Category Archives: Travelogue

Live Your Dream

I concluded my first official travel of the year yesterday. It was a weeklong trip to the west coast. I landed after midnight and I was looking forward to getting some much-needed sleep. I called for a Lyft (ride share), and soon I was on my way to home sweet home.

I almost planned to doze off in the car but then I got engrossed in a conversation with Brad, my Lyft driver, and couldn’t get enough of what he told.

Brad is in his late twenties and is a free soul, living his life by his terms. He is a nature photographer and an avid lover of national parks. About two years back when he was out of his full-time job, an idea struck him to visit all the national parks in the mainland US. While he had the time and the grit, there was one issue, he didn’t have the money.

After some deliberations, he thought of a plan, travel across the United States in his car. So, he spent 17 months on road, traveling 48 states, covering 153,500 miles, and taking some breathtaking captures along the way.

Whenever his money depleted, he did ride share using Lyft( thanks to technology). Some cites were less crowded than others, so sometimes he stayed long in more populous cities and gave rides to raise the required funds.

He mostly slept in his car and remained a loner living his dream. I happened to check his website and Instagram account and was in complete awe. Please do check his website at Bradshutack.com

He is currently scouting for a full-time job in the photography field, and I am sure with such talent, he will be in immense demand.

Sitting in the comfort of my house, I wonder how many of us live an ostensible life, far away from what we desire, in the name of stability and superficial growth.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Trip to Maui – Day 5

This post brings an end to my Maui travelogue. Our flight was late in the evening and we thought of taking a trip to Haleakalā peak, the highest peak in Maui Island.

Interestingly, the summit crater is not formed by volcanic eruption lava but because of erosion over eons. The Haleakala Crater is gigantic and provides a mesmerizing picturesque view.

The drive was about 50 miles. The first 20 miles were around the valley and the next thirty was a steep climb to over 10,000 feet. Unlike the road to Hana, the driveway was not narrow and we could manage a decent pace of about 25-30 miles per hour. However, as we climbed up, the roads got narrower and at times without the road guards, gave me a jittery feeling as I observed the steep fall. When we were around 7,000 feet above sea level we literally crossed the cloud. The temperature also dropped by about 20-25 degrees. Here are something to take care of if you are planning to take this peak

  • Take a light jacket and a pair of good shoes, it gets cold up there
  • There are no shops. Please take water and other essentials
  • Also, no gas station ⛽️ so, fill your tank before the drive.
  • There are cyclists 🚴‍♀️ all around. Drive carefully
  • If you plan to see the sunrise(we didn’t), plan to leave home by 2:00 AM. Also, you need a reservation for the same. So call and find out. Usually, the time to book is between 3 and 7 in the morning
  • The park has an entrance fees of 20 dollars. We didn’t pay, as there was a government shutdown.

Once we reached the top we found a signage claiming it to be the world 4th most cleanest peak. The US government had setup a huge observatory with telescopes 🔭. It was out of bounds and we took a picture from a distance.

The observatory at the peak
The observatory at the peak

The view from the top was breathtaking. After taking some pictures we traveled down half a mile to another scenic spot. It was a climb up to another Volcanic hill. We took the half mile climb up, to capture the panoramic view of the carter created over millions of years.

The climb stairs
The climb stairs

Before the climb

Before the climb

Another half mile down we had another overlook stop. I casually looked at the display board and found my favorite author, Mark Twain, climbed the mountain in 1866. See the quote in the picture.

Zoom to read Mark Twain’s Quote
Zoom to read Mark Twain’s Quote

We were hungry and we climbed down to find the first restaurant to eat. It was a local lodge and both food and the view was amazing.

View from the restaurant
View from the restaurant

We drove back to the airport, bringing an end to a beautiful vacation. Thanks so much for your read. If you are interested to read my previous day posts you can do so by clicking the links below.

