India 2014: Anyone for ice cream

Ice Cream Man

After a little excitement at home with a sunrise shoot at uShaka with Gb, it’s back to India.

I’ve seen many people criticize the Chinese Fishing nets at Fort Cochin, stating it to be a poor tourist attraction. Well folks, you need to open your eyes to all that surrounds the nets. The promenade alongside the nets is full of interesting people and things – friends, courting couples, dogs, healthy crows, vendors, salesmen, and local folk taking a breather, other travellers and so on.

On the side of the nets are the fishermen with their cast nets struggling in the sea weed and strong currents. My favourite vendors are the ones selling freshly squeezed sugar cane juice or the ice cream man! There are also a variety of ships and boats that come in and out of the channel for your viewing pleasure.

Because of the channel and sea to the front, this is an ideal sunset and sunrise spot as you get the sun coming up over water.

The inserted photo is of the ice cream man who sold us top class frozen Cornetto type ice creams; good man!

Don’t forget where the best place to stay is – Heavenly Homestay,Fortcochin

India 2014: Nariman Point

“Nariman Point is Mumbai’s premier business district and country’s first central business district. It was named after Khursheed Framji Nariman, a Parsi visionary. The area is situated on land reclaimed from the sea. It had the distinction of having the highest commercial real estate rental space in the world in 1995 at $175 per square foot ($1880/m²). Nariman Point hit a new high as a flat sold for a record $8.62 million (USD) on 26 November 2007 [1], at an astonishing $2488 (INR97,842) per square foot. According to the “Office Space Across the World 2012” report by Cushman & Wakefield, Nariman point is the 15th most expensive CBD in the world. The area is situated on the extreme southern tip of Marine Drive. It houses some of India’s premier business headquarters. Nariman point is the 25th most expensive office market in the world” ~ Wikipedia

We visited Nariman in the late afternoon to watch the sun set. Other photographers were there plying their trade and taking photos of themselves and friends.

Chaps selling various foodstuffs were chased away by two serious looking young police ladies who walked like cowboys in a Western movie.

The mood was otherwise very relaxed on the water’s edge where all gathered to watch another day end.

Nariman-Point

India 2014: Hotel Sea Princess Lobby

We stayed at Sea Princess Hotel (Juhu Beach) for two nights before heading down South. The easiest way to describe the hotel is to paste my Trip Advisor review below.

“This hotel was the best hotel that we stayed at. It was great to be on the beach and have easy access at sunrise and sunset. Also, the pool area was a great place to relax, have a swim, eat a meal and enjoy a sundowner. The free Wi-Fi, spacious eating area, size of the hotel, receptiveness of all the staff, modernisation and many other factors put Sea Princess at the top of the list. I have not even mentioned the grand breakfast and superb choice of things to eat. Prior to booking our stay, we noticed that other guests had complained about the lengthy checkout time. The reality is that to avoid complications at a later time, it is best that the hotel staff check the room while you are still there to answer or defend anything that may arise, and more importantly to still pack any property you may have inadvertently left in the room. I sincerely recommend this hotel for price and location when one wishes to stay in Juhu Beach. Just remember to arrive at reception a little earlier for checkout to give the hotel staff time to do the necessary tasks. To simply arrive at a time when many other guests also want to check out in a few minutes will certainly cause you unnecessary heartache, and this goes for any well intentioned establishment that seeks to look after its own interests as well as their customers. Please keep up with the free Wi-Fi as we stayed at another hotel in Colaba on our return trip from down south and their charging for Wi-Fi, cramped grounds and lack of a pool puts them way under your hotel, although they were a little cheaper”.

The inserted photo was taken one evening in the lobby of the Sea Princess. I like it because it was a “lazy photo” (I was waiting in the lobby and to pass some time thought I would just “point & shoot” from where I was slouched on the settee. No flash was attached so I just raised the ISO to 3200 (got to love my Canon 6D) – F4 (not much DOF but needed light) and 1/50 sec. It’s not the sharpest photo on the block but is a great reminder of our happy stay (and free Wi-Fi in the lobby and hotel rooms – two routers).

