Tag Archives: Lakshmi

Khan el-Khalili Market – A Must Do in Cairo

Spices at Khan El-Khalili Market

By Lakshmi:

Khan el-Khalili market – a major souk or open air market was mentioned by many as a must do in Cairo.  We passed by the market during the day and night on many of our outings in the city and always noticed it packed with people.  So, one day we decided to spend several hours walking around what appeared to be a really fun market.

First, for those desiring to go, the market does not open too early.  When we got there around 10:00 am, things were just starting to get set up.  So, the best thing to do is to get there a bit later and plan to spend several hours there.

There is a lot of affection the Egyptians have for Indians, witnessed by the craze for Indian movies, movie stars, the cuisine etc.  So while it should not have come as a surprise, we were taken aback when store keepers started yelling towards us, “Amitabh Bachchan was here, you should come in”.  Or “Shah Rukh Khan shopped for something here”.  Or, they would simply start singing a song from a Hindi movie to greet us.  After witnessing this a few times, we actually looked forward to the next greeting.  We were asked as to what city in India we were from, we were told that a particular store sold the best spices, we were asked to take dried rose petals back to flavor our tea…..the list goes on.  Needless to say a lot of warmth was exuded towards us.

The market presents a smorgasboard of items and regardless of who you might want to shop for, there is something of interest here.  Bargaining is the name of the game.  We saw handmade leather goods, beautiful pieces of ceramic ware, spices piled up on stands, little packets of pepper in red, green and black (made for a very interesting rice when I got back), musical instruments, paintings, brass ware, lamps, jewelry, belly dancing costumes, interesting hookahs and so much more.  Besides seeing all these things, you could smell so many different aromas of spices and coffee and food being cooked and served at the small cafes.

We spent a lot of time taking pictures of the profusion of colors greeting us, shopped for an assortment of items and of course spent a lot of time answering questions from the store keepers.

My one regret?  I saw a stunningly beautiful painting of the courtyard of a mosque, with people coming in an out.  It looked more like a line drawing than a painting.  The details in the work were simply exquisite.  I absolutely fell for the painting, but it was too expensive.  And I had already picked up two paintings earlier, that did not even come close to the piece of art that I was admiring.  With a few more days left in Cairo, I walked away thinking I would find a similar piece elsewhere.  I did not and even extensive internet searches since then have been unable to unearth the image that is etched in my memory.

To learn more about Khan el-Khalili market, click here:

http://en.egypt.travel/attraction/index/khan-el-khalili

Mxyplyzyk – A New York City Trove for Unique Gifts

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Anyone who loves shopping for one of a kind gifts that are quirky or bring a unique sense of design.  Of course, those gifts could be for yourself!

What? Mxyplyzyk, a Greenwich Village store whose name I still can’t say properly, but really enjoy visiting when I am in New York City.

How? The store is located at

125 Greenwich Avenue (w. 13th street)

New York, New York 10014

Phone: 1-800-243-9810

email:order@mxyplyzyk.com

Why?  The first time I heard about Mxyplyzyk was when a design magazine featured a clock from the store.  It was shaped like a set of bound books, in black&white or color and was a piece that was creative, fun and intriguing.  Going on to their website, I discovered a whole bunch of products with a unique marriage of form and function.  After a couple of walking adventures where I did not manage to find this little store, what I eventually discovered was a little gem that had my spark plugs ignited for one of a kind holiday and event gifts.

From the Blink Ketchup and Mustard Dispensers (yes they blink when you flip the bottle over) to the funky bucket rocking chairs, there are items that range the price spectrum.  Even if you walk out empty-handed (very hard to do), you’ll have a smile brought on by the interesting products.

If you are a fan of design and some funky ideas, please do visit their website at

http://mxyplyzyk.com/mxy/

Fisherman’s Cove Chennai – A Resort on the Bay of Bengal

Fisherman's Cove Resort Source:  Google Images
Fisherman’s Cove Resort
Source: Google Images

By Lakshmi:

During a trip to India, we wanted to take a break and go to Mahabalipuram and show the kids just an amazingly beautiful place that had withstood the test of time.  So we decided to stay for a couple of days at the Fisherman’s Cove Resort, which is en route to the temples.  I had seen the picture post card idyllic views of this lovely Taj property many times and the idea of staying at a cottage on the beach with a hammock literally outside your front door was perfect.

The minute you enter the tile lined lobby which resembles a giant sunroom with beautiful old world furniture and ceiling fans, you literally are transported a world away from the heat and congestion of Chennai.  We walked across the palm tree filled pool area to our room and were stunned that we were literally on the beach.

Any beach, anywhere in the world just brings a level of contentment to me that few other things do, and this was one of those moments that just made me feel blissful.  The room was spacious and at this point, the hammock on the porch was what we were most attracted to.

It is not an exaggeration to say that except for our sleeping hours, we either sat /walked on the beach or lay on our hammocks reading and watching the sunrise and sunsets.  The tides get pretty dangerous here, and they do warn about swimming at those times.  From the beach, you can see the distant temples of Mahabalipuram (we have featured the temples in a separate post).

During the tsunami several years ago, Fisherman’s Cove suffered extensive damages.  They have remodelled the place significantly and as I walked through the property during a recent visit, everything that took our breath away remains intact.

If you do plan to visit the shore temples of Mahabalipuram or simply want to get away even for a day from Chennai, this property will transport you a world away.

To learn more about Taj’s Fisherman’s Cove property, click here:

http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Fishermans-Cove-Chennai/Overview.html

To learn more about our trip to Mahabalipuram, click here:

http://pauperswithouttravel.com/2012/06/12/mahabalipuram-a-beautiful-day-trip-from-chennai-2/