Thursday, October 02, 2008

lazy blogger

ok, so its been over a year since I last wrote something... and I'll have to put that down to sheer laziness... as well as the fact that I've travelled a lot out of Colombo in the past year. So sjf hasn't quite been in Colombo to well write about it!

I was tempted to delete this blog and just forget about it, but have recently been reading a number of new blogs and inspired to start again so here goes...

my main issue is that you can't really write an interesting blog if people know who you are, for to be totally honest and funny you kind of need anonymity, I always find the anonymous blogs to be far more interesting to read... they don't have to censor their writing in the fear of upsetting, offending loved ones or not-so loved that almost makes me want to start up an anonymous one... but lets see...

Well a lot happened in the last year, in terms of travel our schedule was something like this:
Sep 2007: Wales, Washington DC
Oct 2007: Davenport
Nov-Dec 2007: Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Patna
Mar 2008: Bangalore, KL and Hong Kong
Apr 2008: Delhi
May-Jul 2008: Wales, Washington, Davenport, St Louis, Houston, London, Amsterdam

The travelling was fun... I missed my first flight was a domestic flight in the US... and it was due to my own stupidity, and it wasn't just a simple case of missing my flight... When we got to Reagan airport, and I couldn't check in on the computer at the desk, the check-in lady proceeded to tell me that I was at the wrong airport! I was supposed to be at Dulles... she was kind enough to change my ticket to the flight leaving from Reagan, but then I proceeded to somehow miss my flight... which led to a 6 hour layover in Atlanta... man that was a bad day!

Ayushi celebrated her 1st birthday, which actually had more adults than kids, with Eran being the only other baby christened in DC, started walking at 11 months, had her first haircut, got her ears pierced, said her first words, then two at a time, and can now string a whole sentence together. Current favourites are:
'at ee thees' which translates into "what is this?' which she says all the time, pointing to everything...
'what 'appened?'

We also travelled a bit within Sri Lanka, including going for the Galle Lit Fest in January, which was quite fun, managed to hear authors I'd read and enjoyed like Vikram Seth, Shyam Selvadurai, Karen Roberts, William Dalrymple.

Agarpatana with my mother and the Sanderatnes...which was also fun, nice to get away from the Colombo heat... and the tea-country is beautiful!

Did a cricket trip to Dambulla, which included a non-cricketing day visit to Pollanaruwa. In fact most of August was busy with the to have cocktails with the two teams, highlight of which was talking to MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Ajantha Mendis and Kumar Sangakarra..

Went down to Unawatane and Galle with Mali's cousin's where we stayed at Joe's beach bungalow. The highlight of which had to be the hot-tub... and Joe's great collection of dvd's which kept us up late at night. Was also good to spend some time with the cousins who were present, before everyone went their different ways!

Apart from the travels we had a number of weddings and engagements: Sumit & Monali in Mumbai, Shaluka & Geeshani's engagement in Rambukka followed by the wedding in Colombo, Dhanu's engagement at her parents home, and Dilanka & Nadhisha's grand wedding in Colombo!

Well we're off to Singapore in a weeks time, which I'm really looking forward to, not least for the shopping!

Now just need to plan something for Christmas!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

the Southern Hemisphere...

We just went to Auckland via KL two weeks ago. There are no direct flights from Colombo to NZ or Australia for that matter, so we had the option of breaking our journey in one of the SE Asian countries... On the way there we had a 10 hour lay-over at KL, but were put up at the airport hotel, that turned out to be surprisingly comfortable (The Pan-Pacific at KLIA). The flight from KL to Auckland was our longest every with Ayushi, and it went surprisingly well, with her taking naps of up to 2 hours, and only being awake for about an hour and a half in between, I think she slept quite well cos it was a night flight.

We arrived in Auckland to some typical British weather of grey clouds and grey everything, and were quite cold! The appart-hotel we were staying at was also pretty cold until we got the heaters switched on... it remained wet and grey for the first 2 days, which reminded us why we'd left London in the first place! We're just not winter destination people, or if we are, we just still need our RDA of sunshine! We spent our first day walking down Queen Street, which is Auckland's version of Oxford street, which was actually a bit more like the high street in Cardiff, rather than London, and not that impressive for shopping compared to any of the major cities in the world... In the evening, we decided to go to Ponsonby, which is meant to be the hip and buzzing area of the city... there were a number of interesting looking restaurants, but being a Saturday night, we weren't able to get a seat in any of the ones we were really interested in, and it was a bit chilly to sit al fresco, especially with the baby... so we had to settle for takeout.

