October 29, 2010

See Darjeeling Like Nobody’s Business – Get the Best View

Darjeeling is a beautiful town located in the state of West Bengal. Well known for its tea estates, this small town has a typically busy market center lined by British architecture.

Tea Estates

Darj. has a history dating back to the 19th century. It has good connectivity by road and rail with the other towns around it. The Bagdogra airport is 4 hours away.

Most of Darj’s attractions are concentrated in and around the city center and it is best to walk along the narrow winding paths. Just keep an eye on the traffic.

Start with the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, the most famous zoo in India, built in the 1958. It’s the home for many species in danger of extinction like snow leopards, red pandas, gorals (mountain goat) and Siberian tigers.

A Red Panda
The Market Square contains the Capital Theatre, which I was told, was once a movie theater.

Keventers (breakfast joint) and Glenary's which houses Darj’s most famous pub, Buzz is also situated in this Market Square, just opposite the Capital Theatre.
Meat Platter at Keventers
Friends made during a pub crawl.

I think I need an "I ♥ Darjeeling" t-shirt!!

The city is also home to some of the best schools in the country with the most gorgeous architecture and surroundings. 

Loreto Convent
Aloo Dum - Darj. Tea - T-Momo - Tai Po

If you do plan on taking a year-end vacation there then enjoy the food, rich culture, including drinking the local beer, Dansberg Blue Premium Lager Beer (founded by Sikkimese Bollywood Actor Danny Denzongpa).

Another one of the things to do in Darjeeling is a trawl around the traditional open markets held in Chowrasta. Shop till your heart’s content, the next great bargain may be just round the corner!

Ten glorious days of authentic Tibetan cuisine, alcohol, Aloo Dum, history, music and more. (Notice how food was listed first? Priorities, right?)

As much as internet on my cell phone allowed, I shared "What I Liked" along the way on FB. I hope you will join me for the rest of the journey in my next post on Gangtok!

This song just felt right for the mood of today. It’s cloudy, there’s a slight chill in the air, and it’s a lazy evening complicated by the decisions and planning associated with what to do during this long weekend. Thanks to Silversun Pickups for making this track – ‘Rusted Wheel’ that essentially is the soundtrack for my life. This song hails from an album the band put out in 2006 titled ‘Carnavas’. It’s one of my favorite tracks of the band and if you are reading this you should totally listen to the song right now.

See you soon!


October 17, 2010

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Wikipedia: Crows Lake in Sikkim

Tonight I head off to the land of tea and Lepchas and Bhutias for a visit and to meet two old college friends. Darjeeling is wonderful at this time of the year, but I have to stock up on Benadryl and warm clothes somehow. I’m also going to spend a few days in Kalimpong and Gangktok, Sikkim, where my top priority after seeing my friends is to get to see as many places as possible, then regrettably drunk for what may be something like we did back in college. My friend told me she’d understand if I wanted to chain myself to the bar.

I am also going to eat every possible meat I can lay my hands on and have some decadent fun that involves alcohol and Valium.
Well, I shall trust my old friend to deliver the goods, or fun in this case. Now, it's off to bed early and a prayer that a good, long sleep awaits me. Making a note that it is past my bedtime now, I shall presume that a long sleep may not be applicable, but I'll hope for a good, restful one anyway.

To all you who sleep tonight, I bid you good night! And to God, I'm really a nice, harmless girl; please let this journey be as painless as possible.

It's not often that I feel like a glamorous jet-setter.

But every once in a while I do.

Like now.

This has been a glorious week. I gave the band Vampire Weekend another listen - 2 albums (21 songs, and a full 60 minutes of new music) earlier this week (Thanks to Ajay). Just listen to this track ‘The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance’ below. That, quite decidedly, does not sound like anything you’ve heard before. It also, quite decidedly, got me very interested in what the rest of their music would sound like.

As we transition into the greatest season (yes, I do declare that the melancholy days of B’lore Winter are the best of the year) I only thought it proper to post this track as I watch the leaves fall outside in the wind.

I’ll miss you almost as much as you’ll miss me. Have a fun week and enjoy the rest of your October. Cheers.