Day 0

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui, Day 4

Hoapili Trail

Going trekking in Maui was high on our agenda. We did some research and found the Hoapili trail, which was not too far from our temporary home. Hoapili trail was an integral part of the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. One of the most interesting facts about this trail was it being the youngest lava flow in the region. The trail is moderate but graveled, I highly recommend a toe covered shoes if not boots. The trail was about 4 miles long winding across the rocky beach ocean and offered some of the best-hidden areas for snorkeling and surfing. Find below a list of my recommendations if you ever plan to take the trip:

The land is dry and arid – go early in the morning to beat the heat waves

Wear a good pair of shoes. The trail is uneven with steep climb and gravel around. One can easily get hurt

Take the map snapshot at the entrance. The cell phone doesn’t work.

If you love snorkeling. Take your gears along. There are some beautiful spots on the way to explore the same.

Take a bottle of water per person. You will need it for sure

Take some first aid medication. Not to scare you but I had a fall. I tried climbing a rock to get a good view of the terrain and fell 😊 the medication worked like a charm. There was no help anywhere close by.

Here are some pics for your views

Somewhere along the trail
Somewhere along the trail
On the Trail
On the Trail
Us before the trail walk
Us before the trail walk

Our Lunch Place
Our Lunch Place

Boogie boarding in Ocean

I got some good number of bruises on my hand and legs and my kids were sad, for they thought our hitting the beach plan was in danger. I teased my daughter and she sweetly said: “we can go home if you are not feeling well.” I couldn’t have broken her heart and so I looked around for some urgent care center. Healthcare in this country needs a serious uplift. For my simple bruises, the charges I was asked to pay was over 500 dollars without the medication. While my wife was insistent, I was in no mood to pay such an obnoxious amount. Instead, I went to a nearby medical store and got some first aid material under 50 dollars and it worked like charm.

We ate Mediterranean food in a nearby place. Food was outstanding and I was ready for my next adventure.

We hit the beach next to our temporary home. I ran by the sandy shore for about 2 miles and then plunged into the water. The waves were tall enough for us to try boogie boarding and we had an excellent time. I forgot about my pain and then my son was hit by a tall wave, flipping him over and in the process, he lost his glasses. We tried looking around but failed. He didn’t have a spare one with him but fortunately the next day we were returning back so, the hassle was for about two days. He wears his glasses all the time and to say he was uncomfortable was an understatement.

By the Beach
By the Beach

We had enough of a thrill for a day and retired for the night.

Thank you for your kind read. If you are interested to read our previous days’ travelogue, you can click on the links below. Thank you

Maui Day 0

Maui Day 1

Maui Day 2

Maui Day 3

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui, Day 3

Day 3 was packed with activities. The morning we had zip lining, followed by a tram tour of a tropical plantation farm. In the afternoon we went on a submarine to the bed of the ocean and in the evening we enjoyed the beach.

Zip-lining

Because of the holiday season, most of the zip lines were sold out. No one in our family had done zip lining before, one prime reason on why we desired to experience it so badly. I made a list of all the possible zip lining on the island 🌴 and was lucky enough to find one.

The zip lines were over a tropical plantation farm, crisscrossing valleys with farm plants, ponds, and coconut trees. We reached on time and geared up with safety latches, helmet, wires, and holders. And soon we were on our way to the first stop. I must admit, I was super excited until I reached the top platform. Standing on a bare wooden platform with several feet above ground, seeing the dangling rope and plantation under me, I felt weakness in my knees. I was in two minds and somehow made my mind to plunge in holding tight to the metal grip. The moment I experienced the first swing all my apprehensions vanished. If you haven’t experienced it, you must. We had four more to go and I tried aping the instructor doing all possible tricks while dangling on the rope. Here are some pictures for your eyes only 😊

That is me and my wife

That’s me and my daughter

That’s me and my daughter

Tram Plantation Tour

After the enthralling zip lining experience, we hopped on a tram and went around the tropical plantation farm. The vegetation around was so similar to my hometown. Pineapple plantation 🍍, fern, Ti leaf 🍃, banana plantation, I could see everything I grew up experiencing in Assam, a northeastern state in India, which made me pleasantly nostalgic.

The farm had a great restaurant and we enjoyed a sumptuous meal before heading out to Lahaina for the submarine adventure.

