2 Star material

After coming back from the holiday we went for (the family vacation-which was a package deal, living in 3 & 4 star hotels for the duration of our stay in SL) ..did I realize that I was no where close to comfortable to 3 star comfort, that said 4 star was out of my league!

At best I can say, I am 2 star material.

Let’s look at this more closely, what do I mean by 2 star material… while staying in a hotel that is a 2 star in comparison with that of a 4 star

A 2 star meets basic needs, clean, comfortable and affordable. 

when we compare to a 4 star

A 4 star comes with a superior property with a variety of amenities, upscale, high comfort standards + quality.

Now, lets think logically – We aren’t really going to use the property to walk around all day & if we talk of amenities, central air condition in the entire hotel, Free WiFi, tea/coffee/sugar with an electric tea kettle, a television, a hair dryer in the bathroom, and a bath tub with hot & cold water – I don’t think we really require all those things.

A fan that runs fast, a tasty cup of adraak (ginger) wali chai (tea) available at the stall outside on the road, a mobile connection on your phone and the natural sun to dry your wet hair is good enough, and besides we use hotels primarily for only 2 reasons, to rest and as a temporary home to go visit other places in the area. How much time do we actually spend in a hotel room? [unless you’re a honeymooning couple – probably then you would be spending a lot of time indoors]

Do we still need a 4 star luxury holiday?

Things that some Indians might do with the different amenities provided by the hotel for reasons other than what they are supposed to be used for (talking of 4 star and higher)

  • use the hair dryer to dry our clothes (specifically inner wear, socks..extending sometimes to even shoes etc..)
  • use more than normal toilet paper.. for obvious reason and also maybe to wipe shoes or shine them.
  • suitcases will be kept on the table instead of the floor (why bend when we have an elevated surface) 
  • fill the bath tub with water, then use the little jug (if provided or a cup) to bathe yourself standing inside the bath tub. 
  • the only chair in the room will be used to dry clothes, there’s always the bed to sit on.

They don’t call us Indians, for nothing!

Sometimes, I do think to myself.. how tough must it be to live as a rich man. Besides having the facility to buy, own, eat & drink the best of things of the world-there would be nothing forward to look to.. what a tragedy that is. How boring!

Having had more than a glimpse of what it takes to live in luxury for a few days, if I get the opportunity again, I think I’ll give it a pass. I am a simple person and I like to do things the simple way.

That goes with people too, simple people living simple lives having simple conversations – that’s my style!

Simple is the KEY word. No fancy for me.

“Simple is Beautiful”

Vacationing with the Family

Yes, we finally did it!!  – the 4 of us, TOGETHER – an International Holiday. It’s not that we’ve never gone out together for dinners, short trips or occasions – we have but a vacation is different, a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT and more so if it is out of the country. I’m not gonna say it was roses all the way – it is FAMILY we are talking about here and with 4 members, mum, dad, myself & sis, there’s always going to be 4 of everything, more importantly 4 minds that think very differently from each other, in such a scenario it was necessary that at least 2 of those minds had to be flexible, to make the trip/vacation/holiday a successful one.

Our last Family vacation was 17 years ago in the year 2000, I was only 18 then.. however the one common thing that happened with me on both occasions, was that I found myself being in charge of the trolley, moving around the airport. A lot had changed though in 17 years when we last travelled – for starters, the suitcases got heavier (can’t even begin to imagine how much women can stuff into a suitcase) I felt travelling seemed to take longer somehow, I don’t know… (I thought a flight from Chennai to Colombo took a little over an hour, but it took 1 hr 40 minutes) it also didn’t feel the mind was on a vacation..personally speaking. That said, it was my first trip with the family, as an adult – I wasn’t very surprised on how the whole vacation panned out. It was good, could have been better. 

I’m sure before setting out for the holiday, each one of us had his/her own agenda, whether that was fulfilled or not, I’m not sure but we did end up doing a lot of activities together, whether it was looking at fish, birds, watching elephants or shopping, we ended up spending a lot of time with each other, 24 hours of the day which well.. was interesting! Stressful at times – definitely an experience though.

The first thing of course to do on a vacation is.. to do your own thing and not be bogged down by rules and instructions like “don’t venture too far” or “come back soon”. No matter how old you are, parents will always treat you like children. A vacation means giving one personal space to keep the mind calm.. how otherwise is it different from staying in home conditions?

All said and done, the key of going for a vacation is not to be disappointed, you might not have done/bought/seen everything you wanted, but its okay. The important thing is ‘YOU’ were there for your family and made the vacation a reality. Some families never get even beyond planning stage. No holiday is ever going to be perfect, but I guess if you can try and capture the small moments, you will realise it was a pretty good holiday overall.

It was the reactions of a couple of neighbours who did not know we were gone, when on seeing us, said.. [which I found quite silly!]

One neighbour [the Queen] told mom “you didn’t tell me you’ll were going on a holiday” [were we supposed to make an announcement?]

Another: “You’ll went for a holiday? All 4 of you? Where is Sri Lanka?” [maybe a geography lesson is due sometime soon]

Dad’s friend..met me while buying the morning newspaper: “So, you’re back!” [did he think I was going to stay there forever?]

We’re still waiting for a reaction from the neighbour downstairs, she always has something interesting to say 😜

We’re not the kind of family that updates their travel plans on-the-go on social media, like most people do. Neither do we make big announcements when we leave home or get back. At best, a few photographs uploaded on FB after we get back – that’s it. 