October 11, 2010

Over the weekend I watched the movie ‘Eat Pray Love’, created by Ryan Murphy's cinematic adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's allegedly beloved memoir which keeps me aloft, because I imagine what it must have been like for ‘Liz’ to struggle with locked-in syndrome, and takes heart that she one day, breaks away from it all, and has the ability to move and express myself. It leaves the same effect on pretty much everyone who watches it or reads it - a huge smile and no small wonder (and envy) at the places she's been to. How many of us get to cut loose and take off like that? How many of us dare to? Watching the movie made me happy. It made me want to travel again. It made me want to step out of my cloak of inhibition.

(Skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to read any spoilers.)

Although, there are some parts of the movie I find hard to comprehend; that a successful, good-looking writer journeys the world for a year and still can't find happiness until she meets a similarly attractive and successful partner in the final part of the movie.
This sort of "voyage to finding oneself" was because she was rolling in the dough. In fact, this entire movie reminded me of all these foreign yuppies, I constantly run into in the city that would try to sound cool about their meeting with a yogi blah blah blah blah. I'm going to say that most of her readers could not (even if they wanted to) leave their careers and families to go on a year-long vacation to alien lands. Her experience is not based on reality for a large amount people. Nevertheless, the writer eggs on audiences to live richly through her, feeling the charge of self-empowerment and individual transformation, without getting off their couches and truly doing something exciting or significant with their own lives.
Yeah, much as I dislike coming off as a hater of this movie, I can say that this genre, mainly the food variety, speaks to me, if it's any comfort to fans of food-porn self-discovery travelogues. This brings us to what I did after the movie.

I’m at this new burger joint called ‘Peppa Zzing’. I clear my throat and smile. “Yes, I’d like a cheese-burst beef burger and a cold coffee, please.”

It only takes a few minutes before I’m handed my basket of yum-yums. I dig into the chips, but that’s just a distraction. I get started with the burger and within seconds make a sticky sweet disaster of the burger and myself. I devour the burger but have problems finishing it.
I don’t give a damn about calories but I can’t seem to continue eating the deliciously wonderful, fattening, bad-for-you, so-tasty-it’s-gross burger. I think that wonderful patty is doing amazing things for my face (or so I believe). I highly recommend having lunch/dinner there soon. You deserve a break today. I know I did last night.

Until next time I wish you all the best with the eating and the praying and the loving.
Sure, he kind of looked like a Backstreet Boy then. But can you believe that this is the kid who’s played with people like Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Cyndi Lauper, Santana, Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, and Sting?

Now 29, he may have traded in the haircut, but he's no doubt ready to show you the money. As talented as he is handsome, Jonny Lang has got it down. Here’s now-grown blues wunderkind Jonny Lang with the song that started it all thirteen years ago.

“Lie to Me”

To Long-Distance Guy

October 04, 2010

Well.... It's Monday already, Fuuggg!!

Monday again, huh? I can't say I'm too thrilled about that. And my brain, it's not functioning too well. I've got all kinds of things I shouldn't talk about but nothing I should.

I can't even begin to go into telling you about the weekend I had. Part of it was cool - I hung out with some of my best buds. But mostly it was disturbing. For some reason I seemed to have gained the weight I lost over the week in two days.

Finally, I can't tell you how many pints of beer, glasses of champagne, midori and whiskey I had. I don't have that many fingers and, since it’s Monday, my ability to count is based solely on the number of fingers I have. If you see me walking around with my shoes off, just know I was called on to do higher math.

I took it this past weekend, during our drinking session. Sadly, it appears as though the view teased us with a glancing blow. Oh well. Can't last forever.

Due to an awesome friend, Ajay, who left a video of this song on my FB wall on my birthday I have had the pleasure of spinning Mutemath’s ‘Peculiar People’ quite a bit lately and have landed on this as the stand-out track this week. It comes out of the gate with a frantic drum line that’s heavy and angular at times and melodic at others. The brisk vocals add to the song’s energy and the fact that it’s all so hooky and catchy and upbeat just makes it irresistible. It’s a whirlwind of a track and an example of Electro-Alternative-Rock at its most vital. Downright explosive guitar riffs, the song hits climax after breathtaking climax as the band’s impossibly loud, vehemently fuzzy power chords make your head spin. And special thanks to the soul who introduced me to them. You should thank him too.