Our third day finally there was some sunshine! so we decided to walk through Auckland's Domain Park, which is the city's oldest park, developed around the cone of an extinct volcano. The park was pretty, with a duck pond, beautiful gardens, mature trees, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which stands at the Domain's highest point... after a quick stop at the duck pond for Ayushi, we walked onto Parnell, which is the quaint colonial style area of Auckland, with some of the best dining options.

We stumbled upon
Iguacu (pronounced Ig-wa-soo), which was having a Sunday Jazz brunch, with a live band, and singer. The food was excellent, and the high glass roof made it feel really light and area. It was also great place to dine with a baby, as the staff were friendly, and there were plenty of other families dining.

After lunch, we went for a spot of shopping in Newmarket, which is their main shopping area, again, its not really worth a stop if you're used to London or any other large city, but I did manage to get Ayushi some Pumpkin Patch clothing...which is a NZ brand kids clothing company, and its always nice to get different stuff from the usual clothes we buy.
In the evening we were joined by Bush for dinner, we drove down to the Harbour and had another great meal at the Harbourside Seafood Bar & Grill...I stuck to the seafood, which was great, the boys had Lamb (this was to be a feature of our trip...since everyone was determined to have as much of the famous NZ lamb as possible), and I must say, it was pretty scrumptious!

The rest of our week was pretty jam-packed with Bush's pre-engagement and engagement celebrations in the evening, but we managed to make the most of our time there, by still doing some sight-seeing in the day time.

Including: Mt Eden (Maungawhau)
- an extinct volcanic crater which has magnificent views of the city:

Mission Bay, which has a man-made beach, and many quaint sea-side cafe's serving up fish'n'chips. and a day trip to Waiheke Island, where we were able to savour some great food and wine at their newest vineyard (which was set up at a staggering cost of $5mn, but not surprising when we found out that one of the 5 investors was no less than the original 007 (and the best one according to me...) Mr Sean Connery...), Cable Bay the views were magnificent, you could look across the sea to Auckland's sklyline... after the lunch, M had the great idea to walk to the next vineyard Mudbrick (which with 9 adults and two babies on pushchairs... took well over half an hour, but again, the views were great... would definitely visit Waiheke Island again to sample the wines!

Our trip ended all too soon, and we were on our flight back to KL, which was even longer than the one there at 11+ hours, this time we were not so lucky, and Ayushi only managed to sleep for about 3 hours in total, which meant we had to keep her entertained for the rest of the flight so we arrived in KL quite shattered... but were happy to have a luxurious 7ft bed after the barely double bed we'd had in NZ!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

there's something about the sea...

that is ever so calming and peaceful.... anyway just wanted to share that thought with you all - my special thoughts are with friends commuting to work on the tube (yes Harris- that would be you!), anyway, just sitting at this luxury resort, on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, called The Fortress enjoying the amazing view of the pool overlooking the blue/green waters of the Indian Ocean - all I'm missing is a Bellini, or well, any champagne coctail really - but for the joys of breastfeeding... will post the pictures when I've bothered to download them... in the meanwhile - enjoy sunny London - it's beautiful there too when it's sunny!

oh and for those looking for a review of the hotel - well it is ultra modern, with plasma tv's, bose media systems, and iPods, espresso machines and open-plan bathrooms. Beach rooms on the ground floor, with french doors opening out to ocean-views, and ocean rooms which are on the floor above, so you get a balcony view... we chose a beach room, cos it was easy to walk to the pool/beach straight from our room, plus better to avoid stairs with the baby! We got a bit of a deal since the hotel is not too busy these days, but with 50 rooms its far from a boutique hotel. Also the baby's high chair looks like its from the space-age, but lacks in practicality. But the view of the ocean is great.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life is definitely not a party these days...

or so my latest blog title was meant to read... there I was typing away at how my days(& nights) are determined, not by me, but a precious little someone, whom we affectionately call "bundle" (private joke between M and me)... and many other such names, she gets a new one each day. Yes, so there I was writing a self-pitying blog-entry about how my days revolve around feeding, changing nappies, massaging (twice a day), bathing, playing and not sleeping because of said bundle... which leaves precious little time to blog... what with FACEBOOK taking up all my net-time... or like my mother likes to call it - BOOK-FRIENDS, (thanks to M, who told her I was always on "BookFace" just to confuse matters!!!).

but that entry never made it to the blog, because between the time when I was writing it, (which was probably last Monday), M casually asked me on Tuesday afternoon if I'd like to go to Singapore, we booked the tickets on Wednesday morning, and were off on our way on Thursday!

