A Travellerspoint blog

How to do Oktoberfest in a day


55 °F

Try, try again, until you succeed. But I am pretty sure that there also is a saying somewhere that says know when to cut your losses, know when to walk away. Since 2009, I have been building connections with folks in Europe - in the long run of hoping to live and work there. And this October, I had an interview of sorts - with a disappointing outcome. It has taken me an additional couple of months to swallow the bitter pill that I truly tried everything I could, and perhaps this was not yet meant to be. Maybe sometime in the future. I am actually not that disappointed as it's been one of those life lessons - that you need to give something your absolute all, and then also learn when it's time to step away and move forward. And perhaps, even revisit the idea again in a few years.

This interview allowed me to experience Munich during Oktoberfest! Oh that's yet another story - I didn't ever think I would be in Munich during Oktoberfest. I recollect going to one in Bangalore, and then to one even in SIngapore, and then finally this completely unplanned trip. So serendipitious.

'twas one whirlwind day - but oh so fun. Stayed at a wonderful old hotel - and when I say old, I mean Titanic old: with a double-doors, a lounge the size of my apartment, oil paintings of grand dames over the bed, and a luxurious bathroom the size of a two-car garage! Hopped over to Marienplatz, and then passed a brewhouse that Hitler was supposed to have frequented. Sang drinking songs at the Hofbrauhaus, and clanged steins with strangers.

And strangest of them all, was a shrine to Michael Jackson right outside the hotel! Few more photos.

And that's how you do Oktoberfest in a day.

Posted by Goofy9 20:16 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

What do Skiing, Deutsch, and Flying Planes have in common?

San Diego


Just last month, Gr got his private pilot’s license. Here is someone who has always wanted to do something and found a way to make it happen. It’s quite inspirational. I will admit to this – when I was 12, I gave myself a nick name – “Pilot Ponnappa.” Ludicrous, I know. But that’s what I wanted to do – to fly. I had a diary on which I wrote PP. and I signed my name as PP. And then, life happened. I got sidetracked – in a good way. And now I wonder how hard would it be to revisit this dream.


It’s been so long since I learned something new and I feel longer the gap between learning things, the harder it gets to learn. Me think our brains are wired to learn, and when the opportunities to learn get fewer and fewer, it gets tougher to be a student again. I recollect my first ski lesson in 2004 – I thought I’d never get it, I couldn’t even figure out how to walk in those boots, let alone get on a ski chair. But I learned. And it was a feeling of victory! Now, I am learning German – and it sucks. But I am reminded of skiing – that I didn’t get it overnight, that it was hard, and that I did get better. It’s a good feeling to recognize the lifecycle of learning. What are you learning?

* I cheat – this is actual the Swiss Alps and not the Colorado Rockies, where I learned to ski.

Anyways, I leave South Africa in 16 days, and counting. And you bet I am counting. This has been a hard stint. I thought I would regret not having seen the desert of Namibia, but no, no regret as I truly, really feel that world is waiting to be discovered. It just doesn’t have to be tomorrow, or even next year. It could be 7 years from now. And my wanderings continue…

Posted by Goofy9 02:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

A New "Happy Place"

Montreal and NYC

sunny 71 °F

There was something special and magical about Montreal. People have Paris, Susan goes to London, I'll upgrade Montreal to that status too. It's the French presence, the gorgeous old building, not particularly commonplace for North America. Or maybe I was, just plain and simple, happy. Maybe life has started making more sense, maybe the corner has been turned, maybe there is simple joy again.

So many maybes, so much potential, so much hope. And Montreal symbolizes all of that for me. Good food, pretty on the eye, and an overall good time. Didn't know how much I missed hamburgers, till the one at the Burger Bar - gorgeous on the eye and tasty to boot. And oddly, in the China Town I searched out the teeny shop selling bubble tea - reminded me of Singapore and Asia and how comfortable Asia felt. Am at the cusp of finishing up a piece of work and moving out of South Africa. And hope to move to Europe - but will I fit there? Will it work? In Montreal, it felt like anything would work! The world is my oyster!

