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HDR for Beginners

High Dynamic Range Photography – this has been the debate basis the ever growing photographer community for the past few years now. HDR, as it is popularly known, is definitely gaining momentum; pictures taken using this method are regularly displayed in museums (Trey Ratcliff’s famous fireworks picture at the Smithsonian) and considered works of art. Then there are the DSLR snobs, people who believe that manual mode is the only way to go; if you use a photo editing software you are a scar on their perfect portrait, they noise police pictures and so on. My take on this is fairly straightforward I love HDR, I also use a lot of editing tools and 99% of the time I don’t shoot in manual mode. I am what you may term as the rogue community; please note this community is much larger than the DSLR snob community. I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience with HDR on this post; also have added a few tips in there so you can get started with HDR if you are already not an addict.

I happened to stumble on HDR by chance, a couple of years back when I bought my first camera. I was looking at tutorial videos online and just happened to catch a video showcasing HDR images, I was hooked from that point on. Unfortunately, I used a bridge camera then and hence could not really work on the technique. About a year ago, I bought my first DSLR – and that’s Tip 1 also, when buying a new camera, get one with a bracketing option it’s a must for HDR. Moving on, it’s been a year now and I do believe I have the basics down and am moving in the right direction basis the technique. Below are a few standard questions and answers which will get you started on this awesome technique:

1) What is HDR photography?

Putting it simply, HDR is a photography technique where images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, from direct sunlight to faint starlight. In normal English, it shows you what the eye see but with enhanced colours and lights.

2) Do I need a special camera for shooting HDR?

Not really, any camera will do, but it helps if your camera has a bracketing option.

3) What is Bracketing?

Bracketing is basically when you take pictures at multiple exposures. Most entry level cameras allow you to take 3 such pictures – normal, over and under exposed.

4) Do I need a special software for this?

Unfortunately yes, there are tons of them available in the market; I would recommend Photoshop and Photomatix for the same.

5) How do I get started with HDR?

The following is a simple guide to start using HDR in your regular photography. I have tried to keep it simple and easy to understand, but if you do have questions, please add them to the comments below. Start with setting your camera to multiple shots, then go to the bracketing option it will be listed as exposure bracketing in most cameras. Set the value to 2. This will take 3 shots at different exposures once you press the shutter down. If you are like me and your hand is not very steady, use a tripod. Another tip here: shoot in Raw mode, the flexibility raw images give you while editing is amazing. So now that you have your first images, what do you do next? Download the images on your PC and import them into Photoshop or Photomatix, you will have to use the bridge option in Photoshop and then select merge to HDR; in Photomatix, load Bracketed pictures will do the same for you. Now this will open Pandora ’s Box for you, I will briefly touch on Photomatix options here to give you an idea of what each does and how it will shape your pictures; in Photoshop the same happens but for some reason it is not subtle and images tend to look un-natural. This holds true for CS5… I have not yet used CS6. Note: this part of the tutorial only covers the first few options, I will be covering others in a more detailed post. The first options you will see once Photomatix merge options, you can align pictures here, remove ghosts and reduce noise. Once done the following options will show up:

Strength

Controls the strength of the contrast enhancements; a value of 100 gives the maximum increase in both local and global contrast enhancements.  I prefer this to be at around 80 as 100 makes certain colours bleed.

Color Saturation

Controls black and white to colour settings; the greater the saturation, the more intense the colour. A value of 0 produces a gray scale image and 100 pushes colour all the way up.

Luminosity

This controls how light or dark your highlights are in the image. Moving the slider to the right boosts shadow details and brightens the image. Moving it to the left has the opposite effect, and gives a more “natural” look to the resulting image.

Detail and Contrast

This is self explanatory; this will increase detailing and contrast giving your picture a smooth or a hard feel.

Lighting Adjustment

When you’re just starting, I would suggest you click the check box in this option and use the preset tools – natural for a natural look, surreal for a look which is more HDR like with Halos and medium for a combination of both.

Once you are done playing with these settings and happy with the image you have, select process and you will have your first HDR image. I hope to put up a more detailed article on HDR in the future, but the post above will get you started in a short period of time. I have put some HDR images on this post. These were shot during our recent Monsoon Roadtrip. One point of advice: first try HDR in the day time, night has its sets of challenges and you will need a lot more equipment to get it right. Like with everything, the more you practise HDR, the better you get at it. Do share your pictures with us via comments or on twitter. Enjoy shooting! Incase you’re wondering which camera I use?  Nikon D5100.

