Category Archives: Travel

Foods of Singapore: Otak Otak


When we decided to make Singapore our destination, food was top on our minds. And it didn’t disappoint. The food draws heavily from the mix of the different cultures that make up the country – Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian. Almost every day was a food adventure.

I was glad that I had family who live there and know the right places to go. I had great meals for less than $10 while my colleague laments about the S$4oo she spent on a two person brunch. Great food doesn’t have to be expensive in Singapore. Hawker centers abound with great food and make you feel part of the culture when you eat at these local places., while going easy on your pocket. See images of hawker centres here.


Otak-otak is made by mixing fish paste (usually mackerel) with a mixture of spices including chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed. ( Link)

It is delicious! In my opinion, anything cooked in banana leaves taste divine. While I couldn’t eat more than one at a time, my fellow traveller ate plenty at a time.


An Otak otak vendor.

To see another vendor, click here.


The banana leaf packets are cooked atop a grill till the leaves start to char in the middle. Otak hot off the grill is sooooo good!

Goodbye La to Singapora.



We are back home after a 3 week vacation to Singapore.

What a destination. Singapore is so easy to like with great people, great food and great places.

Coming back home, everything feels foreign and strange. It could be the jet lag or the mystical power of Singapore still hovering over me.

More later…


Photos: Grand Canyon



Yaay! School is over for this semester. Couldn’t wait to come home and relax with a cup of tea. I still have to be working, but atleast there is no stress of exams. Atleast for the next 3 weeks.

Our trip to Grand Canyon was last month. It was one of the most incredible places I have been to. We only had 2 days there, and I won’t miss a chance to go back there. We stayed in vegas for 4 days- too long! We decided to take a bus to Grand Canyon and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated not having to drive. We could just sit back and relax and our driver had so much information to share with us. I strongly recommend taking the bus. It will make your trip much more pleasant.

We stayed at a lodge in the Park. The accomodations were wonderful and the food decent. Overall a wonderful experience!!


This bird kept posing for a long time. I guess it didn’t mind the company at all!!


See all that green at the bottom. That is the Indian Garden.

Indian Garden is a small oasis that exists about 3000 feet below the rim, on the Tonto Platform, at the junction of the Bright Angel and Tonto trails. The only reason for Indian Garden being where it is is the existence of Garden Creek, a perennial water source. Up until the early 1900’s the Havasupai indians used to raise corn, squash and beans at Indian Garden and this is how it received it’s name.( Link here)


I found this plant with all this nice fruit. No idea what the name of the tree is. Oh wait, I think it might be the utah juniper. The pictures do look alike!


These are all native american artwork. Those rugs were pretty pricey. I bought a small vase.


No matter how many pics you take, you can’t seem to translate the beauty before your eyes. The views are just breathtaking, and it seems like the view changes as the day goes by. You gotta see it to believe it!!


Shadow play!!



This building looked like it was abandoned. I thought it was a stunning building. The woodwork looks similar to those in old homes in Kerala.


We hiked a small part of the Bright Angel Trail. It can be a very taxing hike, especially coming up, as the air becomes thinner. We found a guy who was having some shortness of breath. He was okay after resting for some time. But the these mules will make your climb much easier.


Satish looks wishfully at the lucky ‘climbers’.

I am resisting the temptation to post more pictures. But as I said, they can’t do justice to the beauty of the Canyon. No wonder it is ‘The Grand Canyon’.

Destination: Las Vegas


We were in las vegas for about a week. We still are in Las Vegas airport as our flight is delayed for a few hours because of bad weather in New York. The weather is perfect out here but that doesn’t help us now, does it? Asides from this delay at the airport, we had a fun and relaxing week.
Las Vegas was fun for the first few days. After 3 days, the cigarette smoke and loud music started taking its toll on me. I just wanted out. And we did. We went to the Grand canyon for the next 2 days and what a nice change it was. It was an absolutely wonderful site and provided a much needed change from the Las Vegas scenario.

Although we had some amazing food at Las Vegas, we are craving for some home cooked meal.

Weekend travel- Bar Harbor, Maine



We had no weekend plans till last Friday as we thought Satish had to work this weekend. But work wrapped up by Friday afternoon and we had the whole long weekend. We knew where we wanted to go- Acadia National Park in Maine. So we booked our rooms Friday and left home early morning Saturday.


A very friendly bird

Maine is really big! We drove miles without seeing any major towns for a long time. The tourist season is just starting in Maine, so we had an easy travel on the road. The weather was perfect for the 3 days we were there. Acadia had breathtaking views. We drove along scenic drives, biked and hiked. We had some awesome food, and met some great people.Had a totally relaxing and wonderful weekend, a weekend with nature.

If you ever travel to maine, make sure you catch some breakfast at Two Cats. This is the best breakfast place ever, so good that we ate breakfast there on all 2 days. I loved the place so much I bought a T shirt and jacket from there.

Two Cats 130 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME Tel: (207) 288-2808

On our way back , we stopped at Maine Luau for some lobster. Oh my gosh! It was so good. We had lobster dishes at Bar Harbor, but nothing matched this. To eat with fingers, sucking on the lobster, and not needing to worry about what others might think of the way you eat. It was wonderful.

Maine Luau 324 Bar Harbor Rd.Trenton, MA 04605.

Welcoming spring- Cherry blossoms at Washington



This weekend was absolutely perfect. The weather was just right and we were in Washington DC, enjoying the cherry blossoms. It was such an awesome sight and looked picture peCherry blossomsrfect. Pink is girls favorite color and to be sorrounded by all this pink….well, to put it mildly I was overwhelmed! We stayed with friends and had great food and lovely conversations. Thanks Deedees for having us over! Now that I am back in CT, the weather is rainy but that makes me appreciate the great weekend I had even more…

Here are some pictures from the trip. They dont do justice to the beauty of these blossoms.



Cherry blossoms up close and personal…


The skies were blue and gave a nice contrast to the pink of the blossoms

c5.jpg Relaxing with the blossoms

ch.jpg Asingle tree

The blossoms are of different colors, which makes it more interesting. So if you get a chance, visit this place and have a great time.

If you travel to the city, take the train. Try not to drive as the parking is very limited. You can spend hours stuck in traffic and getting all aggravated ( I learnt this the hard way and hence the tip). So pack some light food as there is no food in sight and when there is, there are long lines.