Submarine Adventure

On our way to our next stop, we saw signage for whale watching. It was by the road and we took a short pit stop to try our luck. Apparently, half of the humpback whales 🐋 come to Hawaii in December to mate and give birth to calves. We didn’t have to wait for long, and soon saw a mother and her calf swimming away. I was in so much awe I forgot to take any pictures 😊.

Whale watching spot. That is our Jeep
Whale watching spot. That is our Jeep
The place where we saw the Whales
The place where we saw the Whales

The submarine was one of a kind of experience. We were taken a few miles deep on the ocean on a boat 🚣 before we boarded a submarine, which took us 130 feet below to watch the corals and the ocean habitat. We saw sharks, schools of Hawaii reef fishes and many invertebrates. It was like an aquarium inside out. We being inside and the wild in the freedom. A splendor to treasure for a lifetime.

The depth Measure on Submarine
The depth Measure on Submarine

Post the submarine adventure we lazed around the beach and called it a day.

Thanks for your kind read

Previous Posts

Day 0

Day 1

Day 2

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui, Day 2

Snorkeling at Lahaina Beach

I must admit I had never done snorkeling before. This was my very first. Because of the last minute planning, we couldn’t find any snorkeling training team to help us learn the tricks. My 8-year-old daughter was insistent so, we thought of giving it a shot on our own.

Lahaina beach offered one of the best snorkeling experience in Maui. We found a shop from where we could rent the gears and got some tips before heading out to the Ocean.

The lady at the shop was helpful but oversold us on gears. Here are some of the tips for the beginners.

  1. You need to know basis swimming 🏊 but it is ok if you are not an avid swimmer.
  2. The only snorkeling gear you will need is a mask to help you breathe while you float on water. My advice is to go for a full face mask with the tube on the top. This will ensure salty sea water is not coming to your nose and mouth
  3. You do not need fins. Avoid them even when they are offered
  4. Get a good swimsuit, a sunscreen 🧴, beach towel, umbrella, and a beach chair

We went to a beach which was about 6 feet deep and the swim around was breathtaking. There were corals, reefs, and fishes swimming around. The mask worked like a charm and I was about to swim for long with face down looking at the beauty the ocean presented. I chased fish 🐠 around corals and enjoyed the beautiful reefs. A lifetime experience indeed. We swam for a few hours and around 2 PM decided to go for lunch.

Lahiana Ocean
Lahaina Ocean

Lahaina town offered some great eating places. We stopped by a local bistro and the food was refreshing. Here are some pictures for you 😊

Our Lunch Place
Our Lunch Place

Post lunch we headed out to see the sunset 🌅 from Makena, one of the best places to observe sunset.

The sunset view
The sunset view

Thanks for your read and I hope you liked it.

Previous Days Maui Travelogue

Day 0

Day 2

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui, Day 1

Road Trip to Hana

When I was searching for things to do in Maui almost every website first pick was “The Road Trip to Hana”. We saw it so many times, we thought of exploring this place on Day 1.

Hana is a 52-mile gorgeous serpentine road on the east side of Maui along the northern coast. On one side one can see the beautiful Pacific Ocean and on the other side the mountainous terrain. The road has 59 bridges, out of which 46 are one lane wide. We have to literally yield, sometimes at blind spots, to give way to incoming traffic. On its way it has several scenic stops. From beautiful black sand beaches to waterfalls, the road trip to Hana offers both the water lover and mountain fans a share of their love.

After a hearty breakfast at Three’s Bistro near our temporary home at Kihei, we started our journey. We struggled a bit on what to put as address on the GPS. So, here is the tip, enter Paia town as your starting address.

Three Bar’s Restaurant
Three Bar’s Restaurant

There are over 17 stops on the way. We stoped only at 6 and it took us the entire day. If you want to explore all the spots my advice is to start early in the morning, cover some select ones on your way up and stay overnight either at a camping ground⛺️ or in a hotel 🏨 at Hana. Next day you can drive downhill and explore the rest. Here are the places I explored. Hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I did writing it.

1. Paia Town

This is the last town before getting onto the 48 miles, about 5 hours, trip to Hana. We reached this quaint little place around noon. This is a good place for food, enjoy the local shops, and the bohemian weather. Since we had a late breakfast we just breezed through the place, enjoying the view from our Jeep.

