Day trip to Phi Phi island

Now as my summer break is about to end, I have been busy being a tourist in Paris so I could not complete my blog about Thailand. But here I am, I am going to try and finish all my summer blogs for this summer.

Before going to Ao Nang in Krabi where I spent 2 weeks, I went to Phi Phi islands for a day. I took the morning ferry from Rassada Pier in Phuket. The ferry was approximately 90 minutes. As expected, there were a lot of tourists on the ferry. I have motion sickness and I was a bit worried but these ferries move so slowly and it put me right into sleep without even taking any medication :P. I had seen Phi Phi in the pictures and I was really excited. When I saw it in person I was really impressed. The scenery was straight out of a postcard – bright sun, long tail boats and crystal clear water. As soon as I got off the boat, I knew I had to spend the night here instead of Phuket. My friends and I walked on the beach on Loh Dalum Bay until we came across different resorts – we found “PP Princess Resort” right on the beach and it was $40 a night which was ideal.

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Made it to Phi Phi
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Nothing beats this scenery at Tonsai pier 🙂 

The room was not bad and there was access to the pool. The beach had a low tide so it was better to stay by the pool which was infact lovely. Well Phi Phi island has a lot of activities but unfortunately we didn’t do any of those and just relaxed on the beach and swimming pool all day.

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View was not bad 

 

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Life’s good 

This island is really small – you can only walk your way through it –  no cars, no bikes etc.  There were many backpackers from Australia and England in particular. I loved the vibe of this island, everyone was so relaxed and even the locals were so friendly. There were IMG_2078plenty of cute little shops with souvenirs, food and tour options. Since there were so many Europeans on this island, every single restaurant offered the same menu – Thai and Italian. Since this was a low season and also a weekday, the beach was quieter and cleaner. We stopped by this restaurant “Ciao Bella” for dinner. It was right on the beach and it had a very laid back atmosphere.

 

 

 

I had heard about the fire shows on the beach every night so we headed to Slinky restaurant and ibiza hostel around 9 pm. These fire shows are really popular in Thailand and I thought it was pretty cool. They were doing different stunts and even break dancing on the fire. A huge crowd had gathered to enjoy this and it lasted almost 2 hours. I even got a temporary UV light tattoo for free which was awesome!

I had a really nice day on the island and it was actually my favorite so far. People come to this island for snorkeling, monkey beach, scuba diving etc but I did not do any of that and did all the activities in Ao Nang instead.

Next morning I relaxed by the pool a little more and enjoyed the breakfast which was included. We wanted to spend the evening ferry back to Phuket but due to some reason the last ferry was at 2 pm. I was really sad to leave the island because it was actually my favorite so far. On my way to the pier I finally found a guy selling Ice cream rolls! I had been waiting to try these and I finally got a chance. It is really fun to watch the guy make the ice cream on the cold stone and add your favorite toppings.

After that tasty ice-cream roll, it was time to head back to Phuket which was a mistake I was supposed to meet my friends and colleagues in Koh Samui which is only an hour away from Phi Phi and I did not think it through and instead went back to Phuket where rest of my luggage was. I booked a shuttle and ferry service via Phuket travels for the next day. Little did I know it was going to be the longest and wasteful day of my trip but oh well it’s all about the experience. I will tell more about it on my next blog 🙂

 

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Bangkok Diaries

So I am finally back from my 22 days trip in Thailand. I had a 2 week SGU program in Krabi.  I had never been to Thailand before so I used this opportunity to travel to other cities as well before heading to Krabi. It was definitely the most exhilarating and different experience of my life. I am used to traveling in Europe so it was wonderful to be able to travel in Asia. Thailand had been on my list for a while but I am glad I was finally able to travel there thanks to SGU’s selective. I will have to write few blogs for this trip since one won’t do justice.  My first stop was Bangkok. I flew by Jet Airways from New Delhi. The flight overall was alright because there were too many loud Indians at 2 a.m. on the flight which was not fun. I arrived in Bangkok on 2nd June and I spent 3 days there. I ended up coming back to Bangkok on one of the weekends during my selective.

