Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 - The Year That Was.

My life's dreamy. I don't do much, yet I do enough to be happy and content. From the outside it may look like a drag, but look into my heart, and you'd find contentment with just a dash of confusion, because, well, there is nothing worse than a sorted life.

2016 was the same - only a little better than the last year and a tad worse than the year to come. How can I be sure of the next year? - well, that's how cool God is to me!

I count happiness with all the new things I do. Routine fills the gaps between the new things and that's important to feel settled. But new, new gives me excitement, a feeling that I am alive, a hope that I am still young at heart and mind. 2016 was awesome because:

1. I learnt how to Mosaic. Tiles, clippers, grout - it made me tired yet fulfilled. I created a beautiful owl which hangs  on my wall now. Absolutely in love with my creation!!

2. I opened a new Instagram account - coupleintransit. The purpose of this account is to cover the new places we visit - in and outside Bahrain. But you know what, I forget to take pictures before eating, I forget to post pictures after visiting, I forget to like others for them to like me, and I never follow anyone till I really want to follow - all are the makings of a terrible Instagrammer! Lets just say coupleintransit would just remain an extention of this blog and nothing else. I was never into ass-licking and would never be.

3. I read more books in 2016 than I read in any previous years. I'm a lousy reader. If I lose interest early on in a book, I put it away and don't go back to reading anything for months. So this year was special - I might start reading more.

4. I wrote a letter to my 10-year old niece! In the age of technology we have forgotten the love for paper, pen and hand-written mail. I want her to know what it means to write letters, the fragrance that brings you close to the person who wrote it, and something that you can keep in a box and cherish forever, not just mail that goes on the cloud in form of bits and binary!

5. We stayed in luxury hotels for the first time this year. We spoilt ourselves and felt awesome. I hope we can still stay in 3-stars and feel great because, otherwise, with our limited budget, we won't be able to travel as much!

6. We took two spontaneous trips this year - Prague and Dubai. This was so unlikely us. The first was in lieu of the leftover leaves that needed to be used, plus, God bless Fly Dubai, a super-awesome deal on flights. The other was the Boy's conference that ended being my vacation with my favourite cousin in the land of Sheikhs. I loved both holidays a whole lot and they definitely deserve to go in my diary.

7. Planned a very romantic evening for the Boy on our anniversary. Period.

8. Started eating a lot of chicken and eggs - if that counts!

9. Oh, how can I forget, we were the leading pair of a promotional video by a topppp Bahrain Magazine. I don't want to get into details because I was immensely embarrassed!!! We were even featured in the magazine and the Boy was told by many people in his office and otherwise also that they saw us!! We also had a disagreement with the magazine staff and they had to compensate us. This experience would be hard to top for sure.

10. We saw an International artist Live for the first time. Avicii in Ibiza was an experience I would never, ever forget. My feet were aching like crazy after the show, but it was totally worth it.

11. Made a video for my bestie's daughter's first birthday which made a lot of people shed happy tears! I was also reminded that I've been awesome right from teenage - two of my friends still have gifts I gave them when I was 13 and one has passed it to the next generation. I don't know why we don't exchange gifts like these as we grow older. Hmm! Birthdays are special and need to be celebrated. I wish to hug and be hugged on birthdays, gift and be gifted... Oh, i digress!

This year I became a tad selfish because I want to have fun in life. There were times I wanted to do so much but just could not. I became stronger because I exercised a whole lot. I became braver because I traveled alone when I did not want to. I became smarter because I read so much. And, like every year, I became more grateful for all the goodies and for all the sense. Here's hoping to top all these experiences next year and adding more to my gratefulness account.

Much love.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

This is Us

I was watching this show called This is Us on television when Kate, the fat girl in the show, made a revelation that struck a chord. ‘It’s always going to be about the weight,’ she said, ‘it has been about the weight ever since I was a little girl. It is a part of who I am.’

Being extremely overweight is like a disease. And if, unfortunately, you’ve had a disease for too long, it is all you think about. ‘Will I fit in that chair? Will that dress fit me? How am I looking? That’s all I can think about,’ Kate said.

I know how she feels. Hell, I think exactly how she thinks. Not because I am in the same situation like her, but because I am in a similar situation like her. If not your own conscience, it is the world around you that keeps reminding you of the shortcomings you have. The situations you face are perceived differently by you because of the thing you have. Now I don’t know if ‘normal’ people have something bothering them persistently, but it does take a lot of space in my head.

