Monday, April 9, 2018

Caribbean Tales - 3 days in Antigua and Barbuda

We thought all Caribbean destinations looked the same - blue skies, white sand beaches, clear waters. Well, we couldn't have been more wrong. Apart from similar ports, each destination in our itinerary was different!

After a mellow St. Kitts, we landed in Antigua with Liat airlines. We were just grateful that our luggage had safely arrived, misinformation regarding time did not matter after the horrifying tales I had read online.

We chose to stay in Siboney Beach Club Hotel in Dickenson Bay since it suited our budget and looked like a perfect hotel to stay in. Apart from getting a crappy room, everything went perfect! Ha! We are positive people you see.

The beach was literally 10 steps from our room and it was indeed a white sand beach. Coconut Grove restaurant and Anna's on the Beach made the bay really pretty with their decor. The food at both places was yum, especially the seared Mahi Mahi in Coconut Grove.

It was a Sunday evening and I had read that if you are staying in town you must visit Shirley Heights for this night. The place was worth all the adulation it receives - great food, amazing DJ and Steel band, absolutely perfect casual setting, romantic under a moon-lit sky... my first amazing holiday moment had arrived.

The views of English Harbour from Shirley Heights. 

The moon-lit sky at Shirley Heights.

Now let me tell you about Antigua's biggest problem - this island is designed in such a way that there are absolutely no pavements for pedestrians. If you have to go from one place to the other, you have to call for a taxi. And these taxis ain't cheap! Our trip to Shirley heights and back cost us a bomb, but we were determined to go. We crossed a huge stretch of island before reaching our destination. Wood and Cinder block homes lined a few roads and as we passed St. Johns, the capital, we could see the Caribbean life up close. We would come here the next day - today it was about Shirley heights!

Our driver was an interesting man - with four marriages and eleven children, he had his hands full! He waited for us while we hung out, danced and ate to take us back at 10 p.m., when the venue closes.

The next day we took a dip in the very tempting ocean. A pre-wedding video shoot was going on that made the destination look more picturesque. Although I must tell you, Dickenson Bay only had cruise ship passengers who were mostly in their sixties or above. This place didn't look like it was for the younger generation. I wondered where the Shirley Heights crowd went!

After posing in the great outdoors myself, we ate at Anna's on the Beach. This restaurant had a
dreamy setting and a small, but delicious menu. Post a hearty meal, we left to see the port area in St. Johns.

Now this is one area that we liked more in St. Kitts. Basseterre was lively, while St. Johns was tiny and underwhelming. Maybe because Antigua had other things to do, cruise passengers did not stay in this area for long. The by-lanes in St. Kitts had much more to offer than Antigua.

We came back quite early in the evening and thought of going to a restaurant mid-way. But like I told you, getting from point A to point B was a big concern and so we decided to eat at Dickenson Bay.

Even there, walking 200 meters from our hotel was not easy. At night the area was poorly lit and had uneven ground. We wanted a change in dinner menu and so ended up at Putters Bar and Grill. Thank God for a time-share accommodation in the area - otherwise I can't imagine how deserted the entire place would have been at night!

Our third day was spent exploring the entire island. Antigua has a mixed economy - from filthy rich to extremely poor - you can see it all on the way. Most hotels are all-inclusive giving no chance for the restaurant business to boom. The dark history of sugar plantations and slavery is evident in various parts of the island. Tourism is island's prime source of income and a large amount of money flows in from American and European clientèle.

The famous Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium that we saw from a distance

We went to the second most famous beach - Jolly Beach and Harbour. Even with hundreds of visitors, this beach was picture perfect. We had an Indian meal at Castaways and enjoyed our time here. We like places with a bit of a crowd and a good scenery, this was ideal. I could clearly see shady activities going on in the area when a man came and congratulated my husband on having a very beautiful wife! Yes, he wanted to sell us something that we won't smoke - at least not in the Caribbean!

Nelson's Dockyard was again a postcard-worthy place. In another era, the yard served as a naval base to protect British West Indies from French incursions. Now it looked like a picturesque place to sit back and drink nice cocktails! We barely spent any time here and thought of going back to our favourite Dickenson Bay. Devils bridge and Betty's hope were on other side of the island, and we had run out of cash for taxi fare!

Antigua's roads are fairly easy to drive but we prefer to play it safe. We do have a hefty amount to pay for commute, but that's our contribution to their economy!

