A Spectacular View Of Palm Islands From 52nd Floor. #Dubai

Palm Islands view from 52nd floor
View from 52nd floor of Marriott Harbour Hotel

Draped by a fearless felicity
That defines my ebullient spirit
I could tread treacherous trails
Eager to take in the gales.

Each new path beckons me
Promising joy and thrill
Of adding another folio
To the cryptic book of life.

Pages that stand out are self-written
They smile and glow with our ventures
Infusing delight all around for self-quenchers.
© Balroop Singh, Nov. 2017

The Palm Islands of Dubai, considered to be the 8th wonder of the world is one of the most popular destinations to explore. An eloquent example of superb engineering and affluence, The Palm Islands are man-made marvels, created in the Persian Gulf to expand Dubai’s coastline. They are shaped like a palm tree and their shape can only be seen from an elevated place.

We didn’t take the long route of going to the Palm Gateway Monorail Station to take the Monorail upto the top, to view the major landmarks like themed hotels, Aquaventure Waterpark, Dolphin Bay and the Aquarium because the real thrill lies in viewing the magnificence of man-made palm shape, which cannot be seen from the surface.

Palm Islands - view from 52nd floor

After much research and review reading, I came across The Observatory Bar and Grill, which is situated on the 52nd floor of Marriott Harbour Hotel. My excitement doubled to know that this restaurant offers panoramic views of The Palm Jumeriah and Dubai Marina along with delectable food.

We booked our table for lunch well in advance to be greeted with smiles and were ushered into the magnificient lobby divided into three segments. Most of the tables were laid by the massive windows through which we could look down at the astounding azure landscape, dominated by palm shape, created by incredible planning of master minds.

Palm Islands

An amateur photographer in me was too excited to take as many shots as possible but none of them could capture the whole shape of the so called islands. We couldn’t take our eyes off the serene scenario while we enjoyed the drinks of our choice. Delicious food added an extra zing to my senses! We carried another string of unforgettable memories, shimmering in our souls.

Thank you for reading this experience, special in many ways.

You can read more interesting facts about Palm Islands.

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Balroop Singh.

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Sunrise – At The Top Of Burj Khalifa

Sunrise from the top of Burj Khalifa

Some moments of joy come uninvited.
Some moments become memorable
Just because we let them be,
Without any expectations.
They never disappoint!

I have never made an effort to watch sunrise except once, which I had shared in an earlier post but watching it from the top of world’s tallest tower seemed special. It was spectacular and exhilarating!

Sunrise from the top of Burj Khalifa

A visit to Burj Khalifa (Dubai) was never on my bucket list. It just got planned at the last moment of our annual visit to India as we were flying Emirates. We thought that a hotel just opposite this Burj would be an ideal place to stay and we chose a room with a view.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

Then I stumbled across a promotional offer of watching sunrise from the 124th floor of this iconic tallest structure in the world. I booked the tickets a week before we started our trip, keeping in view the long queues that you have to deal with.

We woke up very early to keep our rendezvous with the sun.  Jet lag helped us too! Since we were staying in a hotel opposite Burj Khalifa, we could just walk across the road to reach the entry point, which is through The Dubai Mall and you have to walk almost a mile to reach the ticket counter from where the online voucher is converted into a ticket.

A musical climb up the elevator within seconds was a memorable experience worth mentioning. This is the best time to watch the city from the top of Burj Khalifa as a beautiful skyline greets you from the terrace.

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We spent almost an hour, waiting for the splendor of the sun to spread across the sky…an experience of a life time! Each moment has gone down the memory lane, glowing gorgeously orange. I was elated at the choice I had made.

Most of the reviews suggested that the evening time is more appropriate to go up but it gets very crowded at that time.

View from the room
View from our room during the day

I didn’t expect another thrill, which I could watch from the window of my room – the sunset! Just look at the image that I clicked:

Sunset view from my room
Sunset view from our room!

Could I ask for more in a single day? I heart was overflowing with gratitude for my daughter who had suggested the hotel to us.

Thank you for reading one of the memorable experiences I had recently. I have many more to share.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

A Spectacular Marvel Of Nature: #CraterLake

The magnificent Crater Lake

I have seen many lakes – from the breathtaking Tshangu lake in Sikkim (India) near Chinese border to the amazing Pangong lake in Leh near Ladakh in the Himalayas, Dal lake, named as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir,” the finger lakes in Buffalo (New York) and many more.

None could elicit as speechless a response from me as the one I visited last week. None could inspire me to share my ethereal experience of being mesmerized by its view.

I have been looking for words to describe the beauty of Crater Lake ever since I set my eyes on this spectacular marvel of nature but words seem to fall apart…should I say exquisite…magnificient or a spiritual delight?

When I looked at it, the first word that came to my mind was WOW! Its pristine glory, its tranquility and its wondrous aura captivated me beyond words. I stood rooted to the ground, frozen, not by the gusty winds and sleet that welcomed us but by its celestial beauty.

“Crater Lake must be seen to be appreciated properly,” said Thomas J. Williams, former superintendent of Crater Lake National Park, “photographs simply cannot depict the majesty of the lake in its setting, the depth of the blue.”

The words of Author, Jack London that I happened to read at the Visitor center at Park Headquarters really resonate with me, “I thought I had gazed upon everything beautiful in nature as I have spent my years traveling thousands of miles to visit the beauty spots of the earth, but I have reached the climax. Never again can I gaze upon the beauty spots of the earth and enjoy them as being the finest thing I have ever seen. Crater Lake is above them above them all.”

