It’s the climb

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Hong Kong!

It was never on my mind. 7 years back when H&M wasn’t in India, someone had mentioned to me about how shopping was affordable at H&M in #HongKong, I wondered if I’d ever be lucky to get a chance at either, H&M or Hongkong. Years later, the Universe conspired for both to happen 🙂

Having been to other South East Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand & Bali over the last couple of years, I knew that this was going to be an interesting country too. With some prior research, some tourist reviews online and personal advice from people, the go-to list was ready. It did take some alcohol / coffee to understand the maps too.

If you’re travelling to Hong Kong and have a whole list of places to visit within a week, you better get started right from the Airport. The best way to start your HK trip is by visiting the beautiful Ngong Ping Village at Lantau Island. Don’t fret looking at Google maps, it’ll show you it’s 2 hours away by the MTR, you don’t need to take that. It’s just about 20mins away by bus S1 from the airport. Oh and worry not about all that luggage you’ve been travelling with because the team at Ngong Ping 360 will make it convenient by letting you drop off the luggage at a counter so that you can enjoy the rest of your time without it. Your luggage will be safe, just hold on to those tags they give you.

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There are a couple of highlights about this place.

1. The crystal glass cable car ride to the island.

This is apparently the world’s longest cable car ride that takes about 25-30mins to finish a distance of 5.7kms. The view is super scenic while passing through all that greenery around you. You can also spot the Airport runway and actually see planes land and take off from time to time.

2. The Big Buddha statue (Tian Tan Buddha). You must be prepared to climb 268 steps to see it up front.

3. The beautiful Ngong Ping Piazza

 

4. The wisdom path.

5. Walking with Buddha : An interesting 20min video about Buddha’s life

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6. A theatrical act by some great performers with an inspiring message (they even have a few dialogues in English besides having subtitles on a screen)

7. A fun 4D ariel ride that will take you through Ngong ping.

9. Po Lin Monastery

The weather was beautiful when I visited Ngong Ping 360 in Lantau Island , in fact it even rained for some time. The view from the Big Buddha is to watch out for. There are a number of restaurants that serve Chinese / Western food so you won’t be hungry for sure. You may also check out some of the stores for souvenirs if you’re not comfortable with street shopping.

To cover all of this you require a good 5 hours, so plan your day accordingly. It’s definitely worth it.

Have you visited this place? Or plan on visiting ? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re keen on knowing more about my Hong Kong escapade, I strongly suggest you follow my Instagram page.

Instagram handle : franchuadsouza

Stay tuned for more about my trip.

 

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza

 

 

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Take it easy

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Dear Life,

From whatever I’ve known and experienced so far, I’ve been fortunate to have a happy and positive Life with very little to complain about. You have shown me some extra ordinary times, and then you’ve made sure I see them terrible ones too. You’ve made me realize the importance of simple and predominant things like family, education and spirituality; yet your teachings have also carefully taught me how loved ones, text books and faith can fail me. Through personal experiences, you’ve made me cognizant of how powerful the mind and the heart is, but through others you’ve even shown me how sharp and equally powerful the tongue or even a pen can be.

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Like many people, in my case too I’ve often complained how the grass has been greener on the other side. Looks, talent, study ranks, income etc, constant comparison with others did bring me down. But with time I’ve accepted that the grass is green where it is watered. Today I feel much more at ease with exactly those same points I cribbed about. Today I know that more than these or the “oh-so-tempting- materialistic things” , it’s virtues like patience, calmness, integrity, and overall humanity that will make me a better person.

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I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to some wonderful people along the path, people that live by example, people whom I look up to, people whom I can relate to. On the other hand , you’ve also taken away some of my very own , people who meant the world to me, people whom I called good friends, people who I connected with, thereby making me cherish the people I’m left with even more. You’ve made me believe in the Universe, and believe that whoever is meant to be in my life, will be in it anyway.

