Archive for the ‘Gridskipper’ Category

Packing Light Is Never Easy

22 April 2008

packingshotIf you had to print out all the listings and web sites about “packing light” and take them with you on your travels, there’d be no room for the standard issue Moleskine notebook, copy of Eat Pray Love, and two pair of underwear — you know, the stuff you really need to truly experience a place. There’s no end to the making of packing tips, but luckily the internet will always have enough room to hold them all. A recent post from Go Green Travel Green has an assortment of the good ones — and lots more of them besides.

Read more at Gridskipper . . .


The Schmancy-ist Guide to Bangalore

5 September 2007

bangalore_bookIn 2004, former Faith Popcorn protégé Fiona Caulfield chucked her job to move to India and start Love Travel Guides: “handbooks for the luxury vagabond”. The first title, Love Bangalore, came out this past Valentine’s Day. Its 108 elegant pages are a quick trot through town, with an emphasis on art galleries, fancy restaurants, and even fancier boutiques.

The first thing you notice after picking up a copy is how beautiful and skinny it is, as pleasant to hold as it is to flip through. The web site has all the trigger words for anyone who likes looking at and buying labor-intensive, pretty things: the guides are “crafted with care,” with “handmade paper” and “handwoven,” hand-printed” raw silk covers, plus “hand-stitched” bookmarks. That’s a whole bunch of hands darting in and up and down. Luckily, those hands are of a reasonably large size — we’re also assured that the process was “child-labor-free.”

It doesn’t come cheap. At 1,200 rupees ($29), this is a luxury item in a country where that much cash goes a long, long way (the book is pricier outside of India). Judging by the boutiques selling the book, sales are directed mainly at the high-flying expats in town, with a smidge of fashionista and nightclubber thrown in.

But are expats enough of an audience? The website’s prominently displayed “Retail and Corporate Enquiries” is one clue that the main audience for these book slivers are the big IT companies and BPO’s in town. With any luck, they’ll buy up cartons and pass them out like cups of chai to their clients.

The preciousness of the whole enterprise grates a little, but there’s no reason a book shouldn’t be beautiful and cost accordingly, even when the book’s something as theoretically utilitarian as a travel guide. Definitely grab a copy of Love if you can spare the bones, but first try to get someone in Corporate to buy it for you.

(Full disclosure: I’m updating sections of the upcoming Fodor’s guide to India. It will lack raw silk covers.)

[from Gridskipper]

With a Long Drive Comes Great Food, Young Grasshopper

1 February 2007

GrasshopperGrasshopper, a restaurant/boutique near Bangalore’s southern city limits, is not the place for South Indian food, or for any sort of Indian food at all. What’s served here is carefully prepared, fresh Mediterranean with some Asian touches, and as such it wouldn’t be out of place in one of the swankier neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Add to this the fact that your “dining room” is a quiet garden full of birds, trees, and other wildlife, and you have a spot that feels a million miles away from the traffic and other pressures of central Bangalore.

Read more . . .