We walked back and forth on our beach, took in as many romantic moments as we could, loved the sound of the sea and totally relished each moment. We were perfecting the art of a perfect holiday - Eat, Drink, Beach and Chill. The three days were filled with moderate activity and were good fun. A beach destination is meant to relax anyway, and relax we did. And if I had to do it again, I will stay at the same place and do the same things. Only this time, I wouldn't take the hotel's lowest category room!

It was our 9th wedding anniversary on the day we travelled from Antigua to Jamaica, an island I was most looking forward to visit...

Previous Post: St. Kitts & Nevis

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Oh! Darling.. #SayYesToTheWorld

Me: Mum, he doesn't buy me any presents.
Mum: He is showing you the world, what else can you ask for?
Me: Hmm! Indian mother-in-law.

Did she read Alice in Wonderland though?

To be frank, I did not love the world. I was afraid of unknown places, people from different races, losing my belongings, getting robbed, feeling extremely anxious before taking flights,  - yes, paranoid to be exact. I lived in one city for 26 years of my life, travelled only to the hill station next door and went to nani's house once every couple of years. Living out of a suitcase? - never did, never thought I ever would.

And then I married him. When I said 'I do', I didn't realise I was saying yes to a life full of adventures. He did not promise me the world, yet he took me everywhere. Without even realising I fell in love again, only this time it was with the world and the man who was my partner in all my journeys.

Our first trip outside Asia was into Switzerland. Apart from breath-taking Alps, I witnessed a life changing phenomenon. A couple in their seventies lived in the room next to ours. One look at them and I thought how cool is their retired life. They have come here to sit back, relax and soak in the nature.

The next day we met them on a hiking trail in their crisp white pants walking briskly past us. The lady climbed the hills like a swift animal and had the brightest radiance on her skin. Sit back and relax? - the Gen X oldies were fitter than their younger counterparts!

After I came back, I made sure I exercised every single day. I had found my deepest travel inspiration – I wanted to be strong and fit even when I was seventy so that I could be like them. 

Every year when we took that annual holiday, I saw more of them. I saw them walk past me because they were sturdier. In Greece, I saw a bunch of women in their seventies riding the toy train and laughing uncontrollably – I sent the 2050 plan to my gal pals. I saw them relishing the beauty of nature much more than me because they were wiser. Frankly, each one of them influenced me. I came back after every holiday stronger in my resolute to stay fit and travel the world as I grew older.

But that is not all that the last 25 countries have taught me.

I was on a train once, crossing a city in central Europe. We were late to board and there were hardly any seats available. I walked from cabin to cabin only to find one vacant seat next to a girl who was probably twenty years old. I asked her if I could sit - she refused rather rudely.

I felt racially discriminated. If that was not enough, she gave the seat to another white girl just fifteen minutes later in the ride! On deeper thought I remembered how we differentiate between fair and dark-skinned people in our own country. We have always been critical of racism towards us even though we are inherently racist ourselves.

Honestly, I was one of them. I liked anyone with a fair skin (except that girl on the train!) and was vary of those who were not of my favourite colour. I was shallow and I knew it. I blamed it on my upbringing, but I realised that after a certain age, it was up to me to change my views. I felt ashamed that even though I was well-read, wise for my age, and more sensitive than most of the people around me, I treated people differently – at least in my head.

All that changed after my trip to the Caribbean islands. On my visit to Jamaica I felt that African-American community was the sweetest in the world. I have never felt so welcomed in any country like how I did in the land of Bob Marley. They were kind, sweet and so helpful. I loved their enthusiasm in life and how they talked. I tried to imitate them, walk like them, basically be cool like them! If you want to learn how to live your life – those are the people you should look up to.

Honest confession – I even had a tiny crush on a guide for like an hour! I was surprised at myself for feeling that way. I was even relieved that now I was where I wanted to be. I wish that girl on the train travelled the world so she could see the beauty in its people. I love the world for making me the person I have become. I owe it big time!

I also owe my confidence to this sweet world. One day I was Googl'ing my way into the world when I got a ping. It was from a person I barely spoke to but was connected on social media. To my surprise she asked me details about a destination I had been to a few months back.

I asked her about her preferences and helped her make a detailed itinerary for the same country. She was the first of many more who got in touch with me later...