Day 1 :  I was a bit nervous because apparently the visa on arrival is only for 15 days and my trip was going to be 22 days long. So as I arrived at the Bangkok airport, I followed the signs for “Visa on Arrival” . It was probably a good 10-15 minute walk from the gate. The area was crowded but not as bad as I had heard. There were two counters with a long line and the visa was 2000 Baht and the other were express counters and the cost was 2,200 Baht. I had all my documents ready but the lady at the pre check in was already apprehensive when she saw my return ticket for 23rd June. As expected, the lady at the immigration counter refused to listen to my side of the story and was not ready to give me a visa until I showed her a return ticket for an earlier date. I booked a ticket to Kuala lumpur since its only a 1.5 hour flight from Krabi and the visa is online for Indians. The lady finally approved and I was able to get a visa within 10 minutes. I got a local sim AIS when I was collecting my luggage. I got unlimited 4g data for 30 days for only 500 THB ($14.7). I was the first person amongst my friends to arrive in Bangkok. My day did not start on fun note because I was stuck in a traffic jam at 7 a.m. on my way to the hostel. Well, Bangkok has the worst traffic in the world so it was not a surprise and I was already in the mindset that no matter what I would keep calm and just enjoy every moment. So after searching for a while, the uber driver finally found Bob Hostel. The room and bathroom were great and the staff spoke English too which was nice.

After a 2 hour nap and quick shower I was ready to explore what the city had to offer but I guess the traffic had something else in mind. My first stop was going to be Grand Palace. So as you may know I am not a summer person and I hate the heat so I decided to just uber it to the palace instead of taking the metro. Also, everything seemed to be cheap as I was converting it into USD(thankfully I stopped doing later). So after almost 2 hours I was at the majestic Grand Palace. First and foremost there are no shorts, tank tops etc allowed. I was wearing comfortable pants and a top but they thought it was inappropriate. There are clothing stores right outside palace so  I bought a top to cover up. By now I was drowning in my sweat. It was 35 degree Celsius and 90% humidity. The palace was flooded with tourists from all over the world. It was incredible. I wish I could stay longer and learn more about this magnificent place but I could not adjust to the heat and hence I had to leave early.

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Sawadika Thailand
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Wat Phra Kaeo
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Grand Palace

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My next stop was going to be MBK center. They say every Indian who comes to Bangkok definitely comes here. I was actually amazed by how huge this mall was. There are almost 2000 shops in this mall. I didn’t really know what I wanted so I just started walking from ground floor which had lines of stalls selling fashion, shoes and handbags, fast food outlets and a supermarket.  Part of the fun of MBK is exploring the long straight paths looking out for things that take your fancy. So basically I realized first few floors were for fashion and then 3rd and 4th floor have electronics and 4th and 5th have home furnishing and souvenirs. After a lot of bargaining I was able to buy shoes and bags. I was already exhausted from my day and my friends were about to arrive too. I stopped by at Samui Restaurant in MBK center for some green curry and rice. This was my first time eating authentic green curry so it was definitely exciting. The flavor was amazing but I knew there was a better green curry out there waiting for me.

The weather was pleasant now so I decided to take the Tuk-Tuk back to the hostel. I agreed to pay 250 THB to the driver. I was close to the hostel when I was stuck in a long jam. The tuk-tuk driver told me to hop on to one of the two-wheelers to reach my hostel faster. Apparently this is a thing in Bangkok but I had no idea about it so I refused. No way I was going to trust a random two wheeler. After a long day I was finally back at the hostel and met

By the end of first day I learned that Sawadika(hello) is said to Females and Sawadikhap to males :).

Day 2 : All my friends were finally here. I was so excited because I was meeting my friend Avashi after 3 years and John and Leo after 6 months. I was so glad that we were able to plan this trip so well. We all got ready and it was time to head to Chatuchak Weekend Market. This market is open on the weekend from 9 am -6pm and has more than 8,000 shops. Initially we just wandered around confused where to start and what to look for and then eventually we found a map for the market online and just used that to navigate. In Thai “Soi” means street so we just picked a random soi and then just walked until we came back to the same spot.

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You can literally find anything here from clothes,accessories, home furniture etc. It is a wholesale market basically and the prices are reasonable. This place is so huge that its highly unlikely that you will see the same store twice so if you like something buy it right away unless you want to see another store. Despite the heat, I absolutely loved this market. It’s definitely a must to attend if you are ever in Bangkok for the weekend. At 6 pm when all the stores had started closing we were really exhausted so we finally stopped for a foot and shoulder oil massage. It was 250 THB for 30 minutes and I am telling you it was totally worth it. I took the best nap of my life in those 30 minutes. I wish I had taken more pictures in this market!

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Happy after shopping

Day 3 : John and Leo left for Phuket and Avashi and I had an extra day to spend in Bangkok and we moved to Movenpick Hotel. This hotel is located in Sukhumvit soi 15 which is close to all the restaurants, malls and hotels in soi 11. It was a good change to move from the hostel to a hotel and especially the fact that we would not be wasting too much time in cabs. We went to checkout the rooftop pool at Movenpick which was decent and then we walked to Terminal 21 which is a huge mall in Sukhumvit 19. What made this mall different is that every floor is actually built like a huge terminal with different cities as the theme.