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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Food & More Food

Gujrati Thali Rocks!!!

So by now, most of you who have been reading our blog know that we are obsessed with Bikes, Movies, Gaming & Good Food!!! This post is more or less a tribute to the good food part and is basis the awesomeness which has been eaten in the past 2 weeks 🙂

David & Goliath Papad Style 🙂

CupCakes

So a couple of weeks ago, Ekta & me from work went to Bhagat Tarachand  where we ate some awesome Gujju style Thali. As you can see in the picture above, it was pretty damn crazy! We also ordered some masala papad and khichiya’s :-). The overall experiance was decently phenomenal!!! Another day, over the weekend we decided to go to Soul Fry Casa and ate some awesome prawns, crab, chicken & naans; this meal was the breakthrough variety as Mihir & I have been allergic to Shellfish & some other seafood, but after eating the meal here nothing happened in terms of allergies.

One fine day at home & this is post Rachita & Ritika’s shopping escapades at Crawford Market, my wife decided to make cupcakes and ice them using fondant which was like super cool! Not only did she make some awesome cupcakes but covered them with all these cool & cute designs using fondant the same was absolutely and totally exceptional :-). Another day, we decided to eat Ceaser Salad and Mushrooms on Toast; the same was accompanied by Carrot Soup with Cheese Balls! The Mushrooms on toast were made like the ones you get in Goa, sauted in butter and garlic which is totally super duper yummy. Going with the fillings on toast bit, we also made some awesome american corn in white sauce with barbecued onions and chilli sauce…

Mushrooms on Toast!!!

Crazy Tiffin!!!

Giant Puri’s

Now the part in office, where Mother in Law sent across a tiffin for lunch with a meal fit for kings. Just to give you a perspective, there was Roti, Panner veggie, Black Daal, Sliced Onion & Chilli, Papad (3 kinds, no less!) pickle! Yup! Unbelivable but true, after eating so much you just cant work! One fine day from work we (Rachita & me) went to the mall where we ate some Chole Bhatura which is basically chick peas made in a gravy and add to that 2 giant puri’s (deep fried) as you can see in the picture below. Further to the same, we revisited Soul Fry Casa with Ekta got drunk on Boondi (Self invented, our Rum Based Cocktail) & Watermelon Martini. Watched a few movies like Avengers which is hands down the bestest movie ever! Also saw The Cabin in the Woods which is one crazy-ass twisted movie. In Hindi movies, saw Jism 2 which is so seriously bad it ain’t funny; also saw Ek Tha Tiger wherein Salman Khan rocked, though the movie was only decent. Watched the entire season 4 of Fringe & started Game of Thrones which is totally unbeleivable!!! Finally, played Sleeping Dogs on the Xbox360 & did some general chilling with Vishal, Beers & Rum!!! Interesting 2 weeks if i say so myself 😉

Yummmmmmmyyyyy!!!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Avengers Crew Part 2

Here is part 2 of the Avengers Crew, please note these are my least favorite heroes in the crew, I do believe it is related to them not having any super powers –

The Hero we all know as Captain America –

Really not interested in sharing details here, I would suggest you watch the movie(they have done a good job ), anyways here goes – Steve Rogers was born July 4, 1920, to poor Irish immigrant parents, Sarah and Joseph Rogers, and grew up a frail youth during the Great Depression in America. Rogers’ father died when he was a child and his mother died from pneumonia later, when he was in his late teens. Horrified by newsreel footage of Nazis ransacking Europe and atrocities in Asia that the Empire of Japan committed in China and Korea, Rogers tried to enlist in the Army, that rejected him as 4-F because of his frailty and sickness. Overhearing the boy’s earnest plea to fight for his country, General Chester Phillips, of the US Army, offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a top-secret performance-enhancing experiment called Operation Rebirth. This give him extraordinary physical abilities, of course, what people missed was that the good Captain went on to receive extensive training before he was given his first assignment (Three months): to stop the Nazi agent called the Red Skull. To help him become a symbolic counterpart to the Red Skull, Rogers was given the red, white, and blue costume of Captain America

Decades later, his wartime comrade, the Sub-Mariner, stumbled across his still-frozen form, which was being worshiped by a far-flung Inuit tribe. Enraged, the Sub-Mariner threw the ice block into the ocean. While opposing Namor, the newly formed Avengers happened upon Rogers’ thawing body and soon revived the legendary hero. Do note I have cut pasted most of Captain’s data, I just did not have the inclination to write it.