You see, I am a housewife. People of the world look down upon the likes of me. Having no kids doesn't make the picture look any prettier. Travelling changed that for me. Since the husband's only contribution to our travels is his awesome wit and a half-loaded credit card, I know my places to the T. I choose our destinations, book our tickets, reserve hotels, make itineraries, pack our bags, be a pain in the back-side when we are on a vacation, etc.

That gives me an edge over other women who book through travel agents or leave everything to the man of the house. I don't know why I started it, but I post detailed albums on social networking sites. I do it as a hobby, but you won't believe the kind of confidence people around me have shown in my abilities as a pseudo travel agent.

A few chats with my free-loader clients a.k.a friends/cousins

After posting a few albums, I started getting messages from people I barely spoke to for help regarding their travel plans. I helped a cousin plan his entire Europe trip, I assisted a new mom in deciding a relaxed vacation with her three children, I managed to find a fun birthday celebrations venue for a group of friends... the list is endless. 

Imagine my happiness when someone told me that before planning a vacation they look at my albums for help. There are times when I have to turn down requests because I have not been to a particular location! I tell them I haven't been everywhere, but it is on my list!

Do I love the world now? YESSSSS!!! It has given me everything I never thought I wanted yet it was everything I ever needed. Life is all about happiness, oozing with confidence, being loving towards one another, staying healthy - travel has given me all that and so much more.

Travel has given me dreams. I stay healthy for those dreams. I save every penny I can to fulfill those dreams. I tell everyone around me - divide your earnings in three parts - one, for necessities; two, save as much as you can for old age; then use the rest to travel beyond your city. There is no better gift you can give yourself.

Needless to say, I can't believe I agree with my mom. He did give me the best gift. And the adventure continues..

Monday, April 2, 2018

Of Flying, Finding Beautiful people and Saying Yes to the World

Most people I know love to travel but hate long flights. Then there are those who refuse to travel just because the plane journey is tiring. It is arduous no doubt – sitting in one place for hours, waking up fellow passengers when you need to get past them to use the loo, difficulty in falling asleep, border controls, the works. I cribbed about all this too until one day when I realised that a difficult journey can turn into one of the most beautiful experiences of one’s life – let me tell you a little bit about it.

This is a story of one New Year’s Eve – a joyful gift from my travelling experiences.

I had travelled to Mumbai for my cousin’s wedding. Even though my schedule had been tight, I made sure I was there for her big day. I was selfish as well – I wanted to meet my entire family and also explore how the city had changed over the last few years since my last visit in 2009.

I had to go without the husband for this one because he had no leaves from his office. The wedding ceremony was to be held on 30th December leaving no choice but for me to come back to my guy on 31st to celebrate New Year’s eve. I had a gala time during the wedding festivities and all my cousins in Mumbai coaxed me to stay for the party on 31st, but I politely declined.

You see, kissing the husband at midnight is a tradition for us and I didn’t want to miss it for the world!

My flight was to leave at 18:30 hours; considering the time difference and short flight, I would have landed in Bahrain at 20:30, giving me enough time to get ready and hit a club. I had thought of the dress that I was going to wear, our friends were first going to come home so I had even discussed our food menu that we were going to order, we had tickets for the venue …the night was well-planned.

In Mumbai, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was a breeze. I bought a neck pillow to get some sleep because I hadn’t got any in the last few days. At the boarding gate I saw a family that I had earlier seen on my way to Mumbai as well – same dates, I thought to myself.

There was a talk going on between a group of friends that I overheard. They were planning their New Year’s eve in Dubai if the plane diverted. I laughed to myself - with Dubai traffic, there was no way they would be able to reach any party venue after landing even if the plane diverted. And WHY would it divert?

And then I understood why. There were a number of people at the gate who were in distress. The morning flight from Mumbai to Bahrain had been canceled due to unexpected fog and a lot of the stranded passengers were being accommodated in this much bigger plane. Some had missed connections, few had left home some 20 hours before for the morning flight but were stuck here, a couple were fighting to get each other a seat, kids were uncomfortable, the stories of miseries were endless.  

Looking at how chatty the whole area was, it seemed to me that there were no strangers around here – isn’t it is amazing how people come together in times like these?

We finally boarded thirty minutes later. I opened my phone and saw an episode of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. After my meal, I slept like a log.