The thing is, I don’t know how to get it out. You condition yourself into believing that it is alright to have a shortcoming. If you are a positive person, you are constantly telling yourself that it is all okay. Basically you lie to yourself because deep down you know it is not okay. This is when you let your shortcoming take over your whole mind, body and soul.

This thought is so disturbing yet true. You are living a great moment and bam! a thought troubles you and you let go of the fun because it so deeply a part of you. Live in the moment they said, but they knew all too well that it was just a cover up.

What else a person is to do? Sulk? Cry? Make all the moments about that one stupid thing that wasn’t chosen by him? To become that bubbly, chirpy person we lie to ourselves that we are bigger than our problems. We are what we think we are. We are not fat. We are not crippled. We are not suffering. We suppress the demons and go on living a life in which everything is okay.

Perhaps the sour lemons life gives us help us become the yum lemonade that we are. If it weren’t for those shortcomings, we won’t be the sensitive, more loving people that we are. We are crazy, I agree, but we are also sweet and caring and understanding. I speak for all fat people here. I speak for all those who have been battling a disease for years. Every second of your life is going to be about that, but it is also going to be about you, about us – the great thinkers and ‘feelers’ of all time! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Weight Rant. Again.

I just had some coffee and cheese on toast. Although my lunch was a yoghurt-apple-honey-walnut thing that I absolutely love, it did not satifsy my stomach, hence the toast. I did some exercise in the morning and I have to go to the gym in an hour. I've done this quite a few times this year, but that bitch of a weighing scale refuses to move!

When I stand on it in the morning after having my two big glasses of warm water (to dilute the fat you see!), it smirks at me. It reminds me of the fabulous trips I've had and the Kulchas and the Margaritas I have so happily devoured in the last few months. 'Yoghurt for lunch, really? Remember the night with three desserts?', the lazy, immovable, piece of fat stink tells me.

So I had 2016 goals which are slowly converting to 2017 goals. I have a diary, I have a calendar, I have an excel file, heck, I even have a piece of paper under a cake magnet on the fridge that tells me how my weight has moved in this year. That's 58.5 minus 57.5 kg. They just sit there and tell me that I have spent more time in creating a floral design on some device for each activity rather than moving my butt. I wanted to create a set of tapping feet for a home Zumba session with my two left hands, is that so hard to accept?

Now before you start telling me that I look fine and I don't need to cut down, let me tell you about a recent encounter I had with a few hot mommies in Dubai. Now Bahrain is like a village in front of the kingdom of Burj Khalifa. Here we have women happy in their space eating like there's no tomorrow. But Dubai's got super models with whom you have to compete on a daily basis.

So when I met these women, I thought I was the fattest one there. These were in their late 30's with atleast two kids and minimum three big solitaires. They ate one-fourth of the starters that I ate. They took dinner in small bowls. They took a fork to eat the yummy home-made cake (of which, mind you,  they asked the host for a recipe. I am guessing it was for 'fat' guests like!). And then, when I was happily devouring my favourite Cuba Libre, I saw a huge kettle of green tea which was served to them by the host. I wanted to die with shame. Here, in Bahrain, I am an epitome of diet and exercise. I have people having green tea just for my visits. My friends mock my salads and grilled lunch choices. There, they have trainers who come in every day and dietitians who send them food every 3 hours - I was schooled.

While I don't judge their choices because I also believe in a healthy lifestyle, I did learn a valuable lesson. There is a long way to go to size 4 and with my weekend pitchers of Margaritas and my monthly dose of Karhai Paneer, my future doesn't look so bright. I will not give in to the mocking. I will make exercise and diet my passion (I have started positive thinking, and I am not kidding!). And I will not spend time coloring the sides of a fancy diary or writing a blog post. I will work to achieve my goals! You don't believe me, see this snapshot. And dare you mock me. Remember, I have hot mommies of Dubai to compete with. And if you ask me, you should look up to them as well.

Just for the weight though. I would crush them in other areas *smug smile*.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Voices in my Head

They tell me it is ok
Then they tell me it is not
When I look out for explanations
They tell me they are a confused lot.

‘Oh how convenient,’
I tell them out loud
Then they laugh at my misery
Tearing me apart, Making me not so proud.