The not so “Black Widow” –

Rumour has it Natasha Romanoff (Romanova) was somehow related to the last ruling Czars of Russia, but was never proven. Nazis set the building Natasha was in on fire in Stalingrad(Nazis liked doing such things), and her mother threw her out the window to a Russian soldier before dying. The soldier’s name was Ivan Petrovitch, and he watched over Natasha for her entire life, to this day remaining by her side as her chauffeur.

As Natasha grew and matured, she proved to be an amazing athlete and scholar, while gaining distinction in the USSR as a ballerina. Eventually, she married Alexi Shostakov, a distinguished Soviet test pilot.

Soviet government intelligence (KGB), poached them both and trained them, Alexi would go on to become Captain America’s counterpart in Russia, he was not called Captain Russia but went by the name the Red guardian. Eventually Natasha was told that her husband died in an experimental rocket crash, and was drafted into the KGB. She became their best operative from being trained in the infamous Red Room Academy, becoming excellent at fighting and information gathering. During this time she had some training under the Winter Soldier. It was there she was first dubbed the “Black Widow.” After a few encounters of getting shot and brainwashing she joined the Avengers, she has always had a soft spot for the next character (Hawkeye)

The strictly Bow and Arrow type Hawkeye –

Clint Barton and his brother were orphaned at a young age they made ends meet by working in a circus; Clint was trained by the original Swordsman and by Trick Shot. Like most wannabe Super Heroes Clint saw Ironman in action and wanted to emulate him, he draped a fancy outfit and decided to fight evil in the world using his bow and arrow skills.

Due to his outfit Hawkeye found himself running from cops, during this time he came in contact with the Widow, she recruited him and also became romantically involved with him. Although Hawkeye became romantically involved, he was unhappy being a criminal. When he approached the Avengers and told them of his desire to reform, Iron Man sponsored his membership on the team. There’s not much beyond this about him to write, moving on…

Nick No D&%# Fury –

The eldest of three children, Nicholas Joseph Fury grew up in Depression-era New York City with his brother Jacob and Sister Dawn. Fury’s mother died while he was very young.  It wouldn’t be until Nick Fury became a solider himself overseas that he would learn of his father’s military service. Living in the tough streets of Hell’s Kitchen, Fury himself was no stranger to trouble, but more than often confined it to the boxing ring where he would bout, or in the Police Athletic League where he became one of the finest marksman.

Fury jumped from mission to mission, post the attack on Pearl Harbour he was elevated to command the “Howling Commandos,” a specially-trained band of soldiers who undertook some of the most dangerous missions of the war. As leader of the Howling Commandos, Fury struck blow after blow against the Nazis and their allies through missions that ranged from deep infiltration missions behind enemy lines to undercover work and even some home front action. It was during this time that he met Captain America, Reid Richards and confronted enemies like the Red Skull and Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker. This was also the period where Fury suffered to major injuries – both would impact him later in life: a grenade blast that began the slow deterioration of his sight in his left eye, and a landmine accident that led to Fury being inoculated with the Infinity Formula by Professor Berthold Sternberg in France.

The Infinity Formula substantially slowed his aging process, and Fury was thrust with a double edged sword: although his life was saved, the consequences of the Infinity Formula would haunt him throughout his life as he would see many friends age and die, as well as become the target of various villains seeking his secret. In the early 1960′s Fury was contacted by the Board of Directors of the newly organized international espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division) and offered directorship by Tony Stark. (An alternate theory adds that the Deltite LMD manipulated events so that Fury would be chosen). The rest as they say is history, Nick went on to form the Avengers to defeat Loki and Hydra. We can go on about his secret wars and all but the same would not be relevant here…

So that’s my take on the Avengers, big thank you to Marvel Wiki for a ton of information – I hope this post will add to your movie watching experience and give you some details on why the Avengers are the way they are.

