Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Island Life

Last month I went to Sri Lanka as part of our annual team offsite. We were a group of twelve people and as vary as I am of travelling in groups, I am happy to report that I had a lovely time. 

Sri Lanka had been on my travel bucket list forever, but I was worried I’d never end up going because you know who takes countries close to us seriously anyway! I mean we’d rather spend shitloads of money and time and trot off to Paris, or the US, but who the hell cares about a Bhutan, or a Sri Lanka- you get the drift! But Sri Lanka is gorgeous and you should totally go. 

Plus the Indian Rupee stretches so much further there. 1 Sri Lankan Rupee is around 50 Paise in Indian money, which made me feel like a white person in the third world, ensuring I came back with bags and bags of shopping. 

We were in Sri Lanka for four days, out of which two days were spent travelling (something we unfortunately didn't account for while planning the trip) and so we ended up with long hours on a bus with a very patient guide, who didn't mind as we shouted and sang at the top of our voices. We spent two nights in Hikkaduwa (a lovely beach-side town) and one night in Colombo. 

At Hikkaduwa we stayed at this lovely resort and had a pool and beach all to ourselves. Since it was a short-ish trip I didn't end up getting any reading done, but we did go to Galle Fort and that my friends was the absolute highlight of my entire trip. A city inside a fort, Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is building after building of some of the most remarkable colonial architecture.

 I was thoroughly impressed by how Sri Lanka has managed to preserve these beautiful 17th century colonial buildings, built by the Dutch and later the Portuguese. Since Galle is a World Heritage Site, no renovation is allowed and hence the fort still has these narrow, cobblestone alleys flanked by quaint old colonial buildings. 

On our way back to Colombo we stopped by for a river cruise on the Madhu Ganga River that also has a mangrove forest. It was hot as hell and I was convinced I would be cooked by the time we got off the boat. But the Mangroves were, well interesting and I’m glad I saw them because I don’t think I’m going to the Sunderbans anytime soon. 

Colombo was clean, very clean and the best part? There were no men leering at us. The one night we had in Colombo was spent shopping and then gate crashing a Sri Lankan wedding. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. 

My verdict: Sri Lanka is beautiful and the people are lovely. In fact I liked the people more. I mean there are beaches all over the world, but the kindness and friendliness of Sri Lankan people was very touching and will be one the biggest reasons I’d visit the country again. 

P:S- I've discovered Instagram as a wonderful way of maintaining a photo travel diary of sorts and so I Instagram most of my travel pics on the go. For more of my travel (and other) pics, you can follow me on Instagram here

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fat Fiona Writes

SheFeet has been feeling the cold a little too much lately. Being the winter grump that she is, she has been spending most of her time in bed with a hot water bottle and near that GODAWFUL HEATER FROM HELL (that thing gives me the creeps). Since she was being lazy about blogging, I thought I’d pitch in and write a post this week. As you can see from my photograph above, I’m a very well read cat.

SheFeet has been acting all weird these days. When she's not lolling around in bed, she spends most of her time at her computer, typing away furiously and brushes me away when I try to walk over the keyboard (I swear I press ctrl+s on my way across). Well what can I say, humans are odd!

It has been a month since I’ve been living with SheFeet and HeFeet and my life has been good so far. I have my own room and a nice velvety chair that was initially used by the Feet but has now been monopolized by me of course. The latest addition to my room is a scratching post, which I don’t use, because I prefer scratching the curtains instead.  

SheFeet has this annoying habit of frequently shouting “NO”, especially when I’m having the most fun, like balancing myself on the TV,  getting inside their cupboards, sitting atop their very high bookshelf (that’s where I get the best view of pigeons you see), or jumping on top of the fridge (so much fun!). Most times I’m pulled off these surfaces, or lured off very cleverly with a feather stick (argh these humans, they take advantage of being the superior species).
Another very irritating habit SheFeet has is of scooping me off the ground, hugging me close and cooing “Whoosa pretty girl, whoosa pretty girl?” I mean come on, I think we all KNOW who the pretty girl is! It’s certainly not SheFeet because she doesn’t even have a nice pair of whiskers. Stupid, stupid humans!

