Tag Archives: party

Cooler Colombo, 2015

One evening, my husband, daughter, parents and I went up the hill to another opulent old colonial hotel- the Mount Lavinia Hotel. We had missed the sunset and it was dark by the time we arrived through rush hour traffic, but we could still hear the waves crashing down below and see the train weaving its way along the coastline. We sat outside near the pool where a band was playing some old favourite tunes and relished a bit of the cooler atmosphere up here.

The following day, my husband, daughter and I set off in our own tuk tuk to find the little oasis of South Biera Lake in the big city. City buildings surrounded the lake, but they seemed far away, especially when you took the footbridge to the island in the middle of the lake. It was my favourite new discovery in Colombo and I was glad that the three of us had come here together.

There was a meditation centre on the lake also that my husband visited by himself as I was wearing shorts. The centre was very interesting as it had both Hindu and Buddist statues along with the obligatory Adam’s foot. My daughter and I amused ourselves by watching the cormorant’s fish and then we all cooled down with a fresh fruit juice from a local stall on the side of the lake.

My uncle Tommy was an established businessman in Colombo and is the member of quite a few exclusive clubs. He took us to the Colombo Swimming Club as his special guests for lunch that was very traditional and very tasty. We all also enjoyed a dip in the pool of course, which overlooked the ocean and seemed to stretch out onto the horizon and beyond.

On our last night in Colombo, my aunt and uncle hosted a party with many assorted aunts, uncles and cousins. A lady came to the house to make fresh hoppers and there was lots of drinking and smoking as is the Sri Lanka party way. It was nice to see many familiar faces again- everyone was older, perhaps not wiser- but we had all seemed to multiply.

And so, it was time to leave the city, jump in the van with our driver Ravi and set off on our road trip around Sri Lanka. First stop- Galle.

Related posts: Old Colombo, 2015It’s a Sri Lankan ThingSri Lanka, 1998

A Hawaiian Wedding, 2014

I had never been a bridesmaid before, despite having attended 50 weddings; so it was awesome to be asked by my bestie, have a dress and jewellery bought for me and get my hair and make up done. Most of all, I felt incredibly honoured to be a part of my bestie’s special day and to have the opportunity to feel like a part of her fantastic family.

The day of the wedding, it was raining. There had been talk among the locals of a 50-year storm that had been brewing, but I really hadn’t paid much attention until then. But raining it was, with waves so high, they were crashing over the sea wall onto the area reserved for the ceremony and reception.

Panic ensued, as well as a trip to Walmart to see if we could stock up on umbrellas, gumboots and tarps. With the ground soaked through and the waves and rain showing no sign of abating, the groom put in a call to the bride to postpone the wedding until the next day. My bestie took it quite well all things considered.

Being housebound due to rain, the evening turned into a pre wedding party with much drinking and dancing- Australian style. The groom was an Aussie after all, so there were enough of us around to take control of the tunes.

Wedding day take two went much more according to plan. The beauty team returned to make us all look more beautiful than we already were again and there was pre ceremony photos and champagne for the ladies of the wedding party.

The sun was out and the waves were still curling beautifully, but not too big; except for that one where my bestie, my bestie’s sister Janeen and I were taking sunset photos with our back to the ocean and it sneaked over the wall, making us run!

The ceremony was lovely and the guests were few enough that we could all fit on one long table under chandeliers for the reception. Dinner included gazpacho and lobster with an ice cream station- definitely my kind of desert.

It rained a little on the dance floor, but that didn’t stop anyone. Some of the wedding party ended up jumping in the pool, including the bride and her two bridesmaids. Hair and make up came out unscathed and the party continued – now that’s value for money.

Related posts: Hawaiian Road Trip, 2014, Solo trip to Hawaii, 2014, Canada, 2011, Fiji, 2011, Destination Thailand, 2010, The Seven Year Itch

Berlin, 1997, Part 2: To the East!

Sarah and I headed to the Pinocchio Bar in the former East Berlin with Richard from New Zealand  and Krista from Canada. Along with Paulo from Brazil and a Japanese guy, we had a representative from almost every continent in the world.  We were all staying in a hostel close to the Brandenburg Gate. After we chatted, we went to a more lively reggae bar to continue our first night of partying in Berlin.

Unter den Linden, the main street of the former East Berlin, had street stalls where we tucked into the local speciality of hash browns with cinnamon sugar the following day. We saw Berliner Dom and the contrasting architecture of the TV tower.

We visited Marienkirche- the oldest church in Germany. We walked through Alexanderplatz which was the scene of many protests and was currently filled with lots of student protesters who were on a four week strike. They seem very passionate about their beliefs here.

At the hostel we met Simone and Kate from Adelaide and headed out to a bar with them, Monica, Paulo and Krista. Monica and Paulo spoke Italian to each other, then switched to French when Krista joined the conversation, but we all spoke English together.

We went to the Tacheles artist’s house which had a club in the garden house behind Pinocchio Bar. All the buildings were painted on and were falling apart. There were art displays and graphitised walls in the house and the garden had a wrecked bus, a rocket sculpture and one of a tower.

Inside the garden house it was like a warehouse with bashed through walls. It was very run down and very cool. We stayed until the early hours of the morning. There is a real party atmosphere in Berlin- it is feels like everyone is still celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall.

By day, we went to the cobblestoned Nikolaiviertel in the old area of town and saw the new modern synagogue which looked like a block of flats. The old synagogue was burnt by the Nazis on Kristallnacht and there is a plaque in memorial of this on the new synagogue. Some of the rooms were rebuilt in the old design, but there is a new dome.

