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When I Was Robbed in Santiago, Chile – My Worst Travel Experience

indian traveler in chile

I donned my white formal dress, put on my red matte lipstick, lined my eyes with Kajal, brushed my hair and let them fall loose, strapped my G-Shock on my right wrist, checked if I had Chilean pesos, hung my black leather purse on my shoulder, picked up my black Lenovo phone and earphones, launched Google maps, and walked out of the Airbnb to go for my interview at the English teaching center located in downtown Santiago. I had had to visit the center a few times to secure an interview with the English owner of the promising institute.

I took the lift to the ground floor of the building and having exchanged pleasantries with the joyful guard, walked out, and found myself face-to-face with the glowering January sun. I strode through the almost-empty roads towards the closest bus stand which was frequented by the bus that would have directly taken me to the cosmopolitan center of the town.

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Breathtaking Angkor Wat, Cambodia – In a Photo Essay, With Its Mystical Mythology

ankor-wat-977693_1280 (1).jpeg

Mythology has always fascinated me. As a child, I used to read all the thin and thick Hindu mythological books kept in the rectangular wall-hooked showcase temple in our mandirwala or the temple room. I grilled my mother about Shiva and Lakshmi and Parvati and Vishnu and Hanuman and the snakes and the elephants and the monkeys and the Ramayana. Then I visited college and opted for literature courses and read all the different versions of Mahabharata that I could put my hands on.

So while walking around Angkor Wat or the City of Temples, when I saw that the fellow international travelers were mesmerized by the temple but also confused, I donned my narrator cloak and recited tales of the Hindu mythology and exposed the personal lives of the millions of gods and goddesses that Hinduism has.

One of the stories that I narrated was the famous tale of the churning of the sea or the samudra manthan that has been depicted at the entrance of the temple and has been engraved beautifully on many of its walls and columns.

Now I am not that cruel that I would devoid you off this bewitching story. So here it goes.

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Travel Tales from the Tragic Cambodia – Reflecting Upon the Ruthless Destruction

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I was climbing the stairs of a high school in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. No, I did not intend to repeat high school to recognize the petals and sepals of a flower better. The school wasn’t ordinary. The faces of the men and women that had been tortured and killed in its classrooms stared at us from behind the glass frames hung on the bloodstained walls. The rusted iron bars, withering waterboards, and used bloody clothes kept in those classrooms narrated a gruesome story of the ruthless Cambodian massacre, that happened not so long ago. The metal shackles with which people were tied to the waterboards and to the iron bars were still chained to them; I assume those metal chains couldn’t be used for anything else now.

Unwillingly, I vividly imagined the bodies possessing those faces and donning those gory clothes tied to the iron rods with the cold shackles. A guard came throughout the day to beat them and torture them with electric shocks as the helpless stifled on the floor. Or to cut them with knives and suffocate them with plastic bags. Blood oozed out of the wounds of the tortured but medicine was out of the question. Four small spoonfuls of rice porridge and watery soup of leaves were given to them twice a day.

My skin crawled. I shivered in the scorching month of June.

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A One–Day Road Trip From Bangalore to Panchapalli Dam and Bettamugilalam Village

a karnataka landscape

One needs to control his or her mind to do anything in this world. Even the most enlightened of us all, Plato, Seneca, Marcus, Aristotle, Buddha, Socrates, valued this virtue. I do not possess this quality, yet, and hence couldn’t sleep the Saturday night before the Sunday drive. At 4 am, when I disabled the alarm and dragged myself out of bed, I felt as if a hundred pins pierced my eyes. 

Determined to hit the road, we packed our country-egg-omelet and Amul-butter-pasted sandwiches, that I had already prepared the night before, in tiffin boxes and then in a backpack, along with bananas, water bottles, and Unibic protein bars. We wanted to hike the world. Soon, we sped on the road in search of a green and sunlight-lit golden Sunday in some distant hills or next to a lake or a dam, may be accompanied by an elephant or two. 

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My First International Solo Trip (to Thailand) Sucked – Mistakes and Learnings

a sunrise to show learnings

Thailand was my first solo trip.

I pre-landed in Bangkok at 5 AM. In the on-arrival visa line, a friendly attendant helped me skip the line and processed my visa faster. The airport was far out of the city and having decided that I would take public transport, I climbed into an about-to-crumble bus to go into the city.   

In the three-hour-long bus ride, as long as the flight from Bengaluru to Bangkok, a lady passenger helped to hold my bag and told me that I was beautiful as I managed to not-faint in the crowded aisle. The bus crawled a kilometer in almost an hour. Due to my skepticism of being able to explain the situation to the angry and rude lady ticket collector and the bus driver, I didn’t leave the bus to hop into a taxi. She kept buying weird-looking dumplings for him from the street while I craved and my stomach growled. 

The bus ride wasn’t enough torture that I had to climb four levels of steep, dingy stairs with my suitcase to reach my just-enough, single, air-conditioned room.

Tired, hungry, and lonely, I went down for food and ate a mediocre Pad Thai. Having grabbed a few cold water bottles from the fridge downstairs, I climbed back up again. Sudden rudeness and a hint of racism coupled with sleep deprivation and loneliness made me sleep for almost 5 hours.

It wasn’t just that.

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Vietnam Photo Album – Lush-Green Vietnam and Its Temples

waterfall in vietnam

As promised in this photo diary of the street life and rich food of Vietnam, I am back with a Vietnam photo album which showcases the country’s painting-like greenery and its rich temples.

Certain days at work, when I sit in a room and work from my desk for hours at a stretch, these photos make me feel that I am out in the green, running with the water stream, or bathing in the sunshine, or singing with the rain, or listening to the tall waterfall falling over the stones, or fine-tuning with the birds that flew above my head under the vast blue sky of those foreign lands.

Do you also long for a place that you visited in the past when you look at your travel photos? Do you still feel connected to that place?

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Vietnam Photo Diary – Bustling Street Life and Juicy Food

night view of hanoi city vietnam

Vietnam was alive.

With blue skies and bustling streets.

With bowls full of colorful noodle soup in which greens and mushrooms dived in.

With ladies serving soup on the street side and road junctions while sitting on the smallest stools you could ever imagine.

With the Bánh Mì sandwiches that erupted into my taste buds and the beautiful blend of the Vietnamese coffee served with condensed milk.

With the death that lingered in the war museums that crushed me to the core and I took days to recover.

With the long-curvy rides in the toiletless buses to reach one city from another.

With the streets crowded with millions of red, blue, green scooters that must have looked like crawling painted ants when seen from the top.

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Wild and Beautiful Thailand – In a Photo Essay

bangkok thailand street (1)

Thailand was my first solo international trip. It was my first window into the world of traveling and backpackers and hostels and not knowing where would I sleep the next day.

Thailand was absolutely gorgeous, marvelously racist at times, and enriching with delicious food.

I met some amazing people, ran away from obnoxious ones, admired some beautiful temples, found precious stones in dazzling night markets, stayed overnight in the gigantic national park of Thailand, played around with elephants (about which a fellow traveler has written about), devoured some juicy seafood, enjoyed the bunk beds of the hostels, walked through the red light areas, got mesmerized by the strength of pole dancers dancing in street-side pubs and bars, drowned with my best friend in a swimming pool and beer, and happily but unknowingly overstayed my visa.

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