These voices in my head
I wonder if you can hear 
Only if you did
I wouldn’t be someone you could bear...

These voices in my head
Do you have them too?
How do you push them away
So that you can be you?

'I am better than these voices,'
I sometimes calm myself and say
This is, ofcourse, yet another voice from my head
Which tried to be kind to me today!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trip Report - 5 nights in Goa

Some destinations present themselves in a new way even when you visit them multiple times. Goa is one such place. This was our third visit; familiarity blended perfectly well with newness and made our trip wonderful. 

This time we decided to stay in the North for 3 nights and make our first trip to the South for 2. Being a little richer than last time helped 'cause hotels in the South are both tempting and expensive! Plus the taxi fares, oh the taxi fares... more on that later.

We landed here on 7th evening from Chandigarh and headed straight to Souzo Lobo in Calungute for dinner. After a disappointing meal, we had our favorite Naturals ice-cream and took a taxi to Club Cubana. It was a Monday night, yet the club had its amazing vibe that we absolutely love. After chilling out on the beds, dancing to funky beats in the club section and having a few drinks at the bar, we retired for the day. By the way, never ever go to Calungute beach. And always, always have Natural's ice cream and definitely go to Cubana!

Love the sound of waves at Souza Lobo, not the food and the strays though.

The bar at Club Cubana - always buzzing with good crowd and superb music.

If you can have only one ice-cream in your lifetime, this is the one!!!

We had been to Baga, Calungute and Morjim in the North but never seen Candolim beach. Much against the wishes of the taxi drivers outside our hotel, we thought of checking out the scene there. The shacks were still not open due to some stupid government approvals, but we could still get drinks and sunbeds on the beach. We stayed there for a while, but returned back disappointed. Again.

For the evening, we had a booking at Thalassa, the much celebrated Greek Taverna in Vagator. I had called a few days back and booked a table with a sea view at 5 p.m. Absolutely loved the beautiful sunset and the buzz in the restaurant. Built in Santorini/Mykonos style, the place was quite entertaining. I guess we missed out on the live shows because it was a Tuesday, next time, maybe!

The view from our table

The creme de la creme of Goa tourists!!!

At night, we went to the casino. The atmosphere was becoming grim.. Modi had just given the news of banning Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. Frankly, I thought it was a joke when I read it on whatsapp! The Boy confirmed it soon and we were worried for a lot of people we know! We had a lot of cash with us as well and we were heading straight to Bahrain in 3 days. We didn't have any intention of waiting in the queues when the banks opened. It didn't matter if we lost in the casino; they were going to give us our money in denominations of 500 and 1000 only!!

Well, I am seasoned player. We played for a couple of hours and didn't lose a single penny. That's how I like it - entertainment for free. Without being greedy, we left early. 

The taxi wallahs were accepting the cash. Some restaurants followed suit. Most were confused and held on to their 10's,20's, 50's and 100's dearly. ATMs were all filled with people at night and there was panic all around. Thankfully, we had a trustworthy friend in Goa who took our cash from us the next day and deposited the same a couple of days later. What a relief! 

On Day 3, we went to the Portuguese Quarter in Panaji. Goa is much more than its beaches, and I really wanted to see that. It was a quiet neighbourhood with a clear influence from its Portuguese rulers. We walked around and had lunch at the most famous restaurant there - Viva Panjim. The food was ok, the owner was very sweet and friendly, the decor was rustic.. only cards accepted during this particular panic situation!

The houses in Fountainhas - the Portuguese Quarter in Panaji. Google did this editing for me!

The Restaurant - Viva Panjim 

We headed to our favorite Morjim beach after this. Finally we were happy to be where we were comfortable. New things are fun, but old and pre-loved are better. Our dinner at Britto's was the same - delicious even on our third visit. Do try Prawns Balchao (dry as starter not the gravy ones because then it has a very weird smell) to love more of the Goan cuisine.

The night at LPK - Love, Passion, Karma - was disappointing again. Lousy crowd, Pathetic music and no ambience whatsoever. I don't know if it was Wednesday night lull or what - we left in 30 minutes flat!

Me - the poser - at Morjim!

LPK - the 'artwork' impressed us. Nothing else.

Now came the day we were most excited about - our trip to South Goa. We took a big step and booked ourselves into The Leela Hotel in Cavelossim. Aah, what can I say about this magical property. Frankly, I wanted to be up and about all the time so that I don't waste a single moment from our precious time here! 

