Tag Archives: travel

The Talented Craftsmen

On a recent visit to Kenya, we had the good fortune of being able to visit one of the local handicrafts market, thanks to the efforts and planning of a very good friend. ” You would really like the place” is what she said; what she did not mention was the fact that we would be totally overwhelmed by the sheer talent that these people had!


Seated all over the place under the shade of a few trees, we were treated to some of the most creative craft work that we had seen. There were brightly colored clothes, dazzling prints, work with beads of different colors – this included chains, necklaces, bangles, pendants, earrings, bracelets, headbands, keychains and many many more items, the list just went on and on.


Next up was the lady with the metal work….so many items, so intricately planned and finished, and neatly displayed. From animals. to busts, to full sculptures, wall hangings, frames, necklaces..almost everything decorative that we could think of was available, and a fair share of it was made from simple pieces of metal and wire cleverly tied or interlinked with one another.


At the Gourd stall, we just stood and stared. There really was’nt anything else to do. The extent of creativity and craftsmanship was quite evident from the items that were on display. There were gourds of different sizes and shapes, with different artwork and patterns on them, all featuring stories of the African plains and the life of the people in and around those areas.

The Gourd Lady 1

There was also some very solid wood furniture available, the sofas, chairs and tables being exclusively handcrafted, The designs were as creative as one could imagine. Probably the biggest issue one would have in the todays world would be to accommodate the furniture in the smaller modern houses.


We could probably have spent the next two days at the same place, there was just so much to see. The people were friendly and took the time explaining to us the work and method involved in the production of their products. The next time we go here, we intend to find out more about how these items are actually made, and if possible get a hands on visit to the place where these talented artisans are.



Africa…….at last!!


After so many years of watching National Geography, it was finally a bit difficult to accept the fact that we were actually in the Masai Mara. Hundreds of different images kept flashing through our minds as our vehicle slowly made its way past the animals, most of them oblivious to the fact that we were there.


We did get a few inquisitive stares from some of the inhabitants of the grasslands, but then that was to be expected. The Zebra’s, one of the most commonly sighted animals on the plains (we soon found that out) were definitely amused with us.


This young giraffe also seemed to think the same. He actually stopped his feeding just to give us a stare which told us that we should move on and not keep watching him.IMG_0329a

Then came the Topi, but hey, we were getting better at watching the animals, and not showing too much excitement, because the warthogs that flanked the antelope showed little or no interest in us…they just continued feeding their faces.

“Caution…we are now getting close to the Hippo’s, they are very dangerous animals”  said our guide….this was the scene that met our eyes..


These guys were in a state of bliss….looked like they could go on sleeping like that for another 2 days. There was no way we were going to disturb them!

But yes, there was one little guy who did not take to us at all…for some reason he was hell bent on chasing us away from there. He would take 3 steps forward, and 3 backward; just kept pretending to frighten us away…he  kept it up for a while and then just got tired of his little game.


We cannot really begin to describe the emotions that went through us as we watched the animals, looked for new ones, understood their habits and behavioral patterns. Our eyes kept searching the horizons for more, and our fingers kept clicking.

But enough for now, join us later as we continue our drive through the Masai Mara….

Camel Race Day


Its arrived!! At long last it is the season for racing. After having trained for close to a year, the camels get their chance to prove themselves.Those who have arrived early are relaxing, its warm, and they know that they will need all their energy for later on, once the racing starts. Others are arriving, all excited, and happy that the time has finally arrived.


For some of the others, its just a normal day in the desert…..But wait, these are the ones on sale..once the races are over, many of the traders and owners of other camels will come here to inspect them and see if they will fit into, and benefit the herds that they already have.


Back on the race-track, its not yet time for the races to start, and there are some that have come just to add a bit of flavor to the races. They do a leisurely lap on one of the tracks,  as if sampling what it would be like to race on it some day.


OK, things are warming up now, suddenly the place has turned very active and businesslike. Announcements are made, and the herders start moving the camels towards the start pits. It is interesting to watch, because the animals are nervous, and anxious to get it over and done…slowly and reluctantly, they all make their ways through the gates and towards the start line.


After a lot of coaxing and pushing, the camels are finally in their places and are waiting for the barrier to be raised in order to display their prowess and speed achieved over the past year.


And then, without any warning the barrier is raised, and they are off……..


It is a spectacle well worth watching. The dedication shown by the herders, the love between the owners and their animals, the entire festival with traditional tents, cultural dances and campfires, it is almost too good to be true. If you are ever in the Middle East during Camel Festival time (it generally happens between December and March), this is one event that you should witness.



A Drive Into Nature

Panorama 2a1 Before the weather changed, we wanted to do one more road trip, so we decided to drive to the top of Jebel Jais mountains. We were not too sure of what to expect there, but nature had a surprise in store for us.

IMG_0977 Across the vast expanse of mountains, and along the very dusty and winding roads…it was a different world altogether.


Every now and then the terrain changed, giving us diverse views of the mountains and the surroundings areas.


We spent the whole morning just soaking in nature and the beauty that surrounded us, before finally returning to the base of the mountain range where we had started from.