When I woke up, we were only forty-five minutes away from Bahrain. I opened the sky map and smiled to myself. I love reuniting with the husband like this – feels like I am in a movie!

Suddenly I saw the plane take a U-turn. My worst fears had come true. We were being diverted to Abu Dhabi airport for the night since Bahrain airport had decided to shut down at 19.45 till further notice due to extreme fog and very poor visibility.

All the passengers were taken to the waiting lounge. The first thing I did was to call the husband and tell him that the New Year’s Eve was ruined. There was no way I could come. I borrowed a charger from someone and charged my phone for the rest of the ordeal. They gave us food coupons and advised us to rest.

I looked around – most people were with their spouses. There were a group of people sitting and chatting. I went up to them and discussed everything that was happening. In the end all I could say to them was that atleast they had each other to which one replied, ‘You also have us.’ That got me all teary eyed and I called the husband again to mourn!

There was a school teacher with her husband who wanted to send flight status to her children waiting for them in Bahrain. Their phone could not catch the free wi-fi. I noted the number of the children and messaged them from my phone on her behalf. She was so grateful and joyous that she repeatedly called me an angel. I felt like my mother was with me.

Amongst all these people there was one lady walking around frantically. Since she was also alone like me, I thought I’ll check with her if she wanted to take the airport hotel room and sleep in there. She readily agreed. On our way, we, along with five other people first checked into the airport lounge.
The television was on where they were showing New Year eve’s fireworks across the world. We were stuck in three time zones – India, U.A.E and Bahrain and had lost track of time. It was 12 a.m. and a fellow passenger got a message from her husband to atleast take a glass of wine and celebrate.

We all got a glass from the bar and became a close-knit family at that moment. We cheered to 2018 and thought of this unique experience as one that we would remember for life. None of us were finding faults with anyone or anything. This was nature’s doing and nothing could be done about it. At that moment we formed a Whatsapp group so that even if we lose each other at the airport, we can keep track of the latest information and tell each other about it.

There was no room available in the hotel and so we found a few sofas in the lounge. I usually travel with just my sling bag and so I had nothing to cover myself. My fellow single passenger who was always with me that night gave me her sweater from her trolley bag. After that, I slept comfortably for a few hours.

We woke up at 6 a.m. and chatted with so many in the lounge. There was not a soul who was fretting or finding faults. Everyone was very patient and was waiting for 8 a.m. to look for the announcements regarding the flight’s departure to Bahrain.

We took a nice shower, ate our breakfast and chatted some more. At 11 a.m. we boarded our plane. I was so tired from all this that I fell asleep. I woke up after one hour and the plane was still where it was when I had fallen asleep! I could now hear people losing their patience.

It was then I realised how hard it would have been for the airline staff. From answering our queries all night, to being extremely calm when people were losing their patience, they were the stars of the night. All of them had been away from their family as well on this occasion, and unlike the passengers, they were on duty. The air-hostess told me how she was surprised at the positive attitude of the travellers – she was prepared for some serious bashing! I felt proud of us.

We landed in Bahrain at 2 p.m. and said our goodbyes. A 4-hour journey took us 18 hours yet all of us were surprisingly calm. I was finally reunited with my husband for our new-year eve kiss!

Needless to say, I did not see a single picture from the bash he went to without me. And I believed every bit when he said he missed me! My concern was that I didn’t miss anything and relished each moment of this experience. 

I love the world for this. Exploration has made me see how beautiful people are – inside and out. The lady who called me an angel, the girl who told me I had their company for the new year’s eve celebration, the lady who gave me her expensive cashmere for the night, the three people who gave me their phone chargers, the woman who waited for me at the bottom of the plane’s stairs to help me climb because she knew I had a problem, the man who got us all chocolates in the morning, the air-hostess who handled it all with a smile… I will remember them all.

Like they say – journey is more important than the destination and the people you meet along the way make it all worthwhile. Small problems like lack of leg room for a few hours is nothing in front of the beautiful experience you can have in being a world traveller. Say yes to the world and you would also vouch for the same.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Caribbean Tales - 4 Days in St. Kitts & Nevis

Our introduction to the Caribbean Islands was through St. Kitts. While researching which islands to visit, St. Kitts was highly recommended by some bloggers. I am glad we went here first because it did not overwhelm us in any way. It was a decent place to chill and watch life go by at a slow pace; more than that, there was not much to explore. Having said that, we loved lazying around, taking in the vibe of our first Caribbean island and soaking in the culture.

