Sunday, 31 July 2011

Oh Lisbon

City of fortuitous coincidences and blinding fog. Of sudden meetings and hurried departures. Of being lost and being found again.

I got more than I thought I should hope for, but now we're are sailing off all in a rush. Of course, I'm rather glad we're doing it only figuratively speaking, in one sense :).

Come darkness, it will be back to the wilderness of the usual.

This has been a good three weeks :).

Feeling: glad
Listening to: Wolfmother - Vagabond

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The times, they are a-changin'

Quite literally in this case. But that's what you get when you go flat west straight across the Med. And in-between the sailing, there were an interesting few days, to say the least :).

So what was supposed to be a quick dash in and out of Valletta, turned into a week-long stay alongside arguably the best spot on the Grand Harbour :).

I made the most of it, went strolling along the stony, narrow and almost roller-coaster like streets of the fortified town almost every single day.

Needless to say, I took way too many photos :D. So much so that I'm actually considering a return to that awesomely convenient dumping ground of photographs in bulk :|. Anyway, enough of that.

So Malta! In a week I didn't even make it out of the old town part of Valletta and Floriana. There are old fort walls all around, quite literally, in fact. For the most part, the walls are quite well preserved too!

I suppose the volume of tourists visiting this part of town to some extent has contributed to the low number of actual residents, but there are still enough! As such Valletta has to be the most lived in fort I've ever personally seen :).

Speaking of tourists, this place is like the centre of the world for cruise ships! And big ones!! (The largest one was over a thousand feet long!) Given our prime location flanked by the two cruise ship berths, we saw, from quite up close, no less than seven of these giants during our stay. Quite used to being comfortably the largest object from horizon to horizon, we were suitably humbled :).

Each one would arrive, accompanied by much fanfare and unload a genuinely mind boggling number of holiday makers from all over the place. Soon enough they'd disappear through the gaps in the walls on buses and horse cabs and harbour cruise ferries and any other means of transportation available. But before the day was over, they'd be back and the ship would cast off for the next destination, looking festive as ever!

I suppose eight days was quite a bit more than I could have expected, and as such I am indeed thankful. But just as we were beginning to rather look forward to stretching our legs further across the island, almost suddenly, we were off!

So we set off to traverse the rest of the Mediterranean. Unfortunately the passage through the strait of Gibraltar was completed in the utter darkness of the early hours of this morning. All I managed to see were the lights spiralling up The Rock blinking quietly in the distance.

Tomorrow we arrive in Lisbon. And as much as I wish for a repeat of the Maltese experience, I rather expect this one to indeed be the planned one day affair :(.Currently: burrowing through hundreds and hundreds of Malta photos :)
Listening to: Apollo 440 - Make my dreams come true

Friday, 15 July 2011

New shores

Technically, we aren't working. So why is it that I seem to have been busy non-stop for the last five days?! Not fair, is it? Well, at least some of it was time well spent.

I was a bit worried with the two-hour stopover at Delhi, but my god, was I surprised?!! In the best way possible that is! IGI Terminal 3 is an absolute miracle! How else could one possibly describe disembarking the domestic flight, checking in for the international, going through immigration and then security, all in a half hour flat?!!

After that, the rest of the travelling was decidedly ordinary :). Bahrain leans distinctly more towards the UAE side of the Arab world rather than the Saudi, IMHO. But I suppose that's not really that surprising.

Arrival into Cyprus was such a benign affair that the scary memories of Saudi immigration began to seem like a bad dream :). Unfortunately, we were greeted by this mushroom cloud of the explosion that seemed to have almost coincided with our landing :(.

Despite the hustle and bustle of joining the boat at port, some of us managed to make some time and had a very brief look around Limassol. The place, apparently, is not even called that. Lemessos it is. And like the name, everything else is Greek. Quite literally!

Despite the allure of the beaches of Santorini, and the Parthenon and the rest, I haven't yet made it to any part of Greece, but this definitely was close. The beaches seemed way too busy for a Monday afternoon, till we realised exactly how popular a tourist destination Cyprus is.

Oh, and by the way, the police there have totally awesome stuff by way of transportation :D.

Meandering along narrow alleys and undistinguished looking buildings of stone and peeling plaster, we quite suddenly landed up in the middle of the old town. It was quaint, I suppose, but rather short-lived. And the 'castle' left much to be desired. Unfortunately, that was all we had time for, as the very next afternoon we set sail. Not before this rather interesting spectacle though :).

Right, so since then we've been sailing pretty much right through the middle of the Med. (And I thought the Red Sea was a busy waterway :|.) Imagine a straight line from the bottom of Cyprus to an imaginary point about 20 miles off the south-western tip of Crete. Then another straight line from there right into the heart of Valletta. We're about half-way down that second bit.

That's right, Malta, here I come! And having been disappointed by one castle, I'm indeed looking forward to the famed fortifications that overlook the entry to the harbour! Now let's hope we make our entry to port before I go to bed tomorrow :|.

Currently: in transit
Listening to: Chapeaumelon - Nonchalant

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Smoky mirror

The sky, so long shrouded in thunderous clouds chooses that exact moment to go supernova. The sun, in its dying moments bursts forth heroically one last time. Every shade of grey, from the depressing to the downright frightening, is consigned to the sideline as an explosion of hues lights up the sunset.

Unfortunately, there's a veritable profusion of concrete and metal in my way. Short lived as it is, the moment doesn't allow for one's convenience. It's funny how that works out, more often than not.

Suppose you know you are not being the most gracious version of yourself. You know it, but there appear to be reasons. It seems to me, awareness only goes so far to mitigate the effects of circumstance. Beyond that, I guess a little bit of venting becomes rather necessary. One can only hope no one gets too badly singed by the fallout.

Apparently, I'm headed to the Med. Given the relative lack of certainty surrounding everything to do with me lately, I shall hold off on definitive statements of any sort till a more opportune moment.

Feeling: listless
Listening to: Bob Dylan - Standing in the doorway