Do check out the Blue-Ray Clips below for extras that feature in the movie 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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The Avengers Crew

Today’s post is about the Avengers. The reason for posting Avengers? The DVD is out here in India and it is one of our most favourite, if not the favourite Super Hero movie ever! The post is way too long so am breaking it into 2 parts.

I have been a super hero’s fan all my life… as a child I used to love the colour green and in turn, the Hulk became my favourite character; my brother liked blue and he chose Batman. Over the years, we have pretty much owned, lost, bought most action figures, seen both real and animated movies, put up posters at home and done all the standard things that Super Hero fans do. This morning I was thinking what to put up on our blog and the Avengers hit me. Over the last few years, Marvel has done a great job introducing us to individual movies of the heroes but very little is known about their origins, at least the normal fans don’t know much; below you will find interesting reads about your favourite Avenger characters, apologies if I missed all the generations, but currently they are inconsequential.

Starting off with The “Incredible” Hulk –

Few of us know that Doctor Banner’s full name is Robert Bruce Banner. The doctor was present in the instrumentation bunker at the test site for the first underground test detonation of the Gamma Bomb. Observing that a civilian had breached security and entered the restricted test area, Banner told his colleague Igor Starsky to delay the countdown while he tried to get the civilian to safety. Starsky, secretly a Soviet agent, did nothing, confident that Banner would die in the explosion, bringing the project to a halt. Reaching the civilian, a teenager named Rick Jones, Banner threw him into a protective trench. Before Banner could get himself to safety, the Gamma Bomb detonated, and intense waves of radiation reached the surface. Banner was irradiated with highly charged radioactive particles. Due to an unknown genetic factor in his body, Banner was not killed by the radiation, which instead caused him to frequently transform into the vastly powerful, humanoid monster named “the Hulk”. There are various theories on how and why Banner changes into the Hulk, the most popular being, he gets “MAD”.  Hulk joining the Avengers was more accidental then planned; he became a pawn of Loki who tricked Hulk into battling his half-brother, Thor. This plot was foiled, leading to Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp joining forces to form the Avengers and defeat Loki.

The insanely flamboyant Iron Man is next –

For all the retards who have no idea, Tony Stark’s full name is Anthony Stark; he is the  son of industrialist and inventor, Howard Stark, is an undergraduate electrical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with Double majors in Physics.  Contrary to popular belief, Starks did not become Iron Man after the Vietnam incident; he was injured in Vietnam and worked with Ho Yinsen to design and built an electrically powered suit of armour equipped with heavy offensive weaponry. The armour also contained a pacemaker-like device that enabled Stark’s heart to keep beating after the shrapnel entered it. He used this to escape; this is not how he became Iron Man – these experiences made him realize that the suit was too dangerous to be made available to the public. Eventually once he returned home, he was forced to use the suit to thwart a terrorist bombing attempt. Wishing to retain some degree of anonymity, Stark established the fiction that Iron Man was his paid bodyguard wearing a suit of armour that he had invented. Only his most trusted aides learned that Stark and Iron Man were one and the same.

There is only one God and his name is Thor –

Thor is the blood-son of Odin, All-Father of the Asgardians, and Jord, who was also known as Gaea, the elder goddess of the Earth. Odin sought to father a son whose power would derive from Earth as well as Asgard, and hence he sought to mate with Jord. Odin created a cave in Norway where Jord gave birth to Thor. Months after the infant Thor was weaned, Odin brought him to Asgard to be raised. Odin’s wife, the goddess Frigga, acted as Thor’s mother from that time onward. Thor became Asgard’s greatest warrior before he was twenty.

In addition to being the God of Thunder, Thor is also the Norse God of Strength; as such he is physically the strongest of the Norse gods and one of the most powerful beings in the Universe. His strength has been called unlimited. People don’t realise but he always restrains and holds back his vast strength against mortals, he has been capable of stalemating an enraged Hulk in strength (despite the fact that the Hulk was constantly increasing in strength every moment) for hours without tiring at all and while restraining himself as always, and knocking out the Hulk eventually. Loki was the reason Thor joined the Avengers – his manipulations forced several of earth’s mightiest heroes to band together to stop the Hulk, Thor was amongst them and became a founding member of the team of superhuman champions.