The room had lagoon views, the Golf course was perfectly trimmed, the nursery was beautiful, the walk into the beach was perfect, the food was delicious... we even spotted Sonia Gandhi on our walk around the hotel!! 

The sunsets at Mobor beach - always wonderful!

Hammock on a clean beach - God has been kind!!!

I love those trees and I love those shoes even though they make me look like a school girl!!
This was all inside the hotel, btw!

One of the many Lagoon views at The Leela

Our balcony - can someone make a neighbourhood like this and buy me a villa in it?

Early morning walk around the Golf course on the way to the beach

My favorite drink in the whole wide world!!
And if someone can bring it to your beach bed - ah, pure bliss!

8 a.m. at Leela, Mobor beach
The two days were about early morning walks around the hotel, listening to the waves, getting lost in wilderness, sleeping on the beach beds, drinking Margharitas and eating Prawns masala and Chicken Xacuti at a nearby restaurant - The Fisherman's Wharf. I can't fault anything in those two days - this part of South Goa wowed us. 

Will we return? - definitely! Will we just go to the South? - no way! The real Goa is in the North. We will visit both. Maybe I can call Goa our Leap Year tradition (2008, 2012 and 2016 so far!). Until next time, keep being yourself Goa. And don't let nasty Taxi drivers, who quote exorbitant prices in the beginning and then come down to above normal prices, stop you from visiting this gorgeous place on earth. Goa can be a cheap holiday or a very luxurious one, it all depends on you. Ours was somewhere in between. Whatever you decide to do, you will always yearn to return. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trip Report - 5 days in Magical, Magical Prague

Prague is not a city; it is a chapter from a fairytale which everyone should read, re-read, memorize and learn by heart. It is also not a place that you can visit in 3 days and be done. Believe me, we stayed there for 5 nights and wished for more. No other city that we have visited in the past has had that impact.

My most favorite picture from the trip - taken from Letna Beer garden. I will never get over this one!

Our October visit had many firsts. We booked our flights two weeks in advance without any plans to do so. We were going at a time when the weather wasn't our favorite (7 to 10 degrees). We had planned to stay there for 5 nights and just be in the city without any excursions (except Bratislava for sixth night). We were obviously skeptical, but we went ahead anyway.

There were a few areas which were ideal for our stay - Old Town, Mala Strana (Lessor Town), Wenceslas Square and New Town. Both Old Town and Wenceslas Square had an upbeat vibe which we prefer. Staying at Wenceslas was obviously cheaper and so we stayed at EA Rokoko. The hotel was a few metres away from tram and metro (which had the steepest elevator and so we didn't use it more than once!! Yes, chickens!). From pictures it looked like an old hotel, but it exceeded our expectations. It was clean, had amazing staff, good breakfast, a 5/5 really. We also got a good deal from Dnata.

View from our upgraded, top-floor room at EA Rokoko

I wasn't feeling too well on the first night and so, after our dinner, I slept in at 8 p.m. itself. The next morning, after a 12-hour deep sleep, I woke up so fresh that I walked the walk of my life!

We walked from our hotel in the direction of Old Town to start our day from the Astronomical Clock. It was drizzling a bit and so, after strolling around the area, we took a tour in the Eco Express. Worst tour ever, really! The only thing that came out of it was the Absinth Ice-Cram shop that we saw on our way and planned to come later.

After a long journey we took a coffee break at one of the cafes facing the Old Town square. Even though it wasn't that cold, we loved the warmth from the blankets and heaters. Some coffee and conversation later, we started walking towards the iconic Charles Bridge.

There is something spectacular about this bridge. There are hundreds of people walking over it during the day, still it continues to magically awe you. No matter where you stand, the views are brilliant. I think it is the colours, the dark shades with flickering greens in the background that make it special. Or maybe it is the statues, or the river, or the church beyond. I really can't say.

Ah, coming back... we crossed the bridge and entered Mala Strana to see these pretty buildings. I loved the colors in each neighbourhood I visited in Prague - like every structure was planned. So, so beautiful.

John Lenon wall in Lesser Town. Someone had mentioned - May the best of your past be worst of your future - Amen to that.

We (I) was super excited on this particular day and so we continued our walk towards Petrin Hill. A short Funicular ride later we were in the midst of beautiful gardens and some picturesque views. The trek on this hill reminded me of Black Forest. The trees stood tall covering every inch of land. Why, oh why, I didn't come here before!

