Nivi's Adventures

Monday, July 31, 2006

Life in London

Well before I embark on the next step of my adventure, I figure I needed to mentioning some of my thoughts on this remarkable city. I've been to London before but the last times it was during the kiwi summer (and therefore winter in the Northern Hemisphere) which isn't so much fun. I've always thought most places are nicer with a bit of sun, although it was a bit too hot in London this summer, getting up to 36 deg one July day!

Anyway, getting over that staple of British conversation, the weather, London is an amazing place. It's so amazing to think how old some of the places in London are, especially considering I'm used to NZ which is a young country relative to pretty much everywhere. There is huge racial diversity, but I don't know whether anyone would say that the level of integration is quite as impressive... It's amazingly crowded & busy but life just carries on as it always has, one of the most amazing aspects of London. I was in town on July 7, the 1 year anniversary of the London bombings which was very sombering but at the same time highlighted just what a great irrepresible city London is.

Anyway my thoughts and rantings aside, another reason London is so wicked is because half my friends and cousins are here! Here are some pics of my time in London...


Out with Jo and some mates. L to R: Jo, Me & Katrina

Asaf (a friend from San Francisco) was in London for a week

On the southbank with Rick (cheesily posed with Big Ben in the background)

Brunch on a gorgeous sunny Sunday. L to R: James, Rick, Vasi, Me & Tom

The start of a night out with Tom & Rick

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of a really amazing event – the Italian celebrations through central London after winning the world cup! It was quite phenomenal, I can't imagine what it would have been like in Rome! What a crap time to have your battery die on you eh?


The Gherkin

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Millenium Wheel

Battersea Power Station - snapped from the train, so apologies for blurriness

Borough Market - who said that you can't get great food in London? (It just costs like a million dollars!)

Morris dancers. How quintessentially English! ;)

Speakers Corner - most don't like they're buying it eh?

The beautiful entrance to The British Museum

The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court (part of the British Museum)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Barcelona - Aneela's Hens Weekend

OK, so I'd never been on a hen's WEEKEND before, I hadn't been to Barcelona before and I actually hadn't even seen Aneela for about 2 years so needless to say, I was really looking forward to the whole trip!

First stop was friday afternoon at Gatwick Aiport where we checked in - all 15 of us! I knew that it was gonna be a pretty fun weekend when we were each issued with red glitter cowboy hats - to be worn at all times!

At this point I should digress and tell you about our EasyJet flight! I've watched an episode or two of 'Airport' in my time but had never flown EasyJet before so I was interested to see what it was going to be like... Well it turned out to be memorable to say the least!

The flight was scheduled to take off at 19:10 but we knew were going to be delayed when we only told the gate number at 19:00. (And what’s the deal with delayed flights today??? Excuse the rant, but it seems to be particulary en vogue for airlines today - even the big ones! What's up with that!?!) Anyway we board the plane at about 19:30 and are soon locked, loaded and ready to grab the next available take off slot.

However after waiting a while, the captain comes on and says that the engineer noticed a small 'problem' on his final check which needs to be fixed, and will unfortunately delay us a bit further. Now obviously our group was in a good mood so although the delay was a bit of a pain, we were really too busy chatting away etc to worry about it, unlike some of the other passengers who were pretty vocal in their complaining! Gotta hand it to the English when it comes to whinging ;)

So then at about 20:30 the pilot comes on and says the problem is all fixed now but "unfortunately we have an administrative problem that will soon be sorted out, as you will shortly see!" We were very intrigued by this statement and you can imagine pretty damn surprised to see, half an hour later, two police officers board the plane, march down to the back of the plane and escort two passengers off the plane!!! We'll never know for sure why they were taken off the plane, but some of our girls, sitting in front of them reckon it's because they were swearing. Pretty harsh considering they didnt actually swear at the staff - more at the general situation, just in front of the staff. Anyway high drama, with no less than 4 paddy wagons parked beside the plane!!!

By this time it's about 21:30 and the captain comes on again and says “well now that this people have left the plane, we need to locate and unload their luggage!" This gets done, and it's now about 22:00, more than 2 hours after we were meant to take off!

But wait there's more!

After the luggage is taken off the captain comes on again and tells us that because the engines had been started and shut down twice, we'd used up too much fuel and so need to be refuelled before we could leave for Barcelona! So, we wait, again, and eventually we are all refuelled...

But wait, there's STILL more!

The captain now comes on the air and tells us that because of all the delays we've experienced, the crew have now been working for longer than airline regulations permit and so we need to get a new crew to fly to Barcelona! They did eventually arrive and we did eventually make it to Barcelona, taking off at 23:30, more than 4 hours after the scheduled take off time of 19:10!!!

The 2 hour flight, the 1 hr time difference and the ridiculously long wait at Barcelona airport for taxis, meant that we acutally only got into our apartments at 4am on saturday morning!

But even though we didn’t get much sleep on Friday night, Saturday turned out to be a fabulous day - we did a bit of a scavenger hunt in the morning, lounged on the beach in the afternoon and hit the town on Saturday night! What a great weekend, I'd mention more, but you know what they say - what goes on tour stays on tour! It will suffice to say that a great time was had by all! :)

Here are some photos of the weekend...

Taken very early on (it's still light outside!)

Aneela with her hat and 'L' plate :)

The Batman Team (for the scavenger hunt)

The Superman Team

The Spiderman Team (blatantly the best - it had Me & Aneela in it!)

The Hen and her gang, before heading into town on Saturday night. (No more photos from Sat sorry!)

So because the weekend was actually a hen's weekend, we didn't do a huge amount of sightseeing, but we did check out a few spots on sunday. I wanted to look at some Antonio Gaudi architecture - below are a few snaps

Casa Batlló

Park Guëll

The entrance to Park Guëll

To all the girls who organised the weekend, Thank you & fantastic job! And Aneela, I loved being able to share this weekend with you - all the very best for the wedding and married life with Palkesh :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Parents in London

So as I think I mentioned in my last post, after leaving Bahrain, my parents came back to the UK to hang out with me and my sis for 3 weeks. Vasi was off work for 2 of those weeks but we didnt do much other than just spend a bit of time together. It was nice to be back as a family again, I think especially for my parents who found it hard to have their both their daughters move out of home (and across the world!) within 3 months of each other.

Anyway below are photos of some of the stuff we got up to... I think that because I wasn't in 'tourist, must take photos' mode I didn't end up taking a family photo of just us which is a bit of a bummer!

A family trip to Bornemouth Beach on a gorgeous sunny day, I didn’t think England got such lovely weather!


So this was a ‘Sports Day’ for people who used to go to Gnyasariyar Primary School in Jaffna, Sri Lanka (well it was more for their kids/grandkids). Gnyanasariyar was the primary school that both my parents went to when they were kiddies so it was fantastic to see my parents so stoked as they met heaps of people that they hadn’t seen for a really really long time. I remember chatting with a lady my mum used to go to school with – they hadn’t seen each other for over 25 years! And hearing stories about my dad when he was a kid from one of his teachers was good fun too! Again, a glorious summer's day in London!


While my parents were in London, Periappa (my dad’s older brother) was back in London for a holiday (he currently works in Malaysia). It was his birthday so we had a bit of a party, watched the football and Periamma (my aunt) insisted we celebrate Vasi & Majuran’s engagement too so out came the champagne!

The happy couple (Vasi & Majuran).

All the rest of the photos from this night seem to have me stuffing my face so they're not making it onto the internet!