Thursday Challenge 2

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Yaay ! My Thursday Challenge 2 is out ! He he

THEME : THE BEST OF 2012 (A photo/event you liked best in 2012,…)

We happened to lunch at the Orient Express in Istanbul during one of the arranged tours. These photos were taken using an iPhone during the meal. I cannot say that I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, because I am not much of a food experimenter. But the hubby and son loved the meal. I enjoyed the dessert the best. Even the cake was Orange flavoured. It was the only Turkish meal we had on this trip. The ambience of the place and the history attached to it, makes it a memorable event.

The food was served in these four courses. Accompanied by Bread and Drinks. It was a totally different experience for me because I generally stick to fast food joints while on holiday. Or maybe survive on biscuits and juice. Like I said, I am not much of a Foodie that way.

Turkish Food

Turkish Food

Bread

Bread

For more pictures on the same theme, visit Thursday Challenge.

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Skywatch Friday 3

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Even on vacation trips I am on the look out for beautiful skies, just so that I can post it as Skywatch Friday. And this one is my Skywatch Friday 3.

The weather in Istanbul was perfect for tourism. It did rain on one of the days that we were there and it did make me hide my camera for the day, but it definitely did not dampen the spirit. We were on a bus tour that day and the group that we ended up was a good one. Different Nationalities and different backgrounds, yet keeping a look out for each other, so that no one misses a sight or gets lost in the ocean of sightseers. That is the best part of such tours. You end up making friends even if it is just for the day.

Although the view from the Galata Tower was mesmerising, it is the sky that as usual fascinated me. So here are a few pictures from our first evening in Istanbul, just before the sunset and the lovely evening sky colours took over and made the atmosphere as romantic as ever. We found many couples cuddling in front of cameras , we clicked a few too and retreated into the cafe to have coffee and hot chocolate with our kids.

The view shows the Galata Bridge that leads to the Historical part of European Part of Istanbul, Bosphorous and the Golden Horn.

Galata Tower

Galata Tower

Istanbul Sky 1

Istanbul Sky 1

Istanbul Sky 2

Istanbul Sky 2

Plane

Plane

For more pictures of the sky, click here.

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Skywatch Friday 2

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It has been a while since I participated in Skywatch Friday. And this is my second Skywatch Friday on this website and hence , Skywatch Friday 2. 🙂

You can have a look at my Skywatch Friday 1 here. 🙂

As usual I didn’t have my DSLR. This one too was taken using my iPhone. I wasn’t sure if it was clear enough. But I do think it came out well. 🙂

Although the picture has come out looking more like a capture from a horror movie, the sky was at its best behaviour yesterday. In fact, the clouds were so clear and visible because of the sun trying to hide behind the clouds. I couldn’t get the direct shot of the sun, so I managed to click a picture of a hiding sun. And hence the dark look of the picture.

Hope you like my Skywatch Friday 2 too. 🙂

IMG_0779

For more images of the sky, click here.

 

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A Visit to Shangri La ,Muscat

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It is not normal for me to accompany the husband on his trips to Oman. He goes at least twice in a month there and I like always stay back with the kids. This time he somehow ended up booking a room in Shangri La, Muscat. So I guess a visit to Shangri La , Muscat was in cards for me. I generally never ask to tag along, but I had seen this resort from afar on a previous trip to Muscat, and I had secretly had a desire to spend a day there. It is indeed a beautiful place. Walking along the shoreline of the beach in the evening was the highlight of my stay there. I witnessed quite a lot of interesting things and met quite a lot of interesting people too.

Honestly, I do love my husband, but at times it happens certain things are enjoyed better in Solitude. So as I was left alone to wander around in the resort, I used my iPhone 5 to its fullest potential. It has given me some wonderful pictures and what is more special about these memories is that they are just mine. Only I was a witness to its beauty at that point in time. Everyone was either in the pool or beach or on a horse or camel or sipping a drink at one of the restaurants.

I managed to cover less than half of the resort during that walk. Partly because I have a bad back and wouldn’t trust it to let me walk for hours together and partly because I was afraid of getting lost. Or maybe plain laziness, or the fact that at that point all I wanted to do was to grab a book and relax and read a book while sipping hot coffee, before the sun sets. So I made my way back to my room, got my book and headphones and settled for some music and reading on a beach chair to welcome the dusk. It was pure bliss, if I have ever experienced one. The privacy midst the crowd is what amazed me the most. No one to trouble you and no one to judge. I got a few nods, smiles and hellos from a few gentlemen. But I guess I can take that as a compliment. Right?

