Mumbai : 4th - 7th March 2010

It was a very tiring day, and I was totally zonked out by the time we got to Mumbai.

By the time we checked in into the hotel, it was already almost 10.00pm, and I'd already decided to get my laundry done in Mumbai. We still had 2 more cities, and of course it'd be impossible to carry 2 weeks worth of clothes!!

my room @ Taj Lands End

Our day started at 9.30am, and ended only at 6.00pm. The pre-scheduled appointments were a bit tricky, but after that it was smooth-sailing till the end.

the hotel grounds -- poolside

The product presentation was scheduled for the next day, and since our involvement in it (us from HQ, that is) was minimum, we were given a bit of time to go see the city a bit.

this 'graffitti' is actually art on the city walls, legally put there by school children

the new sea link which connects the two parts of the city

Kavitha, our local staff, took us on a short tour of the city, showing us what was new in Mumbai and then we headed for the shops!

First stop, we bought CDs of Hindi oldies.

the dhobi ghat -- huge 'laundry shop' so to speak....
it practically services the whole city!!

and they live right next to the dhobi ghat, which is also located next to the tracks
(if you watched Slumdog Millionaire, this is a very familiar scene from the movie)

among the many faces in India that can melt your heart and
capture your wallet!

No, they're mostly NOT pickpockets, but they will persuade you to buy whatever it is they're selling, and when you see these faces, you don't hesitate to think twice about parting with your rupees :-D :-D :-D

kavitha, rahim and en salman (my immediate boss)

After lunch, we headed for Colaba to have a look around and buy some souvenirs. One of us ended up buying leather goods, which was really inexpensive there.

some of the souvenirs available in Colaba

mumbai university and clock tower

Then it was time to check out the saree shops :-)

at the saree shop
u're asked to sit down and make yourself comfy while someone will be assigned to you to help you shop and get what you want. the whole idea was so alien to me, as we're so used to browsing around on our own and select stuff we like ourselves!!!

the two men obviously working hard to out-shop the ladies (well, oNE lady i.e. me!),
and succeeding, too!!! LOL LOL LOL

Honestly, if this trip was a personal trip for me, I'd have bought like crazy and probably end up giving away to friends and relatives. BUT. Seeing it was official and I had 'work' clothes, 2 pairs of shoes and 2 bags of toiletries and makeup to carry around, I decided to just buy for myself, and mom and sis, and of course for Aina and the maid. I'd seen some nice kurtas earlier for hubby, but I know I'd be wasting good material on him as he'd rarely (if ever!) wear it, so I just bought a set of summarised biographies which I know he'll at least get to read.

Before ending the evening with a wonderful local dinner, we stopped by the Gateway of India and even used the facilites at the Taj hotel before going back to the hotel.

Oh yea... our hotel was in Bandra, so Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan were our neighbours for 3 nites LOL LOL LOL

another Taj property, located near the Gateway of India

a very familiar structure if you're a Hindi movie buff, like me!

The next morning, most of us spent the time repacking and reorganising our suitcases before checking out and departing for the airport for our next destination -- Delhi :-)

Till then....


Bangalore - Ahmedabad : 2 March - 4 March 2010

It was crazy!

Woke up at 3.00am, showered and got ready to check out as we were scheduled to depart for the airport at 4.00am :-O YUPPP!!! FOUR A.M.!!!!

Arrived Bangalore at around 7.00am and immediately transferred to hotel for check-in. It was a mad dash to get ready as our travel mart was to start at 11.30am.
(angkat tangan siapa yang masih kata "seronoknyer keje you, selalu dpt jalan-jalan....!")

my room @ le meridien, bangalore

Our day ended at 6.30pm.

The next day, we managed to steal some time to see the city.

I'd made arrangements with a couple of girls to go out that morning after breakfast, and so we decided to take the tuk-tuk :-D

When we got to where we wanted to go, turned out the shops were still closed. So, we decided to just wander around. Then, another tuk-tuk driver came up to us and offered to take us to another place to shop, and will also include some sights in Bangalore. 3 hours for Rps.50! It was an unbelievable offer, so we obviously grabbed it.

pose dengan tuk-tuk adalah wajib, okay :-)

First he took us to the local emporium to get ready-made clothes and sarees. I got Aina a yellow salwar complete with dupatta for her, and got myself a cotton-silk blend blouse with beading around the collar. Cost? Aina's 100% cotton salwar set was RM26 and my blouse was RM63 :-D

Actually, it was a good(???) thing I left most of my money in the safe at the hotel. The emporium had SOOOOO many choices of beautiful sarees to choose from and I was tempted many times over. Only the thought of being penniless so early in the trip stopped me from borrowing money from my equally-tempted mates!!! LOL LOL LOL
(diriku masih waras -- berjaya mengawal diri dengan cemerlang!! ehehehe......)

