Tuesday, January 06, 2015

London Christmas Lights Walking map




You can have budget walking tour to see the Christmas lights. (or you can take the open top bus for appox £20 pp)Usually the lights are on from Dec 15, to Jan 5, but do check the actual dates.
Viewing the lights are magical, a great deal of efforts are spent on setting this up. 

The route:
You can get off at the Bond street tube and  walk along Oxford street, take a right turn at Oxford circus, walking along the Regent street towards Piccadilly circus and ending at Traflgar square

The total time is around 1.5 hours. Additional for photography etc. 
Bond street tube station has fast food chains and coffee shops. You could pick something from there and walk along the streets

Be prepared for crowds and jostling. Ideal time would be around 6pm

Some snaps below



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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Lebara Nexus 4 internet settings

Name : Lebara UK
APN : uk.lebara.mobi
Proxy : Not Set
Port : Not Set
Username : web
Password : web
Server : Not Set
MMSC : http://mms.lebara.co.uk/servlets/mms
MMS Proxy : 212.183.137.012
MMS Port : 8799
MCC : 234
MNC : 15
Authentication type : < Not Set >
APN Type : default,supl,mms
APN Protocol : IPv4
Bearer : Unspecified

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Home


Living Room
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Dining
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Kitchen
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Master Bedroom
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Guest Bedroom
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Address
Golden Corner Apartment
Sarjapur road, Ambalipura
Bangalore
Location: http://g.co/maps/d2mgk

Land mark: Next to Domino's Pizza, opp Springfield apartment

Nearest ATM: HDFC (50mts )
Nearest Hospital: Dr.Levine Memorial (100mts)
Nearest Medical store: (50 mts)
Nearest Restaurant: Domino's Pizza, Sagar, Beijing bites (100mts)
Nearest Supermarket: Big Bazaar, Spencers, Total Mall (100 mts)
Nearest Cinema hall: Bangalore Central: (1 km)
Nearest School: St Peter's (2 kms)
Nearest Autorickshaw stand: (50 mts)
Nearest Bus stop: (50mts)

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Valparai: One-bar-town

An unforseen opportunity and wifey suggesting that I go for ride made me wake up early with the intention of riding to coorg and surprising my friend. Huge traffic pile up near kengeri at Bangalore’s west exit made me rethink about my destination. Not that I had any destination. I turned back intending to head to Kolli Hills, inspired by Doc Prithivi's travelogue last month. Exited out of Bangalore south and reached Salem at around 11am, at this speed I will reach Kolli hills at around noon. Will be too early, changed the destination again. Googled and identified a place called Valparai. about 250 kms from Salem.

Reached Pollachi via coimbatore, had lunch in a village shack. (was force fed the ton of food by the grandma who run the place) headed towards Valparai.


460kms from Bangalore Valparai is a small tea town on top of of anamalli mountain range which is a part of nilgiri biosphere near kerala-tamil nadu border. The population consists of tea workers and few traders. Pleasantly cold in peak summer, it attracts the budget crowd from kerala.

Almost zero human contact for 40 kms from pollachi to valppari, the route has 40 hairpin bends with great road surface to boast of. the route has No fuel stations and has only one tea stall enroute. The breathtaking views of the forests, backwaters from the mountains was magical.

The town consisted of 5 lodges, one semi decent hotel and couple of homestays. Home stays is about 1500 a night, I stayed in one of the lodges for 150/- night.

Had an opportunity to witness a village festival with lots of fire acrobatics (happened last weekend too)

Checked into the hotel and roamed around the two streets of Valparai trying out my SLR, misty and cold weather did not encourage me too much :) and ended up searching for a Bar. Surprised to know that this town had one Bar and one wine shop!!! the wine shop was closed and all the drinking crowd of the village jammed up to the bar. Managed to squeeze my way to the bar counter and found a standing place (boy it felt like a public transport during peak hours). Some villagers were taking booze in a tiffen carrier as parcel :) Strange sights. Chatted with some locals in the bar, went out for street food for dinner along with them.