Here are the pictures. Some of them taken using my Canon 550D and most of them through my iPhone 5. I am sure it will be difficult to make out  the difference. They all look beautiful to me. Every single one of these brings back the blissful feeling. So the pictures and a visit to Shangri La, Muscat , are going to remain personal favourites for a very long time.

Click on any image to open up the Gallery. 🙂

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Global Village 2012

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A trip to the Global Village  2012 was mandatory for us. Even though the atmosphere and the ambience has been the same there for the past few years, it never keeps us from going back every year. The festive feeling and all the good snacks that you get to taste there is amazing. We get to taste food from different countries. There are dance and music performances. There are parades and cultural programmes. You name it and everything entertaining can be found there. At least for people like me.

I go there to enjoy the food, the shopping and of course the chances of getting to click good photographs. This is my second year at the Global Village with my DSLR. A few of the pics and the videos have been clicked using my iPhone 5.  I hope I have made at least improvements in my photography skills. I have tried to capture the essence of the place and share it with my friends here.

Till date, I don’t think we have covered all the pavilions on show there. And Global Village 2012 was no different. But we did cover quite a few this time. I did some jewellery and handbag shopping too. Global Village is the perfect shopping paradise for people who love accessories. You will find variety here. From every country with different styles. The prices have to be bargained. They generally tend to change rates according to customers. Bargain your way through to good deals and smile.

Thai fruits, Legimat and Potato twisters are a must have. If you fancy the Turkish Coffee, you can try that too. Besides these, you also get to have strawberries dipped in vanilla or chocolate mountains. Crepes with different fillings are also popular. Of course you will find ice cream stalls, doughnut stands, samosas and Karak tea stalls all over the place. Popcorn, cotton candy, toffees , coffee, hotdogs and to top it all, almost all the famous fast food restaurants have a stall at the food court. Arabic, Pakistani, Lebanese, Chinese and Indian restaurants line up at the food court. We can dine according to our taste with lovely background music from the performance stage that is not too far from the food court. Once done with dinner and/or snacks , we can relax and watch troupes from various parts of the world performing on stage. The only thing missing are the seats. I wish they would provide seats for us to sit down and enjoy the dance performances. The few benches around the circumference are almost always full!

On the evening that we visited the Global Village 2012, the performance was by students of Shaimak Davar. They were conducting classes for kids backstage too. The dance performance we saw was on a medley of Popular Hindi Songs. Foot tapping numbers by performers adorned with colourful costumes and swaying and dancing with perfection.

Global Village 2012 was indeed a visual and gastronomical treat. And I have tried to capture a bit of that for you too. 🙂

The Videos :

The Photos :

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Diwali 2012

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What is Diwali without Diyas? And what is the point in lighting diyas if we don’t take good pictures of the same. This Diwali 2012 , I have seen some amazing pictures of Diyas and Rangoli on Facebook and elsewhere. I prefer the ones on Facebook because those are the ones that people I knew at some point in my life made and about how they managed to celebrate Diwali this year.

Diwali, for us, has always been about cleaning the house, lighting lamps for three days and buying and making sweets. Diwali as celebrated by my friends from other parts of India are really more elaborate. Over the years I have learnt a lot from friends, TV and FB about Diwali , Danteras ,Laxmi Pujan and Rangoli. I have never tried to make a Rangoli before. In 2010, I had bought the colours to make the Rangoli, but my bad back had prevented me from trying to make it that year.

This Diwali 2012 too , I had purchased the colours along with colourful diyas. I was also looking at designs online to get inspiration. With my back acting up these days, on the day that Rangoli was planned, I almost gave up on the idea again. When my kids agreed to do the Rangoli instead and told that I only had to supervise them, I was more than happy.

As I kept the diyas and colours ready, something in me just got a kick start. The back pain was forgotten and I was down on my knees trying out a design I found though Google with my kids. Within minutes we realized that we are going about it the wrong way. We had to draw the outline first and then put in the colours. This is not the case when we make Pookalam (click to see our Onam Pookalam this year)  during Onam. We just start making designs on the go. But then flowers are much easier to handle than colours. And I think the colours I got were the Holi kind. It was very difficult to use them.

Finally we dropped the idea of a big Rangoli (colours wouldn’t be enough either) and decided to do individual small ones as we please. Since the hubby was out of town , you can see three Amateur Rangoli (if we can call them that at all) designs in the pictures below.

Diyas were lit for two days instead of the normal three days starting from Danteras. We had to spend the Diwali day in a hotel in Abu Dhabi (Click to read about it). And I didn’t think they would allow us to light Diyas in our room!

So Diwali 2012 was eventful this year and a very memorable one too. I hope all of you had a wonderful Diwali too and best wishes for a wonderful New Year.

Happy Diwali 2012….. And waiting for next year…. to make a better planned and elaborate Rangoli.

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