2. Ho’okipa

About 4 miles up north was our first stop, the Ho’okipa beach. The word Ho’okipa means “welcoming comfort”. An apt description of the nature. This place was Mecca for surfers 🏄‍♀️. The waves were as tall as a four storey building. The sight with all surfers was such a joy to watch.

We spent some time on the rocky beach. The water was pleasant and waves 🌊 crashing against them made the view a spectacular watch.

Ho’okipa Beach
Ho’okipa Beach
That’s us on Ho’okipa Beach

This beach is also famous for Hawai’i green sea turtles 🐢. We saw several of them laying incessant on the beach. We waited for long and saw the splendor of turtles making their way to the shore with the help of the waves. A view I will remember for a lifetime.

3. Twin falls

Few miles up north was out next stop, the Twin falls. The falls were at a slight height, a small muddy trek uphill. There was a small swimming area, which we gave it a pass. However, we did go down a pebble pathway to be close to the stream. At the entrance there was a small shop selling refreshments. We enjoyed some freshly cut pineapple 🍍 and a ice cream 🍦made with sugarcane stick.

Twin Falls Entrance
Twin Falls Entrance
The Stream at the twin falls
The Stream at the twin falls

4. Waikamoi Ridge trail

One of the most fun and challenging trails I ever had. I highly recommend knee covered boots 🥾 for this trail (I had sandals). There were two loops cutting between nature, woods, fallen rocks and tree roots. One was short 10 minutes trail, and the other was 30 minutes long. My wife decided to stay in the car and me and my two kids took the long trail. The hike was steep, often climbing fallen trees and as we went up the trail became muddy, making it difficult to walk. A slip could make one fall several feet downhill. We took some pictures initially and then as the climb became harder and slippy we focused on the climb and the subsequent decent. Some of the best memories I created during this hike with my kids.

Beginning of the trail
Beginning of the trail
Trail with tree roots and mud
Trail with tree roots and mud

5. Wai’anapanapa State park

We had a quick lunch 🥗 at a small makeshift place, at Garden of Eden. Garden of Eden was a beautiful place but we decided to go to our final pit stop Wai’anapanapa Park. It was getting dark and we had to come back as well so decided to ditch other stops.

The black pebble sand beach was a treat to eyes, the trail downhill took us to the historical caves and the hike up the hill provided some breathtaking picturesque views.

Wai’anapanapa in local Hawaii language means “glistening fresh water”, because of the fresh water streams and natural pools that surrounds the place. The caves were beautiful and had a tragic history associated. A young chieftass named Popoalaea fled along with her faithful companion from the torture of her ever doubtful husband and hid in these caves. She and her companion were caught and tragically murdered in the caves.

Hana was about 15 miles away and we decided to return to the base.

By the black pebble beach
By the black pebble beach
The Caves
The Caves

Hope you like the pictures and the adventure. In the next post I will write about my experience with snorkeling. Thanks for your read.

PS. please find below the link to the Day 0 of our trip.

Trip to Maui, Day 0

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui, Hawaii Day 0

Day 0, Dec 25, 2018, Maui

My vacations are always impromptu. While for everything in life I love to plan, vacation remains as exception. And for whatever it is worth I love it this way, for the pleasures of uncertainties provides an unprecedented thrill. Unexplainable, sure. Beautiful, indeed.

My trip to Hawaii’s Maui island 🌴 was no exception. For the past two months my travel had been intensive, traveling coast to coast every week. End of the year I was raring for a break and booked tickets three days before our vacation commenced. My family was in two minds but finally gave in to my relentless request. Finding a hotel in the Christmas and the New Year’s peak season was next to impossible. Everything was sold out. And for the first time, I turned my attention to Airbnb. I was skeptical but it worked out well. I took a fully furnished apartment on rent through VRBO and my experience was a shade above splendor.

I took a 4 X 4 Jeep 🚘 on rental and I was all set to explore the island. With the help of a few sporadic web sites, riding my luck from time to time, and by taking some out of the turn chances, we managed to garner a fabulous vacation.

