Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Savoring India

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. In preparation for an annual partners' meeting and a one-day conference I was putting on for work, I have been pretty heads down, without time to blog. However, that all ended last night (and went very well) and I now I am able to fill in a few missing and interesting details of my trip.

Since the focus of our conference was on the financial sector in India, it was important that we stayed close to the Financial District. We finally landed on having the events at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. We were able to get an excellent rate, which made it possible to fit into our budget for the event. If you follow me on Instagram, you have already seen the amazing view I had out my bedroom window. The hotel was truly spectacular - they even give a daily, 75-minute tour everyday - and many distinguished guests have graced its hallways and pillows.
Inside the hotel, there are seven restaurants, one of which is the famous (although I didn't know it at the time) Wasabi by Morimoto. Heralded as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world, the cuisine was out of this world. I went with my foodie co-worker, Nick, who had watched the head chef win the original, Japanese Iron Chef competition. The delacacies I enjoyed were: the amuse bouche (bottom right) which was a light, flaky pastry filled with toasted rice, vegetables and magic; the toro tartar with caviar (middle right), the hamachi/yellowtail sashimi (middle left); and the panko truffle lobster with a side of the most amazing egg-fried rice I've ever tasted.

Everything was superb. I would've gone back every free chance I had, after eating dinner there on Monday, but after receiving my bill for one (US$212), I had to resist.
Sadly, I only left the hotel in Mumbai long enough to cross the street and see the Gateway of India up close. After that, I walked around the crowded streets with several of my US and India colleagues before retiring to a much less expensive, Mexican restaurant in the hotel.

The remainder of my stay in India includes a farewell breakfast with my Indian co-workers and a blissful massage before hopping on a plane for my 27-hour journey home. This trip has been far more memorable than the last, making me look forward to the next.

Friday, February 21, 2014

India - Take 2

I'll admit, after I came in December, India was not on the top of my "countries visited" list. I found it overwhelming (as people usually describe) in all senses of the word - smell, sound, sights, cuisine, pace, etc. Parts of it were lovely but it was hard for me to focus on them in spite of everything else. Now that I am on my second trip, things are going much better for me. I have been able to relax into things a little more naturally and packed enough snacks to offset the 24/7 spice parade that is most all food here.

After work yesterday, I went to the Rock Fort (pictured above) with two of my U.S. colleagues and together we walked barefoot up all 344 steps to the top temple (lower, right-hand corner). The rock is one of the oldest rock formations in the world, at 3.8 billion years of age. Inside the rock, several temples and a fort are carved - both serving their purposes for centuries -- the first temple was built in 580 AD.

Our transportation for the evening was the lovely, yellow auto rickshaw I am sitting in. In case you want a glimpse of what that was like, I took a short video for you.
The city of Trichy below from near the top of the Rock Fort.
After our temple adventures, we went for a little clothes shopping -- I think I am ready for spring now -- and then headed back to the hotel for dinner. In all, it was a pretty good day. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you soon.