The other day I heard HeFeet telling SheFeet that he suspects I have no brain. Imagine the cheek! I’m so pissed off. They've wounded my pride. What do these humans think I am- a cute little ball of fluff they can enamour with a feather stick! I’m planning on using his face as a scratching post next. Just wait.

The only reason I mildly tolerate SheFeet is because she regularly supplies me with chicken and cleans my litter box, or else I don’t see why I need these two humans in my house. HeFeet is okay too, he playfully chases me around the house and on days SheFeet isn’t around, feeds me chicken and gives me empty grocery bags to play with.

A few days ago SheFeet brought me some foul smelling Tuna which she lovingly placed on my plate. I gave the plate one disgusted sniff and walked away as soon as I could. The thing is I HATE FISH! These stupid humans and their silly stereotypes about cats. The next day she placed some milk in my bowl, which disgusted me further. I looked SheFeet straight in the eye and gave her a look which meant “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!”

SheFeet has clearly been reading some stupid things about cats on the internet. If only she’d realize that I love chicken and paranthas. Arrey I’m a Punjabi cat yaar, this fish and milk is good for those Angrez cats. And ohh chicken sausages are nice too!

I’ve noticed that the Feet have a room in the house called the Bathroom, which is where they keep their litter boxes. It’s pretty disgusting really because there’s water in there and my paws get all wet when I go inside. I believe the Feet “Take Showers” which means they pour water on their bodies to clean themselves. Ugh, how frightful to have to do something like THAT! I do a much better job washing myself with my tongue.
Anyhow, I think I’ll leave now. I’ve overheard the Feet talking about going out for coffee (it’s a vile thing they like to drink) and I’ve just noticed a bean bag I haven’t jumped on in a while. It’s going to be so much fun clawing at that while they’re away!
Bye bye.

(This post has partly been inspired by this one)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Becoming The Cat Lady

Last month, after much longing, I got myself a cat. I've grown up with pets and after my dog Bruno passed on four years ago, I've been pet less. I've been yearning for a pet ever since, but was hesitant, since I’m out of the house almost ten hours a day, most of the week. That’s when the idea of a cat popped into my head, I've always liked cats- they’re beautiful, affectionate (in a non dog like manner) and pretty much take care of themselves- as long as you supply them with food, water, a clean litter box and of course, love.

Sometime in November I came across a post on the Friendicoes Facebook page about a beautiful three year old cat up for adoption. Her name was Makhan, she was light beige with large yellow eyes and tabby stripes on her tail. The minute I saw here, I knew I wanted her!

After a series of phone calls with her then owner, a string of questions and a house visit, we decided we wanted to take her home. The fact that she was super friendly (she’s very social for a cat), spayed and litter box trained, made our decision easier. I’m a cat novice, I've grown up with pets, but never had a cat. I had many questions, many of which she helped answer and the rest I hoped I’d figure once I got her home.

It’s been a month since Makhan, now rechristened Fiona  has been with us and it has been quite an experience-mostly good, but there have been some rough days too. I initially wanted to name her Alice, but then she didn't look like an Alice. The husband suggested Fiona and it seemed to fit her perfectly, so Fiona she is.

Fiona makes me want to come home every evening, not because I have to, but because I want to. At the risk of sounding like a fawning parent, I can watch Fiona for hours- her large, mostly unblinking yellow eyes, her desire to climb on every surface she can, her curiosity (especially around cupboards and bags, which she must get inside), the way she sits on the window sill for hours looking outside, or her crouching on all fours when she spots pigeons in the balcony and her ability to hide like an expert.

I’m leaning to be patient and understand what Fiona’s trying to tell me, because she’ll never be old enough to tell me how she’s feeling, or what she wants. I have become an obsessive Google-er of cats and cat behaviour and have begun to stalk people who have cats!

To my disappointment, Fiona isn't a lap cat (at least not yet), but she’s an absolute quilt cat. She loves burrowing under my duvet and can stay there for hours, snuggling besides me. I love how she fits herself perfectly against my body while I sleep, looking for a curve she can slide herself into, where she’ll stay purring all the while.

I love talking to Fiona while I potter around the house, or work on my laptop and there are days when I can swear she rests her large yellow eyes on me and says “okayyy”. Oh well, looks like I’m turning into the Cat Lady!