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Ground Floor : Rome – plunged with sculptures, paintings and ceilings. You can find luxury boutiques on this floor

Upper Ground Floor : Paris – mini Eiffel tower. You can find some Thai boutique and salons on this floor.

1st floor : Tokyo – Mostly women fashion

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2nd Floor : London: from telephone booths to 2 storied buses – most men fashion on tis floor

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3rd Floor : Istanbul – jewelry, leather goods, and decoration shops

4th Floor : San Francisco –  mini replica of the Golden Gate bridge which is adorable and this floor mainly had Thai restaurants.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.35.21 PM5th floor : San Francisco Pier – this floor had many other International cuisines to offer.

6th Floor : Hollywood : dedicated for cinema, spa and gym.

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I came back to this mall with my cousin when I had the weekend off in Krabi. We didn’t really know what we wanted so we just walked and explored around. This mall pretty much had every brand and designer boutiques so it would definitely take a day here if you really want to shop.

I left for Phuket the next day with Avashi – I will write a separate blog on that experience. I came back to Bangkok for a weekend during my selective to chill with my cousin. We had a blast in this city because there’s so much to do. I had seen many posts about the Husky cafe in the city so we decided to go there. The cafe is called True love @ Neverland. I was really excited I wouldn’t lie. So here is how it works – they have 3 timings during the day when you can play with the dog for an hour. We went there around 3:30 pm and the next play time was at 4pm which worked out perfectly. The cost is 350 baht per person and that includes either a free drink or a slice of ice cream cake. We could hear the dogs running around and barking and I was getting really hyped up. At 4 pm – we watched a 5 minute safety video on how to treat the dogs. The place was well sanitized- we removed our shoes and wore foot covers and then we had to wash our hands before interacting with the dogs. There were alot of people waiting to pet the dogs. There were huskies running everywhere and it filled my heart with joy. WordPress does not let me upload videos but I have some really cute videos of those dogs. I know it’s awful that Huskies are not supposed to be kept in Thailand weather but I was quite impressed with how they were kept. They were all healthy and happy and their fur coat was amazing too. The only downside I think was that the dogs were not as playful which is understandable but I really wish they would respond more to petting. Overall I was really happy with this cafe and I would definitely recommend it to people visit it if they are in Bangkok and love dogs.

That’s all I have for Bangkok. It was a chaotic city but I loved it because it was unique in it’s own way. I have a lot of stories( and more pictures!) from Phuket and Krabi and I am excited to update everyone in the next few blogs about it.

Moving forward

I finally found the opportunity to write this blog as I am sitting in my flight from New York-Paris. . To begin with this term has been hard..harder than Charters Program but interesting nonetheless. I learned a lot more about myself, my study habits and also people around me. Now is the time I can really reflect back on each module and gather my thoughts for this term.

Term 1 is divided into 3 modules and 5 exams – Foundations to Medicine(FTM-2 exams), Musculoskeletal System(MSK-1 exam), Cardiology Pulmonary Renal (CPR – 2 exams). We had 16 hours of lectures a week and interactive MCQ session on Friday but sometimes we would have 20 hours of lectures a week too. There was also 2-4 hours session of small group per week and sometimes more.  The semester started with around 520 people in class but sadly we saw a drastic fall in those numbers later on. I am just going to be giving a  breakdown for each module and how I survived each of them.

FTM module : Well having completed FTM/CFP program put me to an advantage compared to others who came straight into term 1. This module heavily focuses on biochemistry, genetics, human cell biology and Histology. I had developed a liking for biochemistry in CFP so I was kind of looking forward to it. Biochemistry department at SGU is really good. Even if you don’t like the professor, the slides are always detailed and have every information that you need to do well on the exam. For biochem I just white-boarded all the lectures as I memorized them. The other classes were pretty straightforward because it was a repeat of FTM program. I had never taken genetics before so I was focusing on that. Luckily, I got good professors for genetics which helped me understand the material well. First couple of weeks were overwhelming because there was so much material being thrown at us and so little time. I realized I could n longer memorize every slide but I had to focus on the bigger picture and if anything was clinical. Few days before exam 1 one of my friends Henrik asked me if I wanted to study with him. In CFP I had a routine of studying by myself and then my friend used to quiz me before the exam, hence I said yes to studying with Henrik. We reviewed all the lectures before the exam and we realized we had a similar studying pattern. Our exams went well but both of us did not get the same score. For exam 2 we decided we would meet every weekend to review the lectures for that week and then review again before the exam.  I was able to score 92.5 on both the exams. I still had a life during this module because I was able to cook food and I could also take a night or two off on the weekend and still be fine. I even had time to pre read my lectures every morning. FTM module is a nice introduction to medical school but it was nothing compared to the storm(MSK, CPR) that was about to come.