Requested for additional blankets to sleep, checked out at 6am next day. This town wakes up early, hot vadas and hot tea almost everywhere to cater to the tea pickers. Had a quick chai and left the breathtaking valparai with the intention to return to this town. Also saw car parking on a terrace of a house, how? Check the snap :)

Route

Bangalore-Salem-Coimbatore-Pollachi-Valparai -460kms

350kms 4 lane NH road, 50 kms of bad road as you reach Coimbatore, 60 kms of ghat road. Saddle time of about 8 hours

60 kms of misty ghat road made up for 400kms of scorching heat ride :)

Photos at

https://picasaweb.google.com/114138226108646875882/Valpari#

Prabul

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Impromptu snap


Once upon a time, not very long ago, I was having a coffee in my office cafeteria with my collegues. It was around sunset time. The sun was low, just right. The rays were falling on my freind Ravi's face. Casting a shadow on the bamboo reed screen in the back ground. I was wishing for a camera. And lo, I noticed my other freind, Suresh Gowda, flaunting his new mobile with inbuilt camera. I tried it in b/w mode. And lo, I zimplee loved the outcome.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chikmanglur Semi-Solo ride

Better Snaps at http://www.prabul.fotopic.net/c1044750.html

This ride was supposed to happen a week before. Myself and Arun(BikeNomad) was supposed to ride last weekend. Did not happen because Arun was not able to come out on Saturday from his office. Even I had home-work and could not ride. But I took the excuse of arun and blamed him completely :-)
Friday night; went through the motions of packing my rucksack automatically. Packed my clothes in 3 sets, each in a polythene cover. It was 1am when I went to sleep. Woke up at 4:30, bathed, tied up the bag on to my bike. 5:30am started off from HSR . Felt very sluggish, did not feel the usual rush. Rode slowly till yestwantpur, had a strong tea, felt charged up. Increased the speed and was off. Ahh.... now that felt good.First time solo riding, was little apprehensive about the unknown. But it felt good. Zipped throughout the Tumkur freeway, stopped for a snap of the misty hills. Took a diversion to Arsikere from the tumkur NH, was on the smaller roads, no median, Prabul now reduce speed, I told to myself. Stopped at Gubbi at 8am for a breakfast. I saw a small rush of people in one of the by lane of Gubbi
Looked like a village hotel. Parked my bike, slipped off my knee-gaurds and gloves.
Had the biggest idlies of my life.



This idly had to be cut into two to fit the plate. .Excellent taste but could not fit into my tummy. Anyways, click, click, onlookers stare (the usual) and off me goes.






Enroute after arsikere found a sunflower farm, waiting to be clicked, me says smile please and click click. heard
some cars screeching and even louder screeches of kids...oh oh..
the car guys saw me fotoing and stopped for same.
Me thinks lemme rush off, already some uncles smiled and
came forward to chit-chat. I give them a dashing smile
and off me go




Reached Birur at 10am, yipee thats like 4 hours bangalore to
chickmanglur. I expected to reach in afternoon. Good now I had
a lot of time to explore. Long back I saw an entry in a Outlook
traveller's 52 weekend getways from bangalore, about a resort
in Chikmanglur called "Shivgiri Trails". I did call them couple of
times but no response. Thought this would be a good oppurtunity
to go give them a surprise visit. I took a diversion some 12 kms
before Lingdahalli and proceeded towards yemandohalli A proparah dirt track. Many villagers were not aware of the place called "Shivgiri trails". Since no rush, I took my time in searching for the place.



Mr.Mariappa near hogarkenahalli showed me a hill
and said that there is some sort of resort on top of the hill.
Squinted throught the faint drizzle and saw that the top
to the top of the hill looks like a exciting one.


Vrrooom here I go, lonely mud road to the top,
quite number of hairpin bends reached this "Resort".
The resort was swamped with Excavators and dumpsters!!!.
Met the owner, Mr.Nanda kumar, he is the one who is taken
over the resort and was awaiting for the mining license to
mine the iron-ore. Felt sad that the rich country side will
not be long before it becomes a arid mining pit :-( Took
plenty of fotos, in case the greenery is scavenged by
the excavators If I come next time.











