)
Trifecta – Who would be the first three finishers (Pick them)
Superfecta – Who would be the first four Finishers
Hi- 5 – Any guess what would this be? The first five finishers obviously.

Ikigai – The Japanese way of life !

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Japan has been a very fascinating place and after visiting the country last year, I  just couldn’t get over the simplicity of the people.
Even with the writers and teaching, Japanese writers have written some of the most thrilling books and some of the simplest concepts, becoming the way of life. Think about all the concepts Wabi-Sabi appreciating the beauty of imperfection as an opportunity to grow. or a simple word  “Kaizen” meaning continuous improvement, and becoming the concept of one of the leading automobile company from Japan.  Or a simple practice of tidying up that distress you.The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
Recently  I Just read the Ikigai and thoroughly enjoyed the book and the concept. “Ikigai” a single word that is a combination of two words “Iki” Meaning life and “Kai” the realization of hope. Making it in simple words ‘A sense of Purpose in life.” 
Japan is a country filled with Mysteries, surprises, and awe. That  when you get  to know about Ogimi village in Japan  in Okinawa district is  known as the village of longevity with  the highest number of Centurions in the world ((People who live a hundred years and above )Ogimi is not just a place in Japan, But,they also have a way of living that the had become the subject of the book “Ikigai” The Japanese Secret to a long and Happy life. Written by Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles. 
 
The Diet of Okinawa the locals follow to lead a healthy life and a long life. 
 
1. Locals eat a wide variety of foods.
2. They eat at least five serving of fruits & vegetables every day ( Rainbow)
30% calories from vegetables.
3. Grains are the foundation of their diet 
4. Rarely eat sugar (Cane sugar is the substitute)
7 gms of Salt a day, Compared to 12 gms.
 
15 Antioxidants part of Japanese diet,We must include in our diet. 
 
1.Tofu
2.Miso
3.Tuna
4.Carrots 
5.Goya(Bitter lemon )
6.Kombu(Sea Kelp)
7.Cabbage 
8.Nori(Seaweed)
9.Onion
10.Soy sprouts
11.Soybeans ( Boiled or raw ) 
12.Sweet Potatoes 
13.Pepper
14.Sanpin-Cha(Jasmine Tea)
15.Hechima (Cucumber like gourd)
16. Shikuwasa – Is a type of an orange also known as a Taiwan Tangerine mainly found in Taiwan & Okiwana in Japan. It is beneficial as it has a compound Synephrine that enhances lipid metabolism and increases the metabolic rate.
 
It’s also the way they think that makes them lead a  long life. 
Their secret to longevity is. 
 
  1. Don’t worry 
  2. Cultivate good habits 
  3. Nurture friendship everyday 
  4.  Live an unhurried life.
  5. Optimistic
 
 
 
Rules of Ikigai one must follow. 
 
1. Stay active don’t retire
2. Take it slow 
3. Don’t fill your stomach (80% rule )
4.Surround yourself with good friends 
5. Get in shape for your next Birthday.
6.Smile 
7.Reconnect with nature 
8. Give thanks
9. Live in the moment 
10. Follow your Ikigai 
 
 
These are some of the concepts and learning from the International bestseller Ikigai that I thought would be worth sharing.
 
Before I could conclude the blog.  
 
 
Sun Simiao essayist of the sixth century believed in the six healing sounds for remaining calm
 
 
Xu, pronounced like “shh” with a deep sigh which is associated with liver 
He pronounced like “her” with a yawn, which is associated with heart
Si pronounced like “sir” with a slow exhale, which is associated with lungs. 
Chui, pronounced like “chwee” with a forceful exhale, which is associated with the kidneys
Hoo pronounced like” who”, which is associated with the spleen 
Xi pronounced like “she,” which connects the whole body.
 
And now the Poem. 
 
In Spring breathe xu for clear eyes and 
so wood can aid your liver.
In summer, reach for he, so that heart and fire can be at peace.
In Fall, breathe si to stabilize and gather metal, keeping the lungs moist.
For the kidneys, next, breathe chai and see your inner water calm.
The Triple heaters need your xi to expel all heat and troubles.
In all four seasons, take deep breaths so your spleen can process food.
And, of course, avoid exhaling noisily; don’t even let your own ears hear you.

Go Goa!!

Goa seem’s so huge.In the last one year have visited Goa thrice and haven’t really gone to the same place twice. In terms of the geography too! When we last visited we were at the Candolim beach,The beach closest to Panjim(City side) we were only around Taj exotica and Aguada and hence only explored that area. But,This time we explored the Morijim beach North of Goa,
51 Kms from Panjim the capital of Goa.
This Goa Visit was more for Food & Party and that’s why  we had some of the  finest food in Goa.Sublime in Vagator for continental food must  try the Fish Bass.Gunpowder or Black Pepper Prawns,La Palage for Sunset & Dessert, chronicles for Partying & Drinks and Burger Factory’s Prawn Burger is Must with the other burgers that are to die for. These were some of the places we tried & loved. 
Next time hoping to explore yet another side of Goa. 

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