All posts by travtrails

A freelance travel writer and blogger from India with over twenty years of writing and reporting experience. At present settled in Hong Kong, usual and cluttered but still different. My journies and stays in different continents, countries, cities kindled an urge for travel writing and photography and reason for Travtrails....

Cee’s Challenge

Thank you Cee for the Featured Bloggers  ‘pat on the back’.

Sunday – Odd Ball Challenge: Week 27

Featured Bloggers

Mama Cormier – Three very distinct and gorgeous photos. I like the last one best. You decided your favorite.
Travel with Intent – Great bench shot with a twist. Debbie’s caption is Put Your Feet Up. Go find out the twist.
TravTrails – How much fun is the wooden soldier and little girl.
Sued51’s Blog – I adore this shot. Simply delightful. I also adore the blue.
Dear Bliary – All wired up and nowhere to go. Enjoy these photos.


Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge


‘Who is taller’? The toddler guesstimating the red wood soldier at entrance to the 1906 red brick Western Market (Des Voeux Road Central and Morrison Street junction), Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

The Edwardian style Western Market, a former British Post Office converted into a showpiece market place in 1991, is a combination of classical facades and kitschy shops selling toys, crafts, jewelry on ground floor. The real treasure is on first floor…bales of satins, silks, sequins, laces…..fabrics to splurge on.

Liebster Award


MaverickBird ( nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you for the honor but as she writes it comes with a caveat.
The Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to shine a light on those lesser known blogs out there that they feel deserve a bit of the limelight. It’s also a way to connect with others in your genre and let them know you exist.
Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person that nominated you (and link back to their blog).

2. Answer 10 of their questions.

3. Nominate 10 blogs

4. Ask 10 of your own questions

5. Let your nominees know they have been nominated


Here it goes:

1. Why do you blog?
A tricky question and initial response will be …it gives me a high. On a serious note I want to share my experiences and knowledge of place visiting, its color and reason

2. What’s the essence of your blog, I mean what do you want to express through blogging?
Earlier it would be routine tourist stop. Now I want to feel the place, the why’s and what’s ( my newspaper instinct) and hope this seeps through my blog

3. What’s your travel style?
No backpacking for me. Not the best but medium and higher side of leisure travel.

4. Are you an adventurous foodie?
No. Prefer to try the tried.

5. How extreme travel style can you enjoy?
If I know where I am going and what I am doing then I do not mind traveling without reservations.

6. What would be your dream destination?
My dream destination was and still is Japan.

7. What would be your top 3 travel experiences?

1 First time asked to follow customs officer inside for questioning. This happened at Sanya Airport, China. They wanted to check on our laptop and Apple phones.
2. Learning that frankincense and Queen Sheba are for real….in Oman
3. The glaciers of Columbia Icefields, Alberta Canada

8. If money had no restraint, where, how and for how long would you travel?
364 days

9. What’s your travel music?
Prefer reading

10. What does traveling give you?
A sense of belonging

10 Questions to ask of nominated bloggers
1. Blog is a link or mere words….
2. Blog Challenges help or distract from purpose of blog.
3. Should travel blogs should be more of ‘I’ or the ‘place’.
4. Pictures add to visual presence…..
5. How would you rate your blog
6. Repeating a Daily Post question …is blogging addictive?
7 Or is it a pleasure?
8 Do you present a place as you see it or embellish it?
9. Travel writing and blogging is getting competitive…
10. Should you target a specific audience or generalize

My nominated bloggers are: this is the tricky part. I can nominate twenty but have seven at present.
Where is my backpack
kiwi soar
janaline’s world journey
wandering iris
wordbeads (not a travel blog)

The test from my side is that the bloggers will see their name instead of my writing to them individually. Hope I am excused this once.


Tangible Memories

This post is in response to IndiBlogger contest titled Beauty has an Address based on Oman.

We lived in Muscat, Oman from October 1995 to November 2000 and the five years was an introduction to a culturally and typographically vibrant and irresistible.

Our entry into Muscat, the capital of Sultanate of Oman, had coincided with sublime weather, by Oman standards, as October onwards the hot air or the mistral disappears from over the crumbly slatey mountaintops. Also unknowingly, we had timed our arrival with the 25th year of ascension of Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the country’s National Day celebrations. The country was eulogizing the metamorphosis into a new era engineered by discovery of oil and the Sultan’s commitment to his people. The buntings and multi hued lights stringed along pillars and atop buildings added to the festive ambiance and after sunset Muscat turned into an Arabian Nights city with lighted minarets, streets and buildings.

It was the beginning of a never-ending love affair with a country that hitherto had been an unknown entity, a Middle Eastern country confined to desert lands of geography books. I am glad I did not listen to well wishers advising us against flying out without any contacts or friends to help out. We did not know anyone, except for my husband’s company contacts, and in a way it was a blessing as I was free from getting opinionated.

In five years time, 1995-2000, I came to know a country of majestic burnished mountains and blue-green waters snuggling up to an endless coastline, of undulating sky-line of buildings and rolling clouds, the souqs or markets reminiscent of ancient trade routes, of frankincense and dates, the swirling golden Wahiba sands, forts and mountain passes, of folklore and distinctive tribals. Evenings spent strolling along the Corniche, in Muscat, washed by waves and engulfed in the glow of the setting sun it was easy to imagine the lure of this entreport for sailors on way to riches of Asia. Lord Curzon, the British Viceroy of India (1898-1905) had labeled it as the ‘most picturesque place in the east’ and like multitudinous tourists down decades I too seconded the description.

In 1995 Muscat was a city of artistic roundabouts embellished with artifacts, majestic forts and palaces, traditional souks vying with modern hotels, civic installations and sprawling parks proclaiming an ancient history of political and military activities. The Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Grand mosque was being constructed ( since then completed) and has the world’s largest chandelier and a hand-woven Persian carpet covering 4.26 It is one mosque where non-Muslims are admitted for a look around.

The children would spend weekends at the ice skating rink or freaking out on the serpentine drive to Qantab beach, an engineering masterpiece linking the mountains for passage to the sea. School vacations meant driving to picturesque mountain cities and villages, Nizwa cloaked in antiquity was my favored haunt, the Jebel Akhdar or the Green mountains, Musandan reminiscent of Norway fjords, the verdant wadis or valleys and crooning streams of Dhofar, the southern tip of the country.

Like any other Gulf country Oman has surfeit of glamour, money, labor, simple living but to me it was a multitudinous wrap around, unique and fantastically natural in all its heatness- beyond conditioned houses, conditioned cars, conditioned offices, shopping complexes and “Even are classrooms are air-conditioned”. This from children on first day at Indian School, Muscat.

Now, fourteen years later when asked what would I like to do and see on return…..I can only say ‘Oman in entity’ as it was and must be paradisiacal.