So after a lottttt of walking, we decided to take a break. We went back to the hotel by tram and took a short nap. I had read about a lot of bars in Prague that serve great beer. On this particular night, we decided to go to the most iconic of it all - The Golden Tiger or U Zlateho Tygra.

It was a no nonsense bar. You go, you sit, and they serve you the one thing they serve - Pilsner beer! We had actually checked it in the afternoon as well, but it was closed. It seems it opens only at 3 or 4 p.m. We were lucky to find a seat at 10 in the night on a weekend. The buzz was quite unique and we had fun sharing stories with a local who came with his daughter and had been coming here for the last fifty years. Now I don't have a better picture of this place but I would still want to share it. We again went to the Old Town square and the bridge before heading back to the hotel. What a day!

As one can expect, our legs were aching the next day. The excitement had been just a tad too much it seemed. We decided to take it easy on Day 3 by just visiting a microbrewery, a beer garden and a bar!!!

However, the thing in Prague is that even if you do pub hopping, you would be passing through such beautiful places that it will take your breath away. No, seriously.

So after an hour at the Museum of Communism, we took a tram to Strahov Monastic Brewery. It is here that I had a beer with a hint of chocolate in it. We ate some nice chicken, took pictures and then headed over to take in some amazing views. The monastery library is suppose to be very beautiful, but since it involved steps, I thought of avoiding it.

Choco Beer at the Strahov Pivovar

We again took a tram and headed over to Letna Park via Letenske Namesti stop since it did not involve steep climbing towards the beer garden. Since we didn't want to walk, I could not go to the spot where we could take THE views I wished I could. Nevertheless, it was an amazing sunny day, the park was bright and beautiful, there was beer and coffee, there were locals and tourists, the river and the bridges looked gorgeous. We just lazed around and time just flew.

In the evening, we had a delicious and light Indian meal at the Golden Tikka. It was so flavourful and homely - I just loved it. And then we opened our GPS to take us to Anonymous Bar where we had fun drinks and a lovely time. It's a touristy place and definitely good for one drink.

Funfare  came with a game, Scrap came in a trash can. Menu came in a camera. Interesting place!
After a relaxing Day 3, Day 4 needed to cover a lot of ground! We took a tram to Pražský hrad for easiest access to the Castle area. Our first stop was St. Vitus Cathedral. Now having seen my fair share of Cathedrals accross Europe, I thought this had by far the best interiors. Also the setting was such that it seemed like we were in some other century. The Golden Lane was okay. Again, the views from here were amazing.

We walked down to Mala Strana in search of the Absinth Shop (in the above picture) that we had seen from the train on day 2. It involved a steep climb, but I wanted the Boy to taste the ice-cream! Well, even though the shop was funky, it didn't serve anything that could make you high! The ice-cream tasted fine though.

As my friend mentioned, most of our discoveries were while finding alcohol! From next time, I would again try to have an agenda, it makes wandering around streets so much fun!

Our next stop was the Charles bridge again from where we went to the hotel to take rest. For dinner we tried another famous restaurant with its own brewery - U Medvidku. Again, the food here was fine - nothing extraordinary, nothing bad.

Day 5 was for Bratislava which didn't have anything noteworthy except the SkyBar. A must-must do if you unfortunately plan to go there!

Sunset views over Danube

The Old Town of Bratislava

Lovely views from SkyBar

We had so much to do on Day 6. Time was running out and I wanted to roam around so badly. I wanted to go to Vysehrad, see more districts, walk along the river, see the Jewish quarter, go to ...ah, maybe next time.

On this day we took a Beer Spa which we had booked two days in advance. I was again impressed by the neighbourhoods on our way from Wenceslas to Prague 2. I was falling deeper and deeper in love!

The spa was quite a fun experience. They run hot water in a tub, pour some yeast-hops mix and let you take a bath for 30 minutes with unlimited fresh beer that you can pour yourself from the tap. The heated bed later seemed like a waste of time, but interesting nevertheless.

Hard to show you more!! :p
We walked towards Naplavka after this. I had read a lot about Prague on this blog and took a lot of tips. A walk along the river was on top of my list. We went to Restaurance Vlatava for a quick drink and some appetizers. after a short stroll, we went in to another restaurant and had the best tiramisu. Then we walked some more, took the views of Charles bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral and had the sweetest Corn on the Cob. My moment of ultimate bliss was this. It was evening and it was drizzling a bit, yet it felt so beautiful...