Here is the Home video announcement, for the lucky few who dont live in America the DVD and Blue Ray are already available 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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The Super Bike & Food Weekend

It’s been a while since I wrote about the weekend that was; the weekend that just went by was pretty damn awesome & so I decided to write about the same. Friday evening started off with some general chilling at home didn’t do much just marathoned Supernatural season 7 with Rachita. Also the plan for next days lunch was being figured with Ritika. Before I forget, Friday evening we also started playing Sleeping Dogs on the Xbox360 which was awesome. The game has a brilliant feel and has hints of Yakuza & Shenmue, 2 of our all time favorite games!

Goo & Avenjer ignore the cycle 🙂 Lol!!!

Sleeping Dogs on the Xbox360

Astro!!!

Saturday, though, began with a bang as I had 2 bikes at my disposal – Ekta’s Royal Enfield & my Bajaj Avenger – Ekta was in Baroda for the weekend & had left her bike at my place. Gaurav & I took the bikes out for a ride which was totally awesome! We rode past Haji Ali & Worli Seaface braving the rains; when we started there wasn’t an iota of rain, but when we reached Peddar Road it started drizzling; Gaurav & I decided to continue as the drizzle wasn’t fazing us. On the way back from Haji Ali, though, there was a decent downpour which we managed & reached home safe. Post some general chilling, shower, etc. we played some more Sleeping Dogs on the Xbox360, exploring the open world finishing mini missions, etc. Come 9:30am we needed to take Astro to the vet for a general check up & then meet Ritika, Mihir & Yooti for lunch. We were done at the vet by about 11:00am & proceeded for lunch after dropping Ash home :-). So lunch was going to happen at Soul Fry Casa, a restaurant serving Goan food at Fountain / Kala Ghoda. Ritika, though, was not informed about the same, as whenever we have decided to go to this restaurant or discussed going there, something or the other has gone wrong. This time we decided to keep the POA a suprise. Ritzzzz met Mihir at Churchgate station on the pretext of going to some place around that area and once Mihir got her around the restaurant he whisked her in. She was pleaseantly surprised, if I may say so myself.

Love the Ambiance at Casa Soul Fry

Beer!!!

Pickle!!!

Moving onto the restaurant which has a brilliant old world charm with memoriabilia across the walls; also the furniture is from an era which you just dont see nowadays. The plates & glasses you get are of copper, menu has a good balance of Veg, Non Veg & Sea Food. We decided to start off with a few drinks – I was having beer, Mihir had ordered a brilliant sugarcane based cocktail, Ritika was having a watermelon Martini, Yooti ordered a Vodka based cocktail the name of which i cannot remember & Rachita who doesn’t drink alco was having a mocktail. Ritika & Mihir had already ordered some Prawns & Rawas, Rachita added to the same by ordering some chicken moelho. Please note here, Mihir & I haven’t had prawns in about 20 years as I have an allergy to the same. Though once the food was on the table, we decided to try the prawns which were exceptional and also eat the Rawas which was divine. Lunch ordered was some chicken in red gravy & because we ate shell fish everyone got super excited that there was no allergic reaction and ordered a crab sukha with some nans. The food was simply awesome! We went through everything & loved every moment of it. Special mention to the Naans which are the best I have ever had. If you are in the fountain area, then you must try Soul Fry Casa it is CUMPOLSORY!!!

Awesome Spread!!!

Then headed home, slept for a bit, while Ritika & Rachita went shopping. Evening dinner was Falafal which Rachita had made. The brilliance of the same cannot be explained. After dinner, watched some UFC on Sony Six, then moved to Supernatural and then passed out.

Sunday Bike Ride!!!

Yummy!!!!