Our hotel was on a lake with a view of the Golf Course, very serene.

We landed in Basseterre after a 25-hour journey from Bahrain. The airport was a breeze and we were just glad that our luggage managed to get through the two flight changes! We were greeted by several taxi drivers who operated huge 12-14 seater vans for cruise passengers who were the main source of tourism for this island. I was extremely distressed climbing into these vans due to my muscular weakness and so, the very next day, we hunted the rare sedans and saved the numbers of those taxi drivers. If you need special service like that, check with your hotel and they would definitely help.

We had chosen Frigate Bay for our 4 days in the island. This area had several restaurants for evening dinners, was close to the main beach that had many bars and looked like a nice place to stay. Our hotel Royal St. Kitts was amazing - it was newly furnished, had calm views of a lake, had a supermarket right outside and was always bustling with activity due to a student hostel in the premises. St. Kitts is fairly deserted, so a little activity in the surrounding was highly welcome!

Chai-biscuit mornings in a hotel apartment is always fun!

The super market came in handy on several occasions - exchanging money, buying water, buying nutty bars for an occasional hunger craving and discussing the island with the manager/owner. Interestingly, this man had followed his son from Hyderabad, India . The son was studying medicine here and he came here with his wife to look after him and probably enjoy the Caribbean life! Not a bad idea at all.

As expected we slept like a log on the first night. The next morning we went to a highly rated restaurant close to our hotel - Ritual Coffee House. We were surprised to find waiters who had flew from India to live and work here. It is always a pleasure to talk in your own language in a place so far away from your home - we instantly connected and these men became friends for those few hours. We waved to them whenever we passed the coffee house, which was atleast twice a day!

Ordering breakfast at Ritual Coffee shop was a ritual!

After a heavy brunch we slept again only to leave for the port area in the evening. We walked through Independence square and The Circus to Port Zante. This place had a lot of cruise passengers ready to leave the port for the day. Colourful buildings, cafes, souvenir shops, jewellery shops, entertainers - the port had it all. We met a number of Indians here as well who had come from Mumbai and settled here. A lot of them were from my Sindhi community - oh, I love that!

The best thing about St. Kitts was this volcano view (in the picture above). Eveywhere you went you could see this. After our brief introduction to the main city we went back to Frigate bay to have dinner at the most famous Shiggidy Shack. Maybe it was too early in the evening, or there were too many mosquitoes - we didn't find this place very exciting. After dinner we walked back to our hotel and called it a night.

For day 3 we booked a tour with a lady driver that we had met during one of our journeys to and fro from the hotel. She took us all around the island in one day so that we could see most of it. Roads in the Caribbean tend to be very narrow and navigating them wasn't our cup of tea - so this was the most appropriate way to see the country. The best place was probably the Brimstone Hill Fortress from where you could see great views of the city. Attractions like Romney Manor, Black Rocks, Timothy Hill were all ok.

Black Rocks

Breathtaking views of the Volcano

We came to the Fortress in the evening to avoid the cruise passengers - great decision! The road to this spot was extremely narrow and I don't know how new drivers in the country do it!

Love the greenery in Romney Manor

I tried to take nicer pictures from here - Timothy hill - but all my poses went awry!
View of Frigate Bay from Timothy Hill

After a long day through pretty roads, we ended up again in Frigate Bay for dinner. Chinchillas was a delight since there were lots of people, students mostly, chilling in the area. The food and music were great too. Apparently the lane was a party till 4 am which we missed - sleep in the Caribbean comes first!

On day 4, we went to the most famous beach in St. Kitts - Cockleshell beach. We did not like Frigate beach at all, so this was a little better. Being an island, we were not impressed by the beaches we saw here. Maybe tourists like Volcano hikes and Sugar plantation tours in this country - which we did not take!

Loved the overcast, beach weather!

In the evening we went to the port area to walk the by-lanes of Basseterre. This island has a population of about 50,000 - it seemed everyone was outside because every place was so full. There were no international brands (except Dominoes pizza). To us, it looked like a city from India of the 90's. Time had stood still - in a good way. There were tailoring shops, smaller restaurants, petite utility shops, hawkers, et al. It was a different experience.