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Thank you for teaching me in your own unique ways to not be dependent on anyone or anything. For teaching me that life in fact does go on, even after I lose my most precious people/ things. I’m proud of how easily I’ve given up habits I never thought I would. It showed me that with the right amount of determination, I could have strong will power.
I’m so grateful that you’ve made me a person with an extremely high level of tolerance, sometimes it amazes me to think of how composed I was in the most stressful situations. While I’m at it, I need to Thank you for making me passionate about Music, Travel and of course Blogging. They all have this magical calming effect on me. They help divert my mind and give me some amount of strength.

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I truly hope as we continue our journey ahead, you continue to be kind to me. Phases get difficult and stressful at times, and there are those days when I feel like nothing good is happening. Take me through it successfully without letting me give up or break down. Lets be as relaxed as possible , and focus on taking it easy.

Yours truly,
Franchua D’Souza

I believe I can fly

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At some point or the other we’ve all wanted to know what it would be like to have wings and defy gravity. Of course the most common/ boring way I’d think of is to take a flight to some place. No matter what you choose from , whether sitting on a ferris wheel, sitting in a plane, bungee jumping , sky diving, parasailing etc, they all make us have butterflies in the stomach. Recently on my Thailand trip I attempted one such adventure and it was one hell of a thrilling experience. If you did get a chance to read my previous post, you’d know I’m talking about none other than Zip-lining!

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img_20161231_132824If you’re visiting Thailand in the near or far future, you definitely need to have this experience in your to- do list. Tree top Asia played host to my friend and I and we absolutely loved the whole #FlightoftheGibbon zip- lining experience. Everything was perfect about the experience- right from the bus pick up from our hotel to the drop back. The guides and other staff members are super fun to hang about with – literally. They make sure they’ll do everything to make you bounce like a monkey while you’re at it and yet you know you can trust them with your life. The 2 guides that left an impression on us were Jacile and Taxi (cute name, right?).

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There were 24 zip-lining stations , starting with the simple and short ones to the the last one of 300 meters. The view from the tree stations is amazzzzzing! You’re literally amidst tree tops. By the time you’re at the last tree station you’re fear has gone and you’re an expert at this. I loved the fact that the guides gave us the confidence to let ourselves loose and go all out taking selfies/ videos etc. They made sure to put safety first and just be super entertaining. As though  zip- lining wasn’t fun enough, we were offered a traditional Thai meal to complete the experience (which by the way was awesome). We even got a chance to visit the zoo..

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We were lucky to be around this group of 10 super enthu people from China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand etc, with the youngest member as old as 5 years! An absolute thrill it was. Zip-lining with Tree Top Asia has certainly been a highlight of my Thai trip and it’s going to be etched in my memory for a long long time.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post, as much as I enjoyed re-living the thrill of zip-lining.

Lots of Love,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Take me home, to the place I belong

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Hellooo everyone!

I may be a little late, but wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! Let’s make the most of 2017!

Firstly I’m super excited writing this post as I have recently returned from my Thai holiday. I’ve had the opportunity to see some wonderful places there, and I’ve soaked in everything I could. Can’t wait to share all the details about my trip.

In Thailand I covered Rayong , Pattaya and Bangkok. Each of them were visibly different from each other and most of the time I had some lovely experiences. Two things that I can happily cross off my bucket list now are Zip lining and sea walking. Both completely differ from each other, One had this whole adrenaline rush taking over while I was zipping through and the other that needed me to be calm under sea  while I walked in it and fed fishes. In  Bangkok, I felt all those happening city vibes and it reminded me of things back home (minus the pat- pong shows). Something I’ve gone a step further in, is eating Thai food. I did not experiment too much with street food but managed to try and enjoy the food at a few restaurants here and there (unlike Singa..).

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Of course I enjoyed my holiday and everything but the one thing I missed besides my loved ones was the food! The first evening after arriving in Bangkok, while walking down the Phloen Chit road, I decided to stop for dinner at this Indian restaurant Bawarchi Indian that served authentic North Indian food. Located at the Intercontinental , I knew there were fewer chances of disappointment. Plus, I really craved Indian food by then.

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It’s funny how when I introduced myself to the VP Mr. Vinay Chawla , he mistook me for an Indian girl who was to come in for an interview that evening. It did seem a bit off with the kind interview questions he put forward, until he realized his boo-boo. 🙂
*good luck to all those that interview here- I hope Mr Chawla doesn’t intimidate you*
Trust me, he was way too kind after that.