I wish we had come here on a sunny day, but well, some things are for our next trip. And well, Prague is as beautiful in the night as it is in the day. Aaahh, Prague, you bowled me over.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Three Quarters

This year has been great, just not so much blogging wise. Actually it makes sense - I take to writing when I am feeling depressed and lonely, and this year, I haven’t had the time to feel that!

I started making some serious lifestyle changes since December 2015 for my health. Although every year I try something new to make myself stronger, things usually don’t work. This year, however, things have worked in my favour and I cannot be more grateful.

Now I am not hoping for too much, just a little bit of confidence and good results to keep me going is enough. I’ve got that with some consistent hard work, discipline, and learnings from my past experiences. I’ve never ever given up, and that is probably what has helped me this time around.

I started posting food and travel pictures on Instagram recently. We go out a lot and so I thought it would make sense to make use of that. It takes a lot to build a social network on these channels. Although I am not sure if I am up for that kind of dedication, I am glad I started it.

Me and the Boy have also been careful with our expenses this year. We are now going to reward ourselves with an impromptu trip with all the extra savings! After all, there is only so much we need for old age, right?

I’m done with three girlish TV series already this year – Gilmore Girls, Parenthood and Devious Maids. I’ve read nice books but I am still behind my goals. I've made new friends. I’ve been playing a lot of scrabble with a bestie. I’m helping people on Tripadvisor. I read Quora a lot more than I ever did. I tweet more. I’m watching Homeland with the Boy these days – yeah, we’re late with the last season, but it just started looking better. Oh we’re watching Weeds and Narcos as well. Nancy, from Weeds, is so hot!

The last quarter is almost here and we have two trips lined up. Every morning I feel so thankful to God for this wonderful life he has given us. Sometimes it scares me to think if it was just for a short while. And then I realise – we need to relish these moments. Every single one of them. No matter how good or scared I feel, this is for real and God has been very kind.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Movie Review - Pink

5/5 stars.

Pink - the film - is a movie that stays with you even after you leave the theatre. It is a work of art which carries a very important message. It does not preach, it questions your conscience.

Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, written by Ritesh Shah, and produced by Rashmi Sharma and Shoojit Sircar starring Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Piyush Mishra, and Dhritiman Chatterjee, Pink is movie that should be made compulsory in schools, televised often on the small screen and made mandatory for families.

Yes, it is that film.

Pink starts with a party of three men and three women talking in the background. A politically well-connected man gets thrashed by a woman whom he seduces forcibly. What follows are threats, molestation, allegations. The twist here is that the women don't give up and stand on their two strong feet refusing to bow down before the corrupt system and undignified men. 

Amitabh Bachchan, their neighbour and a retired lawyer, stands by these women. The court room drama that follows is what makes this movie a masterpiece. 

Pink talks about the stereotypes we attach with Indian women that make them 'characterless' - short dresses, late night parties, drinking, hanging out with men, losing their virginity early on. Pink talks about how women 'provoke' innocent men. Pink talks about how the modern Indian woman is a stain to the society and what she should and should not do. And then, Pink talks about consent.

It all boils down to consent. The movie doesn't preach how we should judge this independent woman but how her choices must be respected. Every woman can relate to the second half of the movie, and every man can take away so much from it. 

The screenplay keeps you glued to your seats, the performances spellbind you and make you teary eyed, the story is crisp and to the point. I didn't know many actors from before, but each left a mark. Amitabh Bachchan is the greatest actor ever lived - I don't even have words for his contribution to this film and the message he is trying to convey in the way only he could.

I wish every Indian citizen could watch this. We live in times of a new era which is difficult for some to accept. A film like this could help people realise and understand so much. I seriously salute every individual associated with this movie. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Trip Report - 4 Days in Munich for Oktoberfest

As they say, better late than never, and so, I recount our experience from the biggest party on the planet - Oktoberfest 2015.

We booked our hotel as early as December 2014. Even then, we got it in 160 Euros a night and that too outside the city. LetoMotel was a very clean and convenient hotel. It was right above the train and tram station. There was a mall next to it with supermarkets. There were plenty of cafes around. I wish there were a few restaurants as well, but you can't have everything.