We didn't walk into the tiny lanes because they say you need to be careful in these countries. I don't know how much of it is true because we met only beautiful souls - like the nurse turned van driver who kind of lifted me to help me inside her huge van, like the waiters from Punjab who had left their families and travelled across the continents to find their livelihood here, like our receptionists who seem to be working 24-hour shift everyday..

I absolutely loved Caribbean for their people. Antigua is where we were about to go next... stay tuned to inhale the beauty of that picturesque island!

Some handy tips for St. Kitts and Nevis:

- Although U.S dollars are widely accepted, try and get some EC dollars while in the island - things are cheaper that way.
- Ask for a sedan if you don't need a huge van for a taxi, they are extremely rare, but you could find one.
- No better place to stay than Frigate bay. Our hotel was the best!
- If you are looking for beaches, St. Kitts is not your destination.
- See if you can take a guided, walking tour of the main city. We missed that and could have learnt and seen more that way.
- We found St. Kitts to be a one-day cruise ship port. Hmm!
- While in the Caribbean, keep an eye on your airlines. They change schedules on a whim like they did for us but we were smart to check on them all the time!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Caribbean Tales: How to select islands for an Indian Passport holder

The cricket fanatic in my husband wanted to visit the West Indies. We didn't visit any stadiums though but that is for another post! Frankly, we had no clue since we didn't have any friends who have visited the islands. Living in the Middle East, we usually go to Europe or Asian countries owing to shorter flight duration. And so, Google was my only friend when searching for the islands to see.

This page stating Visa Requirements for Indian Passport Holders is highly accurate. To reconfirm you must go to the immigration site of various countries and check. You can also find their twitter handle and message them; chances are high of getting a reply. I even emailed a few embassies and got a response, although I found better info online!

If you are flying via USA, you will need an American tourist visa. We didn't check before going if U.S. needs transit visa; it does! Thankfully we had one, and it is probably because of this we didn't pay much heed to transit requirements.

From whatever I read online, we can safely conclude that you can visit most Caribbean nations while on a cruise without a visa. A clear exception to this is Cuba (the ONLY reason we couldn't visit this amazinggg island). You can take a 4-day, 7-day, 14-day, etc cruise leaving from Miami, Puerto Rico, Galveston, or any other port, visit these islands as a day tripper, and no one will ask you for a visa. It saves you a lot of hassle, plus you can see more in less time.

Frankly, a cruise works really well. Inter-Caribbean airlines are known for baggage loss, several delays and cancellations, and what not. I had read horrid tales and frankly I was super scared. Thankfully, nothing went wrong in our case and we were saved. But we did lose several hundred dollars due to cancellations for we didn't want to visit Hurricane (Maria and Irma) hit islands. The airlines give you vouchers for canceling and we have no plans of visiting the Caribbean in the next one year... so.

If you are like us who want to stay in an island for several days to soak in the culture, you could make an itinerary like ours. Since we were new to the region, I just researched for direct flights from one island to the other and made my itinerary. The following route is easily possible with direct flights and no visa hassle:

Miami --San Juan -- St. Kitts & Nevis -- Antigua & Barbuda -- Dominica -- St. Marteen -- Kingston -- Miami

(You get Visa on Arrival at Antigua if you have a US visa and you don't need a visa in St. Marteen if you have the same.)

However we had to change itinerary due to Hurricane Maria. It is sad what happened to St. Marteen and Dominica due to the disastrous winds and rainfall. We canceled and rescheduled our flights and lost a lot of money which is nothing compared to the life and infrastructure lost due to the same. My heart goes out to all their beautiful people...

Our revised itinerary looked like this:

Bahrain -- St. Kitts & Nevis -- Antigua & Barbuda -- Kingston & Ocho Rios -- Miami -- Bahrain

Now finding direct flights can be tricky. Don't be alarmed if you go to a travel site and see no flight on your day of departure. Just go to google and type, say, Antigua to Kingston flight and you will find the day of direct flight from your departing country.

I would strongly advice you not to take connecting flights in the Caribbean as the web states many horror stories! Check Liat and Seaborne reviews if you want.

Apart from Visa and direct flights, we went to Google Images for advice! It all looks so beautiful! Jamaica was on the top of our list. Cuba needed visa from India which was not possible for us. Antigua has 365 beaches. St. Kitts had easy access from Miami, and a high recommendation from bloggers around the world.

Our itinerary was sorted..