MSK: I had heard a lot of negative things about this module before it even started. Some people called it the worst/hardest module in term 1 and some actually enjoyed it. I had decided that I would not let anyone’s opinion influence mine so I could decide for myself. Henrik and I decided that we had to come up with a game plan so we could succeed in this module. Little did I know I had many sleep deprived days awaiting for me. Basically this module comprises of Anatomy and little bit of physiology and histology. Anatomy can be scary initially because it is A LOT OF memorization and learning every muscle, nerve, artery and vein for that muscle can get challenging. Also, the anatomy department sucks at SGU. I don’t blame them because you can’t really teach someone anatomy We had our first day of lecture and everyone was freaking out because they had already thrown all the muscles of the arm at us. Henrik and I met up at the end of the day and opened our bible for the module known as – Gray’s Anatomy. We did 10 questions that night and guess what? We got all of them wrong. We did not let that discourage us and we met up the next day to do more questions. We gained a momentum and met every night to do questions and by the weekend we had a better grasp on the material. You can only learn anatomy when you see it hence we went to open lab hours to learn from the cadavers. We were also using Complete Anatomy app on ipad which was the best investment ever, There was a lot going on and I was hating every day. I was not getting enough sleep because we used to have lab 8-12pm and then lecture from 1-5pm and then we had to study again. I had started eating out everyday and I used to sleep during lecture, I did not lose hope though and I continued working hard with Henrik every single day, By the time exam approached we were already doing our Grays book for the 3rd time. I felt confident when I went to take that exam because we had done more than 500 practice questions so I was ready to read long clinical vignettes too. I came out of that exam feeling a little hesitant because I thought I might have lost my A to physiology but I knew I had aced Anatomy. That exam was hard..it was the most challenging exam I had taken for sure. When the scores came out I was pleasantly surprised because I got a 91.7 and my friend did really well too. We finally realized that we were going to be study buddies for a long time now. Our hard work definitely paid off and now we were more motivated for the upcoming CPR module.

CPR : MSK gave me me hope and determination that I could survive medical school. Physiology was not my strong forte but before this module I had changed my mindset and I told myself I was going to stay positive and make Physiology my little bitch. Henrik and I knew how to study and we had  a nice momentum going. We met up every day after lectures and we just white boarded and talked out loud. We realized talking physio out loud was really helpful. Some days were frustrating because the material was hard and we would spend 7-8 hours and still not understand. I finally started getting the true feeling of being a medical student. I did my first ultrasound on the heart and lungs. I also learned how to listen to different heart, lung sounds and how to take someone’s blood pressure and pulse. I realized I could now study for 15-16 hours a day and still be fine. This was my life now. I was trying to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep but I had started eating junk food. I was eating out for every single meal and I used to only go back home to sleep. Those were some monotonous days but I was not complaining because I knew everything would fall into place before the exam. Again before exam 1 for this module we had already done over 500 practice questions and I thought I knew my material well. I finally understood physio which was exciting. I got a 91.7 on this exam which boosted my confidence furthermore!Henrik did really well too and we knew there was no looking back anymore. This module was different because we also had our first OSCE – basically they get a fake patient for us and we have 5 minutes per patient to do certain tests, ultrasound or whatever is required. Towards exam 2 I was a lot more relaxed because I knew it was the home stretch and also physiology was not scary anymore.

You must be wondering that I don’t have a life outside study hall and my whiteboard and you are right. Buy post exam I got to relax and enjoy the weekend. I became good friends with another person from my small group. Henrik had  a jeep so we formed a tradition to go on a long drive on the island to unwind. It was the best feeling ever and this was the time I actually loved the island and did not hate it. Also, I love my apartment. i am glad I don’t live in a dorm because at the end of the day its nice to go back to my room and also after the exam I can relax in my lovely pool.

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My beautiful pool
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Taking a quick break before the last exam!