The tuk-tuk driver then took us to this mosque, the Jamma Mosque. Ladies aren't allowed into the mosque so we only managed to snap pics outside, near the main gate. It was a good-sized mosque and the guard was friendly enough to leave the gate open so that we could snap a good view of the building.

ni kawasan lapang luar masjid, tempat segala aktiviti bulan ramadhan
dan jugak tempat berkumpul jemaah haji

After the mosque, we asked to be taken to a shop where we could get souvenirs but I guess since he probably gets a commission, he took us to one of the more pricey shops where they sold bracelets, wood carvings and stuff. It was all beautiful, but seriously, we were thinking more along the lines of key chains and fridge magnets!! LOL

In the end, we asked him where we could get Lakme products, the local cosmetics. I was specifically looking for the Lakme Kajal i.e. eye liner/pencil as the thickness of the line can be controlled, and the best thing is, it does NOT smudge! I love it!!! The first shop he took us, Lakme was not available but we did buy the sandalwood face pack. Among other things, the face pack had sandalwood, rose water and turmeric in it so it made our skin really soft (the lady demonstrated it on our hands).

After that, I think the driver finally understood what we wanted so he took us to the local Health & Glow (the equivalent of Guardian) and there I managed to get my kajal. Again, since I had limited cash, I only allowed myself to borrow a very minimum amount from one of the girls, and decided to buy more when we got to another city.

We had to rush back to the hotel, as we were to check out at 3.30pm and leave for the airport for our next city.

at Bangalore Airport

We arrived Ahmedabad at around 8.30pm, and checked in straight into the hotel.

my room @ Pride Hotel, Ahmedabad

Our session started at 9.30am, and it was a whirlwind until we finally closed up at 5.30pm.

I didn't get to see much of Ahmedabad (none at all, actually!) as we had to quickly check out and leave for the airport. Our flight was at 7.40pm, and we had to make a mad mad mad dash to the airport.

Our next destination, MUMBAI.....


Cochin : 28 Feb - 2 March 2010

I'd sent Aina to TokMi's the day before, and it was not easy leaving her, knowing I'd only see her after two weeks :-(

On Friday, as it was a public holiday, we took Aina to Alamanda to shop. I needed to get clothes for my trip (looonnngg story!) and it was one way to spend time with Aina. I ended up buying Mickey Mouse sheets for her, and with the 1 for 1 deal, we decided to choose the Pooh Bear design for the FREE set of sheets :-D Needless to say, Aina was ecstatic!! She even insisted on carrying her own shopping LOL LOL LOL After Aussino, we went to Poney, which also had a sale, so... this time it was clothes for Aina :-D :-D Again, she insisted on carrying her own stuff. She was struggling to walk by then, ehehhehehehhee....

For lunch, we went to Aina's favourite -- The Chicken Rice Shop.

Anyway, Saturday we dropped her off, and I got back to pack for my trip.

My flight to Cochin (now it's actually called Kochi) was to depart at 2.50pm, but I'd agreed to rendezvous at the airport (LCC Terminal) at noon as we had *MANY* boxes to check in.

We decided to leave early as I needed to change money, and was supposed to have brunch with hubby before going to the airport.

As hubby carried my suitcase into the car, I noticed that the suitcase was ripped!!! :-O

So, since we'd already decided to go to Carrefour Subang (we'd checked out the exchange rate and it was the best we could find LOL) I decided to just buy my suitcase there. It was a great bargain, and I just grabbed one which I sort of liked and quickly repacked my stuff in the car!!!

After that was done, I ran up to change my Ringgit to Rupees, then we dashed off for brunch. Believe it or not, even though I was going off to India, my brunch was Briyani!!! LOL LOL LOL

We arrived LCCT sharp noon, but wasted a good 10 minutes looking for parking space. In the end, hubby just dropped me off at the terminal. Parking is serious HELL at LCCT!!!!

The flight was uneventful, and we arrived safely in Cochin.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with flower garlands and cold drinks, then there was a dinner before we trekked off to the function room to see how our preparation for the next day was progressing.

The next day was all business. Travel mart, networking sessions etc.

Dinner was another whole networking session, and honestly, I was falling into my plate by then LOL LOL LOL

That afternoon though, before we got ready for dinner, we managed to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing in the city.

tengok la tiang letrik ni... ada berani????

the old style cinema, where My Name is Khan was playing :-)

this is the newer, cineplex-style cinema :-)

Jayalakshmi was the place to get your sarees (where we DID NOT go!)

boleh tahan kan kedai-kedai dia........? :-p

agaknyer, menangis tak Hotel Maya tgk 'Kochi-version' nih....? LOL

The city was rather pleasant, but very dusty. My throat was itching by the time we went back to the hotel.

I wanted to indulge in a spa treatment at the hotel, unfortunately they were fully-booked. Kochi is actually well-known for it's health tourism particularly ayurveda medicine. With my constant/frequent migraines, I thought it's be good to try it out.

Anyway, it seems you need minimum 4 days so I guess I'll just have to do it on my own another time.......

Next stop, Bangalore :-)