Thursday, October 21, 2010

Express Mumbai

My visit to India this time ended with a very brief trip to Mumbai. This was my first time to this populous city and I must say that I was indeed charmed. Looking out of the descending plane, the sprawled out city reminded me of New York City - sky scrapers and bodies of water. I later found out that Mumbai is really made up of seven islands - very similar to the geographical make-up of NYC! Modern and historic architecture intertwine in most parts of the city contributing to its unmistakable beauty.

As my sojourn there was less than 24 hours, I only got to experience the vicinity of my hostess's apartment - which is located strategically by the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel across from the famous Gateway to India. Another lady who organized the meeting I spoke at works for the Taj Hotel group and she treated me to a breathtaking lunch on top of the hotel at the Souk restaurant. The panoramic view from there was magnificent - of the Mumbai harbor and of the coast:
Having survived a whirlwind work trip to India, it was good to be home for a few days before traveling again. Unfortunately it was during this time home that I, too, caught the bug that Craig brought home from the creche. So, all three of us are down with a head cold which is accompanied by a barking cough. Brian is recovering and hopefully C is too. We're keeping our fingers crossed that PohPoh's body will not succumb to the nasty bug. Meanwhile, it's time to pack for another short trip - this time to Malaysia and everyone gets to go!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Survival kit

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Indian food. In fact, when I lived in Turkey, one of the things I missed was Indian Banana Leaf Rice - much more than Chinese food! But when I'm served curried food for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner, after the second day, my palate starts to develop curry-fatigue. So now, whenever I visit India for work I make sure that I come prepared - to combat the occurrence of curry-fatigue. My survival kit includes my electric travel kettle (as not all hotels here in India provide that in the room), sachets of Milo and instant cup ramen (for days when I work late and am too tired to drag myself down to the hotel coffeeshop for some late-night grub).

As I arrived Chennai two evenings ago, I realized the last time I was here was two years ago when I was still pregnant with Craig. So the past two days I've had the pleasure of giving my Indian colleagues a pictorial update on C. Meanwhile news from home have been encouraging - C is doing great with daddy and PohPoh. Once upon a time I thought that traveling fro work and being away from C will get easier as he grows older and when I "get used" to it. But so far it hasn't gotten any easier for me and I don't think it ever will. I miss C like crazy! Good thing after this trip, we will be traveling together for the next few weeks. Lots of time to play catch-up with my little boy.

Friday, October 8, 2010


As I am writing this, I realized how quiet our hotel room here in Penang is. No stern-talking daddy responding to demanding toddler in the background. Why? That is because Craig is with my parents 150 miles away while Brian and I are here in the idyllic island of Penang for work. This is the second time in the last two months that C gets to spend the weekend with his PohPoh and GungGung sans his parents. The last I heard from my mom, other than a fluke vomit episode (hopefully!), he is having a ball. Such news is always welcoming for parents who have to be away from their children for work.

On the way to my parents, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we had to buy a full ticket for C (he gets to fly for almost free for a few more months before he turns 2). Needless to say, he thoroughly enjoyed his flight. As we were waiting to board our flight, I pointed out to him our plane to which he responded, "Plane!... Nice." Now that he is older and more aware of his world, he gets excited over things like new shoes, new books and toys, and the anticipation of being in a plane. He was acting so silly (cute-good silliness) as we got ready to take off but was very good in staying in his seat belted, to which we all thought - Nice!
Notice how he has his legs are crossed:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Uncharted territory

Last week work took me to the uncharted (well, for me, at least) territory of the state of Kelantan in Malaysia. Geographically located on the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia, Kelantan is right by the border of Malaysia-Thailand. As the state is populated predominantly by Malay Muslims, the ruling party there is an Islamic party. All these factors contribute to the uniqueness of this state compared to the other states in Malaysia. The differences were obvious to me as soon as I arrived. See here on more information on Kelantan.
The famous Sultan Ismail Petra Arch - notice the Quran on the pillar:
I was really anticipating my visit to Kota Bahru (Kelantan's capital city) having heard so much about its rich heritage and reputed Malay-Siam cuisine. And I was not disappointed. While my schedule did not grant me the luxury of seeing much of the town, I did manage to squeeze in a quick tour of the famous colorful Siti Khatijah market that graces every almost postcard on Kelantan. What one can buy at this market is amazing - from everyday fresh meat, vegetables and fruits to the exotic cacti and turtle eggs (which are illegal?). For more pictures, go here.
On the home front, Brian did wonderfully with Craig all by himself though on the second night C did cry inconsolably looking for mommy. But overall, B scored an A+!