Sunday, March 28, 2010

My friends and family..........

If the previous week was about making new friends, the last was about reconnecting with old ones.

It began with catching up with my best friend Marissa at her brother's 50th Birthday party. It was a nice event with lots of their family around. The music was mostly jive and rock n roll, most of which I had not heard for quite sometime. It was great to see Marissa and family connecting with their cousins, uncles, aunts, etc.

Marissa and me.

With Marissa's parents.

Merlyn, Rick, Clyde, Marissa and their parents.

Then of course, I had my cousin Aaron over. He was staying with us whilst he was attending a training programme. We spent a lot of quality time together and even went for the IPL cricket match - MI vs CSK. Here are some pics of his tattoos!!

There was a Jet Airways reunion planned on the Friday but I was too exhausted to attend, so I skipped. However the next day was a reunion of sorts with some close Jet Airways friends - Meeta, Yogita, Alyce and Payal. We met at Sammy Sosa's, Oshiwara and feasted on a range of starters which were all pretty good especially the cheese butter garlic prawns. We ended up digging into the brownie with chocolate sauce and icecream that Yogita had ordered. It was great to catch up with the girls. Each of them is doing fabulously well in their own right and I am so proud of them. This is the age of the powerful Indian women! :)

Pooja, Meeta, Yogita, Alyce and myself

Finally this morning, we attended the brunch organised by the Victoria Tourism Board at the Taj Land's End. It was a viewing of the Melbourne Grand Prix as well as a brunch with some activities for kids. I invited my friend Juanella and her little daughter Renee for the function as well. Renee being the smart child that she is, won a couple of kid's events. We feasted on the food and drink and I networked a bit with some industry people. The race was great because Force India came in at 7th place, which is not at all bad! and to top it all, Mum won a hamper of Australian Goodies.

Renee with her certificate and tattoo!

Juanella and Renee

Mum with her hamper of Aussie goodies.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The IPL - Match 20 - Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings

I am not a cricket fan..........yet I wanted to go for the IPL match. I had been for one 2 years earlier during the first IPL season and the atmosphere was electric. And for that reason alone, I had to go.

I was given a couple's VIP pass and since my cousin Aaron was in town, I invited him to come along with me to the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai. He ofcourse, was quite happy to do so. My friend Smita, was quite upset because a few days earlier she had said that she would love to go to watch the MI vs CSK match and that was exactly the match that I was going for!! Anyway I have promised to take her for the next one.

As expected, the atmosphere in the stadium was charged and there was a sea of blue fans with a smattering of yellow. We were right in front of the CSK cheerleaders who caught Aaron's attention throughout. Anyway, CSK batted first and it was a slow game with very few big shots. Yet they reached a decent score of 180 runs. I was sitting next to a young boy who was a CSK fan and his father on the other hand was a MI fan. It was interesting to watch his reaction everytime CSK was on top of the game and whenever they were not.

So the first half was quite quiet because none of the MI fans were cheering for CSK. But come the MI out on the field to bat and what do you know? The stadium was in a constant uproar with a lot of boos when the CSK bowlers bowled well and of course lots of cheering and blowing of trumpets when there were some big shots. There were definitely fireworks and I thought MI would finish the match in 15 overs!!

Throughout the match, there was complimentary popcorn, wafers and soft drinks. During the break, we had to move to a dining area for dinner and drinks. Amazing. If I had to go again, I would, for the just joking........for the electric experience. Hope I make it for the RCB game though.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Geneva - the rest of the week

The rest of the week was spent in training. We had some amazing people in the class – from various countries, various airlines and various divisions of IATA. The view from the class window was most distracting. I had the Jura range in front of me and everytime an aircraft took off, I was completely distracted with the beautiful picture it made.

The stunning view from the classroom

The entire class - fantastic group dynamics

Most of the evenings were spent discovering different restaurants serving a variety of food and talking about various cultures.

David, Blanca, Matilda, myself and Amos

The panfried goat's cheese salad at Chez Ma Maison

Amos and Matilda from Virgin Nigeria, Blanca from IATA Madrid and David from Cape Verde

The rosti and gruyere salad with air dried ham at the Swiss Chalet.
The portions come in a huge bucket.