. On the way downhill, thought of taking a different route,
I asked a Shepard (Or was it a cowboy) about the
different route to Kemmangudi. He claimed the only
route was to take the same which I came. Hmm... nat
a bery inthresthing option. I asked him "How do you go to
that next hill" he says "See that cattle track., I take that route".
So me thought, if cattle can go, I can go too. Anyways
chatted with him some more time, made him take some
snaps of myself, since his food time was only in the evening,
I shared my buttermilk and biscuits.



Okie..now the time to go. I went on the cattle track for 3 kms, which took close to an hour. then realized the stupidity of the venture and came back to the original route. Stopped at the lingdahalli tea shop, had a steaming hot tea with biscuts at around 12 O clock. Gupshupp with the locals and spreading the news of the forthcoming mining venture. All nodded and mentioned that mining was bad for ecology of the region. At least did my share of spreading awareness. Asked about the routes, all the villagers, who were sitting near the bustand collectively mentioned that the trek to hebbe falls was perilous, due to heavy rains, slippery track infested with leeches. Ok, I say, me not go in my most rustic kannada

Started riding towards Kemmangudi(KG). 30 kms through bad roads, heavy rains, thick mist and plantations got me to KG, enroute found two buses of college kids..oohhing and aahhing at the fantastic scenry and of course at my bike.

Not many tourists at KG, rightly so, these heavy rains is a big put-off for any normal people (No I dont belong to "Normal"). Rode to Z point as much as possible, then parked the bike, hiked the remaining route, click, click and back on my bike.

At the entrance of the Z point route I saw a tempo traveller stop and a bunch of uncles and aunties get off the van. One main uncle was walking gingerly along the track where as the aunties were happy. Couldn’t see the sight of the uncle's forlorn face, which indicated he was no mood to hike in this heavy down pour. So me says in my most frightened voice, "Uncle, don’t go hiking here, there are lot of leeches" and for the effect I pulled out couple of leeches on my shoe. That was enough, he shouted on top of his voice to all the people of his clan to get inside the van. BTW, did I see a faint hint of smile on his face.I went back to the KG cafeteria for my lunch. I saw the same herd of college kids confusing the waiter for the kind of lunch. I ordered my double omlette and meals, after lunch proceeded to pull the remaining leeches from my leg admist the starleted looks from the herd.I asked the route to Hebbe and puttered down the hill. Got a diversion with an arrow pointing indicating Hebbe falls 10 kms. So I went down the hill on a really bad roads for 10 kms

This route was supposed to have beautiful scenery. But alas, the rains and the thick mist seemed like a white shutter pulled down and ensured that I cannot see much. 10kms up, but no hebbe falls, 14 kms up no hebbe again. Me thinks...hmm.... there is some thing wrong. Parked my bike and waited for a soul to pass by for directions. 5 min passed, 10 min passed and me getting extremely cold. Ok I find a two local guys on a Victor putter along. I asked the directions and sadly found that I taken a wrong deviation..damn...damn...I have to go back 14 kms and another 10 kms to reach the falls. I had good intentions of ditching the whole hebbe trip all-together. The victor guys did not help much, by telling me that the roads were really bad, before they left. The rains were at their worst, cold and the wind was getting on my nerves. I still had about 2 hours of sunlight. Ok, I make a U-turn and go towards Hebbe. On the way I found a Van, with its right side two wheels stuck in a freshly covered ditch. And the passengers(Convanys or Memphis) was outside the van trying to set it right without much sucess. I stopped and mentioned that I will tell somebody at the KG for a tractor or 4-wheeler. Well I had to take another 3.5 kms diversion to do so. But all in a good cause. Went to the guesthouse office, informed the manager and was back to the hebbe falls route (Though I wanted to go back to Chikmanglur on to a warm bed). Was not able to see the track properly, ended up twice in a coffee estate.....damn....damn....Looks like the evening a

lot of things are going wrong. Just when I thought of going back, I met a really slippery steep track. Thump!!! I fell. I tried to get up, was able to do with a bit of balancing. The route was so slippery that I could not pick up the bike. Bingo gotta idea, I kicked my fallen bike, it slided towards some rocks. I got the grip there to lift it. After losing the route third time...I decided to turn back. But did not want to give up

U turn and was back to the hebbe, peering through the rain so that I dont get lost again. The next 10 kms of ride was one of the most difficult ride on my bike so far. Leeches, rain and very very slippery track sapped all my energy. I found a group of techies on the way up from falls. Hai/bye and on my way again. Reached the bottom of the hill in one peice. Saw a pretty stream, tried to take my bike through it. No luck, and on top of it, the tyres got stuck in the rocks....HEEELLP!!!