Sunday morning started off with an early morning bike ride on Ekta’s Royal Enfield aka Goo, which was followed by another bike ride on my Bajaj Avenger, aka Avenjer. The weather was perfect, cloudy skies accompanied by some sensational winds…. Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Haji Ali & Worli Seaface were passed on both bikes one after the other…. rode for a good hour & half :-). Once home, finished Astro’s bath, then played Sleeping Dogs again for a bit, Also helped Mihir pack as he was heading for a week’s vacation. Lunch in true gujju style was sev tameta nu shak (fried gram dough noodles in tomato gravy); then it was nap time. Woke in the afternoon, watched some Supernatural again, had a few beers. For dinner, Rachita decided to make some super duper awesome boiled egg sandwiches with tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, onions, her blend of secret herbs & eggs marinated in mayo & mustard. Matlab mouth watering awesomeness it was! Again watched some more episodes of Supernatural and then passed out. All in all, a brilliant food & bike weekend 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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Goa Getaway Part 3

We Love Her…

This post is a continuation of the first 2 as the header suggests. Intitially, I was not going to be adding this one & the Goa Getaway Part 2 was going to be the last basis our trip; however, basis the last 3 days spent in Goa this post just had to happen.

Awesomeness!!!

Best Place to Eat in Goa!!!

Rs 5/- Fenny

So post the 4th day in Goa where we decide to extend our vacation super excitment time had happened! Immediately, we went and bought booze food, etc. etc. Also jumped into the pool & vegged there for a good few hours post which, basis a recommendation from our Villa manager, we decide to go to Florentine, a local joint, which according Henry serves the best Chicken Cafreal in Goa! Also, by now, we had a new bike added to our list of Activa & Avenger which was the Yamaha Frazer. So come dinner time, I decided to try my hand at riding the Yamaha. The same had a very differnt feel compared to the Avenger which I am so used to, also the gear system which is totally different – 1 down the rest up. Felt kinda like Valentino Rossi on the same, though was riding at a snail speed trying to get used to the system. Post reaching Florentine, realized this was a classic local joint with cheap food & alcohol, considering their cheapest drink on the menu was at Rs 5/- for the local fenny. Ordered loads of food – Chicken Cafreal, Vindaloo, Egg Curry & Loads of Papads – devoured all of the same, had a few drinks & for about 8 people and loads of food paid only Rs.1400/- which is simply spectacular. Everyone visiting Goa has to try this place – it’s got the best Goan food ever!!!

Next morning, Ekta, Aashay & me who were up early decided to go for a bike ride 🙂 Ekta was riding the Yamaha, I was on the Avenger & Aashay was riding the Activa. We decided to head towards Aguada Jail road and take a detour towards the Helipad, further to that road there is a dead end which has a small lane which allows you to ride your bike towards the edge of a cliff which overlooks the sea and is simply brilliant!!! (Check the Gallery Below for some awesome Pics of the Bike Ride)

Our Awesome Rides!!!

The view from the edge compares to nothing you have ever seen… also the feeling of peace, tranquility & all that jazz is absolutely & totally sensational. Rest of the day was spent sleeping. In the evening we decided to go to a pub on the road to Taj Vivanta called Charcoal & Cheese – had loads of our Goa drink which was invented there (Goa Drink is Rum, Thumbs Up, Loads of Ice & Chat Masala…. totally Ulti Bakka). Post that, we decided to head to the Park hotel which had a ladies night where drinks for ladies were free! Went there, chilled for a bit & decided to come back the next day as the ambiance was super and also we reached at 9:30 pm and the place shuts at 10:00pm for music; some new crap policy by Goa police to shut blaring music by 10:00pm everynight, preposterous I tell you…

The Park Goa!

Charcoal & Cheese!

Next day, which was our last day in Goa, finally, was spent lying in the pool to start the day, heading for a bike ride; further to the same mandatory nap happend after which Rachita, Aashay & I decided to head out and finish some shopping. Enroute we realized suddenly Goa had become extremely packed with tourists and was quite a buzz, post quickly picking up some hairbands & crocs we decided to grab a bite at Britto’s… by then Ekta had also joined us. We entered Britto’s & in the same breathe exited after seeing the crowd which comprised of grannies & little kids (horrifying i tell you absolutely horrifying). Though by now we were hungry, so went to this place called “La Pub” which is on the way to Britto’s, ordered our Goa drink fix, also ordered some superb Sausages Wraped in Bacon &  Non Veg Platter which was brilliant. Post this, it was early evening so we decided to head to the Park for some general chilling. Reached there, saw the brilliant view on the beach, the breeze was spectacular, add to that some fun music & crazy ass drinks :-). Most of the evening was spent dancing with Aashay, Ekta & Vishal. Rachita was also there though she was sitting and enjoying her sheesha. Post a crazy evening & night, went back to the villa & passed out. Next day woke up early and then proceeded to drive back to Bombay. Left at 6am from Goa and was home by 6pm in Bombay… Also a special mention to Moti (our adopted dog in Goa) who was totally suffering from ADHD, though was very lovable and super cute. She spent a good deal of about a week living in the villa with us and following us evreywhere including inside the Park Hotel. Shout to Moti to end this article “we miss you :-)”