It was just a holiday! I guess people are just used to seeing us around all the time. The morning bread-man was happy to see me… 😁

The Nature Resort – Kandy

Hotel Tree of Life (https://www.hoteltreeoflife.com/) – A Nature Resort – It’s different!

This place is something else, Really! Being spread out on 65 acres of land, this place is massive and more importantly cut away in one corner of Kandy,  (don’t ask me which..it didn’t seem we’d ever reach.. driving on & on & on) Once you’re there though, you can say you are amidst nature ..like really nature…nature. Not a single sound of a vehicle passing by, but only that of birds twittering, which can have a calming effect on the mind or drive you totally insane, that said.. the resort impressed me.. and I am not really impressed that easily, so that’s definitely a + for the Hotel.

I’d still prefer the city any day but for once in a lifetime experience, I guess I can handle the calmness. Not sure it worked on me this time though… 

The weather was pretty pleasing too, considering we had come driving down from NuwaraEliya (a.k.a Little England) [Hill Station] (2500mts above sea level) @ 14 degrees, Kandy was pleasant in the low – mid 20’s. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in NuwaraEliya (weather wise), though the rains were relentless and it rained buckets as long as we were there, pretty much restricting our outdoor movements.

Colombo would be our last stop before we head back to India (now that does feel good..typing it out) may be a bit sad (not really) but certainly relieved and happy, for no matter how much and how close or far you travel away from your own country, you always want to go back home.

Yes, the beds were soft, the rooms were luxurious, the service was excellent and the food excellent.. but at the end of the day, you still miss your own bed (with the not so soft mattress) the  maa/ghar ka khana (which no hotel food would EVER match up to) and of course the freedom one feels being in your own state/country.

So looking forward to the journey back, but we’re not done as yet! Still a good day and a half to go.. so until then, I guess I’ll be eating and living the life King size! The treatment has been that good, of course its all come at a good price too.

I don’t know how to put this..

but.. I’ve realized

..travelling abroad is not my thing, neither is living in luxury or eating enormous amounts of food served. I am so much more happy in India.. I really can’t see myself traveling to a foreign country again, don’t think I’d enjoy it.

“The Food in SL” – well! at least for the days that we have been here, deserves a separate blog  post all together. That next.. along with  a post on “Certain Luxuries Indians could get used to..” next in line. It’s just that the few days that I’ve spent with the family in SL that has thrown up so many new experiences that.. thank God for this blog, I can write it all down. Not sure I would want to remember all of it though.

 

The 4-course meal Indian

Yes! The 4-course meal Indian, difficult to find them around, if at all – maybe just a handful. Indians love to eat and YET the 4 course meal is something, which may be a little too much for the Indian stomach.

I might have ever experienced a 4 course meal before, until yesterday for the first time.. and boy!! Was it an experience or what!! I could barely walk after I was through.

I guess that’s how Royalty feels like. Holidays are easy on the mind but strong on the stomach simply because with nothing much else to do besides sight seeing and sleeping, eating becomes that much more a TEMPTATION.

SL Flag.jpg

Presently at the Pearl Grand Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka… proceeding to Nuwara Eliya at 8 degreees (if what the locals say is true!) I know mum, dad wouldn’t be too happy but I am sooooo looking forward to it. 12 degrees being the lowest temperature I’ve stayed in.. so far @ KodaiKanal, India (t’was my last holiday-solo)

Signing off for now…with lots more in store to write about, we’re just through a couple of days in the country and almost a good week left.6/7 days left

P.S: Sri Lankan girls are hottt AF!! That said Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and the people are kind. Reminds me a lot of people back home in GOA.

Yayyyy! I’m going on vacation!

Exciting isn’t it? Talk of travel, a lot of free time, relaxation and HOTEL Rooms that we only dream of living in..and no matter how 3 or 4 2 it is, it will always be better and cleaner than your bedroom back home, and if you are one of those who isn’t used to vacationing often, HOTEL rooms can be a big deal. 

Now it does not have to be an exotic location you would be vacationing at. The fact that you are on vacation, the mind is programmed that its all gonna be cool & awesome.. from the time you catch your plane to landing into another state/country.. not before asking “Can I have the window seat please” at the airline counter at the airport [Yes!! why not, a picture of the view from the window of the plane is a MUST in the vacation Album] and besides aren’t vacations also all about the views [view from the window/veranda.. view from the restaurant.. view from the top of some peak etc etc]

You now arrive at your destination [hotel] and you are shown your room and the first reaction is woooooowww! It may not exactly be the wow I’m picturing in my head right now.. but it will be wow enough to sit on the bed to see how soft your bottom feels on it or the single sofa’s that have the soft cushions.

Now as Indians, we are very inquisitive people… we’d go around the room to well.. inspect (if I can use that word) every part of it, switch on the television, check the different light/lamp switches, visit the bathroom and see what it has to offer us (besides the squeaky clean pot, sink & mirror) ..the removable items like shampoo bottles, little soaps, maybe a little face towel that obviously you would not use (because you’ve carried one from home obviously) and will go straight into your bag (as a memento of the hotel ofcourse) and then eventually when its time to pack up and move on to the next place or back home, you will have enough of the ‘little things’ that you will be carrying with you.

As Ross (F.R.I.E.N.D.S) would say “You need to find a line between stealing and taking what the hotel owes you”

And what’s it about, when it its time to leave.. you see the room so perfect, that it just doesn’t feel right to leave it that way and you kind of leave your signature all over the room.. by ruining it.. and that makes your holiday complete.

We’re planning a family vacation, so this maybe a whole different experience considering my last 4 vacations have been solo, this one will pose a different challenge.

Expect a post ‘Vacationing with the Family’ after I get back.