If there was ever a vegetarian’s version of paradise, Mauritius and Rodrigues, sister islands in the Indian Ocean, would probably come the closest. The fine blend of Indian, French and Creole cultures, mixed with the western influences of tourism, have resulted in a spectrum of vegetarian treats in the former. And the dissociation of the latter from the rest of the world has resulted in unexpectedly delicious fusion food. Here are ten not-to-miss eating places for vegetarians:
The Shooting Star has recently made it to the top 30 travel blogs in India (based on global Alexa rankings). While I still have a long way to go to reach the level of the world’s top travel bloggers, this post is an attempt to share my experiences and experiments so far. Many of you have asked me on Twitter and via email, as to how you can go about starting your own travel blog and what it entails, and this post is something of an apology to those unanswered questions! I started my travel blogging journey in May 2011, before which my blog was a platform to rant about life and share the occasional travel tales. I must also confess that I started (and dropped) 5 blogs before The Shooting Star, each after a few posts, when I faced the writer’s block. That is perhaps the greatest challenge of starting out as a blogger, travel or otherwise – you might receive little or no traffic in the initial days, and a lot of efforts may feel …
I stroll along the cobbled by-lanes of Adliya, observing in fascination, the cafe culture of Bahrain. The men are predominantly dressed in white thobes, and each time they flick the striped red and white gutras on their head, I am reminded of the omnipresent red and white Bahraini flag – painted on walls along walkways, displayed outside houses and cafes, and even adorning car windows. This sentiment of patriotism seems to flow throughout the country, not only in ostentatious displays, but in the pride and warmth with which the Bahraini people speak of their island nation.
In the quaint French quarters of Pondicherry, I reflect on the first quarter of my life, reading what I penned almost two years ago: 25 things I’d tell the 25-year-old me. While I still have many layers to climb on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I’d like to think that I’ve already braced and beaten my quarter life crisis. It has been one and a half years since I took the plunge to quit my corporate job in Singapore in pursuit of all things travel; I’ve been on a roller coaster ride since, and looking back on how the dots in my life have slowly connected, I feel both grateful and humbled for where I am now – closer to that illusive feeling of happiness than I’ve ever been before.
As I pack my bags for Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Punjab for the next couple of weeks, I am delighted to announce that it is (almost) raining contests on The Shooting Star! This time, it’s thanks to the kind folks at CupONation, an online retail website that offers discounts and deals for a whole range of products, including Make My Trip, Clear Trip, Expedia and Yatra in the travel category. What do you win? A few weeks ago, I asked you through a Facebook poll, what you would most like to win – and those of you that did vote, picked a Flipkart voucher worth INR 8,000 as your top choice. And that’s exactly what you’re winning this month!
It lies before us in all its splendour, brought to life by incessant cheering and booing. Men in white togas, and women dressed in colourful long tunics, keep their eyes glued to the pit below. The chariots have circled the arena, and the dust kicked up by the hooves of their galloping horses is slowly settling down. Armour-clad gladiators take centre stage; battle-hardened men who know this might be their last fight. The smell of sweat hangs heavy in the air, as their bravado drives the fourteen thousand spectators wild. The crowd is baying for blood, as a strong sense of anticipation mixed with dread engulfs the atmosphere. I am forced to look away from the bloodshed, towards the calming expanse of the emerald blue Mediterranean Sea that this Roman amphitheatre overlooks. I shake off these musings and smile at my vivid imagination.
I know it’s been a long, long time since you participated in a contest to win a dream four nights holiday for two in Mauritius. Logistics got in the way, and then I left for Bahrain, where I ended up falling head over heels in love with the country and its people, and ended up staying longer than expected. Now, it’s finally time to announce the name of the lucky winner who’ll soon be sipping cocktails on powdery white beaches, swimming in the turquoise waves of the Indian Ocean, and living the postcard life!