As I am sitting on my flight, I just reflected back on this term and I realized this term was challenging but fun. I don’t know if fun is an appropriate term to describe it or not. If you ask me now which module was my favorite I would say it has to be MSK. I know i know I said I hated every moment of it when it lasted but post-MSK I realized that if I can survive this module I can survive anything and I also learned about my new studying habit. I never used to study with another person before but it’s important to have a study buddy in medical school. Henrik and I were able to motivate each other every day and if I didn’t understand something he filled in the gap and I did the same which benefited both of us. I am so happy that I found a great friend and hoping that we will be able to crush all the way till Step 1 and beyond 🙂 What would I do differently?I definitely need to eat better food or find some time to cook. I also need to make sure that I don’t exhaust myself.

I am so glad that this term is over and I know I made friends who will support each other all the way till we take our Step 1 exam and beyond. I have an exciting summer ahead of me and hence I will be writing more often now. I was in NYC for 4 days and it was so nice to have good food and be back in civilization again. I will be in Paris for 10 days and then I will see my mother in New Delhi. I am doing the Thailand selective in June through SGU and I cannot contain my excitement. We will learn about Ancient Chinese Medicine like Tai Chi which should be interesting. I will be back in Paris in July but I plan to study. My friend and I will be tutoring the upcoming Term 1 in fall so we have to prepare our slides and material for the sessions. I am really looking forward to that because I enjoy teaching and also it will help me with my cumulative exam.

Anyways if you made it this far on this blog, I am thankful for your time because this one was long. I am going to try my best next term to write more often. Till then I will have some exciting travel stories this summer and I cannot wait to write about them 🙂

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We survived term 1 🙂

I survived FTM

Where have I been for the past 2 months? Well, I had been at Modica study hall since my midterms got over. I just wanted to say that I successfully passed Foundations to Medicine Program and I received my acceptance letter to School of Medicine. This course was rigorous and as I had mentioned before that you have to maintain a 3.5 GPA and score 75% on PMSCE which is a cumulative exam at the end of the term.

First of all what worked for me? I moved out of Grand Anse dorm to the campus dorm. That place was a rumor mill and full of drama so I just wanted to distance myself from all those people. I had a strict schedule that I made sure I followed. I did well on my first round of exam and then midterms so I didn’t have to change any studying strategies except in physiology since that was my lowest grade. I met up with the course director and got his feedback and he identified the problem. I knew my concepts but I just could not apply them when I had to do MCQs. Hence, I started doing 1 hour of practice questions everyday and I used to reason out the incorrect answers as well. I was getting ready for the 3rd round and I made sure I was on top of all the tasks.

It was time for 3rd round of exams and I performed well in all my classes and I was able to raise my physio grade up which I was happy about. I was still focused but now the last stretch was approaching. Things around me started falling apart. People in the course didn’t perform well so more than half of our class withdrew. We started with around 200 people and were down to 90 people. Basically, if you take the final and if you don’t have the GPA then you can never come back but it you withdraw then you get a refund and you can repeat the semester. Pretty much FTM was a mess but I had to keep myself focused and not let anything or anyone bother me.

 

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Puppy therapy is the best therapy!

 

 

There was 1 month left to finals and I had no time to waste. There was no time to work out, I was talking to my mom for only 5 mins and I barely spoke to my father. I never stressed out the entire semester but I was getting exhausted now. Before coming here I had never abused caffeine as such but I realized I was drinking caffeine every single day. It wasn’t because I wanted to stay up but only because I had to keep going. 2 weeks before the finals I started having caffeine withdrawals. I couldn’t eat properly and I was always nauseous. I was crashing by almost 8 pm. It wasn’t just me though, my friends who were still in this course were in the same boat but we had to motivate each other to keep going. I finally caught up on all the sleep and decided to avoid caffeine as my finals were approaching. But now I thought I was going insane. We spent 14-15 hours sitting on one chair in the study hall. There was a point where I wanted to just scream. I finally changed my study location and studied more outdoors which really helped me focus again.

Well finals week was finally here. The exams were the same difficulty level as before and they went well. I can’t explain that feeling when I submitted my last test. It finally hit me that everything was over and I only had PMSCE left. I had decided to take that night off from studying. The scores came out the same night and I was extremely happy! I was able to maintain an A in all my classes and I was able to pull my grade to a B in physio which made my GPA into a 3.778. I don’t think I had ever worked this hard before and I am glad I did. PMSCE was a cumulative exam and I was told that if you did well in all your classes then it’s easy and no extra studying was required. The information was true because I passed PMSCE as well. I went straight to the beach after that when we all got the results. Everyone was just screaming and crying. I could not believe that it was all actually over and that I was about to officially start my MD journey.

