Category Archives: Travel

Discover Lebanon now!

Room with a view! View of the Yacht Club & Marina, with the blue Mediterranean beyond,from my 12th floor room in the Four Seasons Hotel

Some key statistics by way of an introduction ….

Population:
About 4.5 million

Lebanese abroad:
About 12 million, making it perhaps the only country of the world with about 3 times as many citizens living abroad than in the homeland. Of course most are now nationals of theseother countries.

Sri Lanka …. Once again!

About 900 years ago, the Venetian traveler Marco Polo, wrote thus about his visit to Sri Lanka in his classic work, ‘Divestment dou Monde’ (Description of the World): “On leaving the island of Andaman and sailing for 1,000 miles a little south of west, you come to the island of Seilan, which is undoubtedly the finest island of its size in all the world.”

A Maldives Break

A resort in Maldives

A resort in Maldives

A group of us, work colleagues, caught a Srilankan Airlines red-eye flight from Karachi to Colombo recently, on a 3 nights/4 days Retreat. After a 3 hour layover at the enlarged and improved Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, we were off again for Male, the capital of Maldives. Considering that some 1.2 million tourists visit Maldives in a year (almost 3 times the population of Maldives itself), Male airport is somewhat disappointing.

Good Morning Vietnam!

Saigon by night from boat-restaurant cruising on River Saigon

Saigon by night from boat-restaurant cruising on River Saigon

Adrian Cronauer, a US Air Force sergeant posted to Vietnam in 1965 during the War there, worked as a radio jockey to boost the morale of the American troops. He became famous and quite popular for his innovative style, starting his programme with a yodeling cry of ‘Good Morning Vietnam!’ His tenure later inspired the hit 1987 film, Good Morning Vietnam, starring Robin Williams.

MIND THE GAP

Mind the Gap-2

The UK economy is the 5h largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP. USA is at # 1, China at # 2, India at # 9 and Pakistan at # 42. The UK is also one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of technology, science and infrastructure, among other areas. Yet, as you travel on the underground train network, popularly known as the Tube, you are constantly reminded by a recording played on most stations, and inside

the trains, to ‘mind the gap between the train and

the station.’

Indian impressions – Part 2

Visit to India: December 27, 2014 to January 09, 2015
Purpose: To attend a family wedding
Route taken: Karachi-Colombo-Mumbai-Hyderabad and return
Destination: Hyderabad. Stopover in transit in Mumbai for about 15 hours on way out, and about 6 hours on return leg
Weather: Perfect throughout, high in mid-20s C, low 13 C, generally dry, brisk breeze at times

Indian impressions

Visit to India: December 27, 2014 to January 09, 2015
Purpose: To attend a family wedding
Route taken: Karachi-Colombo-Mumbai-Hyderabad and return
Destination: Hyderabad. Stopover in transit in Mumbai for about 15 hours on way out, and about 6 hours on return leg
Weather: Perfect throughout, high in mid-20s C, low 13 C, generally dry, brisk breeze at times

Malaysia, Truly Asia

A friend of mine intends to take some time out in Kuala Lumpur on her own, just for a break from work. I am not sure if she intends to move around Malaysia or just stay in the capital itself. But I will urge her not to restrict her experience to just Kuala Lumpur, even if I regard KL as one of the finest cities I have set foot it anywhere in the world.

The Wanderer

I start with a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien, English writer, poet and more (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings), the quote resting in the depths of the sub-conscious and brought onto memory’s front page again, recently, by Ifra Khaliq of Lahore in an unexpected but wholly pleasant way.
See https://www.facebook.com/IffsGallery

Where you from? Part 2

PRELUDE

It is difficult not to draw comparisons as you wander round the world. Sure, each country may be having its own set of problems and negatives which the traveler journeying to that land may not be able to observe or experience in the short time he or she is there. But nevertheless, the experienced eye is able to see and assimilate a lot even in a few hours, leave alone a few days. For example, coming from Karachi it was impossible not to appreciate that the electricity did not go off once in the four days I spent in Saigon. Or notice that in spite of being crowded and noisy, Saigon was admirably clean and completely devoid of plastic bags or litter in the streets and devoid too, of the inevitable scavengers that litter attracts – feral cats and dogs and crows and kites.