Going on Vacation


After a long long time, I am back in my blog. My work schedule was killing me, and now that it is December, things have finally eased off. And that brings me back to my blog.

So how have things been….we are nearly at the end of another year, and there have been so many memorable happenings this year – the latest being the death of Nelson Mandela.

In India, on the political front, we have the BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) battling out in the Delhi elections, and drawing the battle lines for next year’s Central Government elections. And since elections are around the corner, the ruling party (Congress) is determined to make a fair showing of its prowess (!) during the past 5 years, and trying to shape up for next year.

On a personal front, we are going on a vacation!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!! We are going to the little Indonesian island of Batam for a week – to chillax.  Our trip starts on Sunday and we’ll be back next Saturday, spending Christmas there.

If the hotel has wi-fi, I’ll be providing daily updates of our trip. If not, I’ll come back and give the updates.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

 

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Tea in Singapore


Now that I’ve been in this Island City for a week, I already know what I really want from back home – a decent cup of Tea!!

The hotel where I am put up has the most outrageous (well, outrageous to a tea-addict like me!!) teabags in the room – Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Peppermint Tea!!!  Of these, English Breakfast is tolerable if I add a minimum of 3 teabags in a cup.

And for breakfast, they have Lipton Yellow Label teabags – again, tolerable with at least 2 teabags. But they never have hot milk and water….it’s almost always lukewarm (probably ‘coz its too close the aircon) and I gag nearly everytime I try to drink the tea I make. Imagine drinking cold milky tea! Bleh!

Thank God for the Teh-Tarik centre near my office….atleast they have a fairly decent cup of tea – Teh-Halia being my favourite (that’s ginger tea for my non-Malaysian speaking readers). The tea in office is another story – they have this huge vending machine – a Hot and Cold Cup Machine – which lets you decide how much sugar, milk and concentration you want, but even after setting it all to the highest setting, all I got was a sugar-water syrup.

Coffee and Milo seem to the beverages of preference here in Singapore – being available in all shape, colour and size. And I detest coffee. Milo is okay, but how many times a day can one drink chocolate?

Is it just me who is facing this problem in Xing? Does anyone know where I can get a good cup of tea (sans me making it)?

 

In Singapore – Week 1


Been quite some time since  I published any musings here in my space. And there’s a reason – a quite life altering change in my life – I have been transplanted to the Lion City – Singapura. Arrived here last week Sunday.

Since Hubby and Little One are arriving next month, the first thing I needed to do was to find a house, and then to find a school for Little One. I am glad to report that the house part is taken care of – found a house on Monday, and should be moving in within the first week of July.

As for the school – now, that’s more troubling than the house. Little One has never been to a school, or any such structured environment. Whether to put him in a proposer school or a Kindergarten is something we are worrying about. If I were to go for a Kindergarten, then they have openings only in January 2014. Plus all the schools are closed now, since the summer vacation in Singapore is during June.

Well, that aside, I have been to Bugis Street for a good dose of street-retail therapy. And there were 4 exhibitions at Singapore Expo Halls, three of which I visited. The book exhibition was expecially good, with all kinds of student textbooks and guide books available at lowered prices. Bought a couple of colouring books for Little One. I was too tired to walk to the next one, and I had a bad case of shoe bite.

And today has been quite relaxed, with me doing the laundry and watching the Chinese serial ‘The Guest People’ on Channel 8, and two Tamil movies.

But I miss Hubby and Little One dreadfully 😦

And with that I leave you folks….wait for my next update.

 

 

Marvellous Melbourne


 

‘Melbourne’ – the name evoked images of cosmopolitan chic and…the lyrics from a popular Tamil song –

“TELEPHONE manipoal sirippaval ivalaa
MELBOURNE malarpoal melliya magalaa….”

As I awaited my flight to Melbourne, I was eagerly anticipating the fun I’d have there. I’d already read up a lot on the city – it was supposed to be the Cultural Capital of Australia, and reputed to be the most livable city in the world. And I was going to have seven whole days in this glorious city.

The 15-hour flight was uneventful – with a short layover in Malaysia. But towards the end of the flight, I was getting real antsy and wanted to just get up and walk about. At the airport, my friend Jay and her husband Aaron had arrived to pick me, as I was expected to be staying with them. They are a lovely couple – got married about 3 years ago and relocated to Melbourne within a month or so of the wedding. And now enjoying life to the fullest.

They had a lot of activities planned for me starting the very next day – with the Melbourne Fringe Festival to conclude my visit. More about that later 🙂

On our way home from the airport, I got  a glimpse of the beautiful jugalbandi architecture of Melbourne – an aesthetically appealing mix of the old and the new.

Jay and Aaron lived in a nifty 2-BHk apartment in a very quiet neighbourhood. Apparently, the culture of the place was such that no one would be home during the weekends – they all lived for the outdoors and sports and events.