Back at the hostel, we said ours goodbyes and boarded the night train to Amsterdam which was to be out last stop before heading back to England after completing a full circle of Europe.

Related posts: Berlin, 1997, Part 1: The West SideCzech Republic, 1997Austria, 1997Hungary, 1997Romania, 1997Bulgaria, 1997Turkey, 1997Greece, 1997Italy, 1997, Part 2: Bella ItaliaItaly, 1997, Part 1: From Rome to FlorenceSpain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona,  Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona,  France, 1997, Part 2: The South of France, France, 1997, Part 1: ParisBelgium, 1997Holland, 1997England, 1997I first started travellingBy special requestHome is where you make itI first started writing

What’s in a number?

I am going to my cousin’s 21st birthday this weekend and I must admit I am a little afraid.

If it’s anything like the year of 21st’s that I went to when I was 21 it will involve buying a hip flask or a vase as a present depending on your gender, dressing up in impractical fancy dress, drinking far too much and mixing drinks, dancing crazily, throwing up, drinking some more and waking up in either a car or a barn.

I feel like I am far too old to be contemplating such activities and am quite glad it’s actually not expected of me at my age. It has a time and place, but I prefer to enjoy my weekend DAYS now rather than spending them hung-over until it’s time to start drinking again.

So, it got me thinking about what makes me feel old?

When I delayed university for two years and then had to enter as a mature age student- that label made me feel old.

When I asked one of my younger friends if they liked “Things that make you go Hmmm” and they didn’t know who C & C Music Factory were- that made me feel old.

When I realised I got my belly button piercing BEFORE it was cool- this made me feel old, but also very cool so that was ok.

When I turned 25, I had a quarter-life crisis. So by the time I turned 30, I was over feeling old due to the age that I was.

When I think of all the technology advances I have seen in my lifetime- that is the best indicator of the path of time. In the past, the move from records to tapes seemed huge. But now, technology moves at such a fast rate I have seen the move from tapes to CD’s to MP3 players to iTunes.

When I went on my first trip to Europe by myself I had to use pay phones to keep in touch with my parents. Now there are mobile phones, email, Facebook and Skype.

Finally, when I got a mortgage, got married and had a child- this really made me feel old! So maybe feeling old is directly proportionate to the amount of responsibilities you have in your life?

But at the end of the day, age is just a number, not how we feel. And we are all still 21 on the inside right?

Related posts: Cocktail Hour in Sydneytown, Get your groove on, By special request

The seven year itch

I have been to 50 weddings in my life, 40 of those in the last seven years. This is not an exaggeration- I have counted. I know it seems a little excessive, but the only explanation that I can give is that of a Catholic family and country school mates. Or maybe it’s just that I am really sociable and a fun wedding guest?!

My husband has been dragged to many of these wedding with me and vice versa. He has been in many bridal parties, has been the MC and an usher- while I have sat at the singles table. The only wedding that I have been in the bridal party for was my best friend’s wedding earlier this year.

What I know about weddings could fill a book. I have been to big weddings, small weddings, full catholic ceremonies, quickie celebrant ceremonies, church weddings, house weddings, reception hall weddings, hotel weddings, RSL weddings, fancy restaurant weddings, cocktail party weddings, sit down weddings, stand up weddings, garden weddings, beach weddings, winery weddings, weekend away weddings, destination weddings, a wedding in a courthouse, one in a library and a wedding on a tugboat.

I have been to weddings in Terrigal, the Hunter Valley, Berrima, Mount Wilson, Wollongong, Kangaroo Valley, Berry and Sydney. I have travelled to attend weddings in Melbourne, Hobart, Cairns and Darwin. I used to have a no overseas wedding rule, but after getting married in Thailand myself, I couldn’t really use that as a reason not to go anymore. So I have now also been to weddings in Fiji, Hawaii and Canada. The money I have spent on travel, accommodation, kitchen teas, hen’s nights/weekends away and wedding presents is a sum I don’t even want to think about- but it was all in good fun and each wedding has been special in its own way.

With my events background I would probably make a great wedding planner and I have considered this. I have a friend who does hair and make up, one trained in floristry and a friend that does photography. But the bottom line is that I could not deal with bridezillas.

Even the most sane and sensible people who swore they would never get caught up in the commercial hoop-la end up worrying about things like what is on the place cards. For my own wedding I did not give a toss about the details- I just got the hotel to do it all and make all the decisions. The cake was hideous- but who cares- I didn’t even want a cake and I didn’t choose it.

It dismays me when I see people getting caught up in all the little things, succumbing to family pressure and losing sight of themselves and what’s really important- two people making a commitment to each other and an excuse for a really good party. No one else is going to notice if the vase on table 1 is different to the vase on table 2, so just relax and enjoy the day.

The cost is also ridiculous- just mention the word wedding and the price triples. That’s why I was “shopping for my thirtieth” when I found my red wedding dress. Why would I wear white when red is my best colour? The average Australian wedding costs 50 thousand, which is enough for a long honeymoon and a good start on a flat deposit. Who wants to start their married life in debt?

And then there is the question of the second weddings. I have not been to one yet, but with a few friends divorced, it could happen. Do you automatically get an invite to the second wedding if you have been to the first or are you automatically excluded? Wether you go or not, do you have to buy another wedding present?

At the end of the day, each bride (and groom) needs to make the choice about what they want and be happy about it. If a big wedding with all the trimmings and a white dress is what you want, then go for it, but just be honest and say that is what you want from the beginning.

Related posts: I first started writing, Home is where you make it, Travel rememberings, Friendship: Great Expectations?, All Creatures Great and Small, Canada, 1990, TV replays and Movie Marathons, USA, 1990, By special request