Walking the Streets

Wheels for you

You just never know what you can come across while taking a walk on the streets, and I guess that is what makes street photography so interesting. The trick to being successful with street photography is to carry with you a camera that is not too obtrusive or conspicuous. People are generally more relaxed and at ease when they see you with a small camera..they do’nt mind your being there. Just remember to be respectful and polite.


And quite often they are even happy to pose for you…..just talk to them, ask for their permission to take their picture, and you walk away as happy and satisfied as they are.


Keep looking around for things of interest, and you will find them. Very often we pass people or things that we take for granted……spend a moment to observe, take the scene in, and make your picture.  These guys were having a hard day at work, and just continued doing what they were doing…

Quick Fix

And then at times we get a bit lucky, and are rewarded with things that are not too commonly seen on the street; – like this father taking his children for a ride on the elephant.



At the Desert


It is always an adventure going to the desert…..the very thought of being able to be there with the huge sand dunes, experience the strong wind blowing, listen to the sounds of nature, and have life slow down a bit ….the experience is soothing and rather priceless!!

Firstly you have absolutely no idea what you will encounter, there is always something happening there, you just have to be able to find it.


The Camel herders are perhaps one of the more common sights that you will come across as you start venturing into the desert.  Being able to capture a picture of them just waking their herd of Camel, or against the backdrop of the large dunes is very satisfying, (although it would be a whole lot better of there were’nt so many tyre tracks on the dunes…that’s man announcing his presence there too).

SONY DSCSome others prefer to watch the sun go down with a birds eye view of the desert. It does make for some spectacular viewing, and must have been as challenging for them to make the trip up there (and down later on in the dark), as it would be satisfying for them to just sit there and watch the sun sink into the golden dunes.


The light slowly slips away, another day has passed. Its time to bid farewell to these dunes, and get ready for the long drive back home.


Road to Nowhere

IMG_0619a Road to Nowhere

If you really want to see the world and get a small peek into its many wonders, you have to travel. There is only so much information that you can get from a book or a website…if you really want to experience what it is like, then you have to be there.

We had traveled to Oman just after the rain, and were not too sure of what we would get. We wanted to go to the mountains, but many advised us that there could be flash floods and mud slides due to the rain. We finally decided to give it a go, and cautiously made our way through the mountains. The air was fresh, chill and clean, (no pollution at all); and the rain had kind of washed the entire area clean.

We drove along the mountains for the closer part of a whole day, just enjoying nature in all its beauty, knowing that it would be a long time before we would have this much contact with nature. The road kept going for mile after mile, – more mountains, more clouds, more fresh air!

We made a lot of photographs that day, we captured the mountains, the clouds, the rocks, the dirt tracks; but overall, I guess the one thing that made us most satisfied, was the fact that we were out there with nature, enjoying it to the fullest. Sometimes we just get too caught up with the furious pace of the world, and forget that there is a better world out there. Give it a go, you wont regret it !!

A Soothing Sight

Places 5

Sometimes we get too stressed out with “what we need to photograph” or “I need to find the right subject”. When you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is to just ease off a bit, take a few steps back and try to relax. The worst thing that can happen is to let yourself get stressed, because then you find a lot of frustration creeping in, because nothing seems to be going the way you want it to!

Felt this way before with your photography? Don’t worry, it happens all the time; the important thing is to find ways to keep yourself occupied, and still be on the lookout for something to make a picture with.

One of the things that allows us to relax, (and help us remain focused on our photography), at times like this is taking a walk on the sea shores; – walk bare foot in the water while the waves lap around your feet, feel the sand, water…just connect with nature. It is a total relaxation therapy; and in most cases, you always come out refreshed, and ready to start all over again. On more occasions than one, we have found subjects to photograph during these walks on the beach.

The above picture is an example of what we are talking about……give it a try!

The Daily Walk

Culture 4

With the climate cooling down its the perfect time to travel to the desert to get some good pictures of the culture around us. With a little bit of patience and perseverance, and the fact that you may actually have to venture into the off-beaten track, you can find the trainers with their camels in the dunes. The satisfaction in getting these images is that other than the camels and their riders, there is no other trace of civilization around you.

We came across this group  more by chance…they suddenly appeared from behind a dune and we had to opportunity to make a few good photos before they again vanished behind another large dune. A few minutes after this the wind picked up, and we soon found ourselves in the middle of a lot of swirling sand, and very reduced visibility. There was really no way in which we could use our cameras without getting sand into them, and so decided to make our way back to our vehicle, all the while protecting our camera gear, while the sand kept getting into our eyes, mouth, hair and clothes. Something a little different from the normal routine day.

All in a Day’s Work

All in a day's work


Very often we tend to ignore the day-to-day happenings around us; seeing how busy we all are with our meetings, schedules and appointments. Unfortunately, we fail to realise that by doing this, we are slowly doing away with our past habits and ways of life,  and are now moving into a new way of living. This is why it is so important to preserve the cultural and behavioral habits of our surroundings.

Above is a picture of the trainers walking their camels in the morning, getting them used to the race track. This is something that happens every morning in the areas close to the Camel Race track in Dubai, and it has become such that most of the people that pass by, do not even glance towards the camels and their trainers. Interestingly, we also see a number of tyre tracks in the sand, the desert no longer belongs to the “ship of the desert” !

While modernization and progress is something that we all try to achieve in our lives, it is equally important to remember our roots, and try and strike a balance between the two.