....ahh there comes my angel ..Thimmapa..he helped to lift my bike out of the stream. Good, thank you thimma..me had enough of it. And me was about to turn back. Angel says "Saar, you have come so far in this difficult terrain, why dont you see the falls" me says" Hmm.... " Actually I have only a very little of day light, but he says the short trek can be done in 45 mins both the ways and he will come with me. Uh..oh...Ok, I go. He says "Saar, carefull, its very very slippery here" , I say "Me a expereienced trekker" and show him my mighty trekking shoes with deep grooved soles and say "2000 bucks". He shrugged his shoulders and turned towards the falls....zzzzz...thump...ok thats me falling again. Jeezez does this had to happen front of him???? he doesnt say anything, I scramble to follow him. crossed two more streams and zzzzzz....thump.....damn...I fall again. He says "Saar, give me your hand" I did not have a choice. l let him lead the way by holding my hand.

Voila, hebbe falls suddenly in front of me. Its amazing sight. like a mini naigara falls. Ok, time to turn back, its getting late. Said tata bye bye to thimma. and rode up the hill, surprisingly the ride up was much easy. reached within half hour. Enroute, saw the teches again. tata to them again. When I reached on top, I saw the victor guys pushing their bike, out of petrol. I took out my tube and transferred a half liter to victor and was on my way. I suddenly realized a stupid mistake, I donated the fuel when the bike was under reserve. Damn...damn. I met another local. he mentioned that if I go back the lingdahalli, there is a petrol bunk. I was no mood to go back as I wanted to go through the BB hills range. But the nearest bunk is 43 kms. In my condition, it was cutting very close. But took the risk and went the hilly range route.

Amazing scenery was enough to make up the extremely bad roads. Met a coffee planter and he mentioned that there is a village ahead and in a particular shop, we would get loose petrol. Cool, after 8 kms I found this shop , which along with petrol it also had hot omlettes and chai. Excellent butt break, filled my self and the bike with fuel and was off to chikmanglur town. Did some enquires and settled at Planter's hotel, quite decent. Cajoled the front desk for hot water, seeing my wet and dripping condition agreed. Checked into my room, pulled out the remaining two leeches, had a hot water bath. While waiting for Arun and peru, I decided to check out the town, Quite dusty place, anyways I did not find any good restaurant for dinner, went back to my hotel, they had a good place. A little bit of liquid diet and hefty dinner saw to that I slept fast.

Arun and peru came around 11pm, some more liquid diet. Chatted about the day's activities and promised ourselves that we will leave our hotel EARLY morning 7am. Ok, good me thinks. And snore away to glory. Woke up at 8 am and found others too sheepishly grinning at the our punctuality. Anyways, breakfast was on the house, which we made good use of. Left the hotel by 11am !!!!. On the way to mulyangiri.

What a view!!!! The panorama was completely covered in green and mists at many a place. Beautiful. The rough ride was well worth it. Reached top with lot of snaps on the way. Parked the bike and strangely, we were searching for the track in the mist. Suddenly the mist cleared off and we found the steps to the temple. Ahh...... all the old memories are coming back. This place was very very windy and cold. There were cases when unattended children was carried away by the strong gale.

Peru tied a hanky around his head, Arun had his helmet on the way to the temple hike, I pulled up my jacket upto my ears. Prayed at the temple and came back to the base, where our bikes were parked. I met the Van which had got stuck in the ditch...a lot of hai and hellos. Admonished the driver for his careless driving. Rode back to base of the hill. I had to split with other two bikers as I wanted to come back to bangalore by evening (to attend a marriage). So me say tata bye bye to them, Arun and peru's plan was to go KG and hebbe. Though in my heart I wanted to go with them, I had to split.

