Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

1978, Roy, aged 40, father of 4 and happily married, had this restless itch to do something meaningful in life. An old friend of theirs pointed out an amazing 22 acre place on a small hill, at Pontypridd, near Cardiff which was coming up for auction. Having bought the place, cleared it off the squatters who had inhabited the place and the corresponding rubbish and garbage of a place that had not been cleared for over 5 years, Roy & his wife, Angela, settled down to build a place that would become a sanctuary for ponies that have been ill-treated, particularly ponies that are being used in coal pits hauling the carriages

2010, after having exhausted everything that could be done in Cardiff, I ran across the description of the Pit Pony Sanctuary, on the tourist guidebook. No one in Cardiff had any idea about the place except l aon how to reach the station of Pontypridd. A train ride followed by a taxi ride, led to the FForest Uchaf farm (Welsh for farm on a hill atop a forest or something like that) and this was the glorious sight laid out in front of me

View atop Fforest Uchaf


Once inside the farm, Angela was the tour guide and kept providing a running commentary, explaining how they had split the farm into grazing areas for sheep, an area of tall grass, an area for short grass, pond, stables, sty etc. and a fabulous view from the top

Top view



Coming to the ponies themselves, each of them had been very badly treated by their previous owners. Some with broken bones not treated properly leading to lameness, some with scars all over their bodies. Angela & Roy track the ponies, register a case against the owners with proof of ill treatment, buy the ponies and bring them to the sanctuary. Here at the sanctuary, the ponies are given the run of the place and are given time to heal and do what they want. A family friend, who is a vet, come along fairly regularly to do the check up

The couple’s kindness does not just stop at ponies. Last year, when traveling, they had come across a dog which was so badly treated that its permanent behavior was quivering inside the kennel and not come out at all. They adopted the dog and brought it to the farm. The dog named Molly, while still timid, has grown a lot from that experience and is currently running around the farm
The ponies, despite being badly treated, are fairly responsive to the gentle treatment provided at this sanctuary and have all done well at the sanctuary. This was indeed the high point of the Wales tour and easily, among the most inspiring and kind stories that I have come across

Title Source: Heroes Season 2 Episode 4

PS: The return journey was the most interesting part. I was told that it was a good trek downward through the forest and of course, I did take that to realize that I got totally lost in all the undergrowth and the forest, so that when I got out of the forest, it was at the next station rather than the station where I had arrived

The forest into which I descended and got lost

PPS: For further information, check out their website, http://www.visitpitponies.co.uk/

It is funny that

Posted: April 20, 2010 in Arbit, Travel
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1) To get out of the Britain, you need a British passport

2) The British asked Iceland for Cash and all they got was Ash

3) While British airspace was closed for days, Iceland was operating flights at full swing

4) The last time the British got the ashes, they were all over the moon

This is what happens when your flight(s) is cancelled (multiple) times because of the volcano with the unpronounceable name, decided to spew ash all over Europe and particularly over London

From Ashes to ashes.....


The word of the day is Ash. Lets go and spread the word

A delightful dialog from the delightfully snarky and sharp movie “Up in the Air”. This is from an airport scene when a approaching-10-million-air-miles experienced George Clooney passes on gyaan to the inexperienced Anna Kendric on how to cut time at the airport and avoid unnecessary hassles.

A remarkably suave Clooney says “Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love ’em. ” To which Anna Kendrick remarks in all moral indignation “Thats racist”, Clooney retorts “I’m like my mother, I stereotype. It’s faster”

No, this is not a review of the movie (I know I should do that, I am way behind on reviews). Its merely an experience of watching movies and plays in London and so here goes

1) Don’t sit behind UK guys. They are way too tall and broad and effectively reduce you to ducking and weaving (like the Indian team’s youngsters when a short ball is targeted at them) to catch the movie on the screen
2) Don’t sit behind UK girls. Refer 1) for the reason
3) Sit behind Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis or Bangladeshis, you would have a clear view of the screen
4) Avoid picking a seat near old people, especially if you have the last seat. You would asked to budge from your position on quite a few occasions in order to relieve the pressure
5) UK billing counters are slower than the ones in India. So pick up tillers that have Indians or Pakistanis and/or guys handling them. The girls are way too polite to deal with people making a nuisance of themselves like a woman asking to her husband, after the cashier spends 10 mins letting them know what all movies are playing ” Honey, I still cant make my mind up”

London Jottings

Posted: March 7, 2010 in Travel
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1) London is cold, damp, dank, windy, chilly, nippy (as S would call it), quaint, picturesque, busy and hajaar EXPENSIVE

2) I just realized I am not cut out for cold weather and hard work, so lets cut the hard work part out of it

3) Only when Indian cities have the same kind of public transportation as London can we really say we have arrived on a big scale

4) While I may not have been on the London Eye; I certainly have eyed a lot of London esp on sat nights at Piccadilly

More later; This is a round of quick update

The Bird’s Eye View

Posted: February 21, 2010 in Arbit, Travel
Tags: ,

Of all the forms of transportation, air travel leaves me more than slightly disoriented and is often a pain in the ear (literally) for me. Different techniques still leave me with the same pain and I agree with Wolverine when he quips “If god meant for us to fly, he would have given us wings”.

With no way of avoiding it anyways, I have resolved to make the best of the situation by demanding the window seat (as always) and spend time looking out or if that doesn’t happen, just go to sleep (the problem with sleep being it rarely occurs on demand like the speed on demand touted by various internet companies). Owing to case 1, I have had instances wherein I have been awake and able to quite appreciate the bird’s eye during landings and take-offs, during the evening and night times and each of the cities that I have had the opportunity to observe throw up their own beauty when you look at it

Mumbai: It possibly offers the best view in the evenings/nights with the Marine Drive and the Queen’s necklace standing out quite prominently. Its quite a joy to follow the curve of the coastline and its the sight to see (Though its another thing when you land in day time as more often than the beauty of the coast line, its the slums adjoining the airport that catch your eye)

Chennai: Another city, another coast line. While the coastline is not as sinuous as the Mumbai coastline, nevertheless, the Chennai coastline viewed from top is quite nice especially as the coast just seems to run straight

Hyderabad (Old Airport): The best part about the old airport (apart from its accessibility) was the fact that evening/night take-offs and landings gave you a view of the Hussain Sagar Lake from the top. Its quite a site, to see a dark mass surrounded by lights, almost like a black hole.

Hyderabad (New Airport): All you see is one lone illuminated stretch of road, weaving and winding, quite like a snake with nothing really nearby quite highlighting how far away from civilization it is (But then you cant have it all, the airport is quite brilliant compared to some of the others)

Dubai: First thing that strikes you even as you touchdown at 1 PM is the lights seem damn bright. The next thing you notice is that the road are straight, damn straight. Two perpendicular roads. And yes, there might possibly be others but the cloud cover hid most of it

PS: Arbit post to kill time in the airport. Cant afford to sleep. Effect of watching Up in the Air too