It was a fun trip with us three classmates getting together in one of our homes in Dubai. I had never been to the Middle East and so it was an eagerly awaited trip. Starting off with a wonderful 3 hour comfortable flight to Dubai and being picked up by our friends, the city was a revelation to me. Skyscrapers almost touching the sky, magical lights glittering as we drove home, a maze of fly overs intersecting one another. What a wonderful and shining example of mans drive and ambition to achieve in just 50 years.
The malls were massive, but more suited to the western mind. I loved the souks which breathed the life of Dubai. The incense curling upwards, the brightly lit lamps in the shops, the multicoloured Turkish plates and the sacks of spices to entice and invite. That was the real Dubai I enjoyed the most. And ofcourse crossing the Dubai creek on one of those old fashioned motorised dhows.
Enjoy Dubai from its skyscrapers and snowski slopes in the mall, to the date palms and the rambling old souks. And dont miss going into a local restaurant to savour Arabian food. It's a holiday of a lifetime and one you should make to enjoy.
Living in Bangalore with it's salubrious climes definitely has it's advantages. I love Crotons and today they have a hybrid which is in sale which is small and dwarf enough to grow on one's balcony. However one definitely needs the sun to enjoy the changing colours in the leaves. Have a look at the first picture and then see how the colours change with the sun playing artist with colours.
Crotons when we were kids were pretty large shrubs grown in the sprawling gardens of Bangalore. Now we can still enjoy their colourful foliage with this dwarf variety. I have a great collection as we give them out to our guest authors in my iBrowse book club and so I collect one every month! So here's to all my balconies being filled up with these really easy to grow yet colourful plants.
Usually the Tabebia Argentia is all ablaze across Bangalore, India between January and February. Also known as the ‘Golden Trumpet Tree’ or ‘Yellow Trumpet Tree’, and this refers to the tree's magnificent blaze of golden flowers at this time of year. Silver Trumpet Tree is a small and very beautiful semi-deciduous tree from the tropical rainforests of South America. It grows around 3 to 6 metres tall, forming a nice and airy canopy.
When the flowers bloom, they put on a brilliant display, being covered profusely in 8cm bright yellow, trumpet shaped flowers. The leaves often drop just before the flowers appear. Some trees drop 100% of their leaves, making the flowers even more prominent and spectacular. When many trees are planted in a group, the effect is stunning.Landscapers use them to great effect in public and institution gardens that they plan.
The tree is a fast growing species. They are not good near pools or anywhere where you don’t want
leaves and flowers to drop as they are pretty messy. But the most important point is that they don’t have invasive roots and best of all are pest resistant, so no maintenance.
This time we had to rush down to Pilerne in the rain. Normally we avoid Goa in the rain as it can be hard handling the sheets that pour down from the heavens, all the day, everyday. However this time there was no choice. The water bills were crazy and we had to com and handle them as the caretaker just could not. Government offices do not take kindly to caretakers. And, if they find someone to harass, they wont release him in a hurry.
As we drove into the village and through our bowl of the rice fields the green as far as the eye could see was intoxicating. What a wonderful and pleasing view and we had missed this year after year. Paddy growing in the fields, in varying shades of green and in the distance a white cross to remind us that what was there was a gift from the almighty.
As we droe over the little bridge we could see the water of the creek was in high tide. That meant this was when the little boys and men who fish for cat fish would get their act together. Along the sides of the creek grew mangroves and have been there ever since I was a little girl.
I hopped out of the car to get a picture with the fields in the back ground. What a wonderful, wonderful welcome for us.
After a while the amount of info that a brain can handle becomes saturated and one needs to get out of conference rooms to breathe. That is what happened to a colleague and me in Zaragoza. We were invited there to cover the 2015 UN Water, Annual International Zaragoza Conference. So we hitched up our back packs and took off to the nearest bus stop. In minutes some friendly faces advised us taking bus 35 to down town Zaragoza where we could go and see the main Plaza. Costing us hardly 1.2 Euros we bought our tickets with the conductor and off we went jumping off at a spot the driver advised us to get off at.
As we walked we noticed this market in a beautiful arched building. All sorts of fresh produce were on sale as you can see in the pictures below especially my absolutely favourite garlic.
There were beautiful green chillies and also very prettily veined cabbages -- see pictures below:
And best of all a shop with what looked like home made sausages! Obviously the Spanish love their pork and sausages!
Then once we had filled our minds with the colour and our sense of smell with the food on display off we went to see Julius Ceasars Baths and wall and marvel at the ingenuity to the Romans to come so far afield to capture parts of Zaragoza to add to their conquests.
The amazing beauty of Spain cannot be denied lies not in its large cities but in the smaller cities like Zaragoza. So when I was selected to attend the 2015 UN Water, Annual International Zaragoza Conference a shiver of excitement ran up and down my spine. Having stayed in Europe for two years while doing a Masters course in Journalism I fell in love with the beauty and history of Europe.
Ofcourse we were going for a Water Conference so the whole day we were busy working in halls just swotting over water issues, but come the evening we got the time to wander around and Zaragoza is safe for women alone even at night.
Landing in Madrid we were charmed by its wonderful T4 S terminal with its very unusual roof, quite unlike any other in the world. It set the tone for our expectations of Madrid and Zaragoza. Collecting our luggage off the carousel in Madrid we headed for the railway station called Atocha. What a stunning building and all the way there we stared at the beauty of the huge fountains in Madrid.
Standing and waiting in a que for my Renfe ticket was a new experience with having to take a chit with a number and waiting for the number to get called. However rather than pay 75 Euros for my ticket if bought online like my colleagues did, I paid 55 Euros as it was one of the last tickets left to be bought.It took an hour for the speedy Renfe to get m into Zaragoza and into my rather modern Tryp Hotel. All the way the scene outside my train window showed quaint villages in very arid looking countryside.
Reaching Zaragoza finally I asked around for my hotel in the cold evening air and few knew the name. Then finally it was the cab driver who almost walked me to my hotel, people are that friendly and helpful in Spain.