Monday, August 18, 2014

Questions of Travel - Elizabeth Bishop

I read a quote from this poem in Korma, Kheer & Kismet - Five Seasons in Old Delhi and it inspired me to seek out the poem in its entirety.

Elizabeth Bishop
8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979
Worcester, Massachusetts

There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
—For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,
aren't waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
The mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
Slime-hung and barnacled.

Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theaters?
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always, delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?


But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
--Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
--A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above a broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
--Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr'dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
--Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages.
--And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians' speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

"Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one's room?

Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there . . . No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?"

Monday, May 05, 2014

ITC Grand Central, Mumbai

ITC Grand Central
287, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road
Parel,
Mumbai 400012,
India

+91 22 24101010

ITC has always given us more than excellent service in every city that we have stayed with them, so while this particular ITC does provide good service compared to other hotels in a similar category, it is not as good as their other ITC's (had a bit of trouble with room service and other issues)

Being in Bombay, rooms are obviously smaller. Food is good, Good spread for breakfast. Kebabs and Kurries is excellent for dinner with wonderful service.

Rating : 4 / 5

Value : 4 / 5
Location : 4 / 5
Sleep Quality : 5 / 5
Rooms : 4 / 5
Cleanliness : 4 / 5
Service : 4 / 5

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Taj Land's End, Mumbai

Taj Lands End
Band Stand,
Bandra West
Mumbai 400 050,

Given, that the Taj Lands End is in Bandra, it is one of the more luxurious properties to stay in, in this part of town. Great rooms. Good service (for the most part, although we have encountered a couple of snobbish "butlers")

The breakfast buffet has an awesome spread as does the lunch buffet. Love their Chinese restaurant too. Good gym and swimming pool too.


Room Tip: Sea Facing rooms are lovely

Rating : 4 / 5


Value : 4 / 5
Location : 5 / 5
Sleep Quality : 5 / 5
Rooms : 4 / 5
Cleanliness : 5 / 5
Service : 5 / 5

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Il Giglio d'Oro B & B, Florence, Italy

Il Giglio d'Oro B & B 
Via Antonio Pacinotti, 11,
Florence,
Italy

Florence was the second stop on out Italian itinerary. In Rome, we stayed in a B&B right in the center of Rome. So it was great to stay a bit away from the centre of the city in Florence. It felt more homely and less touristy.

Edo was a great host. He and Celia manage the place themselves, so it was more like staying with friends than in a B&B.

On one of our days in Florence, we just wanted to sleep in late to counter the exhaustion of sightseeing in Rome and Florence. We had a very restful and quiet sleep, even though we woke up quite late.

Edo introduced us to a lovely bakery/pattiserie nearby that served the most awesome breakfasts we had in Italy. And for a change the cappuccino there was served steaming hot.

The balcony attached to our room was excellent. We would come back after a long day and just sit in the balcony enjoying the quiet and the clear skies. The bathroom was nice and large and clean.

While we did have to take a bus to get into town. The buses were frequent during the day. The bus on the return journey stops right in front of Giglio D'Oro.

Edo will also do a load of laundry for you for extra charge. While there are a few laundromats around, this service really helps, because you just leave your laundry with him in the morning and it is all ready for you when you return at night and you don't have to wate any of your sightseeing time, by monitoring your laundry.

The only drawback was that given that this is a residential and non-tourist area, the supermarkets and restaurants/trattorias/ osterias etc, all close quite early (around 10). So if you plan on returning late, then pick up water and have dinner in the center of the town itself.

Room Tip: We loved the large room on the first floor with the attached balcony.

Rating : 5 / 5

Value : 5 / 5
Location :  4 / 5
Sleep Quality : 5 / 5
Rooms : 5 / 5
Cleanliness : 5 / 5
Service : 5 / 5

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hotel Le Isole, Venice, Italy

Hotel Le Isole
Castello 4661
Fondamenta del vin,
30122 Venice

Its a beautiful Hotel set in a 16th Century Monastery, but refurbished in a completely modern manner.

Its very conveniently located. If you use the water bus to get here from the station, you can actually reach the hotel in 5 minutes, without having to climb any stairs.

Theres always a lot of staff around who will help with anything from carrying your luggage to offerring you free ice tea in the lounge.

Breakfast was a huge buffet spread of Continental food and hot cappuccinos, which was a welcome change from most other breakfasts (on the go) that we had eaten in Italy.

Mini bar was free with beer, water, sparkling water, juice that was refilled every alternate day.

They had a tea/coffee machine in the room and would bring hot milk if we needed it.

They don't have a restaurant inhouse (except the buffet breakfast), but there are plenty of lovely places around to eat at.

Rating : 5 / 5

Value : 4 / 5
Location : 5 / 5
Sleep Quality : 5 / 5
Rooms : 5 / 5
Cleanliness : 5 / 5
Service : 5 / 5

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