Nivi's Adventures

Monday, August 27, 2007

Notting Hill Carnival

OK I realise my blogging has gotten a bit slack (I'm posting this almost 3 weeks after I went) but I'm sure you'll forgive me!

So apparently Notting Hill Carnival is the second largest street festival (after Carnival in Rio). Wikipedia suggests 'it began in 1959 as a response to the poor race relations' and was a huge success. It's an Africo-Caribbean festival (read good music & good food) so being a fine long weekend, I headed down to check it out.

The streets lined with people, anticipating the floats

She probably didn't take the tube...

Some of the costumes are just so ornate (and LARGE!)

Bit easier to believe it's the second largest street festival after this shot eh?

The highlight of the day for me was dancing away in the streets behind these awesome drummers ;)

Thet, me & Marissa

'The calm in the eye of the storm' My fave pic from the day :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vasi's Hens Weekend

Well after much deviousness on Aneela's & my part, we finally got Vasi to Heathrow airport for her Hen's weekend to Madrid! We'd planned for it to be a complete surprise for Vasi - granted she didn't know that we actually booked the flights months in advance - but in the end I'm not sure how much she actually knew about...
We were a happy group of 7 : Aneela, Alpa, Jo, Caroline (friends from NZ), Mythily (Majuran's sister), Vasi and me! A wonderful fun weekend :) Photos below...

Our flight to Spain was with BA, so complimetary drinks - Start as you mean to go on eh!?!

The lovely Sean - who not only hooked us up with lots of drinks on the plane, but also gave us stuff to take away and enjoy on Sat night!!!

Not that Caroline could be bothered waiting till Sat ;)

Gran Via - the view from the balcony of our hotel, early Sat morn

And the Hotel itself - swanky old building :)

The group in the grounds of Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace)

Me & my sis :)

I figure if we had wanted a stripper, this guy would have been perfect. What a poser!

The palace! It was easy to not realise just how huge it is - look at the security guard standing to the left of the white doors. Gives you an idea of scale eh!?!

This was too amusing to not post. Aneela & Alpa doing their Bollywood movie shot :)

I loved the tree detail over the windows at the top of the building...

The Symbol of Madrid. El Oso y El Madroño - The bear and the strawberry tree. It's apparently not a strawberry tree but bears berries similar to it.
(I hope you loved the pun - 'bears' berries, man I'm hilarious ;)

Journey to the centre of Spain. This is the point from which all Spain's radial highways start (hence the Km 0)

Madrid streetscape, broken by the occasional sparkle of glittery turquoise cowboy hats...

What better way to cool off from the spanish summer sun than some helado!

Alpa & Caroline as suitably impressed with the giant ice creams :)


And so it begins. After a brief rest from the touring of Sat morning we reconvened in the 'party room' to get ready as a group.

Jo getting into it :)

The 3 sisters :)

Presentation of the t-shirts! Before heading out we had a righteous ol' party in the hotel room, courtesy of sean's drink from BA and some hip shaking toons I'd brought along. And of course the inaugural lesson of Vasi's dance school where Vasi taught us some of her dance moves :)

Yeah, read the caption on her shirt!

Trying to get us to follow. I think the bedroom slippers may have hindered Aneela ;)

The rest joining in...

The group :)

And I'm afraid that's all I can share with you guys - 'What goes on tour stays on tour'... Needless to say a fun night was had by all :)


A beautiful fresco in Rastro Markets

The 'pond' at Parque del Retiro. It used to be the retreat for the Royals, hence the pond being somewhat more magnificent that the usual...

Ángel Caído - Fallen Angel; apparently the world's only statue of the devil...
Funny story: it was a bit difficult trying to locate this statue in the huge park - so we kept stopping and asking people for directions (in spanish). We however didn't know the word for statue so I didn't quite click as to what I was saying till one guy laughing told me "I hope you realise you're asking me where the devil is!"

"Dos cervecas por favor!" One of the few lines of spanish I remember learning at Westlake Boy's night school classes with Jo way back in early 2006. We promised each other that we would use that line at some point on our then upcoming travels. Nice to cross that 'must do' off the list :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Merchant of Venice @ The Globe

Time for another dose of culture, and what better than Shakespeare?!? The idea to go to this came a couple of months back when I went for a run through London passing some very iconic sights. I ran along the Thames, across Tower Bridge, past Tower of London, Monument, St Paul's, across Millenium Bridge, Tate Modern and you guessed it, last but not least, Shakespeare's Globe!

We unfortunately didn't get the best seats (we were sitting side-on to the stage) but we were all REALLY glad that we were seated, cos not only would we have been standing for 3 hours, but it also started raining in the middle of the play!

Nerissa (Portia's lady in waiting) receiving the Prince of Morocco who has come seeking Portia's hand in marriage.

Shylock, the Jewish moneylender; "Hath not a Jew eyes? "

The final scenes in the courtroom where Portia, dressed as a laywer saves the day!

Anyway, all in all a wonderful evening and kinda freaky to realise it was the first group gathering I've organised outside of NZ! Hopefully more to come...