I will write this blog in five parts. Each part is a day spend in this paradise, with the hope people will find it useful if they plan to visit Maui. And yes, though Hawai’i has three big islands and several smaller ones, we explored only one. We love it this way. Explore one place at a time instead of running blind. Even five days are not plenty to explore this beautiful place, but we did enough and created gorgeous memories.

Today I am heading back and writing this from the airport. Until I write the next day’s adventure, here are some pictures for your eyes only. Aloha🌸🌴😊⛵️

Me at the Apartment backyard
Me at the Apartment backyard
Sunset capture as we were landing in Maui
Sunset capture as we were landing in Maui
The Apartment backyard
The Apartment backyard
Clouds view as we were touching ground
Clouds view as we were touching ground

LA to NYC and Movies

Hey friends, hope you all are enjoying the festivities and busy planning your new year’s resolutions.

My official travel for the year ended yesterday, when I finally flew back home from LA. I surprised my family with a trip to Hawaii but besides my daughter, no one was interested in going. It was the travel time, which stood as a horror. From door to door, two flights with over 12 hours of flight time. And when such was the distance even business class didn’t make sense to my family.😊Anyways, we will take a call tonight over dinner on our go-no go decision.

On my way back yesterday I watched two movies. Both had some distinct character and I had a good time watching them. The first one was a 2017 movie called “Searching“. The movie was about a teenage girl who fails to return home one day and how her father using social media traces her back. The movie had so many twists and turns. Every time I thought I knew the culprit, it proved to be wrong. Besides being a great thriller, I had one takeaway from the movie – get involved in your children lives, as deep as you can, more like a friend than as a parent.

By the time I finished the movie it was midnight. I was a tad tired but still went ahead with another suspense thriller – “The Catcher was a Spy“. The movie was based on a book, which was a narration of a true story. During World War II, there were rumors about Germans making an atomic bomb using the skills of then noble prize winner on Physics, Werner Heisenberg. The OSS gets worried and deploys a famous baseball player Moe Berg to assassinate Heisenberg on the neural ground, Switzerland. The movie was captivating and Paul Rudd did a fabulous job playing the role of a secretive agent, Moe Berg.

Today I had to go to New York City for a meeting. It was raining. Not the prettiest of the day to travel to NY, but the picture had a different story to tell. Here are some captures

The Evening Run And a Boat

NJ is draped in winter, restricting my outdoor run more than I wished. However, my trip to LA help contains such surging urges.

After a long day at work, I had about 20 minutes, before our planes dinner outing with colleagues. And I used the time for a quick run. It was a two mile run by the docking port.

As I was running by the bay I saw this beautiful boat and couldn’t resist from taking the picture. I always want to own a boat and after seeing this I am quite determined to get one. What do you think about the structure? Isn’t she gorgeous?

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

An Evening at Carnegie Hall NY

How many of you had experienced the pain of getting up early on a cold morning knowing you it would be a long day.

I had the same feeling when I got up today. I had to reach a client office by 7:30 AM( a 45 minutes drive from home) for a very important presentation and then in the evening head to NY to attend a concert.

The meeting was exhaustive but went well. I came back home, changed and headed to NY. The company I work for organized an Indian classical Concert in the prestigious Carnegie Hall in the heart of NY. It goes under the brand name HCL Concert and it has been promoting Indian classical music and fine arts for the past 20 years. Till today, all the concerts were done in different cities of India, about 8 concert a year, and today was the first time it was brought on an international platform.

The performing artists were Kavita Krishnamurthy, a renowned vocalist, who has sung over 15,000 songs in her career spanning four decades, and Grammy nominee L Subramanian, the world-famous violinist who had played with names like Stevie Wonder and is known for creating Indian and western classical fusion music.

Soon the ensemble was set and all my perturbations faded away lost in the beautiful Bollywood songs sung by Kavita and Carnatic music played by Dr. L Subramanian. The Carnegie Hall was a treat to eyes. It was an evening so well spent. Sharing some pictures

Thanks for reading

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah and ckonfab.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.