Coming up next - Exploring St. Kitts.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Laughing Stock

We all have that one friend who is the butt of all jokes. Whatever he/she says becomes fodder for the 'bully' and an amusing piece of comedy for the rest of the group members.

Unfortunately, in my circle of friends, that person is me! So much so, that the 'first among equals' is planning to publish a comic book in my name.

Do I care? Not so much. I love laughter even if it is at my cost. We are mature adults and we know our boundaries. I sometimes get really annoyed and give a piece of my mind to the Boy! Oh, I should mention that I am the least confrontational person you will ever meet, I can never say anything to those jokers! I speak my heart out to the Boy and he tells me it is harmless fun and then we just carry on with our banters.

When I was younger, my cousins use to pull my leg a lot. Sometimes I took things really personally, but I realised that they were just trying to find humour in a situation. I realised that I could take jokes from those I liked; random strangers/acquaintances? - not so much.

In school, this one guy was always after my life due to my 'Punjabi' surname. It was fun for a while, but then when I thought a line was being crossed, I stopped entertaining him. I didn't budge until he came and apologised... it was the most fun I have had in 10th grade!

You see, I have always understood one thing - they can make jokes on you till you want them to. The day you put your foot down, they stop. But laughter comes rarely in this stressful life of ours, and so I let them use my anecdotes and be merry. I am all for wit and humour done in good taste. Infact I make concious effort to add to their tales! I give them sufficient matter to pick on and elaborate in their own jester-like manner. And why not, I like a good chuckle as well.

Frankly, I feel the world has become too touchy. Whatever you say or do is interpreted in so many different ways. A good stand-up comedian cannot crack jokes without offending the feminists, a certain gender or race, an age-group, people with different life choices... you get the drift. We have stopped taking life with a pinch of salt. We need to understand that not all situations need our evaluation on whether it is principally correct. Some things are intrinsically funny, just let them be!

Coming back to being a laughing stock - what would you rather be? A sulk or a sport? An entertainer or a bore? Let me be straight with you - if you have an eccentric personality like mine, you really don't have a choice. And so, I would happily indulge in designing that comic book. Infact, I am planning to initiate the process! Wish me luck, and patience! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year!

Hello Dear Blog!

Long time no see! I have so much to tell you. One year has passed and I haven’t really spoken to you. But first things first, Happpyyyyy New Year!!

2017 was such a roller coaster. While the first half of the year was awfully unpleasant, the second half passed in like half a second. Needless to say, I liked second half more, and why not! I was on a vacation for most of it.

You know how I spent my new year’s eve? I was stranded at an airport without the Boy for over 17 hours! It became one of my funnest experiences ever. I had gone to my favourite sister’s wedding and was about to land just before the new year’s eve party. A one of its kind fog swayed over Bahrain and our airport closed down for more than 12 hours. The plane was diverted to Abu Dhabhi and we stayed the night. They say they haven’t seen anything like this in 30 years!

So, at first I was all teary eyed because I was alone on new year’s eve. After that we-should-have-fun-hour passed, I was all fine chatting with men, women and children around me. I made friends with soooo many people at the airport, slept on the sofa, ate way too many times in the lounge, took a nice hot shower, exchanged numbers, was called an angel... haha!

I landed in Bahrain after 24 hours for what was suppose to be just a 3.5 hour journey but I was absolutely fine. Guess I have excess patience and tolerance and excitement for new adventures!
I have to tell you all about my Caribbean trip as well. I need to sit for days and jot down every bit of that. I don’t want those memories to fade, oh how much I want to live those moments again.

I missed you dear blog. I wish to write and then write some more. I am in a very different zone right now. I feel I am in between holidays. I feel I am relaxed and stress free and just want to do what my heart desires. I don’t want to get into worldly affairs. I don’t want to start stressing over things that are not in my control. I want to live for a while..

The last few months have been so awesome. There have been moments of confusion and anxiety, but that is a part of this amazing adventure called life. Did I tell you about my 35th birthday? Ah, it was the most fun I have had in a very long time. So was the Boy’s 35th.And our 9th wedding anniversary? Yes, yes, yes, you need to be updated on my life.

This feels like a 16 year old girl’s blog, but didn’t it always sound like that. I am reading a book called ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck’ and that is what I will give.

I will be back with my Carib tales. You stay put my darling!

Your forever friend.