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Penang Onam celebration

It is not Onam season now! But getting close to a year in Penang, I am reminded of our first Mallu get together in Penang.

No it was not Onam celebration. It was in fact the Expats Mallu group's Vishu celebration. A nice gentleman, Shajil chettan, introduced himself to us at Sunshine supermarket and told us about the Expats group and invited us for the celebrations. It was a first-of-its-kind for us. No membership fees, no "pirivu", no charges for self and invitees for organizing such an event!

The venue was a Chinese school, near the Penang airport. It was pretty close to our place and we were there pretty much on time. As crowd trickled in, we walked around meeting new faces, exchanging pleasantries, knowing about their backgrounds. We found that there were folks who were in Penang for the past 35 years! And this was not the real Kerala Samajam. The North Malaysia Malayalee Samajam is a registered organization with members who are actually Malaysians - born and brough…

My first school

05-10-2015
Dad and mom took me to a place called Apple Kids last week. I was super excited in the morning, seeing my new bag, water bottle, lunch box etc. I had been revising whole night about all these things that I would take to school. I got up early - well I should say earlier than usual, got ready without any fuss.

Yippeeeee.. I am going to school. That was my reaction when I said good bye to mom and accompanied dad to the parking downstairs.

On the way to school on my dad's scooter, the excitement level was slowly going down. I dont know why but I started feeling sad. The thought of being in a new place without my parents around. May be it is the strangers with whom I dont know what to talk. I know there is a play area there in school and it should be fun. Oh God! I am unable to control myself.

As we turned the corner and my school came in sight, my eyes burst and tears started rolling down. A smiley to a criley!!!

Kavitha teacher, my class teacher, who would soon become my…

Singapore 2017

RM 119 per person Penang to Singapore non stop flight!!!

That too in the Chinese new year weekend, an extra long weekend this year!

Cheap flight tickets is so luring. I wonder whether the airlines get some kickback from the city administration/government when they carry passengers on discounted tickets. After all these airlines play their part in promoting tourism, especially in a place like Singapore.

But the trick about cheap flights is they will always be on days that you may not like. For us, it was for arriving late Thursday night in Singapore and leaving Tuesday early morning. It means two extra nights stay. Nevertheless we decided to take it as we would get to spend 4 full days.

Next is visa. Unfortunately, Indians do not have visa on arrival in Singapore. Moreover, there are only 3 authorized agents, all in KL, who can submit visa application in Malaysia. Local agents in Penang charge RM 100 per application as processing charges for just collecting the documents and courier i…

Sydney City

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Land of Four Seasons - I am not sure if Australia is really called this. After previous day's high temperatures, today the prediction was a pleasant day - ideal for a visit to the city.

Today we had my cousin's family too. As with any Palakkad TamBrahm outing, similar to the previous day, it was a day with packed lunch. That too an elaborate one. We must be carrying 2-3 bags full of eatables. :-P

Parking spaces in all major cities cost you a fortune and Sydney is no different. Being a Sunday, it is cheaper today. Just AUD 30 for whole day!! But we being Indians find alternatives. Why not park in office parking lot for FREE!!

Pyrmont bridge at Darling Harbor was our first spot for the day. You could talk a  tour of the Australian National Maritime Museum and get into one of the warships docked there. We gave it a miss and settled for an early lunch. You see food is the most important part of our outing..

The weather was awesome with cool breeze flowing from the bay. The curd ri…

A breakfast treat

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Never in my life had I imagined that we would be invited for a breakfast treat!

It was a nice surprise when our newest friend "Pancham" pinged me on WhatsApp late yesterday night with the invitation. We had just met him couple of days back at the common area of our apartments. Yesterday we jelled well on our small outing to Penang Youth Park and Annalakshmi.

As wise men say, when one path is blocked another one shows up. Our tour mates so far in Penang, the Gujjus, had relocated back to India this weekend. And now we have got another "vegee" couple with a cute little baby. I yearn for many memorable trips in future.

Back to the topic - The breakfast treat. Such an extensive menu and that too all home made and fresh. The crispy miniature medu vada - right out of the frying pan. I am sure I would have devoured nearly a dozen with nice coconut chutney.

Next was the super soft idlis - of which I am truly a fan. But this one was made of Idli Sooji which I used to detest…

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

The main motivation for relocation to Malaysia was to explore this part of the world. But I didnt know that our first trip would happen even before we completed our first month in this country.

Shitu, a colleague of mine, mentioned about this place "Cameron Highlands" - which I first mistook as islands. In this part of the world I expected islands as the major tourist attraction. But lo Google! and its auto correct "did you mean" feature showed me the right place whose look and feel inspired for this impromptu trip.

Well not so impromptu but within a day. We discussed about it on Thursday afternoon and started from Penang on Friday afternoon!

Recent (and first) experience with homestays booked through airbnb prompted me to to explore that option rather than normal hotels. In an alien country where vegetarian food could be a rarity, homestay with kitchen and utensils is a better bet. Shitu. (as his darling called him) also preferred a place with a kitchen. Why not!…

A different kind of drive

For the past 7 years, I have been restrained to drive motorised vehicles. Exercise and concern for fitness were considered not my cup of tea. After all I could boast of having an "all pass filter" digestive system that would not take in more  carbs than needed. And absorption of fat was close to nil for majority of my growing years.

Getting to the age of 3 times 11, I thought of adopting a new "wahan" (vehicle). The one that I dreaded so much at the age of 11. The one that gave me 1+1 fractures at the age of 22...

A rockrider 2.0

After few years of motivation and pestering from my dear better half, I finally decided that I would ride a cycle to office. Gifted by her for this birthday.. I settled for an old one from a colleague who relocated out of the country. Who knows how many days I am going to keep my promise!! I didnt want to waste too much on a failed attempt.

First 10 days, I was excited. On days when I had to travel farther to client side, I got up earlier…