Now talking about the restaurant.

Firstly I felt at home, looking at the Indian staff around to greet us and offer the best service they could. The walls, painting, decor, ceiling, the swing, the music set up, the instrumental hindi music that played – everything made me forget that I was actually in Bangkok!  The staff (mostly Indian too) were quick on their feet right from our cocktails to dessert.

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The papadum cones itself along with their dips already set the quotient high. For starters, out of the Tandoor Jhinga (tandoor prawns), Stuffed wild mushrooms, Ajwani mahi tikka (red snapper- again the tandoor way), and murgh tikka (chicken tikka), my favorite was the huge Tandoor Prawn and the mushroom. The spices they used for the tandoor were mouth watering. Loved how it was very Indian, yet had an interesting twist.

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As a mushroom fan, I went on to try the Cream of Mushroom soup. As rightly described in the menu ,it is pretty much a classic creamy soup tampered with some Indian flavour. Don’t be surprised when you find some tadka to your soup.

When you’re in a restaurant that tells you straight that they’re full-on into North Indian kind of food, you must try the Biryani. Exactly the next dish I’m discussing.

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Served in cute little kadais, the portion is just right for 2.  The aroma itself screamed yum! The long grains, the fried onions, the spices in the biryani masala, the earthiness from that chicken in there were bang on! I’m glad this wasn’t a fusion kind of dish.
There cannot be a bigger compliment to a restaurant than for a person who is on holiday, staying at a hotel , is ready to take the food home and eat it the next day for lunch/ dinner, cold if need be, but will have it anyhow. Yes, I took the parcel, err 2 of them- chicken and the Lamb biryani (they get the lamb especially from Mongolia I understand). Did I say it’s yum??

It’s strange and funny how even though I claim I’m stuffed after eating a-lottt of food, I have plenty of space for dessert. It’s like I have a separate compartment within my tummy for it. Indian sweets are mostly extremely high on sugar and rasmalai is no less.But who’s complaining? I had it all. 😀 nuff said.

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I dined here on a Monday evening, the only day there’s no live Indian music. I strongly suggest if you plan on visiting this place, make sure you get to listen to some Indian music too.

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Hope you enjoyed reading my take on #bawarchiindian
If any of you have visited or plan on visiting this restaurant or any place in Thailand, give me a shout in the comments below! I love reading what you’ve to say.

Until my next post..

Lots of love,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Summer of 69

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Actually, Summer of 2016.

What is your ideal summer style? Ideally I would have loved to sport crop tops and hot shorts with my hair tied up in a bun/ high ponytail (nothing screams summer louder than that, right) , but my not-so-toned body won’t let me.

At the Vastrapur Lake

That doesn’t deter me from going the Tank top way though. Tank tops are awesome. They’re casual, sporty, smart,and  can be dressed up or down accordingly. They even come in a wide variety of shades and prints. While stepping out to chill with friends/ going for a movie, or just an evening walk I prefer pairing them with jeans. However I make sure, the jeans are not low waist (I hate low waist pants).

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A great method to style a tank top so that you don’t look like you’ve not just stepped out of the gym is to accessorize it with beads or other forms of fashion jewelry. With the black tank top here, I’ve used my mom’s century old necklace, love that wooden looking chip there on the pendant. And on the green tank top, I’ve used mom’s.. err.. the whole green top is hers actually. She was quite thin and hep back in the day! 🙂

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For outings or social gatherings, since I do not consider tank tops wearable then, I prefer dressing in using all those lovely floral print dresses / skirts , and bring out all those bright hues that are in my cupboard. We’ll talk about that another day. Let’s just say my cupboard is a beautiful mess 🙂

What are your summer basics? And how do you style it. Let me know, maybe  I’d experiment over the weekend.

Aso, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Photography: Nolasco Alphonso

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza

Karma Chameleon

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It’s summer here in India and it gets crazy hot during the day. I remember how last year it was impossible to shoot this post without perspiring which was a total put-off .

