Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Unforgettable UK...

I am back from my UK visit. The experience was more than what I can describe here. The very first step there was quite exciting. It was quite chilly compared to the weather of India.. But I was all prepared... The smell of hot coffee, carameled peanuts, honey dipped waffles, delicious ice-creams, fresh donuts was too good to resist them... I gorged on the sumptuous desserts like anything. Everyday I had a different dessert... Even now my mouth waters as I think and write about them...

Went to quite a few places during the trip: Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly circus, Madam Tussauds, London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge in London, Leamington Spa, Cheltenham Spa, Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle, Chester, Isle of Wight, Birmingham, Stratford upon Avon, Conventry....

I was actually looking at every thing with eyes wide opened. The houses seemed straight out of Hansel and Gratel fairy tales... Small English wooden houses, with sloping roofs, painted in brown, red and white colors, all were of the same size and design on any given road... It was like copy and paste... One never gets tired to look at them again and again. The sky was absolutely clear blue with no clouds... Whatever clouds appeared, looked like soft cotton balls floating in the sky. People say that the English weather is the most unpredictable one. One moment its hot, another moment it will be raining and then it will cold. Thank God, it was so pleasant all the time when I was there. It didnt rain even once while I was there. It was absolutely perfect for a holiday - neither too cold, nor too hot.

Have never seen such a good public transport system anywhere... The best of the rails and the bus service connecting to everywhere and anywhere, depending on your convenience. The only inconvenient thing would be the price that you have to pay.. I dont earn in pounds so shelling out five or six pounds for every single trip was quite a lot for me... London tubes can be quite scary sometimes.. Traveling alone in the night can be troublesome for girls especially if you are a tourist there. People stare at you, misbehave.. I also saw some men, who were in drunk state or insane falling over other girls. They purposely want to get into a conversation with the co-passenger..... I felt quite unsafe to travel on the first day in a London tube alone late in the evening... May be because of the stories that I had heard about how people rob you and can even kill you if you dont give them money. On the contrary I found buses quite safe. The bus drivers were courteous enough to wait for the passengers to get off and board the bus. He waits patiently while an old person boards the bus, takes the ticket and settles down....

All the gardens, pathways were full of flowers blooming.. Saw the beautiful tulips... The shops, houses, roads, streets were decorated with basket of flowers hanging... It provided a very romantic look to the place... I saw this specially in Startford which is the birth place of Shakespeare. His house is still the same. No photography is allowed inside his house.. One can take pictures outside the house.. One very interesting thing is, the cafes on the same street have names straight out of Shakespeare's novel e.g.: The Food of Love. The boat-ride, flowers, atmosphere in Startford is one of the most romantic one. People seem to go to that place only to relax and get away from the monotonous routine. While we were doing the boat-ride, I noticed beautiful swans everywhere. They were absolutely clean and white even though the water was dirty. People fed them withe bread. One thing that I learnt was all the swans in England belong to the Queen. Its illegal to harm any swan. Queen owns all the swans... Interesting...... Next is my pic in a garden in Stratford.

Saw the best of the cars, bikes there. Harley Davidson bikes, Rolce royce, Bentley, Jaguars, BMW cars... Its a treat to watch them moving on the road.. Sheer luxury... Shopping is quite expensive in UK.. Nothing less than 10-15 pounds if you want something good.. Dont talk about the brands- they go even higher than that... So if you are really lucky to get there during sale season, then grab whatever you can... UK is very fashion conscious. People are seen in the smartest and the best of clothes all the time. Well, I did manage to do some shopping and got a few things that I wanted... Infact I even bought some gifts for my friends and relatives...

