Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Day 1: Istanbul not Constantinople

Once upon a time, people would dress up for the airport, ie when they were travelling. That's changed. Why though? Here's a theory: Back then, you wanted to create a great impression on the people who would greet you at your destination. All four generations of your family would crane their necks trying to look into the airport from five in the morning in the summer heat eagerly waiting for you to coolly walk out with your trolley. But now your family has a life, choosing their beauty sleep over that first glimpse of you and you're lucky if you have a single relative waiting impatiently on the other side. More often than not, it's just a driver. And so, travellers have started dressing down and are wont to make mucky appearances.
But the transit passengers at Istanbul airport dashed this theory to smithereens. Great sense of style!

We (the mother, sister and I) didn't have Turkish visas, we were just gonna spend 3 hours in transit at Istanbul. BUT! We got off the plane - onto the ground to get on the bus that would take us to the airport building! We stepped on Turkish soil (or cement)! That totally counts!

That being said, Istanbul airport is gorgeous. I always opined that Dubai Duty Free was hyped and it is. I dislike it intensely. No one EVER talks about Istanbul airport. The decor is beautiful and has an old world feel to it. There's a bookstore on your right just as you step into Duty Free and so it was a hit with me the same second. There are plenty of shops that a 'commoner' must just pass by (as many did) - Armani, Bvlgari and the like but who hasn't seen those anyway? The REAL shop that's worth a browse is one called the Old Bazaar (how apt) and sold wines, bracelets, baubles, ceramics, gorgeous scarves (anyone who bought one wore it =D ) with the evil eye image painted on every object conceivable (except the scarves). Conscious of my bare neck, I squandered a LOT of time trying to pick one, my indecision driving the mother into a frenzy about missing our connecting flight to Prague. And when I finally made my selection the cashiers were dawdling, driving me into a frenzy. We almost missed the flight!

don't miss the eye under the board
Superstition? Call it what you will. The image of the blue eye is said to ward off the 'evil eye' of envious people who may not wish you well.

it's all over the place! @evil eye: BE GONE!

Heard the song in the title of this post? No? Give it a listen. If nothing it'll bring back childhood memories of watching Tiny Toon Adventures :P

Picture courtesy: the mother. I was too excited to take pictures.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

in retrospect: the year so far

A friend (the twa) pointed out to me that I got my wish of wanting to visit atleast one country this year (one of my New Year resolutions). Not one, but SIX! He's right! HOLY MACKEREL I VISITED SIX COUNTRIES THIS YEAR NONE OF WHICH WERE INDIA, KUWAIT OR THE UAE! (will tell you about the sixth in a later post)

This brings a crude but apt phrase/song in Hindi to mind - dene wala jab bhi deta, deta chappad phaad ke =D
which roughly translates to: 'when the one who gives, well, GIVES, then boy does He give! (literal translation is that the roof collapses with His giving)
I like my translation. It's cool. But I think one of my Hindi speaking blogger friends/followers can probably do a much better job even with the literal one. (Hindi speaking blogger friends and followers, that is your cue to pitch in)

I sort of got the rest of the resolutions taken care of as well.
Except getting a job by Jan end. Perhaps that was a bit ambitious. Let's make it year end then shall we? By saying year end I expect to have got one by next month. Although I did have a pretty great internship.. is that supposed to count? It shouldn't! I specifically said job! J-O-B. JOB!! One can still hope.. and pray. And continue scouting and networking.

Here's looking forward to an equally exceptional second half of 2011.

Monday, 20 June 2011

So long, farewell..

auf wiedersehen, goodbye..
No blog not to you, you silly goose!

It's been a delightful month in Europe. A long adventure in the 5 countries we visited -  the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany. We saw splendid sights, marvelled at the glorious castles and palaces and the exquisite taste and imagination of the royal families and architects that designed them, learnt to greet people in three more languages, meandered in landscaped gardens, posed with scantily clad but awesomely buff sculptured fountains, clicked millions of pictures, expressly ignored the 8 degrees Celsius temperature of the limestone caves of Moravsky Kras while going nuts walking past the gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites, persistently nagged and heckled the patient persons behind the information desk in every town and city from Budapest to Munich for hours on end, sang with fellow fans in the Sound of Music Tour at Salzburg, eagerly devoured any information or tidbits on the local history and culture, breathed in the crisp mountain air of the Alps, ran down lush green meadows dotted with wildflowers wet from the rain, mentally swore at ourselves for packing terribly having to lug impractical luggage while changing trains under severe time constraints, ambulated through the forests of thĹ umava, befriended wonderful people and finally, we are now prone to severe tooth decay from gorging on one dessert too many (two words: apple strudel. In vanilla sauce..).

It's my last night in this continent and although I am saddened at the thought of leaving, I can't help but long for my own bed and shower and most especially the WASHING MACHINE. Oh Lord, bless the man that invented the washing machine..

Nashledanou Europe. You've been good to me.

(chronicled blog posts and pictures to follow when I am back in Kuwait, well fed and rested and all my laundry done)