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Sunday, June 14, 2015

City Streets

Cities and at times some towns have a character to them ,they are liking living entities .
I am jotting down a few cities and towns i had been in India as well as abroad ,a very small collection but these places have left an indelible impression one me .

Al Ain
In Arabic it means The Eye
Al Ain is a known oasis town and a stop for caravans in the desert dunes in the past ,the village had a salubrious climate was green and had water supply ,there was a hot spring near mount Jebel Hafeet

 It was also the birthplace of Shiek Zayed the founder President and father of UAE ,He was very particular that Al Ain retain its heritage and hence Al Ain has no multistoreys like Dubai ,Shariah or AbuDhabi
I landed in Al Ain to work  in Tawam Hospital a very reputed tertiary state of art hospital run by the Johns Hopkins group on a hot Sunday morning in July 2006 ,
staying there for six years I fell in love with  the place and it was like a home to me
,I met many good friends there .
Al Ain is known as the garden city of the UAE as it has finely pruned gardens all over it has beautiful roundabouts and is spacious and expansive unlike other cities .


 The capital of UAE was just 160 km away from Al Ain and the fine highway had a speed limit of 160 km per hour and we used to go there often ,

Its a city of straight roads mostly leading to the lovely cornice and the grand Emirates palace ,the Shiek Zayed mosque in its marble splendorour and the several high rises are the hall marks of Abudhabi .
the city has an excellent trasport system of sophisticated buses and cabs ,lot of eateries and malls .

the Paris of the east
The capital of Lebanon ,the very name conjures a medicterranean haven of pleasure and leisusre ,dusky eveningss behind frosted windows ,tall clinking glasses ,dark coffee in checkered tables on pavement ,smoke from lazy hookahs twisting itno the gabled roofs the distant mountains ,aquamarine sea ,drifting ships and nights young with dance and song .
History has marked its presence in every part of Beirut ,in the Roman Baaths ,the balbaak ruins ,Magnificient St Georges cathedral where the monks had once hidden its treasures in its basemnt during the long civil war .
The Solidaire is the restored historical area of the city ,its windows did show shattered glasses and bullet holes were seen in its walls preserved to show case the long civil wars ,today it is the epitome of fashion and its streets go gay with pop music group live TV recordings and restatrants of all hues .
Beirut was big but one could make a walk through maor areas from the museum to Hamra street which was like Bengalurus Brigade road and the sea lapped corniche ,
i stayed in the centre of the city and my prestigous hotel looked at the spot where its illlustrious president Rafik Hariri was assasinated in 2005


Thailands capital welcomed us at Swarnabhoomi Airport with a huge tableau of the pallayi kadayal or churning of the mythical ocean and obtaining the nectar of heavens or Amruth ,one of Hinduisms important mythical tales ,shows how much importance Thailand a Buddhist country gives to its Hindu origins of Buddhism .
We entered out of the airport to a cloudy day ,the rainbow colored taxis added great colour ,Banghkok had many streets named after its kings Ramaa 1 ,Ramaa 2 Sukhumvit road and swarnabbhoomi Airport all pointed to its Hindu lineage ,more than nine kings of Thailand were named Rammaa .
Bangkok's prime attraction was the great Buddha temple with a huge reclining Buddha many statuettes of Golden Buddha's ,the pointing spires of the temple looked ethereal in the foggy rain that hampered our photographic attempts
there were a lot of malls one I remember particularly was the electronic mall where one could strike a good bargain for any electronic goods
Evening saw us in a cruise in the Chor payya river as it moved under several ornate bridges skirting the lit high-rises as sky trains thundered past and the hordes  of tuk tuks ,motorbikes colored cabs  raised a babble .

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