Thoughts Sans Boundaries

From Russia with Love

Posted in photography, trans siberian, travel by Aditya Moorthy on March 23, 2010

I had a chance of a lifetime to go to Russia and experience the Trans Siberian rail journey starting at Vladivostok and finishing at St. Petersburg. I jumped at it and never regretted it even for a moment except of course the hole it burnt in my pocket. Nevertheless, it was still a journey that ranks as the best I have ever done in my life.

As soon as I came back I wanted to do a travel log and blog about the experiences from day one till the day I came back to Singapore. I wanted to create a photo montage of all the cities I visited and the people I met. But days went by and I didn’t quite do anything of that sort. The folks that I traveled with did justice both in writing about the experiences and posting pictures that they took along the trip. I realised that I was not going to add anything more beautiful than what has already been written and the pictures taken and posted on the Internet. I give below the links to please your visual senses.

@nat
@scott

But I couldn’t just keep quite about the whole experience, even though I know I’ll never be doing justice to what I really felt and the days I spent with my group in a country that is beyond beautiful. So, I decided I will post random pictures that I took in this trip (hopefully each day) and write just about the picture, the events surrounding it and the story if any associated with it. I start with a not so interesting one but I hope progressively it will get interesting if you follow this blog regularly.

Glass Painting at Crown Plaza, Moscow, Russia, 22nd February 2010

The above picture was taken at the Crown Plaza hotel in Ekaterinburg around mid-morning. I just finished breakfast and was waiting for some of the folks to join me to explore the town. This was along one side of the wall of the cafe inside the hotel. It was a painting on glass, backlit by tubelights behind the glass. I had my first true Russian dish, a vegetarian Borsch made of beetroot. The period when we were in Russia was the period of Lent and several restaurants served vegetarian food and this cafe had a special vegetarian menu. Stroke of luck and I capitalised well on it.

More to come, stay tuned.

Hougang to Kota Tinggi

Posted in Uncategorized by Aditya Moorthy on November 9, 2009

I’ve been on long hiatus in posting anything to this blog. Blame it all on laziness, lack of motivation and quality content to write.

But some of that changed this weekend (not the laziness if that’s what you were expecting). I went on a biking trip to Kota Tinggi in Malaysia with my brother on Sunday. The road distance we measured from our home in Hougang, Singapore to Kota Tinggi and back was approximately 120 kilometers. I wasn’t too worried about the distance as we have done this kind of trip in the past and I felt reasonably fit having ridden about 20 kilometers the previous day to TR bikes, a bike shop in the east coast of Singapore. I know what you must be thinking now but let’s just say, that I was psychologically feeling fit about the ride and I love riding in Malaysia, one of the friendlier places to ride a bike.

We started at about 8.30 in the morning and by the time we crossed the border and stopped for breakfast it was 10.30 in the morning. Had some sumptuous Indian breakfast and we set off on the Malaysian highways. For those of you who have not ridden on Malaysian roads, they tend to be a little daunting for an occasional rider (like myself). There is never a long (about 1 KM or more) flat patch of highway for you to relax and stretch your legs.

I normally ride my Terk 1200 SL but this time, I picked up my friend’s Bike Friday Tikit and it was super comfortable to say the least. It has 20″ (updated) 16″ wheels and can be quite slow compared to my road bike but I don’t like riding fast so it was just nice. By the time I hit the 45 KM mark, I started to feel the strain. Tells a lot about my current fitness condition! When we reached the 60 KM mark, we stopped for tender coconut and I realised I was scraping my last reserves. We still had another 8 KM to Kota Tinggi and the whole 68 KM back home. But we decided to turn back as I was not sure if I could go up the additional 8 KM to our destination. Looking back, it was a good decision to have turned back without pushing further. I almost lost it when we were about 10 KM to Johor Bharu the town just across the causeway from Singapore. I had to push my bike up a hill on one stretch. My brother was feeling quite fit on the contrary.

To cut a long story short, we reached Singapore after 10 hours completely exhausted and burnt out. Now that I’ve had a day to reflect on my ride, I think the highlights of it were that we did 100 KM in a day after a long time and discovered the whole new riding experience of a folding bike. The lowlights were of course my fitness level and the incredibly hot sun. I think it must be my hottest ride ever.

@nat had taken some photos which I’ll try to post once he’s processed it. Hopefully, I keep riding most weekends from now on and of course, write about my road trip in an engaging way!