Sea Princess Mumbai

India 2014: Fort Cochin Sunset

At the time of starting to work on the photo below I was simultaneously “grumbling” about photographing sunsets and sunrises in India and how “hard” it is. Unlike in South Africa where you usually get a splendid fifteen minute or so warning in the sky that the sun is about to rise, in India the sun seemed to often rise without warning and only appear out of the haze once a few “centimetres” above the horizon. This is that same point it often disappeared at sunset before sinking below the horizon. Back home the sun can sink out of sight and below the horizon and then throw beautiful light back onto the clouds above.

The photo below was taken at Fort Cochin, Kerala at sunset and it was one of those lucky late afternoons where I got some action in the sky. A Chinese fishing net, rummaging dog, courting couples, hunting crows and boat entering the harbour complement the sinking sun.

Fort Cochin is where we found Patrick and Mary of Heavenly Homestay, who really made us feel at home and exuded much love, respect and goodwill. It was the best place I have stayed in during three trips to India.

Heavenly Homestay address: 11/639, Machenzie Garden Road, Pattalam, Thamaraparambu, Kochi, Kerala 682001, India. Phone: +91 98470 33818

Pôr do sol Fort Cochin

India 2014: Cricket

Late afternoon before sunset saw many informal cricket games and many other activities taking place on the beach at Juhu. I was a bit taken aback when I saw a young girl of 10 years of age bowling like a crazy Lasith Malinga; she seemed to be way ahead of the other girls playing with her. The inserted photo was taken at the insistence of a friend in the warm UK, Mark Hortop, who I guess was getting tired of seeing my sunrise / sunset photos with no cricket action. This cricket / sunset combo is for you Mark!

Out at Juhu

India 2014: Sea Princess

We stayed at Sea Princess Hotel (Juhu Beach) for two nights before heading down South. The easiest way to describe the hotel is to paste my Trip Advisor review below and show you the inserted photo.

“This hotel was the best hotel that we stayed at. It was great to be on the beach and have easy access at sunrise and sunset. Also, the pool area was a great place to relax, have a swim, eat a meal and enjoy a sundowner. The free Wi-Fi, spacious eating area, size of the hotel, receptiveness of all the staff, modernisation and many other factors put Sea Princess at the top of the list. I have not even mentioned the grand breakfast and superb choice of things to eat.

Prior to booking our stay, we noticed that other guests had complained about the lengthy checkout time. The reality is that to avoid complications at a later time, it is best that the hotel staff check the room while you are still there to answer or defend anything that may arise, and more importantly to still pack any property you may have inadvertently left in the room. I sincerely recommend this hotel for price and location when one wishes to stay in Juhu Beach.

Just remember to arrive at reception a little earlier for checkout to give the hotel staff time to do the necessary tasks. To simply arrive at a time when many other guests also want to check out in a few minutes will certainly cause you unnecessary heartache, and this goes for any well intentioned establishment that seeks to look after its own interests as well as their customers.

Please keep up with the free Wi-Fi as we stayed at another hotel in Colaba on our return trip from down south and their charging for Wi-Fi, cramped grounds and lack of a pool puts them way under your hotel, although they were a little cheaper”.

Sea Princess

India 2014: Auto Rickshaw

During our time in India it was a case of walking, or hiring a motor vehicle taxi or an auto rickshaw – known by us in Durban as a tuk-tuk. A taxi between point A & B in the city might be as high as say INR 900 / ZAR 166, but you can hire a taxi for 8 hours straight in Mumbai for INR 1200 / ZAR 221. Yes folk, that’s only ZAR 221 to be driven around the city, waited on and given a basic tour (the drivers usually point out all the tourist sites they have been asked to show previously).

At this point I have to introduce Jay Krishnan telephone +91 98 33 272871 of Mumbai who was referred to us by a family member in Durban and fellow photographer in Cape Town; both of whom received top-class assistance from Jay. We had the same experience; what a wonderful chap.

It’s really a case of booking your flight to Mumbai, securing accommodation and then calling Jay to advise him of your flight number / arrival date / time. He or his drivers will fetch and look after you. Whether you want to know about mobile SIM cards, second-hand books or anything else, just ask Jay.

The inserted photo of the auto rickshaw was taken on the main road in Juhu Beach at the entrance of what appeared to be a small slum settlement.

Auto Rickshaw