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Mmmmm mangosteens! In Bangkok

When you travel a lot, little extras in places you rest your weary head start to make a difference. Like a luscious exotic fruit plate.

What is even nicer is when there is a little help to navigate the delicacies offered… like this hotel from a stay in Bangkok in 2013 that had a menu card with explanation, how to eat and what you could expect trying the fruit.

Hotel fruit plate

The SukhoThai’s fruit plate

Me? I sooooo knew what I was diving into! From that tempting bowl, I went straight for the mangosteens.

Mangosteens have been a favourite since I first strolled with a friend in Singapore through a market in China Town. She made me buy a full bag – warning me that I would never be able to stop with just one.

She was completely right!

That sweet, tangy, juicy oh so yummy fruit… I’m craving it right now just looking at these photos, imagining that plump white pulp bursting into flavour in my mouth.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen demolished

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Bangkok – Going once, twice, thrice!

Do you have a place where you have never quite managed to spend more than a couple of days?

In fairness to Thailand, I’ve yet to do justice to this remarkable country in even one trip! Without a doubt, food is fabulous, folks I’ve met terribly considerate and I’ve only had positive experiences. It is my fault I have yet to truly explore… (more…)

Braving malls, masks and gifts… Jakarta’s Block M Square and Pasaraya Malls

I’ve already confessed to paultry posts about experiences in Jakarta. I’ve also admitted I’m not a big fan of shopping or malls… This post braves both!

Before I left Bombay for Jakarta earlier this month, my partner requested I buy us a mask or two and replenish our empty ‘gift cupboard.’

Why masks? Well… it has become one of our ‘things’… we’ve separately collected masks here and there. So when we came together, our masks did too.

Glimpse of our masks...

Glimpse of our masks…

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Confession time…

I admit, I’m out of practice and outta shape with the whole work-life balance thing. Not only has getting to the gym suffered completely in the last few months but, I must confess, I’m a recovering workaholic who has completely fallen “off the wagon” and slipped back into bad patterns with the Jakarta project.

As Lady of the Cakes succinctly diagnosed my condition “Bad case of projectitis!” and very aptly prescribed “3 hours of blogging faffery!”

And I couldn’t agree more!

Which is what made my trip to Bangalore such a delightful break from intense non-stop work. I’ll confess, I still did a couple of hours both days, but in a relaxed detached manner. This morning my emails were made from the guest house terrace while leisurely sipping my 2nd morning espresso, listening to the birds chirping, enjoying blue skies and a balmy breeze with feet propped on a stool.

DSC01761

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One night in Bangkok… I mean Bangalore!

Having literally just breezed through Bangkok airport on my trip back from Jakarta to Mumbai, I find myself throwing jeans and a t-shirt into a small bag for a quick trip tomorrow morning to Bangalore.

I admit it… I have a special fondness for Bangalore… and I can’t wait to be back after years! (more…)

Convenience vs Cost – Calling for creative travel advice!!

I’m convinced there are far greater experts out there who can extract both value and convenience when planning international flights. As I plan my next trip back from Mumbai to Jakarta, would love to tap into the collective world wide WordPress wisdom for travel advice…

Where I was supposed to be today...

Where I want to book today…

So here is my criteria:

  • Avoid crappy cramped overnight flights. Appreciate overnight for long haul flights can’t be avoided but these 4 – 5 hour overnight flights are killers!
  • Stick with ‘preferred airline’ with access to business lounges, internet, khanna/pina (food/drink) as have ‘gold’ status (for now!)
  • As direct as possible so avoid spending extra day(s) in airports – yes the romance of exploring airports for hours long ago vanished!
  • Economy fare because, well, the client is covering the cost and for them – the cheaper the better! And we all like happy clients. 🙂

Seems pretty simple, right? (more…)

Back in Bombay… and straight to Bandra!

Its my first trip home to Mumbai since landing a super cool project in Jakarta. I managed to arrange a flight route (via Bangkok) that permitted me to arrive in time for a friend’s new gallery / event space launch. We reached just as the music began, what joy to be serenaded by a dear friend, munch on macaroon treats, sip wine and generally enjoy terrific company in a convivial atmosphere. Our friend has done well with this new venture!

For those unfamiliar with Bandra, it is a special neighbourhood – a catholic bastion with strong proud traditions that has become rather popular with ex-pats – including those seeking a more ‘regular’ life not bolstered by insane high salaries and expense accounts. You know the type – locally hired foreigners who have chosen to stay and forgo all the ‘extras’ that come with a pampered ex-pat nomadic life!

Particularly the immediate area around Veronica and Chapel road, one can still find old bungalows and a sense of community. The space I found myself just a few hours from landing is one such bungalow… That was falling into complete disrepair until along came friends with a huge labour of love and rather more money than they planned – transforming it into a new avatar – an enchanting space to enjoy for eclectic events and show off funky furniture.

Rapt audience

Yes we were a rapt attentive audience!

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“Wanna work in Jakarta?”

Whether it was contemplating over coffee shifting from “wants” to “needs” and becoming open to anything, catching up with a terrific ex-colleague in Bangkok at Terminal 21 or merely willing the universe to send something interesting my way, I find myself unexpectedly flying to Jakarta this weekend to kick-off a four month assignment in Indonesia.

Welcome to Jakarta Airport (photo: Carissa Hickling)

Welcome to Jakarta Airport (photo: Carissa Hickling)

Not only is the opportunity well-timed to combat my shrinking bank balance, it is with a gang of guys I adore! At 43, I’m the “baby” in the bunch and the only “broad.” If past experience is any indicator, we will work like maniacs and have an uproariously good time too!

In a delicious turn of fate, this rag-tag team of veteran consultants from the UK to Australia (loosely linked together by our ex-boss) beat our ex-company to win the contract – “Take that oh previous employer!” Naturally we have a ridiculously ambitious schedule to meet and there will be all sorts of unexpected twists and turns along the way, however I’m looking forward to the project on many levels.

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Mega Malls for Meetings? Bangkok’s Terminal 21

Bangkok Terminal 21 (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Bangkok Terminal 21 (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Too much time in shopping malls and I get kinda spacey – a weird loopy ‘get me the hell outta here!’ phenomenon. My partner shares my tolerance level so we when we’ve hit our ‘limit’ – no questions asked, it is an immediate exit stage left right out the door of whatever massive shopping complex we find ourselves. We also do NOT step into a mall without a very clear purpose and focus.

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Liebster Award – Share the love

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

This is like the Oscar for beginner bloggers! How super cool and incredibly encouraging to be nominated only six weeks into blogging. What’s even more fabulous is discovering so many interesting new blogs via Liebster Award responses!!

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