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A few lovely pictures from Montreal

And then off to New York city we went! Been there over 10 years ago...and this time, I liked it. Saw Evita - did not like it. Well, actually, don't like the story of Evita. Not easy to like a woman who is portrayed as conniving! Strolled the Columbia campus , survived the subway, had a lot of Starbucks (yes, I miss SBX!), walked a lot - enough to want to want to buy a new pair of shoes. But then again, I barely need a reason to buy new shoes.

Was testing out NYC to see if I would not mind living there sometime in the future. When discussing it with some locals, they asked, "What are you afraid of, have you not lived in large cities before?" And that's when it struck me that New York is like Mumbai for me - mythical, large, the Big City, intimidating. But this trip made the city seem more livable. More manageable.

Posted by Goofy9 12:22 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

About being brave and owning ones opinion


rain 69 °F

Sydney sucked. There I said it. It's been many weeks since going to Sydney and I haven't written about it for many reasons. Let's talk about one of the reasons - that I was afraid to say that I didn't like it. This is probably the first time that I had to think about what I wanted to write - because it was negative. Because I didn't want to offend any one who likes Sydney.

It's like Buyers Remorse - anyone who chose to move there (and I know quite a few) cannot say that they don't like it - they "bought" it, now how can they return it. You gotta say you like it. I felt guilty about not liking it - after all many a Hindi movie is set in Sydney and all the images of Sydney look so vibrant.

It could be that I was in a foul mood - confused and unhappy. Maybe that's why the gentry's lack of fashion grated on my nerves. I was grumpy, so maybe that's why the food tasted ordinary too. And it did rain. So it's not all me! It was the weather too.

Am learning to be completely honest, let me just come right out and say it - the Sydney Opera house is old and dirty looking. It needs a paint job! Sure, it may have been fabulously cutting edge architecture in the 70s, but we've all come a long way since then. This is like living on old glory. Like in India, sadly, we are so happy to bring up our +3000 year old heritage, without pausing to think about what have we done with that heritage now, in this generation.

Am trying not to be uncomfortable with being honest like this - trying to own my own views, even if they dont match what others might think. What happened to the old adage of "if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all?" On the flip side, what about being authentic and true? Argh. Who knew a simple blog would get me on this debate! Whatdyathink?

And no, there are no pictures. All gloomy and bah.

Posted by Goofy9 17:02 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

The silence is so loud

Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique


Every day you learn something, if you allow yourself to. There are days when I am done learning, and all I want to do is sit, unthinking, with a cup of tea in my hand. And then there are days when the thoughts come crowding in, stumbling into each other, frantically waving their hands at me. This was one of those weekends – of crowded thoughts, and radical ideas.

Travelled for a long weekend from the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo, to Vilanculo, and then a speed boat over to the Archipelago of Bazaruto…I had a whole island to myself. A friend said of his beloved Alps that high up there, “The silence is so loud.” The same could be said of the islands…I really had a whole island to myself, the silence was loud, there was no avoiding it. Mine were the only footprints in the sand. Some crabs, and shells, and that’s about it.


Went snorkeling – not like in Hawaii or Thailand, where there are 10s of other groups of people. I was the only one. Really, seriously, can you picture that? Just a big speed boat, the captain and me. Vast blue/green expanses of water, fish, coral, and me. Just that. Waves, a version of silence, and that’s it. Pretty dang special!

Got back to my hut – and lay in the sun, playing with my camera. Not doing much, just letting ideas swirl. And then decided to do something hectic – not! Went a local dhow sailing around the island with an extremely Mozambiquean father and son. The quiet of the sails, the lack of need to converse, the lapping waves. Life can be idyllic quite often.


The vast expanse of nothingness gave me the same feeling as when you walk into a grand old church – the feeling of being small, of being almost inconsequential in the big scheme of the universe. And that’s when clarity arrived. That I have a fabulous life, and there are bits and pieces and chunks that are evolving. And holidaying alone ain’t so bad, though truth be told, Mr. Company would make it peachy!

Pictures, a few.

Posted by Goofy9 09:26 Archived in Mozambique Comments (1)

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