HERE COMES THE MONOCHROME TOURIST

I have been home for the past two days, and like any self-respecting digital gal I had to put my access to free time to good use. And impulsively a new Instagram account was created, ladies and gents please welcome THE MONOCHROME TOURIST!!!!

TheMonochromeTourist INSTAGRAM PAGE

Ummm I think I will stick to those many exclamation marks, if you don’t mind. Now, why a new Instagram page, you ask? Honestly, I don’t know either… let’s just say it’s my alter-traveller-ego. The truth is that subconsciously I spend every waking moment planning my next travel or thinking of places I have been to. It’s therapeutic. And I would love multiple outlets to explore my love for travelling. Also, there is one lame reason for this account (yeah I know, you saw this one coming) well I can never decide whether to post a coloured or black and white photo. So now I can have the best of both.

Moreover, the idea is to leverage the #THEMONOCHROMETOURIST as a platform where people from all over the world can share their single toned/black & white travel photos, in order to create a beautiful community of sorts, because the truth is the world is just prettier in monochrome!

Come join us in our journey…. Promise you it’ll be lovely!

FOLLOW THEMONOCHROMETOURIST ON INSTAGRAM

FOLLOW THEMONOCHROMETOURIST ON TUMBLR

THE MONOCHROME TOURIST PHOTOS

Rock is not just for dive bars

20140226-110812.jpg

It kind of really hurts me that Rock as the genre of music has been demoted as Retro or something you only hear at sports/dive bars.  The nicer bars and restaurants seem to be too cool for old school. I’m a recent Techno/EDM convert (thanks to the bunch of friends during my years in Dubai) and before that I had no particular favourite genre and because of that I listened to everything without being biased towards rock or punk or pop or electronica. I must also admit that most of the music I know is what my friends have introduced me to or what I have heard at parties. Sadly, I am not and never been a music discoverer. But I still a firm believer that rock needs more respect and that sooner than later it’s going to have a big moment in the sun. Till then, here’s a classic number for you…

 

Can I Get A Window Seat, Please?!

The one time everyone’s at their best behaviour at airports is when they are about to ask for the window seat at the check-in counter. You’ve been there, right? Every one wants one of those window seats. Either for the view that makes long flights more entertaining or because you like being tucked into the corner or just because there’s such a premium on them. You may have an absolutely original reason why you like them but I am pretty lame, I like them because I can take photos of the skies, sunsets and sunrises, and of city landscapes. Window seats are the reason why I love flying – the whole fun of traveling by air is in trying to spot countries, cities, landmarks from the sky!

Beautiful skies enroute New York

Beautiful skies enroute New York

Pretty blue skies while crossing continents

Pretty blue skies while crossing continents

Dear airlines, could you please clean the windows from the outside so that I can take clearer photos?

Dear airlines, could you please clean the windows from the outside so that I can take clearer photos?

Bye bye Los Angeles

Bye bye Los Angeles

Over L.A

Over L.A

Sunset on the way back from Goa

Sunset on the way back from Goa

Las Vegas Airport

Las Vegas Airport

P.S: If I take photos from my camera, I always ensure my phone is on ‘Airplane’ mode and is only switched on for a few minutes. You see no pictures are more important than your safety.

Why do you like the window seat?

 

Pantene Says #WhipIt To Labels Against Women

Pantene’s latest commercial, currently running in the Philippines, is the nicest, coolest, awesome-st thing I have seen in a long time. For once a brand takes a stand against labelling against women and does it in style, without unnecessary melodrama. I would love to see this commercial run in India too.

Now please don’t label me as a feminist! Yes?

 

Why I Love New York

Indian travel blogger. New York. Central Park

After thinking, rethinking, planning, booking and rebooking tickets, I finally landed in New York City on the 12th of July, 2013. Nothing, seriously nothing prepares you to see the Manhattan Skyline arise in slow motion right before your eyes as your cab prepares to go into the tunnel on your way from the airport to Manhattan. It’s surreal, it’s magnificent, it’s breath-taking and from that moment on you’re in LOVE with undoubtedly the greatest city in the world.

Accept it or not, if you’ve been to New York at some point you do ask yourself “Why the hell do I not live here?!” I did too. I love Bombay! For all its craziness, it keeps you grounded. It keeps you motivated. I think I love New York for pretty much the same reasons. But what I love the most about NYC is that each neighbourhood has its own style and culture. Yes, that also causes neighbourhood-snobbery which every big city is privy to (Hello, South-Bombayites!) but New York does it effortlessly and with pride. Talking about pride, when you look at NYC’s steely, picturesque skyline, it really makes you wonder how much love, pride and focused-intentions must have gone into creating a city that amazing! It makes you wonder why the rest of the cities fail to do so? Is it just money? I don’t think so! Before I move ahead I must clarify that that I am not saying other big cities are not charming or impressive. Look at London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Istanbul, Dubai, Hongkong, Shanghai…. they are all very impressive in terms of culture and infrastructure but no city in the world takes so much pride in itself. So may be eventually, what matters is how the people feel about their city…. that’s why may be with all the potholes, crazy traffic, over-capacitated public transportation, Bombay aka Mumbai still works and is so loved because we the people love it for just letting us be. There might be a lack of space but  Bombay manages to offer us more personal space than any other city in the country.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See how difficult it is for me to talk about any other city without subconsciously comparing it to Bombay? Coming back to New York, the one thing you should know about New York is its tendency to hyperbole. Do not fall for “the best pizza in the world” reviews. Go with your intuition and the city won’t let you down.

For my flights, I used goibibo.com. Have to say hey got me a great deal considering I booked really close to my date of travel. Also their customer service was good. They called me as soon I tried booking my ticket to assist me in case of need. Which I thought was really nice as I was booking multiple destinations – Mumbai – New York, New York – Los Angeles, Los Angeles – Las Vegas, Las Vegas – LA and LA – Mumbai.

If you’re heading to NYC and want to download just one single app, go for YELP! It’s effing brilliant. Dining, nightlife, shopping, maps… there’s nothing you can’t Yelp.

I used airbnb.com to book the stay for the first couple of days. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was amazed! For the uninitiated, airbnb.com is a crowd-sourced platform where people who are not using their apartments, offer it to travelers. I liked it and recommend it for two main reasons. One it offers you the experience of living in the city (in your favourite neighbourhood) and secondly, it’s more cost-effective than a good hotel. Our one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, Manhattan was really adorable and convenient. I think it makes a great travel deal.

For the last two nights, we stayed at Hyatt Union Square. What can I say, it was the perfect choice!! Imagine this, you’re just a walking distance from shopping heavens like 5th Avenue, SoHo, Nolita etc and a quick ride away from Times Square, Central Park, Empire State and Rockerfeller Building! Yes, that’s Hyatt Union Sqaure for you. Another thing that I loved about the hotel was its boutique-hotel-like vibe. The staff was polite and dressed in we-are-not-so-stuck-up uniforms. It’s a smaller, more chilled-out Hyatt with a great roof-top. I liked that! The bed was super and the shower was absolutely brilliant. I just wish they had a bathtub, although to be honest you’d rather be on the streets soaking up the city than bath-salts in a fancy tub.

If you’re in New York, you have to go to Williamsburg, Brookyn! And you have to take the ferry. No cabs, no subway… just take the ferry. It’s gorgeous! In Williamsburg, eat at La Nonna Pizzeria, great food and an even homemade Tiramisu. Drink at Meatball, the bartender made me his favourite cocktail, totally off the menu. Woop woop!  The other interesting way to get to Brooklyn is to walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, you are allowed and yes it’s a long but a beautiful walk.

The last travel tip goes out to fellow vegetarians, there’s no dearth of veg/vegan food places in New York. We even found a veg sushi place, Beyond Sushi, in Meatpacking district. Yup, talk about irony.

This is all I can remember, do go through the photo gallery. I have added some more info as captions. If you have any interesting NYC stories, please do share them in the comments section. I will be sharing my other travels stories soon. Thank you!

xxx

C

LUX-EXOTICA :: VIVANTA BY TAJ BENTOTA, SRI LANKA

Taj Vivanta Entrance

I reached Sri Lanka at the wrong time. Alone. There were some terror activities just the week before I landed and the entire city of Colombo was full of men with arms. After spending a couple of days in the city, shopping and roaming aimlessly, I knew I had to get out and see the countryside. So I rented a car and left towards Bentota.

Vivanta By Taj Bentota

The drive was gorgeous. The road was laced with rain drops and pretty temples and ever-smiling people were my constant companions. I didn’t want the journey to end but once I reached Taj Exotica (the former name of the hotel) I knew I had to stop. The hotel was an oasis of calm and peace. The classic interiors with wooden high ceilings and large windows overlooking the private beach and the everlasting Indian Ocean screamed perfection. And I have to mention the standard Taj service which is always a plus. To be honest I don’t remember a lot of details but I can confidently say that my two days and one night stay before I left to explore more of Sri Lanka was a lesson in serenity. I would go back.
You can read my travel reviews on Triptease.com