Summer or not, during the week I prefer wearing tops and dresses with sleeves to work, sometimes saving the sleeveless formal tops for Fridays. While at home, you will find me chilling in the shortest pair of cotton shorts and a tee or a super comfy loose shirt that lets me breathe. I happily borrow clothes from my mom’s closet sometimes just because they’re lose and comfy! She doesn’t mind.

Over the weekend while stepping out to visit a friend, I decided to go the simple yet chic way of wearing a tank top and jeans. Something I could lounge in for hours on end. What was meant to be just a visit to a friend’s place ended up being a photo shoot for this post. I loved the fact that the green tank top matched the environment around me, maybe even camouflaging with the grass and trees in some pics (Hence the post title).

Relaxing

There really were a lot of pictures, but I’ll share just these for now. I’m sure the rest will see the light of day on the blog soon too.

Lost in thought

Pushing boundaries

Carefree

Wind in my hair

Goofy

Happy

One thing I’ve come to realize about shooting pictures for my blog is, it’s very important to share a great rapport with your photographer as it let’s you just be yourself, totally natural and candid. There are some blogs I’ve seen online, where it’s easy to tell that the model/ blogger is not at ease as yet with the photographer. You don’t want your blog/ pictures to come across like that. It’s best you find someone you can be comfortable with and then go clickity-click!

OOTD Details:

Green Tank top: Mom’s closet (I said she doesn’t mind)
Denims: Tokyo Talkies
Orange Ballerinas: Zovi
Watch: Gift
Hairband: Hill Road, Bandra

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How are you coping up with the weather out there? What is your go-to for summer? Any blogger/ photography tips?
Let me know in the comments below and follow the blog to stay updated on my musings.

Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Photography: Nolasco Alphonso


Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza

Count on Me

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Posing

Yours Truly

When someone dear asks you to be her bridesmaid on her big day, it is understood that she knows she can count on you. Getting to be a bridesmaid is exciting enough, but when it’s a Goan wedding happening in Goa with all the customs and traditions it is a thousand times more amazing! We’d been preparing for this wedding many months prior to the actual day and how it all came and passed is unbelievable. As a bridesmaid, dressing up with that gorgeous dress, hair, makeup and shoes is so cool but I cannot deny that even the fun moments spent in my rugged home clothes during the wedding preparation with close family and friends was such an experience.

Pose ready

Pose ready

 

Wedding car

Vintage wedding car for the bride

Bridesmaid on duty

Bridesmaids on duty

That's my ride

That’s our ride- Goa!

 

It’s funny how everything becomes chaotic as the day approaches. Mixed emotions – happiness/ sadness/ tiredness/ exhaustion/ stress etc fly high with each passing minute. I’ve actually seen the bride lose weight just running about with all the co-ordinations 🙂
In case there’s a wedding coming up, here’s a little “To-Do List” I’ve prepared for you:

Book the church/ priest/ choir
Find a wedding gown seamstress
Book a Wedding Hall
Book the wedding car
Select a caterer
Order the wedding cake
Select a hall decorator
Select a lighting professional
A master of ceremonies
Select the toast master
A live wedding Band
Card printer
Distribute the wedding cards (Most time consuming task I think)
Make wedding bands for the couple
Book a photographer/ videographer
Book a Make up and Hair professional
Shop for the bride and bridesmaids
Keep her trousseau ready

There are countless other things that I’m probably not even aware of! Besides there are events before the wedding day and after that too. Imagine!!
Preparing for a wedding with/without a wedding planner can drive you nuts, no matter how small the affair is. But do not stress, as no matter how crazy everything is, somehow on the actual wedding day, everything just tends to shape up miraculously.

Wedding cake

Wedding cake

All blue and silver

All Blue

Dance

Jiving my heart out

Wedding March

Wedding March

Hope you enjoyed this post along with the pics. Share your #MemoriesForLife like I’ve done at BlogAdda for HDFC Life

Wedding Photography: Nolasco Alphonso

PS: Vellena check this out:  https://memories.hdfclife.com/message/XzRT1HChTG5J9rvzalpH9Q==

Also I would really like you to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. If you enjoyed the read, let me know in the comments below.

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza.