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!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Career Homemaker

Listed below are the kind of households we have in this world:

  • Single income with kids
  • Double income with kids
  • Double income no kids
  • Single income no kids

The fourth, apparently called SINK, is the least common because being a housewife or a house-husband is looked down upon. Also, if you don’t rear kids, you need to do something ‘meaningful’ in life which literally translates to being a part of the rat race.

I understand that some people are very competitive and absolutely love their work. But what about almost 90% of those who live weekend to weekend hating their jobs all their lives?

We are a SINK couple and what I can say with guarantee is that we ain’t sinking! Infact, I think, we are sailing far better than all the other three categories.

I do all the menial chores at home, which, by the way, I don’t think are lowly at all. I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I declutter. Apart from this, I plan our travels and take care of our finances. I have an active social life which I maintain with utmost love and respect which means I have real friends and not I-need-someone-to-gossip with person. I read. I write. I exercise. I take up useful classes.

There is a better I don’t do list as well. I don’t drink wine all day. I don’t go on shopping sprees or coffee dates all the time. I don't never cook a meal. I do my own nails(!). Basically, I don’t unnecessarily spend the money I did not earn. Oh, I do have a debit and credit card at my disposal which I choose to use sparingly. 

The banker husband, he wakes up at 6 a.m. and I wake up with him. He goes to work which, if given a choice, he wouldn’t go to as well (Yes, we are both in the non-ambitious category which works well for us). He comes back after 10-11 hours and then goes for a workout. I don’t crib or wait for him to come back home sooner and entertain me. I believe that I have made a choice, and it is upto me to find my happiness. If I depend on him for every single thing then he will begin to resent our lifestyle and I most certainly can't give my princess status up!!

Anyway, we spend a lot of quality time together during and after dinner and follow the same pattern five days a week. We discuss our day and share every small detail. The other two days we live outside the house and go for meals, meet friends, watch movies, go for long drives, the works. We take a vacation every three months and that has really defined our life for the past 8 years.

It is an unusual set-up, but it is what makes us happy. We are able to spend a lot of time with each other without the stress of the corporate world. I am cheerful and happy when he comes home and according to him, that takes his stress away. We can plan our trips anytime since we don’t need two bosses to coordinate our leaves. We get fresh, home-cooked meals because one of us is home to make them.

I am sure there are many couples out there who can both earn and lead a lifestyle like this. I say kudos to them. What I can’t understand is the judgmental society which wouldn’t understand the joy of one partner being at home. What do you do all day? How do you pass your time? Don't you get bored at home? -  these are the type of questions that I find hardest to answer.  I am contributing to the society in my own sweet way, what goes?

The other argument they present is what if something were to happen to the bread-winner, how will the dependent cope with that? Well, human beings are designed to adjust. I am educated, strong and smart, I will find a way out.

Even though my husband brings home the proverbial bacon, we have a relationship of equals. He goes grocery shopping with me and wouldn’t mind doing it alone. He enters the kitchen on a regular basis although I’d rather he did not! If need arises, or I ask him to do a household chore, he has no qualms about it. He completely agrees with whatever decision I have to make regarding my career and supports my career as a homemaker.

As for earning his respect for a woman who just 'sits at home' - there are many times I outsmart him or give him advice on various things. I am well-read and almost never have a dumb moment in discussions about the world, politics, economics, entertainment or even sports. The stereotype we attach with housewives is regressive and it is time people met women like me to know the real deal.

I have my bad days as well when I feel what am I doing with my life. But I believe one gets the same feeling several times a year even at a desk in a swanky multinational office. In the end we have to be at peace with ourselves. If being single income without kids gives me and my partner happiness, I don’t think traditional, modern or feminist values should come in between.

Phew! The childfree banner was hard enough to uphold, and now I need to deal with SINK as well. To put it in your words - Yes, I am my husband's princess, and we wouldn't change the rules of our castle for the world! 

P.S. This post was the result of a word I read online (reddit) that was used to describe a housewife without kids. The comment mentioned that the world does so much for you and you don't do anything for the world. Much to my agony the word was - parasite. I have only one advice for such people - look into your hearts and delve into your homes before name calling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bits on Air Travel

Over the years I have had the privilege of travelling by multiple airlines through a multitude of countries and cities. I’ve travelled via code share flight, tights connections, international to a domestic airline and what not. Even then my heart skips a beat if my first flight is late or the baggage doesn’t come till the end. We check and re-check flight schedules all the time. We reach the airport 2-3 hours early. We do everything to make our air travel as comfortable as possible. Here are a few things we have learnt through our journey which could hopefully come in use for some:

Booking tickets

The first thing you do before booking your ticket is go to or These sites tell you the cheapest and most convenient flights. There are times these sites don’t show you budget airlines. You need to know these for your sector to find out the prices.

After you’ve narrowed down to 2-3 options, go to the official site and book. Even though we have changed our booking just a couple of times, I feel it is best to buy from the official site than a third party portal. You would get faster changes and refunds.

As for the timing the price right, earlier is not always better, but if you're travelling during high tourist season, it will definitely work.

Codeshare flights

A lot of airlines sell their ticket together under an umbrella name (like Star Alliance). Sometimes a flight like Sri Lankan Airlines would be operated by Mihin Lanka, or an Iberia airline would be operated by Air Nostrum. 

First, if you have preference for one airline over another, this could be a cause of concern. Second, the operating airline site might give you a cheaper rate. And third, if you are flying with one airline, say Etihad, and it is connecting you with Turkish Airline, it is possible you need a new boarding pass at Abu Dhabi airport. In such a scenario you need to make sure you have more connecting time than usual because you have an additional work to do.


As a rule, keep at least 2.5 to 3 hours of layover time. Before booking, google how busy the airport is. There are some airports like London Heathrow and Dubai which have multiple terminals. Getting from one terminal to another and undergoing security check might need more than an hour. You need to keep allowance for delayed first flight. Yes, these are basics of travel but sometimes we overlook the small things and end up panicking.

Also, if your first flight is delayed, the second airline is mostly informed and they would wait for you unless the delay is unusually long. Request people in the security queue and rush to your aircraft. Any washroom duties can wait till you reach your boarding gate!

However, if your flight is delayed and you have taken a separate flight with a different PNR, no one will wait for you. In this case, you can only hope you get a refund and there is a cheap seat for you in the soonest possible flight.

International to Domestic connections

Suppose you are flying from London to San Francisco via Dallas (American Airlines) or Bahrain to Goa via Mumbai (Jet Airways), you might need to collect baggage and pass immigration before taking your domestic flight. You would have your boarding pass but you’ll need to get through customs before taking the internal flight. The good news is that you have a boarding pass and the flight knows you are coming. The bad news is that you have to be smart to keep enough time between the two connections because immigration may sometimes take more than an hour.

Google Alerts

Our smartphones are smart for a reason. Google scans through your itinerary and knows you are flying out. It scans through flight timings and alerts you if your flight is delayed. That happens much before an SMS or Email alert from the airline itself. This is particularly helpful in connections. Use these services.

Credit Card and free lounges

Airports are messy and boring. This is where airport lounges give you luxury. Check which card gives you free access to multiple lounges across the world. If they are free cards, might as well use the privileges!

In-flight entertainment

I am an Android fan for a reason. My phone has movies, music, TV series, books and what not. I can’t fly without these. This way I am not bothered by how long my journey is and whether there are any display screens in the flight. I watch multiple things on the flight and my time passes real fast.

Carry a miniature perfume

Oh well, I travel a sector which has people from all classes. While most people are very well-behaved and clean, there are some who seem to have unwashed clothes and socks. I have a stock of tiny bottles of perfume that I carry in my purse and rub a few drops on my wrist in case of an emergency. Trust me, it is a life saver!

There are loads of other tips, but lets keep them for another day. Air travel is the hardest part of any journey and I really admire the air hostesses who try to keep it all together. Be kind to them, be kind to one another and keep the flight toilet clean!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Trip Report - 3 days in Ibiza

"These are the days we won't regret. These are the days we won't forget."

We are frequent travellers with single income. My husband, the Boy, spent all the little savings he had on our wedding and then we started afresh. On our first holiday (honeymoon), we counted every single penny and made the best of what we had. It was an amazing holiday.

It has been 7 years to that and now we can afford to live in 5-star properties. It is a surreal feeling. It is a proud feeling. We don't stay in 5-stars though. I want to have a comfortable old age and plenty of holidays before that - we save for that!

Anyway, why I wrote about this is because when we went to Ibiza, we stayed in our first luxury hotel on a holiday. I had my eye on this hotel which was all inclusive in the area we wanted to stay in. I kept my eye on the fluctuating rate hoping it will come down and I would be able to book it. Yes, we can afford them, but we are still thrifty and smart!

We cancelled our previous booking just 4 days prior to our visit (we always book cancellable hotels), and pounced at the first opportunity at Grand Palladium. It spoiled us rotten with its huge rooms, three massive meals a day, and unlimited drinks before we could head out! Playa d'en Bossa is expensive, this deal actually turned out to be very economical.

We reached around 9:30 p.m. and didn't feel like going out. Yes, we were in Ibiza. The party here starts at 12. But we are 34 years-old and have been there, done that. Now we like to chill! So we just had our dinner at the buffet and were entertained by live performers in the hotel. With an open bar, our evening was set!

The next day we decided to go to the most famous beach for parties in Ibiza - Bora Bora beach club.

A very happy me at Grand Palladium :)
Now this beach is at one edge of Playa d'en bossa and clearly an adult only beach club. To the amusement of the Boy, nearly half the women here were topless. It had expensive sun beds and umbrellas but you could buy your own drinks from the super market outside and have them. They were kind enough to adjust whoever came in by putting in more beds. The music was quite nice but the beach isn't the best we've seen so far.

Bora Bora was shallow and had gentle waves. But for some reason, it wasn't very clean. We did walk in the water up until Ushuaia, but we didn't really enjoy the water as much.

Ibiza was not living up to its standards!

Bora Bora beach club

Well, we didn't know what we were going to witness in the evening! We had bought our tickets online for Avicii's opening night at Ushuaia. It was suppose to be from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. I had read that the main guy come at around 10 p.m. in such nights, but in order to find a decent spot to stand, we must go a little early.

We landed there at around 9 and walked around the whole place. It seemed that it would be impossible to get a spot. We then walked between the VIP area and the pool railing and found ourselves some space. We thought we will find our way near the pool as soon as someone leaves to buy a drink. Btw, the beer there is 18 Euro and very hard to get because the bar is so crowded. Although we had already had our drinks at the open bar at our hotel, this was not acceptable!

Nobody left but we did squish our way near the pool railing. At around 10 the whole place went silent. We waited for Avicci with bated breath.(!) He came, he played and boy, did he conquer!

The entire show was mesmerising. I have never danced so much in such a crowded place. We could hardly move our hands, but it was so worth it. Every song he played, the laser lights at Ushuaia, the firecrackers, it all made our night. Or, I would say, our entire 15 days in Spain and Portugal.

David Guetta was on for the next evening, but I didn't want my experience to fade. Yeah, I am crazy like that. So we decided to let it go!

We did think about going to Space after the show but we were too tired and our feet were literally swollen! Yeah, 34!

The Boy wanted to go to a nude beach on day 3. So we hired a cab and rode to Es Cavallet. Much to my happiness, there were no beach beds available. We had to take the cab back to our original Bora Bora! Ha! It was indeed fun. And the only nudist the Boy could spot in the beginning of the beach were a very old couple. Ibiza, indeed, did not disappoint!

We did not go to the other beach clubs at Playa d'en Bossa simply because they were way too expensive and probably not as casual as Bora Bora. We had another chilled out day with our free drinks at the beach watching the world (and gorgeous topless men and women) go by!

In the evening we had dinner at this picturesque mexican restaurant, La Dona, at The Grand Palladium followed by a visit to the Old town.

That's how Mexico will be when we go there? I so wish the food is like that atleast!

The Old town of Ibiza is so pretty with its port, winding lanes with cutesy homes and petite windows, and restaurants and shops at every corner.  We could have easily stayed here and gone to Playa d'en Bossa or St. Antonio by bus or taxi. I would highly recommend people to stay in the Old town and visit other parts of Ibiza from here.

It was a very relaxing and memorable trip for us. I think had we gone with friends, we could have partied more. Nevertheless, we enjoyed every bit of it. I always wanted to go to Ibiza after 'THAT' song and so this was like a dream! Ibiza is the best party place we have ever been to. We thought the beaches in Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus were much better, but the vibe here was great too. It's not a cheap place to visit because of all the hype. It was in our bucket list though, and I am so glad we have been to Ibiza, yeahhh, we have also partied...yeahh...

Cheesyyyy!!! :p

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Musings of a Starved Soul!

*My morning started with Lauki and amla juice today. This yum concoction was recommended by Naturopathy doctors a long time back. I thought it was time to bring some zing back into my life and try the amazing diet for a few days. I’ll share the details and results with you for sure – how I lost a few kilos and gained a Katrina-like glow!

That was sarcasm; just clarifying for the innocent ones.

* The next thing was replying to some friendship day messages. Over the years this day has lost its charm. Now we are more into mother’s day and valentine’s day – I wonder why though! Friends are my most cherished possessions. I share much more with them than I share with my mother. These friends have become mothers though and they kind of enjoy the attention they get on this particular day. Love has become a common, a taken for granted thing – yet come valentine’s day and there is so much pressure on the Boy. I think it is time to bring some zing back into Friendship day as well!

We should have reunions on this day. Like I haven’t met my besties since forever now. I chat with them on a regular basis, but who knows, they might have gotten weird personally! Then slots for new besties will open up and life will become cool again.

Oh yes, that is total crap. Maybe it is the lauki juice talking.

* I am very weird without plans. Since my Portugal-Spain trip, I don’t know where we are going to go next. During the last few days I have seen and planned for 4 destinations but none seem to be working out according to the Boy’s comfort. He’s getting old and finds road and air journey’s a total pain. He’s been driving me nuts because of this. He tells me I’m the one who’s acting like a spoilt brat by pushing holidays on him. I’ll tell him what a spoilt brat is – just let this lauki juice kick in, the mood swings would be very hard to deal with. He will need new phrases to describe me.

* After completing the book on a Korean girl’s journey tofreedom, I’ve started a book on these Sudan boys. I’m just travelling through the miseries of the world to count my blessings. When I read these books I realise how little I know and how difficult the world is for some people.

Suddenly the lauki juice doesn’t sound that bad. I have food to eat, a bed to sleep on, love to hang on to, friendships to cherish, trips that I can plan and a laptop to type this post and save it for posterity.

I cannot ask for more. Except – please God, let these next few days of eating cow food pass quickly. I’ll need a lotttt of help! 

Yeah, the feeling of being blessed die down quickly when you constantly hear a certain gurr-gurr sound in your tummy!