Thursday, May 31, 2007

When Cliffs dive into the Ocean

Na Pali (means 'The Cliff' in a literal sense) is one of the wonders of Hawaii. Jaw-dropping cliffs fall 1000s of feet into the Pacific in the north western part of Kauai (Part of the Hawaiian islands). These lush green rugged cliffs are often razor thin with deep and narrow valleys. The walls of these cliffs weep with numerous waterfalls and the valleys flow with pristine rivers.

Most of the Na Pali coastline is inaccessible because of its sheer cliffs. The best way to experience this mystic beauty is by air. This aerial experience of Na Pali is a must see activity in Kauai. A number of operators in Kauai offer helicopter tours to explore this Garden isle by air. 16 miles of ocean rafting, sailing and kayaking or 11 miles of one-way switchback hiking on the Kalalau trial are the other ways to experience the splendor of Na Pali.

Ke'e beach (home of nesting turtles) in the lush North coast of Kauai is the last accessible portion before the towering cliffs of Na Pali begin to appear. The ocean consuming the sun with the Na Pali coast on the side is a sensational sight.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stylish showpiece

Towering over the Nungambakkam High Road in Chennai (India), Ispahani center makes a style statement in this posh neighborhood filled with designer boutiques and chic eating joints.

Hip college crowd make a beeline to this shopping paradise dotted with shops offering some of the best labels in Fashion (clothing, accessories, home decor) and fast food.

This stylish mall usually gets a massive facelift for festivals and special occasions. An experienced film buff can instantly recognize this landmark mall being featured in a number of talkies rolled out of the vibrant tamizh film industry.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Falling into the valleys of Yosemite

Yosemite National Park in Northern California is a natural wonderland of deep valleys, massive granite mountains, lush meadows, giant sequoias and of course the numerous waterfalls.

Yosemite falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world (The largest in US) plunging over 2400 feet in 3 separate sections; the upper Yosemite falls, the middle cascades and the lower Yosemite falls. Yosemite falls is mostly fed by snowmelt and so the peak flow is in the Spring season.

The lower falls is easily accessible by a short hike to its base where a fresh sprinkle is almost always guaranteed. The upper falls however needs a strenous full-day hike.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Of historic downtown districts and harbors

The mere mention of San Diego arouses interest and curiosity. Why not? With its almost perfect weather throughout the year, beautiful beaches & parks, a booming wireless and biotech industry, world class hotels and dining, jazz festivals, great cosmopolitan culture... words that make every San Diegan proud, San Diego offers post card settings in every corner.

The experience starts at the relatively small but neatly laid out air terminals with a catchy view of the San Diego skyline at the waterfront. You can't help but catch a glimpse of the hip downtown buildings as you drive towards the freeways from the airport.

The downtown itself is small compared to other big cities in US but has its own charm. Most of the action takes place in a historic downtown district called the Gaslamp quarter which is dotted with numerous fine-dining establishments and ultra-chic night clubs. The Petco park (home of the Padres, San Diego's baseball team), a waterfront convention center, a stylish shopping mall and a number of boutique hotels are all either in or within walking distances from the Gaslamp.

Walking along the San Diego harbor is a great experience. The walkways are dotted with contemporary sculptures themed on the ships, sailing and sea. For anyone with a passion for vessels, there is a fine display of a number of historic ships including the world's oldest active ship 'Star of India' by the San Diego's Maritime Museum. Of course, there is waterfront dining serving fresh seafood and sunset dinner cruises. A bonus sight for winter visitors is spotting whales.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Flora and Fauna of the Asa Wright Nature Center

Asa Wright nature center in Trinidad is the oldest nature center in the West Indies. It is a premier ecological destination and is located 1200 feet above sea level on the Northern mountain ranges. It is also a research and conservation center. The innumerable species of birds, flowers, amphibians, reptiles and butterflies attracts hundreds of tourists every year; in particular from UK.

The observation deck in the center is the most popular hangout spot where nature lovers can relax in a cozy setup offering them sprawling views of the rain forests. It is also a perfect spot for watching colorful birds and reptiles. A small food center serves tasty sandwiches and refreshing drinks.

The center offers a number of guided hikes in the rain forest; the most notable being the night hike to see the world's most accessible colony of oil birds. These hikes provide a means to experience the unique bio-diversity in the area and a way to see how the different species of plants, birds and animals co-exist.

Queen summoned us to Trinidad

Queen's Park Oval in the heart of Port-of-Spain (Trinidad ) was completely renovated for hosting the Group B WC2007 matches. With a capacity of more than 25000 spectators, it boasts a brand new 60,000 sq. ft. pavilion with world-class facilities including a library, a museum, top class health, spa, gymnasium and a restaurant.

India played against Bermuda on March 19, 2007 and the picture shown here was taken during the toss.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

When Sachin Tendulkar made me an author

My wife and I had been to Trinidad to watch the World cup cricket matches. We were lucky to get a glimpse of some of our favourite players up close. While we relished the interactions with most of the players in the Indian team, Sachin was always missing. We did not want to return back to US without getting to meet him atleast once.

We chased the team to their practice grounds and found him in the training sessions at a suburb Port-of-Spain nets and were instantly impressed by Sachin's simple and soft-natured persona. Already being a die-hard Sachin fan, this encounter further motivated me to write a letter to Sachin. I found a nice sports portal 'Sportingo' and they were happy to publish my thoughts.

My letter to Sachin Tendulkar