Singapore was a refreshing break from Colombo, and not least because my sister managed to make it from KL to come see us! Which was great - only Preeti would take a 5-hour plus trip on a bus from KL to Singapore to see me I think - that's why you've got to love your baby sister! Although , I do suspect seeing her neice was more of the reason she took this ultra-mammoth (mega-bus-esq (another private joke)) journey to see us. I hid Ayushi in the ultra-plush hotelroom bathroom, and told her that M had taken her with him... she almost believed me, but I'm a terrible liar so she found her within a few minutes.

Mausi & neice were reunited after almost 3 months, and knowing Ayushi to be the fussy little miss she is, I was quite pleased to see that she actually smiled and cackled at Preeti and went to her fairly quickly!

The weekend went by all too fast, but it was great fun, to have this almost surprise-like trip, especially since I wasn't expecting to meet up with P until next month! A little part of me even wondered whether M had planned it all this way???

so life may not be the party these days, but I don't think I can complain much either ;-)!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Material girl...

Got to Singapore this evening. Ayushi behaved very well on the plane, which is great seeing that her parents are determined to make her a frequent flyer! The stewards couldn't believe she was only 5 months old.

We decided to try out some "street food" at one of the hawker stalls, which is a large open area surrounded by small stalls serving different foods - malay, chinese, indian, sri lankan, and some Singaporean specialties such as the chilli crab, laksa, singapore flat noodles, and many more to choose from. The various stalls are ranked from "A" to "D" for cleanliness, it's as if Switzerland ran Asia... ( can't imagine this in Chowpatty or Bangali Market or even at Nana's or Pilaws... but then I guess half the taste comes from the dirt???).

M will be "working" tomorrow, while I will be introducing Ayushi to my own inimitable brand of retail therapy - driving down Orchard Road and seeing all the shops (Zara, Mango, Borders, Starbucks, and yes even good old M&S!!!) really brings home how much I am starved of retail therapy in Colombo - ah well, at least we have Odel, Barefoot and Paradise Road!

Good night for now - am too lazy to upload the photo's today - so that can wait till tomorrow, better go before M sings his rendition of all the cheese on MTV to A and she actually thinks that off-key is the right key ;-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

यह आप साb हिंदी प्रेमियों के लिए!

जिसका मतलब है, के मेरे रिश्तेदारों को छोर के ये और कोई नही पढ़ पायेगा...

सो कूल ना!

another set of doting grandparents......

so we're back in Colombo, actually we've been back for over 2 weeks now, but as all you parents of nubies will know, it's tough managing to find any time to yourself, and least of all to sit down and write on your blog.

From one set of doting grandparents to the next. Our daughter is a very lucky girl, she arrived to a beautifully decorated house, full of balloons and her second set of grandparents. For all those parents determined to do it alone, I strongly recommend involving your parents, partners parents if you can, or are lucky enough to have them around. I remember as a child only having 1 grandparentmy nani, who had about 15 grand-kids besides me, so in comparison Ayushi is a v. lucky girl.

However, I know that its not always possible for this to be a good solution, since people have different views on child-rearing and everyone has an opinion on everything, but as a parent its up to you to make the decisions and do what feels right for you. For my part, I know I am happy for the help and support I've received from both sets of grandparents ;-).

I think I've spent lots of time reading various books and discussing with my friends about whats the best way to go about things, but at the end of the day, I think I just ad-lib most of the time. What works one day may not work the next.

We took Ayushi out for her first outing yesterday to Cinnamon Grand, and she was pretty good. In fact I think the evening was such a success, that it was the first time she slept straight through from 10.30pm through to 5.10am... which was probably the longest we've got to sleep in a long time....