Friday, April 22, 2011

Santiago De Chile- Street pictures

This post just shares some street pictures of Santiago City, the capital of Chile…

One of the multi lane roads that lead to Mercado centre
A lone neighborhood street near my hotel, 8AM in the morning
Another street near northern part of the city, near Marriot Hotel

Sunrise happens very late, at about 9.30AM or so, hence the streets look like 6Am equivalents of India. More photos soon. Sorry for very little text and more photos in recent post

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Valparaiso, Chile- City pictures

Valparaiso is a beautiful port city, about 90mins drive from Santiago, Chile’s capital city. Valparaiso has a unique landscape- it has got sea on one side, little bit of flat surface and then hills. Vizag is another similar city (Thanks to Envywin for reminding me)

Below are some views of the Valparaiso city, taken from elevated grounds…

In simple words, the visuals of the city are fairly similar to what you get to see in GTA vice city... :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cats abroad!

Loads of photos wait to be unleased, publishing them in parts, under small topics.

I caught up with two nice and friendly cats in Valparaiso, Chile. Very similar to its Indian cousins.

Only in India it is very difficult to pet a street cat- they run away in fear if you try to touch them-understandably because they are seasoned that way. With everyone else shooing them off or hitting them or scaring them with words and sticks, they would have developed a sense of fear about humans.

Both in Srilanka and Chile I found that street cats are not afraid of humans and reciprocate if you show some love and care.

Below is another pose of same cat and photo of one more cat.

Standby for more pics

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hi from Valparaiso, Chile

Been here for about 2 days now. Explored the capital, Santiago, to the extent possible, on Day 1. While detailed posts and more photos may take time, this post shares some basic info about Chile, based on what I’ve seen and observed during initial two days, to get you guys started…

Where is Chile?
It is in South America.. Refer map. Shape of the country is somewhat like our Kerala… narrow in width but longer by length

How to go there?
Reaching Chile involves 30+ hours of flight journey. I connected via Dubai and Sau Paulo, Brazil. Other connections can be via London/Fance and USA (JFK/Miami). A return ticket costs over a lakh rupee, hence it is not viable to make standalone trip to Chile for leisure.

Currency: Local currency in Chile is Pesos (Currency code CLP)… You get 45000 pesos for 100US$ or 4500 INR. Effectively 10 pesos for every rupee. To give a comparison, 1 kg banana costs 350 CLP or 35 INR, 1kg grapes cost 500CLP, 1.5 litre mineral water bottle costs US$ 2, a cup of expresso coffee- CLP 1000+ . Fixed rate to board underground Metro: CLP 560, irrespective of destination. Electronic items cost exactly same as India.

Current weather: Ranging between 12 to 19 degrees, which is considered spring here. From mid-June onwards winter kicks in and nearby mountains start getting snow cover. Skiing is a popular sport and I’m told over 10000 individuals per day arrive at Chile during the season to enjoy skiing. I went to nearby Andes mountains to checkout the Ski resort and views. Standby for more photos of the same.

Sunrise happens very late-daylight starts breaking in only after 7.30 and sun rays, 8.30 am onwards… So I can’t take any photographs even if I get up early and it will be time to leave for work when light arrives.

There’re no English newspapers in Chile. Only Spanish newspapers… Majority of the people speak Spanish and only few would speak in English. All shops have a calculator, if they realize that you don’t understand what they’re saying, they’ll type the cost of goods/service in the calculator and show it to you.. Simple

Valparaiso is one of the oldest port cities in Chile and America, about 2 hours journey from Santiago, the capital.

More details later

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Chile calling...

I’m gearing up for my first international travel on work. Off to Santiago, Chile, a country in South America, at a distance of 17000kms from Chennai. (Little less than half of earth’s perimeter) Just a short 1 week assignment and will be back in time for an important wedding.

Technically this is my second international trip, but practically first. The earlier 2 day trip to Srilanka was technically international, but practically too short, simple and India-like to feel international.

