Category Archives: Out and About

Lama Tales and a Lost Land

Around the monasteries in Ladakh, you often come across notices about and faded, worn pictures of a young child.

At first glance, we thought someone’s child was missing, but upon inquiring, we learnt that the boy is the Panchen Lama – in Tibetan belief, the monk in charge of finding the successor of the Dalai Lama and has been spirited away, along with his family, in 1995 by the Chinese when he was 6 years old.

20 years and counting. Photo credit: Leeky-Boy (Flickr: Panchen Lama Association) [CC BY 2.0]

The reason why the Chinese did this, is kind of obvious (China, you may want to cover your ears for this) – if they control the Panchen Lama, they control who becomes the next Dalai Lama. The topic is extremely sensitive for Tibetans and they have been raising their voices in futility for the last 20 years to ask for his freedom. China, meanwhile, has appointed a ‘faux’ Panchen Lama in place of the real one but the Tibetan people refuse to accept him, believing that the real Panchen Lama is still alive, even though they worry about his state and well-being.

Theirs has been a long and fruitless battle in trying to reclaim their lost country, lost independence and spending generations in exile. There’s a sort of determination, sometimes punctuated by desperation, in their voices – they want him to come back, they need him to come back.

Read more about the Panchen Lama’s disappearance and the movement to bring him back:

One year ago, on this exact day, I was in Ladakh – a remote, arid and beautiful region in Indian Himalayas; and a place that I would happily go back to any day and recommend that anyone who can, visit now. You can read all about our adventures on the road in Ladakh here

How Not to Deal with a Vacation Hangover

The absolute worst thing about a vacation getting over is that it’s over. And the next one is at least a few months away.

As I sit at my work desk with a sunburnt face and hundreds of unread work emails, my brain isn’t helping matters, conjuring up images of turquoise waters, painters’ palette sunsets and white sand beaches, every now and then. Maybe I should try these tips instead. Or cheer for every passed hour till it’s time to go home and dive into hundreds of holiday pictures. 🙂


The Walls, They have Stories to Tell

Walls are often silent backgrounds or spectators to the action upfront.

But sometimes and in some places, they take on a personality of their own – at times a grim one, like the Berlin Wall that once separated East and West Germany; or at times a fun one, like the walls of the Comic Book route of Brussels or the ‘Love Wall’ of the supposed house of Shakespeare’s Juliet in Verona.

More walls from around the world here – Wall.

Which walls from your travels do you still remember? 

Bringing Together Two Corners of a Continent

This week’s WP photo challenge was a challenge, indeed for me. I’m hardly a photographer but I like going back to old photos and discovering new details or dusting off old memories.

After a fair bit of digging around this weekend, here are a couple of waterscapes from two corners of a continent – the Aegean Sea* of Fethiye, Turkey and the River Tagus of Lisbon, Portugal. The stars of the photos though, aren’t the water bodies themselves, but the petite Turkish tea (çay) glass and the turret of the Torre de Belem, which is anything but petite (can comfortably fit a handful of people inside it).

*technically, the Aegean region of Turkey lies in the Asian part, but it’s close enough to be called Europe!

(I wish I could’ve captured a lens blur in the second picture too, but I would’ve needed to know a bit more about cameras and photography at the time for that. 🙂 )

Turkish Apple Tea posing against the Aegean Sea in Fethiye, Turkey
Turkish Apple Tea posing against the Aegean Sea in Fethiye, Turkey
A Turret of the Torre de Belem, Lisbon stands tall
A Turret of the Torre de Belem, Lisbon stands tall by the Tagus, Lisbon

Discover more interpretations of the “Rule of Thirds.”

Where Love might just be in the Air | Italy

The cynics, the unromantic, the unsentimental and the pragmatic. Stay away from the streets of Italy at nightfall.

Continue reading Where Love might just be in the Air | Italy

Euro Tripping: How to Visit 12 Cities in 5 Countries in 15 Days (and bust your knees)

There are two reasons why I love Europe – Schengen visas and the trains. Both are key to traipsing with ease from country to country.

I’m also an overzealous planner, if there ever was one, when it comes stuffing my itineraries with places to see and things to do.

Put the two together and you have my itinerary for just over 2 weeks in Europe in the fall of 2014. This itinerary will give you an idea of how ground is possible to be covered and how; and if you’d like to take this pace or go a little slower. I’ll cover the places we saw and inter-city transport in this post (and how to book it). In the interest of brevity, why we chose these specific places and money matters will be addressed in dedicated posts.

Where we went:

Over 15 days of hectic travelling and lots of pounding over cobblestone streets, we saw / slept in all these places (more posts on these coming up soon!):

Continue reading Euro Tripping: How to Visit 12 Cities in 5 Countries in 15 Days (and bust your knees)

Why My 2015 Travel Plans Aren’t Made Yet

It’s only the 6th day of the new year. Why am I feeling a niggling sense of panic at the back of my mind? Continue reading Why My 2015 Travel Plans Aren’t Made Yet