Amos, Matilda, Shikha and myself at The Casanova.
We ate Filet de Perche which was outstanding.

At the sushi bar Matsuri.

Amos, Matilda, Blanca, David, myself and Savithri from Thai

The plat du jour at the Montreaux Jazz Cafe.
Grilled fish in mustard sauce with sweet potato puree.

Mr. Kannan, Mamitiana, Savithri and David

Blanca, Raimond, Shikha, Shyam, Matilda, Amos, Amin, David and Savithri

The sinfully delicious Chocolate Fondant

The yummy cheesecake

On the last day, we had sometime to spare. So Mr. Kannan took Mamitiana, Savithri and myself for a drive to Signal de Bougy, Versoix and Nyon. We had an amazing time.

The view of Mont Blanc and Lac Leman from Signal de Bougy

The park at Signal de Bougy

Trying to capture the beautiful colours of nature

The harbour at Versoix

Honestly, I have met some wonderful people who have made a lasting impression on my heart and mind. I do hope that I meet them again soon in the near future.

Geneva - Day 1

The trip to Geneva came out of the blue. My friend Prabh, who heads the Training and Development unit in Kingfisher, called to tell me about a free seat being offered for a course organised by IATA in Geneva. The course was International Strategy Planning and Implementation. It sounded I asked my boss for permission and lo and behold, I got the approval. Luckily I had a Schengen visa, so I just had to organise my tickets. I flew KLM from DEL to GVA and back on Air France direct to BOM. I love flying KLM as they are better than AF and I get to collect their beautiful miniature houses.

So I arrived in Geneva last Sunday morning and went straight to the NH Hotel which is quite close to the airport and the IATA training centre. Luckily for me, I have been to Geneva twice before and know my way around pretty well. I had already seen the sights and museums on my previous visits so this time I thought to just take it easy and relax.

Now Geneva is a sleepy old town and everything is shut on Sundays except for the museums (which I had seen). So I picked up a picnic lunch from the airport supermarket Migros (which by the way is one of the rare shops open on Sundays) and headed for the lake. Lac Leman is the largest natural fresh water lake in Western Europe. 60% of the lake is under the jurisdiction of Switzerland and 40% in France. Therefore it is not considered to be the largest lake in Switzerland! Lake Neuchatel is the largest. :)

So I strolled along the lake, the harbour and the Jardin Anglais (English Garden). I had my picnic admiring the beautiful scenic view of the Jet d'Eau. Never can tire of it. Then walked around the old town and took some pictures of all the famous sites.

Spent a lot of time watching people. Lots of families with small children all bundled up to keep warm (as it is always chilly by the lake). Watched the swans and ducks and took pictures of the flower clock.

That evening, my friends Martin and Hasna took me out for dinner to a typical Swiss restaurant. We had to grill the meat and eat it with whatever sauce took our fancy. Overall an exceptional day.

The aircraft model at the Geneva Airport railway station.

The water is so clear and the swans are so cute.

The famous Jet d'Eau at Lac Leman.

The beautiful and serene Jardin Anglais

The famous flower clock.

The funny trees all over Geneva.

The beautiful carved sculpture in the Jardin Anglais.

The murals near the City Hall depicting important historic scenes .

City Hall

The chess players in the garden near Place Neuve.

The International Monument to the Reformation
Geneva was Catholic till the Protestant Reformation which took place in 1532. The Catholic Bishop was forced to leave and the city was influenced by John Calvin.

 Hasna and Martin

The traditional grilled meat

Places that I visited in Geneva before and which I would recommend are:

The United Nations - It is free, you just need to show your passport.

The Broken Chair

A tribute to Mahatma Gandhi

The General Assembly

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

CERN - we were very lucky to get a private tour of CERN before they shut down for enhanced activity. Quite revolutionary work.

The Phillipe Patek museum which is an absolute gem. Reminds you of the time, when a watch was not just a functional piece of jewelery but a true work of art.