We arrived at Munich central bus station from Wuzberg (our previous stop in Europe) and got our 4-day unlimited transport pass straightaway. It was so cheap and useful. We took a subway directly to the hotel and settled our stuff. A tram was right in front of us and we went to the city centre without losing any precious time.

Every woman we saw on the streets was wearing a drindl. There is no way you wouldn't be tempted to buy one. I bought one too from C & A at Kaufingerstrasse where they were available in plenty. I came back to Bahrain and sold it at the same rate (smug smile!).

Our first stop was Marienplatz where we sat to warm up with our first beer. It was a bustling square and a nice introduction to Munich as a city. We just wandered around later and called it a night.

The next morning we were extremely excited to visit the fest. Our lack of attention to our breakfast needs was going to cause us a lot of trouble, but we did not pay any heed to that. We took the train at 12 noon to Goetheplatz which is very close to Theresienwiese festival grounds. After a comfortable ride, we walked to our destination.

It was a disneyworld for adults. Plenty of rides, colourful attires, happy people, multiple food stalls, tents, the works. We wandered around a bit and decided to enter Augustiner tent for our first beer.

It was just two of us, we were here on a weekday, and we entered before lunch. We comfortably found a seat when escorted by a bier frau to an empty table.  We ordered our beer and a chicken and enjoyed the lively music.

The tent had a relaxed atmosphere. We were joined by Taiwanese girls and a couple from Italy. We had fun conversations and had a real good time. After one yum beer we thought this tent was a little too decent for us and so we headed to Hofbrau Festzilt.

Now this tent was something else. It seemed full of energy and a had younger, more fun-loving crowd. People all around were chugging beer and just enjoying a very entertaining band. There was a place in the centre near the band where you could even stand and drink. We looked for a place to sit and joined a few people from America.


It is here where the Boy had a little too much to drink. After having 3 mugs of beer between the two of us (I kept pouring mine into his mug!), we left the tent. He was swinging in all directions and so we thought it was best for us to go back to the hotel.

Ah, I hated the journey back. I had to hold it together till we reached our hotel where he passed out. I was so annoyed that I left him and went to a cafe downstairs! I stayed there for more than an hour and then bought some dinner from a supermarket nearby. When I went back, the Boy was still asleep. When he woke up he had massive nausea and felt extremely guilty.

Obviously our next day was spent touring around Munich!! We went to see the BMW welt, the Englishcher garten and some other places which I can't remember now. Frankly, I loved our Oktoberfest experience (nevermind the hangover!), but other than that there wasn't much to see in Munich. And yes, I bought my drindl this evening just for one visit.

Our Day 4 was a Friday. We had to go to Oktoberfest ground again to see the weekend madness and for people watching. This time we took the train to Theresienwiese itself at around 4 p.m. which was our worst decision. I am scared of very crowded places and this station was a nightmare. It was so full of people, you can't even imagine. When we got out, I just sat on a bench so that I get out once the crowd leaves! On people watching, we noticed a girl was lost and her boyfriend was all over the place hunting for her. It was scary and amusing at the same time.

We thought we will enter some tents and try our luck. Man, were they crowded or what!! Everyone was on the benches dancing. There was no place to stand, leave alone sit! We were here only to have radler though (even after 36 hours, the Boy had hangover from the hangover!), yet a seat wasn't in sight.

Nevertheless, we strolled around and had a great time. There were people sitting on floors. Some were happy, some were crying. Some were being escorted by the police for first aid. Groups around were laughing. People were high, dancing on the grounds. The devil's wheel ride was so fun to watch. The atmosphere was fantastic and we vowed to come back again with more preparation and a few friends.

We went to Marienplatz again in the evening to have dinner with a friend who lived in Munich. After eating, we wandered in the streets and enjoyed the weather. The vibe on a weekend was totally different. There were several street musicians in the city centre and it was so romantic. On our way back, we had a drunk crowd on our tram. One of the girls was singing loudly throughout the journey and entertained everyone!

I will never forget her. And I will never forget this experience as well. I think even non-beer drinkers should go to the fest because ultimately the goal is to have fun which you will have in plenty at this amazing place. Beer drinkers, however, please eat well before going to the fest!

Until next time, Prost!

I chanced upon this blog which has quite a detailed trip report and nicer pictures. Hop over and enjoy!