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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Goa Getaway Part 2

Pure Awesomeness!!!

Our Private Pool!!!

Today’s post is also a continuation of the Goa Getaway post. For all of you who read part one about the roadtrip this one is the conclusive one which is all about our awesome experience in Goa… So post the amazing car journey we reached Goa Saturday afternoon by about 1pm, went directly to the Villa we had rented – the anticipation & the excitement of how the place would be was unnerving. Though post reaching Calangute & figuring directions to Villa Alina we were finally there! The property looked spectacular with a super old world charm. Immediately, made a run to check our personal infinity pool – the same was totally sensational & very inviting; post figuring rooms and getting the luggage out, we decided to dive into the pool and laze there for a few hours. Meanwhile, Aashay & Rachita had gone out to pick up some alcohol. Once the booze was in, things got into a better perspective and life was all sorted 🙂

Love the old school charm!!!

So for all of you coming to Goa, do check out luxury villas which people rent out. They are cheaper and better than your regular hotels; also, if like us, you prefer an old school getaway place to live then this is the place you need to rent. Ok so the way this works is, you rent the Villa, you have hired help who manage the housekeeping, breakfast & are on call if you need something or the other. There is also a fully furnished kitchen which can be used to make meals, breakfast for us was included in the package. Also basic amenities like towels, etc. are provided by the Villa.

Alcohol & More!!!

Day 1 more or less went into exploring the vastness of Villa Alina & lazing in the pool with oodles of beer & other alco which included Smirnoff vodka, a bottle of JD, some Carona’s, etc…  The feeling of owning  your own Villa with a private pool kind of makes you feel like someone from the “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” absolutely unmatched that feeling is.  Day 2 Ekta & Aashay decided to get bikes on rent which is the norm in Goa, so an Avenger & a FZ was rented. We also tried the breakfast offered at the Villa which was your basic: Fruits, Cereals, Juices & Egg Preps. Rest of the day went in the pool wherein random pitchers of JD, Rum, wine, etc were being made & served. Also dinner was a barbecue party where Rachita had cooked some amazing seekh kebabs, chicken, potatoes, paneer & mushrooms.  Too much fun was becoming 🙂

Heaven!!!

Day 3 started off with Rachita, Keisha & me going for breakfast at the iconic Infantaria Cafe – some bacon, goan sausages, mushrooms on toast, croissants, etc. were had with a pint of Millers beer which was on an introductory scheme.  Post that Ekta, Rachita & me decided to go on a roadtrip to explore south Goa, drove through some awesome scenic views of Goa, went past Ponda towards Colva beach road and then towards Colva beach which clearly wasn’t very happening, it kind of reminded me of Juhu beach in Bombay with no real excitement and just the crowd was a major put off. Came back, crashed for a bit and then was back in the pool with the gang.  For dinner went to the Park and had some crazy spicy Vindaloo & Xacutti which was brain blasting!!!

Beautiful Drive to South Goa

POA General Chilling!!!

Day 4 started off with Rachita & me swimming in the pool where we decided on extending our vacation for another 3 days, actually day 4 was going to be our last day, so spoke to the Villa owners, got a good discount and also extended our trip by another 3 days. Most of the day then was spent sleeping & lazing in the pool like a buffalo. For dinner, Rachita had made some awesome coconut chicken curry with rice and kheema with bread accompanied with beers! So the POA for the next 3 days is to rest, drink, eat & generally chill!!!! Mota mote (Long & Short of it) Goa is an absolute must visit at least once a year and if, like us, you have the option of extending your vacation whether in Goa or anywhere you have to do that, the feeling is fabulous, sensational and all that jazz for sure.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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