At the beginning of the term, I got the best and worst advice ever – you need to be selfish here. I took the advice and now 21 exams, I am here. Despite the ups and downs I am glad I took this course. Four months ago, I can’t guarantee that I would have been ready for medical school but now I am mentally ready too. I finally believe in myself and I have a more positive attitude.  I know my studying habits and what’s required to get work done in Medical School. I am extremely excited because the countdown to White Coat ceremony has begun and my parents will finally see me wearing that coat in a month.

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Best study buddy ever! We both made it and she is going to UK for 1 year!

My next few weeks are about to be exciting. I was chilling on the beach all day and I explored Grenada. I am going to be in New York on Sunday and about to be reunited with my friends. After that I am flying to Munich where I will meet my father and then finally after 1 year I will be going to home sweet home India.

Ps: next blog is only going to be on “how to survive FTM” for people looking for more information.

 

It’s a wrap week 1

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a week here on the island. Everyday has been so different and exciting that I feel like I have been here for a while. The highlights of this week were Grand Etang Rainforest and Snorkeling! As I said before that this place is so picturesque that this blog is going to have tons of pictures from this week.

SGU organized a free tour to Grand Etang Rainforest on 8th August (2nd day). I have been to rainforests before but never to a tropical rainforest. Usually I would never dare to swim in a waterfall but this time I did. Grand Etang is part of the Seven Sisters Fall in Grenada.We started our day early at 8 a.m. SGU tour bus had 2 students to guide us around the city. We saw different sites like Port Louis, Fort George. We also learned a little history about Grenada and its famous politician Maurice Bishop who was assassinated in 1983 and the airport is now named after him. Anyways after a little island tour we began our journey on top of various hills and finally reached Grand Etang after almost 1.5 hours. We stopped to see the Grand Etang Lake first which was gorgeous.

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Also, I met some awesome people on the tour. I became really good friends with Anna, you can see her in the picture above and also Hassaan. They both had go pros so obviously I had to become best friends with the(just kidding). They are really sweet and a lot of pictures in water you will see in the blog have been taken from them.

We started making our way back through a trail. Our next stop was going to be Annandale Falls.

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Finally arrived at Annandale Fall and of course we had to stop to get some refreshing coconut water! The coconut water was really warm but it was a relief in the scorching humidity.

As we descending down, I was amazed to see the sight. The falls were not too deep which was perfect for a swim. Students were also cliff jumping but I was too scared. Maybe next time I will try it.

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Made some new friends 🙂

I had a really tiring day and thankfully our ride back was shorter. I took a great nap and then went grocery shopping which was  a nightmare. I will soon write a blog on the prices at IGA and Spiceland Mall. I had heard all about it but actually got to witness it now.

My orientations for school started the next day and I was busy during the day with them and then evenings were dedicated only for sunsets at the beach and chilling. This was my first week and last week of chilling before classes start tomorrow.

Grand Anse beach does not have any coral reef to offer. The water is so clear that you can see your hands and feet but occasionally you will see some tiny fishes swimming around and one day we actually found a starfish. It was so pretty and felt so weird to hold it.

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I AM SO TANNED!!!

Sunsets on the beach are breath-taking. If you don’t believe me then checkout these pictures

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Our evenings ended at Bananas which is the typical college hangout spot for Medical School students on the island. We also had an ice-cream social where students could decide which organizations they want to join. I did not join any club because I want to focus on my studies but I will join it next semester.

My week 1 ended with snorkeling and my next blog is going to focus on that with tons of pictures (Yayy). My week 1 was amazing and I already feel like I am adjusting to the island well. I met some great people and got oriented with my school. I can’t wait for classes to begin tomorrow. I am glad I am starting this journey on a positive note.

I am finally on the island

Well it’s day 3 on this beautiful island as I write this blog. I finally got time to be by myself in the room to unpack and write, otherwise last 2 days had been extremely busy.

Day 1 – August 8th

So SGU has 2 campuses – True blue which is the main campus with all the dorms and lecture halls and Grand Anse which only has dorms for CFP students. I am located at the infamous picturesque Grand Anse beach. Even though I went to bed at 2 a.m. , I woke up by 8 a.m because I was so excited to explore the campus. SGU runs free shuttle between Grand Anse-True Blue campus. So, as I waited for the shuttle, I was greeted by this lovely view of my backyard-

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Fun fact – Grand Anse beach was also in the CNN World’s Top 30 beaches (http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/travel/100-best-beaches/) and I can see the reason why.

I took a campus tour and the buildings look exactly how they are in the pictures. The campus is so pretty and lecture halls are located on the hill. The campus also has the view of the alluring blue Caribbean Sea. I could not stop taking pictures at every step.