Have to undergo 30 hours of marathon flight transiting via Dubai and Brazil to reach other part of Planet Earth. (I’ve only few hours of transit time here-wish I had a longer transit time- preferably couple of weeks each at Dubai and Brazil J). I’m told Chile is a beautiful place, let me see.

I’m not going there for leisure. Work related responsibilities will keep me busy for most of the time. Will do whatever little exploration I can, when time permits.

Specific details of the visit are withheld as it may interfere with Company and client confidentiality requirements

This also means there may not be much blog posts for next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Saving time during road trips

Most of my road trips involve travel intensive itinerary aimed at covering maximum number of places in minimum possible time. During such trips, it becomes critical to save every possible minute, to be able to make the most of it. When in large groups, time is usually lost in leisure, refreshments and getting ready.

In this post I’m listing a set of practices, which can save time during a road trip. This works well for the group involving youngsters who can manage with minimal rest and stay active most of the time. May not work with family/leisure trips. Feel free to add your suggestions!

Saving time at Restaurants:

On entering a restaurant, first place the order, then go to washroom etc. This way food gets ready while you refresh. Else about 10-30 minutes will be lost by the time everyone gets fresh and another 20-30 minutes for the food to arrive, resulting in additional time loss

Do not wait for everyone to finish and wash hands to ask for the bill. Do it when almost done, so that some time can be saved in bill settlement

Saving time at tourist places

While visiting tourist places like parks, museums etc which are large by area, team members easily get separated as each one might take different direction, time to cover the place. While visiting such places, before starting identify rendezvous point and time, so that everyone can re-unite at the identified point (may be parking area/food court etc). Also define what needs to be done if someone causes major delay (should he come to next destination on his own etc). This saves time otherwise spent in locating other team members or waiting for everyone to finish.

Itinerary planning:

Do not leave an itinerary open- Identify all the places to be visited and the sequence before the trip, share among participants, get buy-in, cross check if the same is feasible based on distance and time factors and freeze it. Once freezed, stick to it unless absolutely necessary to modify. Trying to decide something on the ground can be chaotic due to difference of opinions and preferences.

Sequence in which places are to be visited also plays a key role in saving time.

Also set the objectives for the trip- is it say visiting as many places as possible or focusing on one or two main attractions or leisure stay at the destination or something like that

Optimizing itinerary:

Know the opening and closing time of tourist places and plan accordingly. Some open places (park, beach etc) can be open all the time and can be covered early morning or late evening. Places like museums might have specific timings. Highly popular tourist places are best visited during early hours of its opening, before crowd pours in. Activities like shopping can be done in evening

Travel in the night where possible:

Take night train/early morning/late evening flights-this saves the day time which can be used for visiting tourist places.

Have backup location/activity in mind- will be useful when a venue is not yet open or closed for tourists.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Colombo Beach area pics and sunset

This post shares a set of photos taken at Colombo beach area…Twin-towers seenfrom-beach
Sunset in Colombo, as seen from the beach area…
sunset-at-colombo-beach observationn-deck
View of the beach from Observation deck
Military personnel conducted what seemed to be their daily routine- lowering the National Flag and folding it respectfully
lowering-SL-national-flag military-personnel-folding the flag
Further in the ocean, a ship was sailing. Subsequent zooming revealed that it was a cruise ship carrying tourists on board. It went for a small round in the Indian ocean and then returned towards the port area. 
An observer on a watch tower kept watch, under a flag which I couldn’t understand what… Looked like the Karnataka state flag inversed…
Just like Indian beaches, petty shops and hawkers to exist in Colombo beach, doing brisk business during the weekend evenings.
kite-sellershops-at-colombo-beach    cartcart-2 
An air force base was present nearby
helicopter-at-a-militarybase-nearby statue 
Did I say we spotted Bret Lee in Colombo? More pictures of him in this post

Already published posts related to SL trip: Srilanka Travelogue: Day 1Part 1 * Part 2 * Day2 writeup* Frequently asked questions *Ramboda Waterfalls Hotel * Srilankan newspapers on Sunday * Brett Lee in Colombo * Colombo Port area pics* Negombo town- places and pictures * Hotel Silversands Negombo- Review * General Lifestyle Observations *