Archive for the TRAVEL Category

Year end Greetings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 7, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

As the first white flakes of snow landed on the New York area yesterday… thoughts of distant lands have entered my mind. As people rush to shop for holiday gifts, I take stock of happenings throughout the year – reminiscing & taking note of accomplishments, where I was in Jan & where I am now. I re-read my blog & realized that for me like anything else, its quality & not quantity. I make time to blog, to read blogs & to enjoy them. Its not a daily thing for me. After all, Internet can become consuming – glued to the screen. I don’t start my mornings with the internet – for me its hearing the news on the radio – a simpler pace of life, watching the sunrise or enjoying a misty foggy day.

I’ve enjoyed receiving your comments & the wonderful letters / emails from the Vietnamese community & how inspired you were to travel back to Vietnam upon seeing my photos. I tried to capture the essence of the country & for me thats what travel is all about. I wish you all a wonderful Holiday season as we end 2009 & venture onto 2010.

Summer Travel memorabilia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 3, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

Darlings,  Reality hit this weekend as Autumnal leaves were found trailing on the ground & early morning mist & fog shrouded the area in a filmy mask. It was time to change the decor & put aside those Summery items picked up on distant voyages. The colorful painted basket containing  shells & beach glass

prayer baskets

straw bags

Reed bags…one can never have too many for those summer occasions. And of course

moroccan baskets

Large Straw  market bags for all those impromptu visits to the farmers markets…keeping 1 outside  for the grocery store

And lastly, my eternal Summer wardrobe of sarongs & wraps…used as clothing purposes in addition to impromptu picnic blankets

summer sarongs

Seasonal changes are such the thing to look forward to & ofcourse Autmn brings its own colorful treats but more on that later. Until then…au revoir

Travellers Hiatus

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

Darlings, I started my blogging odyssey in late Winter which was all well given the weather & no choice but to be housebound & dwell on my travels but  Summer really had me stumped…I was found outdoors enjoying the endless span of blue sky, sunsets, reading , gardening & taking pleasure in the slow pace of life. Gone was the lap top & bonding with nature surpassed technology. Now that the evenings & nights are getting longer & cooler, having that tea outdoors & bundled up by a flickering pierced Moroccan lantern doesn’t seem as appealing. I returned to Travelpostcards &  can inform you with delight that normal business sharing my journals will resume this weekend.


Hoping you too had a wonderful & memorable Summer.

The Sapa fashion directory & guide

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 24, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

Darlings,  That weekend excursion to Sapa…well guess what…it got extended… between the tranquil atmosphere, the ambience & the colorful local attire…why rush to leave ? And so, more postcards of what I oogled over walking around Sapa. Caught these Hmong Women pondering…


and then the 3 children sporting Sapa style capris Continue reading

A weekend excursion to Sapa, Vietnam

Posted in TRAVEL, Vietnam Travel with tags , , , on May 17, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

Darlings, When Summer heat arrives to the city of Hanoi, what better place to escape to than tread the path of French Colonialists & venture North to Sapa – Vietnam. 


 A world away from the city & these days, most if not all travellers arrive there by overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai which takes 8 hrs. You have 3 choices – the 1st class Victoria express complete with your own Cabin, white down comforter, white curtains & exclusive meals. The downsize being that the end of the journey will have you contemplate turning into a train setter as opposed to jet setter. Then there’s 2nd class cabins with 2 bunk beds per compartment with wood panelling & lastly for the budget traveller – the 4 bunk  cabin with minimalist chic metal panelling . As for the ride itself…this can be compared to a NYC subway ride with all the jerking, sudden stops & starts…well being a night train the driver might have had his share of opium!

The arrival into Lao Cai is greeted with pre dawn views of billowing clouds giving way to this panorama

early am sapa 2

Terraced mountains, cooler temparatures, summer picnics & hiking is how I picture French Madames et famille.

Oh my & take a look at the locals in their native attire !

red headgear

 The Vietnamese refer to them as “Minorities” & why on earth one would refer to their own citizens as Minorities is beyond me but Tribal people do tend to take a 2nd class place in society.  On weekends / market day, this is the scene

sea of heads

A sea of heads as the  tribal groups flock to Sapa to stock up on supplies & sell their wares / handicrafts. There are 2 distinct tribes

black hmong

Black Hmong with their hand dyed linen Indigo outfits & who are also referred to as the “Blue People” with their blue hands from constant dyeing…no rubber gloves here

dsao headgear

And then theres the Dzao (pronounced Dao) with their elaborate Red woolen headgear, shaved eyebrows & also shaved heads


Their handmade creations sold at the weekend market, where …yes…I’ll hassle you until you purchase type scenario exists & indeed amazing handicrafts to purchase…a crafters shopping mecca of sort


Bedspreads, hats, aluminium jewelry, a Cottage industry well worth the visit – made in Vietnam & not in China! Infact the volume of handwork might be considered labor intensive for any duplication.

blue bedspread

Easy to become a gawker here but once you are over the Tribal attire, there’s Vietnamese meals to be sampled in the local market


…here’s a chef ready to whip up a spicy concotion, made to order… FDA rules & regs’ appears to be MIA in these parts!