One thing that I really liked while we went driving around the country was GPS - Global Positioning System. This system connects you to the satellite and tells you where you are. So if you want to go to Place B from Place A, you need to know the postcode of Place B. Simply put in the postcode in the GPS tool which is commonly known as 'Tom-Tom' in the country. Its a tool which is carried in the car and stuck on the windscreen. The tool will direct you which road to take, which left or right turn to take as you move along. It always has the latest information about the new roads or any road being blocked. There is no need to stop by and ask anyone if you are on the right track.... Also while you are driving from one city to another, there are services available after certain miles which allow you to refresh yourself. Proper sign boards are put up to inform you in advance about the services that may be ahead.

The lovely flowers all along the country side never miss the chance to catch your attention. Wide green fields with horses, sheep, cows grazing provide a beautiful picture to the eye. Everything seems so calm and serene. You dont get tired to look at them again and again. The nature was at its best... It was spring and there were flowers all over the place... Everything was colorful and full of life. My trip could not have been better than this.... Thanks Anisha, for making this trip possible...

I am quite sure that I must have missed a lot of things that I noticed during my trip. Still have tried to put down whatever I could remember....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

London Calling...


Finally I have made it and I am ready to go... to London.. on a holiday for two weeks... alone... I have always loved to travel and this is one of the places I had always wanted to go.... Ever since I was a kid, I wished to go to vilayat(as they called in hindi) atleast once.... Finally this wish is turning into a reality. I am flying out tonight.... I have butterflies in my tummy.

London has always fascinated me. People, who would go there, always told me good things about it. I saw their pictures, heard their experiences and all this made my desire even deeper to visit it. I am sure there is something about it which attracts everybody. I am going to see every place which is the symbol of London: London eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Madam Tussauds, Trafalgar square. I know much more about London than people who went there. Anyone who was about to go there, I used to ask him where all is he going! I gave my suggestions about the places he should visit. Now that I am going, I am finding it strange. Till now I am not able to digest that finally I am leaving...

What is so special about that place, that I am attracted to it. I am very much sure that it is not because of Yash Chopra or Karan Johar movies since I have not grown up watching them. I have few very good friends and relatives who stay there and they have invited me umpteen numbers of times to come and visit. I was always fascinated by the place. London is a place that was in my distant dreams.. I always thought that I will never be able to visit that place mainly because of the cost factor...

I am sure that I'll have the time of my life there.. First time, going alone... to a distant country....to be with friends... It all sounds so exciting. I need to pinch myself to make believe that its truly happening and I am flying out tonight. I hope to come back with some beautiful memories of that place. All the fun, shopping, travel, sight seeing, photography associated with it, amuses me to no end.... I am truly excited about it.... Waiting for the day to get over so that I can rush to the airport and fly out....

London, I am coming!!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Marital Woes

Getting married has its own problems. Our group of friends who meet everyday during lunch has a mix of people: singles, married, engaged. So everyone has something to share about. While the singles cribb about not being married and not having someone to love, care or share; married have their own issues about in-laws, expectations, hubby; engaged people have their own issues about not knowing the person too well, butterflies in stomach and so on.....

The most prominent discussion is always by the people who are married. Few of them have just got married. And trust me, they are repenting. How the in-laws behave, hubby's expectations, complaints, desires are all too much for them to handle. Actually speaking, the relationship requires some time on both the sides to allow the other person to adjust to one another. The girl may have to compromise and adjust more but that also needs time. They all have stories to tell: how the in-laws expect them to behave in a typical Indian Bahu - not to go out alone, keep her head covered, dont wear sleeveless, no western outfits, eat only after everyone else has eaten in the house, change clothes into something 'striking' whenever go out.. blah... blah... blah....

Now the hubby has something else to say always - comparison between the food cooked by wife and the mother, how 'Mama' handles the house, she will cook no matter at what time she comes back home from work, she should not ask her hubby where his money is spent, she should give all her salary to him, she should learn how to cope between the office and the house workload.

Having heard this, makes me ponder whether its worth getting married. It is quite possible that all this is an extreme situation.. This may not happen with every other person but it can happen with anyone. It actually scares me to death. Is getting married better or better is not to get married?