Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Baby Shower for the Sweetest one!

I had heard that you can make best friends only in school/college. However, I would like to tell the world that if you have your heart in the right place, you can and you will find them at every stage of your life.

And so I met A when I got married and moved to Bahrain. Although our personalities are poles apart, we connect at so many other levels and love each other to the core. She understands me extremely well and I try my best to do the same. She's loving, caring and certainly the sweetest person you will ever meet. Special people like her need to be treated in an equally special way and so, we planned a baby shower at my place for her this weekend. Here is a poem from that (Oh, I tend to write poems for my close friends on their special occasions!) and a few pictures:

The bestest girl in the whole world is going to have twins,
Double the love, double the joy and multiply by two grins!

She met the daddy at a wedding some 12 years ago,
Love blossomed, rings were exchanged and now they are the sweetest couple we know.

The excess of 'Luv' in their home needed another angel,
God blessed, sent His favorite two, and added to their stable!

We think these babies will inherit the good looks and definitely be hard workers,
Very lovable, absolutely charming and definitely be high 'performers'!

Lots of love to the mommy and daddy to be - they deserve the very best
And thank them for the babies too, like them we also feel blessed!

Photo Booth!

Wishes in Poetry

Our favourite part of the decoration

It's a Baby Shower!

Wish her and her babies lots of love and good health!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Trip Report - Aiya Napa, Cyprus

There are a lot of people out there who have not heard of Cyprus. I don’t blame them – it is a tiny island, not marketed like Seychelles and comes lower in the ranking from its neighbours - Greece and Turkey. Since I have been to both (Greece and Turkey), I can safely tell you that the beaches in Cyprus are way better.

Obviously a few people will disagree with me since I have not seen ALL beaches in those two countries. But what I can tell you from what I have seen – you will get more value from what you see in Cyprus than what you will see elsewhere.

Crystal, CRYSTAL clear water

We decided to take a short trip to this island this Eid. I had read that July and August are the busiest months in the country and also the best time to visit the beaches. Since our visit to Greece, particularly Mykonos, was in the off-season and hence a total let-down, we thought it was better to go when there are crowds.

Frankly, I had no expectations. We have a couple of friends who have been there and told us it was ‘nice’. No pictures, no details, just nice! This was an indication that they did not really enjoy their holiday but did not want to discourage us either since everyone perceives a place in his or her own way. Anyway, we still went because we wanted to and took a direct flight which was just 3.5 hours and it was the fastest since I was lost in a book (To Kill a Mockingbird – awesome it is.).

Wine, poetry and a book on a plane to a new destination -
Life can be absolutely perfect sometimes!

Before I tell you about our visit, let me tell you a little about the country. Cyprus is around 9000 kilometre square in area. The west is known for Greek Mythology. The east is known for its lovely, sandy beaches. The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia which is located in the centre of the country and is also the last divided capital in the world.
By divided I mean that Northern Cyprus was occupied by Turkey in the 1970’s and still is out of bounds for Greek Cypriots. They need a passport to enter the region, just like any other person. It is sort of another country within the same country. While you drive around Cyprus, you can see the divisions. There are a lot of checkpoints throughout the region where there are proper immigration counters. Oh yes, it is complicated and I feel very bad for them. It is hard to take sides without knowing the entire history, but whatever it is,  it is horrible to be divided like this.

Anyway, the main area for tourists are Paphos in the west, Limassol and Troodos mountains in the centre, Larnaca, Aiya Napa and Protaras in the east. We chose Aiya Napa and Protaras for our 7-day trip since I read that these two towns had the best beaches. The weather was in 30’s during the day -  we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

On day one we just hung around the harbour and the restaurant street in Aiya Napa. It was long and full of people. I was amazed to see how girls and boys just wore beachwear even on the roads! Yes, girls in bikinis and boys in just their swimming shorts. Although it is not rare, but I have not seen any beach destination where clothes were scarce even far away from the beach! It was a treat for the Boy nevertheless and I sulked on having a bigger body than most of the girls!

A walk near the harbour
Day two was a Sunday. I had read that the most famous beach in Aiya Napa was Nissi beach and they have foam parties on that day. So we had breakfast, took another nap, caught a bus and went to Nissi at around 2. Yes, we were lazy. But Cyprus is a lazy destination where you can start late and end late - just ideal for a holiday!

We went to the far west corner of Nissi because I had seen pictures from the party (yes, planning helps! Otherwise we would have been in a dead corner!). The bar was buzzing and there was not a single sun lounger. The Boy wanted to quit and just take a chair. But I was patient and pleaded him to wait. We found our beds in ten minutes.

Now Nissi beach is by far the best beach I have ever been to in my life. I have seen beaches in Goa (India), San Diego (U.S.A), Oludeniz (Turkey), Nice (France) and Mykonos (Greece). All these places had great beaches but always lacked something or the other. Nissi beach had everything – Clean water, shallow sea (you could walk over a 100 meter without having to swim), had the softest sand, an entertaining bar and very friendly but decent crowd. The sea had little or no waves which is exactly how I like it.

From a sun lounger at Nissi Beach

After swimming/walking(!) in the water for 2 hours, we went to the foam party. They had this huge shower from which they were pouring foam. Fifteen minutes of foam was followed by fifteen minutes of water. Everyone was decent enough to let others have a chance under the water. The foam wasn’t even slippery and it was great fun to be in it and watch others when you weren’t directly under it. Oh boy, it was one interesting party! So much so that we went there on Day 6 as well since there was another foam party then!

Foam Party at Nissi Beach Bar
When I say July and August are the busiest in Cyprus I mean it is the peak party season. Since schools and colleges are closed in Europe and U.S.A, a lot of people throng the area to enjoy the summer. Aiya Napa is clearly the capital for late teens and people in their early 20’s. Apart from a gorgeous beach, they have a street dedicated to club goers and bar hoppers. At first that street was intimidating – there was blaring music from each venue trying to out-do the sound from the other. There were hundreds of people on the street and then there were marketers trying to lure you into their establishment. Since we thought this street was clearly not for people like us (30’s is OLD for Aiya Napa!), we just wandered around and did some people watching.
Touristy picture!

The start of a very long stretch of bars, clubs and pubs.
It was another world. I don’t know if I am over-reacting, but I haven’t seen mad clubbing like I saw in Aiya Napa. Friends tell me Ibiza is similar, only for all ages. But if you happen to go to Aiya Napa in July/August, you would see a unique place in this universe. And I wouldn’t go if I had teenage kids – it’s a little scary out there to watch young men and women trying to be grown-ups…

On Day three we went to Makronissos beach - or atleast we thought we did. The thing about doing a trip on your own on public transport is that you can easily get lost. We got off at a bus stop and followed signs to this beach which was stated to be the best in Cyprus. The marketing guys got us and we headed to an isolated beach where they had a bar and a huge party area. Since we had walked over a kilometer in scorching summer heat, we thought of staying there and not finding the real thing. I wish we could because this area was nothing like what I had read online. It was not bad, but it wasn't the best in Cyprus!Well, adventures make us smarter, don't they?

Beautiful Water

When you don't know what else to do - click pictures!

After two days of sun, sand and beer, we thought it was a good idea to step outside of Aiya Napa and see other areas of Cyprus...

Coming up next - Our trip to Larnaca, Troodos, Nicosia and 3-days in Protaras!