Shopping not your thing…the panoramic vistas of the terrain are all a natural wonder. Roads being repaired from years of war…can you imagine having a war in this verdant landscape ?

early am sapa

Somehow, don’t see any Colonial buildings & wonder where the French would have stayed…don’t get the feeling they stayed in a cabiny lodge like these that are dotted around.


Manmade developments  are a miss in these parts…authentic & rural


…an escape from modernities as contemplating the vastness of natural beauty envelopes the traveller…to which I will digress until the next set of postcards. Au revoir darlings &  please bear with me as I am in the process of updating this layout for something more appropo to the vibe of these postcard excursions.

A visit to modern day Indochine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 11, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

Bonjour Darlings, I’m always looking for Travel inspiration being that I don’t exactly have a list of places to visit (can you belive no list) & so after watching the movie ‘Indochine”, what better place to journey to than Vietnam, in particular Northern Vietnam to experience the French Colonial & Vietnamese Communist stronghold as seen in the movie.

Our First stop would be to fly into the city of Hanoi from NY on Cathay Pacific into Hong Kong & then on Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi which takes 1 hr. Love those small destinations after an 18 hr hurdle…

First glimpse of early morning in Hanoi, the flower seller with long stalks of gladiolus…such the Francais touch

flower seller

Then the fruit seller balancing baskets laden with clementines & wearing a conical straw hat for protection against the sun.clementines

more clementines

You know you’re in Asia when you see locals tucking into soup for breakfast, sitting on low plastic stools barely 12″ from the ground


And here’s the soup station itself with its concotions perfuming the air. Here its called “Pho”, a rice noodle soup with chicken & greens…mild or spicy…made to order.soup stationj

Infact, street side dining on those low plastic stools & catching up on gossip appeared to be the norm for the youth of Hanoi


Not only the youth but also the elder community were seen sitting on those low plastic stools having coffee & a smoke…the Hanoi style corner smoke shop …so cosy…


ofcourse, the French left their mark & patisserie / bistros abound with cane chairs et all, someplace that Catherine Daneuve would have hung out while filming “Indochine’, although only part of the film was filmed in Hanoi but these were the local haunts.


 Left over from French colonialists were these quaint French colonial buildings now turned into galleries, cafes & quaint boutiques. Quintessential emerald green French shutters & faded mustard yellow buildings all reminiscent of Hanoi’s heritage. Elaborate doorways leading into


the Vietnamese world of handicrafts, embroideries, lacquerwork abound

ofcourse to maneuver oneself amongst Hanoi traffic with all its mopeds is an art for the traveller & far worse than anything elsewhere in Asia  but isnt that part of the thrill ?

viet traffic

You know after a day of walking around the Old Quarter of Hanoi…we’ve only just seen a glimpse…there’s more but those will be another set of postcards …au revoir darlings…

Rites of Spring, Earth Celebration in New York

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 3, 2009 by MOUSUMI DUTTA

Darlings,  The month of May not only starts with May Day but all over the World, people are celebrating something or other to herald the arrival of Spring. In Asia this week, its Family Week & in New York, its the rites of Spring festivities in the East Village section of town. The pageantry starts with elaborate fairy tale like costumes donned with paper mache figures worthy of viewing in a Soho art galleryeast-village-procession1

Under the guidance of a Shaman Woman, the pageantry makes visitations to each NYC Community Garden with bessings to follow


 The ever so watchful Sun Goddess towering above


And what garden would be complete without a She Devil to becon those weeds


And lets not forget the Moon Goddess


Magical Floral beings to rival annuals & perennials


No matter which way you lookflower-girl-back

All this created my hand…even our feathered friends were not forgottentoucan

 even the newest wee garden additions insisted on joining in


the pagentry ended with a show of color, a folkloric tale in itself


until this time next year when new invitations would be handed out for another Spring Season to mark a new beginning


And so I wish you all a wonderful Spring, happy gardening & I’m planning our next flight of fancy…so until the next set of postcards…au revoir