This view below is from top of the hill. Also I realized SGU students literally call it “The Top of the Hill” . It has lecture halls, student center with gym and restaurants(subway, Grill Master etc) and also has a spot where vendors can sell food during lunch hours which I thought is a great idea. There was also an Indian vendor and the food was delicious and cheap. It’s run by an Indian couple and they also deliver Indian food for free (Yayyyy!!) .

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I found my study spot! You can see below the view is from Midoca Hall. So I had been out in Grenada for only 2 hours but I was sweating profusely. I cannot even explain how humid it is. Even though I grew up in India, I have not gone back in summers for the last 6 years. Boston summer is hot but not as humid. So anyways, it was extremely breezy at Midoca Hall and it has a shade so I can imagine myself taking a break and just sitting on campus to enjoy this view with my food or books (I would say books 90% of the time).

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The buildings that you see is actually my campus. We followed a trail to reach this view point. Ignoring the heat and humidity, I was already falling in love with this island.Image-1 (4)

Also as I was taking this tour, I had already become friends with 10 people. Everyone is so friendly in Grenada that you feel welcomed. We checked out food options on campus and ate at the New York’s Finest Bagels Food Truck. The food was decent and had good vegetarian options and I can only imagine long lines in between classes. There is Greek Kitchen right outside the campus gate and it had a very chill vibe and seemed like a good spot to hangout after class.

I wanted to go dorm shopping but I was told that because of Grenadian carnival everything would be closed so that only meant one thing- Head to Grand Anse beach. We were a group of 10 who rallied to the beach and realized a lot of groups were there. It suddenly felt like I was in Miami for spring break with college kids on the beach. Everyone was just getting to know each other and trying to relax before classes begin on Monday. Grand Anse has a beautiful view of “downtown” Grenada and the hills. All the resorts are also located on this beach. So you may have realized I am already obsessed with Grand Anse beach. I was never  a beach person and have never lived on one before so this is definitely a good change for me. I have a balcony in my room, so I am going to make use of that when the weather is pleasant.

It was Day 1 and I took 3 showers – morning, after the tour and then after the beach. Yes, it’s that humid! Anti-frizz for hair is completely useless. People say you get used to the weather so I am hoping that happens soon.

Every student who had come earlier just raved about “Jouvert” the previous night. So bIMG_7347.JPGasically everyone is just covered in oil and chocolate and walks on the streets with music. Students also took part in this and said the experience was crazy. If you google Jouvert Grenada you can see what I am talking about. Well, on August 8th night was “SpiceMas” which is the second day of the carnival. I definitely wanted to check it out so headed out with a big group of people to downtown area. It was the most incredible site. Women dressed up and people just dancing on the streets. There were miles of just open trucks each with different music and the crowd dressed up differently with glow sticks. We went early and only spent 30 minutes there though because we were told as the time progresses, locals get drunk and things get out of control. So we avoided the chaos and came back to our dorms. I only took 1 picture at the carnival because they all looked the same, I do have videos but I can’t upload to this blog.

 

By the end of the day I think I must have met atleast 25-30 people easily. I felt like I was back in my undergrad at Boston University when people just wanted to socialize the first week of college but the difference is since this is  Medical School and the only free time would be after midterms and finals. Majority of the people I met were from Florida, Canada and few people from California and the East coast. I had a pretty solid first day on the island and was ready for Day 2- Tour to Grand Etang Rainforest 🙂

 

The Caribbean Experience begins…

I am going to start off with a rant first about my flights to Grenada. My flight from JFK was on 7th August but August 6th night was spent readjusting my luggages. It was definitely very stressful as Brian(my friend in New York) and his mom spent 2 hours helping me out. Anyways fast forward to JFK and I had no issues with Caribbean Air. I had a huge smile on my face at 4 a.m. and the attendant was super nice to check in 2 luggages and 2 carry ons and only charged $30. I slept like a baby on my first flight to Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), oblivious to the nightmare ahead of me. It was supposed to be an 8 hour layover in POS and also you can’t check in your luggages all the way. Basically one has to exit and come back to departures for check in.