Rode back to chickmanglur town, had a quick lunch and started to ride to belur. The road was amazing. On one strech I had made a consistent 90kmph for half hour. I had my frist butt break after covering 135 kms non-stop. At my second butt stop near kunigal, while having a tender-coconut, the vendor asked weather I am riding from KG or kudremukh?. I said KG but asked how did he know? He said "the deep red mud which had covered most of my bike can come only from these two places!!! At least he did not say "Elementary, my dear watson"

Another butt break near peenya, and was home at 6pm. Freshend up, and was off to the marriage. Showed off my snaps at the funtion, made many riders jealous. A rejuvenated and exiting ride, planning to do some more solo rides in future. I felt like Arnold, well...at least some part of my leg felt as the multiple leech and some unknown inscet bites left my left leg swollen parts :-(

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Adventures in my bathroom

This is an adventure in my bathroom where I got locked up and my 3 and quarter hour ordeal come out of it.
It so happened that I entered the bathroom to take bath at 8:30am. After some time I heard my phone ringing. I tried to open the bathroom door and something snaps in the lock mechanism, and the lock does not release to open the door.
Ok...I thought...let me finish my bath and look into it. After finishing my bath, tired once more to open it, but no avail. Tried not to panic, as, coincidentally none of my building neighbors were present. I started thinking on what to do, there were no tools in the bathroom to break the lock. This lock is that one which we twist the spring loaded handle to release the engaging latch in the door. Looked pretty tough too. It had three screws on the bathroom side, but no screw driver.
I eyed a metal grate in the corner of the floor which covers the water outlet. This was bit loose and I could dislodge it without much ado. This had a sharp edge around the circumference. Using this as an improvised screw driver, I tired removing the screws. after 20 minutes of trying only one screw was removed. By then the condition of the grate was too much disfigured and was un-usable as a screwdriver.
Again searched all over the tiny bathroom for something that looks remotely like a tool, no avail. Tried to remove the other two screws with help of one of the removed screw. Looked promising. Using the head of one screw as a screwdriver and after 30 minutes of painful effort. the second screw also came off. Now it was only a matter of time I rotate the plate which was hinging one screw, which covered the lock and unlock the door. But the handle was in the way, so couldn’t rotate the plate. In desperation tried to twist the handle with all my strength. CRAAACK!! the handle broke off.
Little bit of panic was creeping in. But, seeing the positive side of it, the covering plate can be rotated. Imagine my frustration, when I saw that this plate is only a covering, with the door behind this plate!! And I expected the lock mechanism, the lock mechanism is on the other side of the door, info, quite useless to me now. I sat down, trying to think of the way out. The only way I can see that was to chip of the wood covering the lock. Hopefully I get to the mechanism now.
But I needed tools, voila!! the plate which I peeled away, when placed in a particular angle can be used as a chisel. For hammer, I used the broken handle. Without bending the plate, slowly chipping away the wood for an hour I was able to reach the lock mechanism. One more hurdle, this lock mechanism had square hole which had to turned to release the latch. There was nothing of any thing remotely resembling a shaft which can fit into the slot. Sat on the floor thinking......There was an unused calling bell in the bathroom. Broke it open, found two ruler like aluminum parts of around 6 inches. I hammered the front of the aluminum ruler into conical shape such that it fits into the square slot in the lock mechanism. Yippeee. the mechanism turned and released the latch.
My next problem was, I had to turn the mechanism and open the door towards myself. Which was more difficult than I thought. I had push aluminum ruler into the door hard, rotate it at the same time and pull the door towards myself!! This door does not have a handle. After some trial and error, was finally got this too right. And the door opened.....YAHOOOO!!! Out at 11:45am
Lessons learnt

One: Stitch in time saves nine. I should have fixed the lock when I was aware there was something wrong with it.
Two: There is always a solution and a way out.
Three: Do not panic. Evaluate.