The next day was meant to take in the sights of the City and we just drove around, with Jay and Aaron pointing out the different buildings. We even saw some places filled with smashing street art, reminiscent of the New York streets.

We had dinner at the Red Spice Road restaurant that night – a concession to my spice-loving taste buds. Mmmm, the Thai food was absolutely gorgelicious – we had peanut sauce glazed chicken and oysters dipped in plum sauce. And dessert was Cherry Flambé – a flaming sweet dish of cherries.

My days in Melbourne also gave me my first taste of ballet and opera. We got tickets for the Australian Ballet Theatre and Victorian Opera. The Ballet was interesting – lots of twirling around on pointed toes and the costumes were beautiful. Though I don’t think I’d have understood the story unless Aaron hadn’t gotten me a brochure of the night’s entertainment 🙂 .  But it was fun.

The Opera was a whole new sensory experience. I’d only seen it on TV and never could understand anyone being fascinated by a woman singing (if you can call it that) in high pitch. But my stint in Melbourne robbed me of all my ill-conceived notions of the Opera. It truly was a touching experience and one that I never regretted.

Another highlight of the trip was our visit to the Australian Sports Museum – mind you, I had no intention of going and gloating over helmets and balls and bats – that was purely Aaron’s doing. Jay and I were more interested in going ballooning and skiing. But on the condition that we go along with him to the Sports Museum (with no protests or gagging 🙂 ), he agreed that we could go ballooning the next day.

The museum wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be – for one thing, Australia has a great Cricket team – something I had forgotten – and I got to relive the cricketing triumphs of Australia (even if it meant our own Indian Team was beaten) and their achievements in other sports. Also, I got on the Melbourne tram – my first ride in a tram – a remnant from the original city and the largest tram network in the world.

Well, the next day was what I was really looking forward to – a hot-air balloon trip over Melbourne. It was going to start at sunrise – at 4:30am!  I don’t think I’d ever seen 4:30am in my entire life! Well, for a balloon ride, I think I could make an exception for once 🙂 We got to the rendezvous point, boarded the balloon and off we went on our Air adventure. It was everything I’d imagined the slightly cool air as we ascended and the wind blowing around us. The sights were fantastic and it felt like we were on top of the world (which we literally were).

And finally for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. This was a month-long festival which included several art forms, including theatre, music, comedy, art, film, cabaret, live art and even circus performances. they had several venues where different performances would be held and we chose to attend the ones held at North Melbourne which is the birthplace of the festival. And boy was it exciting – I chanced to see shows called Opal Vapour, Arabella, Balderdash and Mindfulness. They were out-of-the-world! I don’t think India would ever have such shows, they;d all probably be banned on one pretext or the other. Mind you, these are not everybody’s cup of tea – these shows had artists exploring their inner spirit and getting the audience to do so as well.

And finally it was time to bid goodbye 😦 .

It was a swell holiday, especially with my friends Jay and Aaron with me every step of the way. I wish I could have stayed longer, but my vacation was just for a week and I think I have really LIVED to the fullest during those seven days. Maybe, I’ll plan my next vacation also for Melbourne – that’s a thought to keep me busy.

So what are you waiting for…it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!!

This is a post written for the ‘Its Your Time to Visit Melbourne Now!‘ contest conducted by Indiblogger.

 

Living up this Summer at Lakshadweep


With 2 weeks’ vacation, I am planning to head to the exotic beaches of Lakshadweep this summer, with my best friends – Kyra and Elena. Kyra and Elena, the eternal Sunshine girls are fun-loving and the perfect pals to have around during a vacation. We have already booked our stay at the exquisite Agatti Island Resort at Lakshadweep.

Our travel plans are ready – pack a bag with the bare minimum of clothes (after all, who wants to sashay about in sari and salwar-kameez at a beach resort?) for two weeks. Make sure we have packed our Lakmé Sun Expert – no girl in her right mind would step out without the trusty Sun Expert at her side. Get our plane tickets and off we go into the tropical island paradise to have our fill of sun and fun for the next two weeks.

I can’t wait to frolic about in the white sands and turquoise waters of Lakshadweep. We are planning to cruise around the coral reefs in a glass-bottomed boat, build sand-castles (kiddish, I know, but where else can we be kids but at a beach?). During the evenings, we will relax with drinks under the swaying coconut palms while listening to the guitar music strummed by Kyra, and dance around bonfires.

Just like in the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara”, each of us have a chance at a daredevil beach sport. Mine is to go parasailing in the beautiful waters. Kyra wants to get in some water-skiing experience under her belt; while Elena has roped us all into trying out scuba diving. Yep, this summer is going to be as exciting as they come. And I have  spoken to some others who have already been to Lakshadweep, and they say that the instructors are eye candy.

Mmmmmmmmmm…..I have a feeling that this summer is going to be THE BEST summer I ever had.

 

This post was written for The Lakmé Diva Blogger Contest at Indiblogger.

 

Image Courtesy: Thinkstock