So as I arrived in POS, the immigration and customs all went down smoothly but as I exited the customs, I was hit by the weirdest rule – no trolley allowed for baggages in the arrivals area..WTF? So basically now, I had 2 big luggages, 1 backpack and 1 carry on and I couldn’t use a trolley. Anyways they had “Porters” who charged $1 per piece. As I approached Liat air they informed me that I can’t check in my luggages so early and they only allow 3 hours before the flight. This was at 11 am and my check in would not start before 6 and I had 4 bags on me! I literally sat in a corner and could not move. I was starving and finally found a porter who took my luggages with me to a subway and then got me back. Finally checked in at 6 pm and Liat air opened my check in luggages and tossed everything around. I was losing my patience now. The lady tells me my carry on is over 15 pounds and I need to check it in or empty it. I explained to her that I got it from JFK and everything was fine there. She basically refused to acknowledge anything. So I started emptying my carry-on into my luggage, and guess what? The lady tells me my luggage is now overweight. Obviously what did she expect?? Anyways, I paid $90 for that and I was done complaining and I just wanted to reach Grenada. The flight was delayed by 2 hours and I was afraid that I would have to spend the night on that airport. I finally found some people who were going to SGU and on the same boat as me (even worse), so I felt a lot better and tried to stay positive.

Anyways after 18 hours, I finally made it to Grenada and I was SO HAPPY. I can’t explain the joy I felt when I saw this sign –

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People at the airport were really nice and students from SGU were welcoming us at the airport as they directed us to our cabs. It didn’t take me more than 20 to get out of the airport and to my dorm. I suddenly forgot about my whole day and just promised myself that I will never fly Liat again and would rather pay more for a direct flight 🙂

 

 

Packing Madness

3 more days to NYC and 6 more days to Grenada! Phew! Last 2 months have been crazy for me, from quitting my job in May to moving out of Boston in June and then traveling in Europe and MSAP in July.

I was really worriedIMG_7279 about packing initially because I had to fit my whole life in 2 suitcases! Everyone keeps emphasizing that everything is expensive on the island.Keeping that in mind I tried to pack smart(hah). I am flying Icelandair from Munich-NYC and I am allowed to take 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on and 1 laptop bag(SWEET!) . The problem is from NYC-Grenada. I am flying Caribbean Air from NYC-POS and then Liat air from POS-GND. I have heard terrible things about their baggage policies but I had no other option since I booked my tickets so late.

 

 

I packed all my essential items in my bigger suitcase and carry-on incase the airline decides to send my 2nd luggage separately(boo!). So here is a mini list of items:

  1. Duvet, 2 bed sheets, pillow cover – I put them in a vacuum seal bag and saved so much space. I had no idea about these bags until recently. They can easily be found on amazon and here is a picture below. IMG_7275
  2. Stationary items
  3. Kitchen items – fork, spoons, knives, chopping board, pressure cooker etc
  4. Beach wear (it’s the caribbean after all 🙂 )
  5. 2 jackets and 2 hoodies(incase it gets cold in the study room or lecture halls)
  6. Tons of summer clothes, flip-flops, sandals.
  7. Makeup and sunscreen

One of my suitcases was overweight by 5kgs, it must be the pressure cooker I think. I tried to move things around and got it to 23kgs and the other one is 17 Kg. Well, I am nervous I won’t lie but I am just going to risk it.

I will finish my shopping in NYC. I just need to buy insect repellants and big shampoo bottles and other toiletries that might be expensive in Grenada. Also, I realized Indian grocery is cheaper in NYC than in Munich so I will buy all the spices and my favorite maggie noodles there as well. I will just need to buy pots, pans and utensils in Grenada.

Packing takes a lot of time and making a checklist definitely helped me. I will make another post once I get there incase I regret something I should have packed but didn’t.Now, my plan is to go to the airport at 6 am on 7th August with my cute smile and hope that the attendants are in a good mood too and my 14 hour arduous journey will be a breeze! 😀

Anyways, since I am done with packing now, it’s time to binge-watch Stranger Things on Netflix. xx

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ALL SET FOR THE JOURNEY!

 

 

Little Miss Globetrotter – From New Delhi-Boston- Grenada(and everything in between)

Passage to the World

First of all, I have never written a blog before but now I want to share my traveling experiences with everyone. A little background about myself  – I was born in New Delhi, India. I finished my high school in Delhi but my father lived in Europe(mainly Vienna and Munich) so my summer was spent traveling in Europe. I went to Boston University for my undergraduate. I got a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. I fell in love with Boston so I decided to work there for 2 years and luckily got a job as a Research Technician in a Radiopharmacy lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.

I am so lucky that I got to travel from the age of 3 and then I was able to travel more during my undergraduate studies. I wish I could have started writing sooner! But better late than never, right?…

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Little Miss Globetrotter – From New Delhi-Boston- Grenada(and everything in between)

First of all, I have never written a blog before but now I want to share my traveling experiences with everyone. A little background about myself  – I was born in New Delhi, India. I finished…

Source: Little Miss Globetrotter – From New Delhi-Boston- Grenada(and everything in between)