Created out of fire, lava and smoke, this unique lake took many years to come to its present form. A caldera was formed when Mount Mazama (a volcano in south-central Oregon) collapsed. Lava eruptions created a central platform, Wizard island and Merriam Cone. Eventually the caldera cooled, allowing rain and snow to accumulate and form a lake.

Wizard Island in Crater Lake
Wizard Island

We watched a 22-minute film about the park’s violent past and its present grandeur. It is shown at the Steel Visitor Center at Park Headquarters.

We drove around the east rim of the lake the day we arrived (many thanks to our amiable hostess who told us)  because it was to be closed to vehicular traffic the next day for repairs. Rim drive, which was built in 1930s, is a 33-mile road that encircles Crater Lake. It offers ‘dramatic views’ of the lake and the park’s volcanic scenery.

Sun and mist played hide and seek and erased the deep blue color of the lake. Sunsets in the park are said to be amazing but we couldn’t savor them. A hushed desire to go again simmers within my heart.

Undeterred by sleet and rain, we hiked to Sun Notch to view The Phantom Ship, an island in the lake, that seems to be sailing away. From easy walks to challenging hikes, Crater National Park, which was established in 1902 has something for everyone – boat tours, trolley tours, camping, fishing, sky gazing, sunsets, wildlife viewing, food and dining in Crater Lake Lodge and even swimming in the ice-cold water of the lake!

Phantom ship & Rhyodacite dome
Mist is trying to hide the Phantom ship & Rhyodacite dome in the lake

We couldn’t enjoy all the activities due to early snow and bad weather on the day we chose to visit but the memories that we carried are permanently etched on our minds.

The drive through the park was a little scary but very beautiful, with thick forest on both sides of the road. We were caught unawares by a sudden snowfall when we decided to drive to Annie’s Restaurant for dinner and had to return empty stomach! But there were no regrets because we had had a sumptuous lunch at the Lodge restaurant and could drive through the thick snow on the slippery road.

The Pinnacles
These pinnacles were formed by volcanic eruptions, another marvel of nature, well preserved!

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

My First Flight…The Most Memorable One!

my-first-flight

I have taken many flights of fantasy but this was a real one. I can still feel that sensation, that ecstasy and elation.

I still remember the way I announced…‘We are going to Srinagar by air’ as if I was already on cloud nine! And the beaming face of my mother is etched in my memory.

I could never write about it as the feeling is inexplicable, the rapture of delight is unfathomable…words can never describe some emotions yet I want to record them in whatever words I can find.

Married off at 23, I didn’t expect much as I had no idea what a blissful relationship it could be. Prejudiced against this overrated institution or ignorant about it… I was totally confused and carried on with all the traditions and rituals mutely.

One aspect was very clear in my mind that there would be what people called ‘honeymoon’ though this word too was obscure. I associated it with dream locations and picturesque surroundings.

I was given the opportunity to choose my favorite locale and I chose Srinagar.

Oh! The excitement. The preparations. The plans within my mind! The intensity of emotions that encompassed me kept me awake for long hours.

I was going to fly for the first time! Whatever travel I had known till then was either by bus or on motorbike. The thought of flying had never crossed my mind.

Those were the times when there were no online bookings and no smart phones. We boarded a train to Delhi, walked into the airline office to book our tickets, which were dirt-cheap, less than the tariff we paid for staying in a luxurious houseboat.5130140_12_z

Houseboats are dream houses, popularized by movies of those times and were preferred over hotels.

Next morning was the flight. I had nobody around me to share my overflowing emotions. A person of few words, my husband appeared to be very calm as if he had been travelling by air for all the 24 years of his life!

I asked him how was he feeling and he gave me a blank look. He didn’t even ask what I meant.

I told myself he doesn’t know me. Well, Mr. Calm…this is the beginning!

I told him I wanted the window seat and I did get it. All the time I was looking out of the little window (I wondered why do they design such small holes!)

You can’t imagine my amazement of watching the earth from above! No wonder people associate heaven with azure blue!

photo-2The clouds looked more like bales of cotton or soft snow, the sky peeping through pristine white sheet with hues of varied blues and the movement of clouds was mesmerizingly noticeable. My eyes ached but I couldn’t take them off from this ethereal experience.

Those were the days when snacks were offered free even for a one-hour flight but I had no interest in what the smiling airhostess was asking.

Lost in my thoughts, I was thinking about the birds who experience this feeling each time they fly, every single day. I was wondering what could be the thoughts of Wright brothers. I could almost feel their pride and deep down in my heart, there was a tinge of gratitude.

I got shaken out of my reverie when my husband shook me as he thought it was rude not to answer the question of the airhostess. Now each time we fly, he knows he has to tell my preference for a drink on my behalf also.

I have taken many flights after this. I must have flown many hours yet my penchant for a window seat has never waned and my wonder of looking at the clouds, the ocean, the roads and cars, which seem to be transported from the land of Lilliputians has never been quelled.

Today we are celebrating 39 years of flying together.

I wonder how people can sit on the aisle seat and bury their heads into their devices, oblivious of the beauty that sky offers from the windows of an airplane!

One of my friends doesn’t find flying fascinating. Fear grips her as soon as she enters a plane; she feels nauseated and therefore avoids flying!

Do you think flights can be enthralling? What emotions do they arouse?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

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