Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

I was a little late putting up Xmas decorations this year since we were away on holidays. We finally put up a few yesterday (Xmas eve). Merry Christmas every one !!


African Adventure

Our Africa trip was planned before we reached Nairobi and I must thank the Pandya parents for showing us an amazing time and organizing a fantastic holiday. You can see below each day was a different experience and one I will remember for years to come.

Dec 5th - Arrived in Nairobi and were welcomed by the both sets of parents (Pandya and Shah's), Tiku and Aarti (Amit's friend from back in the day). After dinner the two of us went out for drinks with Tiku and Aarti and caught up after years of not being in touch.
Dec 6th - The Pandya parents had organized a get together for us to meet all their friends and family. At the end of the night one of their neighbors got hijacked at gun point right outside the Temple gates but fortunately were not harmed. We got a first hand look at the threat the folks in Africa live in. That night we decided to stay in as all of us were a little rattled from the experience.
Dec 7th - Made our social rounds during the day and in the evening we went on a double date with Tiku and Aarti to celebrate their wedding anniversary. We ate dinner at Mediterraneo (really great food) and later went for drinks to Hotel Intercontinental.
Dec 8th - Dec 10th - Left for Tanzania early in the morning. We took a flight out of the domestic Wilson airport to Kilimanjaro and then another flight from there to Seronora. Amit and I were the only two on the 9 passenger plane to Seronora (felt like it was chartered for us). During our time in Tanzania we stayed at the Sopa lodges in Serengeti and Ngorongoro. We enjoyed the game drives at both the parks and got see atleast 24 different types of animals and birds. Per our driver we were lucky to see a Leopard up close and personal as it decided to walk under our jeep towards a tree that it later climbed.
Dec 11th - The Pandya's and Shah's went to the Limuru golf club early in the morning and Amit and I played our first 9 holes of golf ever. After golf we ate breakfast at the Java house and headed to the Giraffe center where I got to feed some giraffes. From there we headed to Kazuri and got a short tour around their beads factory. Later that day we went to Village market Bowling hall to celebrate Krish's 5th birthday with Tiku and Aarti. This was the last nite with my Dad as he was leaving for Bahrain the next morning.
Dec 12th - Dec 15th - Started out trip to Mombassa were we met up with Amin. We spent our time in Mombassa catching up on old times and also tried Deep Sea fishing. I got to ride a camel on the beach a first for me (surprising since I lived in the middle east for 17 years). We spent most of our time by the pools enjoying the sun and scenery. Anyone interested in going to Mombassa should definitely check out the Voyager Beach resort - simply amazing..


Dec 16th- Spent a lazy day in Nairobi (which was much needed) and taught the family how to play Texas Holdem. Later that evening we met up with Amit's old friends Ravi and his sister Geeta.
Dec 17th - Dec 19th - We were on the road again, this time to Lake Nakuru and Naivasha - but this the family joined us (including Rakhee - who was so sweet to be around the entire time we were there to show us around). In Nakuru we stayed at the Flamingo Hill camp - my first tent experience it was simply amazing. The next morning we went on a game drive and continued to Lake Naivasha. There we stayed at the Sopa Lodge and enjoyed some quality family time.
Dec 20th - Dec 21st - The final stretch. We spent the last two days in Nairobi preparing for our trip back home to Dallas. We played another round of golf (this time 18 holes) and made our last social visits. I finally got to shop for some gifts at the Masai market and Banana box.

My first trip to Africa was in 1993 - I dont remember much from that trip but somehow remembered that it was a beautiful place. After travelling to Africa recently I can say its an amazing place - green and untouched in many places by mankind. It should definitely be on everyone's list to visit once in their lifetime. Most of us always hear of the violence, hunger, poverty and corruption in Africa but trust me there is a lot more - the local people are very friendly and warm, the cities are beautiful and green and ofcourse the wildlife is abundant.

We took over a 1000 pictures during our trip - FOR MORE PICTURES CLICK HERE.

Thank you PANDYA PARENTS, NANA, TIKU, AARTI and RAKHEE for a wonderful time !

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The new world we live in.

It is so easy to forget the terror that exists in this world. After 9-11, for many months the world was a different place for me. With time we all moved on but yesterday the world became that scary place again. I first read about the Mumbai events on facebook and then followed up on BBC and CNN. At first i didnt realize the magnitude of this event as India in the past year has had a series of unfortunate attacks. This hit home as they were targeting folks with American and British passports. The target locations - Hotel Taj, Oberoi, Cafe Leopold and the Shivaji railway station are prime tourist locations in Mumbai. Back in 2003 when Amit and I went to India to get married we remember having a meal at Cafe Leopold. Its scary to know that the place we enjoyed so much was now a scene of terror. My prayers are with the families who lost their loved ones and with my friends and family in Mumbai - I really hope the people responsible for this terror are punished for their doings. Indians in the past have been very resilient and have moved on to prove that they will not be terrorized by such events. It takes a lot of strength and courage not to live in fear and my best wishes are with all the people of Mumbai in this difficult time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Birthday Continues :)

We went to the Mavs game last night as part of Amit's birthday celebration week. We had a great time at the game - Great seats and a Mavs win at home against the Indiana Pacers - PERFECT! . Below are some pics from the game.





Thanks Avni Masi !

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is 30 the new 20?

Yesterday was Amit's 30th Birthday. I cant believe how fast time flies and I wish him all the best for his years to come. I love you! As always I changed my facebook status to wish him a big 30 and not to my surprise I got comments saying "Lucky Guy - he looks like he is 20". Why do men age better than women?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The count down begins!

Amit and i are off to Kenya and Tanzania in December for the first time after getting married. Our parents are very excited to say the least and have already made plans for us while we will be there. Less than three weeks left for us to leave. All i can think of is the long list of things i have to do and shop for before we go. I finally made appointments for our yellow fever shots and we will hopefully also get our Malaria meds while we are there. I miss the days when i was a kid and all i had to do was wake up and get on the plane. Time to grow up i guess.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UK meets USA

Last weekend Amit and I went to Chicago for Sarj's wedding (Amit's cousin). Sarj and his family flew in from London England a week ago for the wedding celebrations. The trip was a good excuse to meet Rinku (our dear friend) who moved back to Chicago. Texas misses you Rink a Link ;)

Below are some snap shots of us all.

The ladies (me, Sonal and Sajal)
The men (Pav, Amit, Aval and Chetan)

And last but not the least the beautiful couple - Sarj and Shweta


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Welcome!

In the past few years blogging has become the thing to do - at first i didnt think i would join the bandwagon but i have decided to give in and start one of my own. Since our families live so far away i thought this might be a good way for them to keep up with our lives (like facebook wasnt enough). Amit and I will be travelling to Kenya later this year and this would be a great way to share our adventures with our friends and family.

Lots more to come soon :)