We made it to Male!

20140526-125843.jpgWe can relax now, until tomorrow when we catch our flight to the first island. This is our first time in Maldives and we are beyond excited.

Journey to Paradise
No journey to paradise would be easy and we did not expect it so. Here is how things went down:

First leg of flight to Istanbul – upgrading to business class was on of the smartest decision I have made in a while 😉 made the flight easier on the body.

Second leg of flight from Istanbul to Male – the overlay was long but very worth it.

So we selected Turkish Airlines for this journey. After a few hick ups early on things did straighten out. For example using their app is useless – found a price there and they would not match it and they claimed it could not be true – despite screenshots I took. Not evoking trust. And yes, I am writing them a letter of complaint after the trip. The desktop version is ok, but to make sure we were booking things correctly we did call their call center. The call center is a hit or miss – you might luck out and get an awesome person like we did, but given their denial of the app issues, we were timid about calling. Anyhow… they were be best and shortest option for our destination, also we know once on board we would be well taken care of.

From Male we will have a 20 min seaplane ride tomorrow – but today we discover Male. We are ready for it, is it ready for us ?!!

Coffee: Turkish? Greek? or Arabic?

20140504-085205.jpg
As a certified coffee /kahve lover I can’t believe I have not written about this topic before. As I sip my Turkish kahve this morning, I decided to finally share my love and also explain for everyone what’s what about this coffee.

First of all, the type of coffee we are talking about here is a small cup (little larger than expresso) of roasted coffee . It certainly can give you a nice jolt. Sooo… where did this coffee tradition come from? This is a hotly debated topic – really – especially across Europe, and Middle East. Why debated? Such a great cup of coffee that everyone wants to claim it as theirs!

If you are traveling in Greece – don’t dare to call it Turkish or Arabic coffee, they will promptly correct you with ‘huh, what? we don’t have that, would you like Greek coffee?’. If you are traveling in Turkey, not advisable to call it Greek coffee either. So whatever country you are at calling it as theirs will get you a coffee you will be pleased with. Unless you want to anger the waitstaff and drink a bit of spit or who knows what in your cup!

So where do the Arabs come into this picture??? Well they have been making and drinking this wonderful coffee too. Hence they have a claim as well.

Ok so let’s cut to the chase: it is originated in Yemen – during the Ottoman Empire era Turks adapted it around 1640, and made it what is today. And what you get in all other regions and countries are different variations and flavors of the same thing. I love all of them! except for the sweet kind, could be way too sweet for my palate.

Read the full history… (at Wikipedia)

This coffee has infused into the cultures and has become part of the daily rhythm. This is what I love about it – it is not just an occasional thing. Hard to explain unless you grew up on grandmas laps who sipped this coffee while they entertained guest and chatted away life, worries, love, children, money, and all kinds of neighborly gossip. Some of you no doubt know what I am talking about.

This is not a coffee for the faint hearted, it is strong depending on the how roasted it is and how much is used in making it. It is an acquired taste. I prefer to drink it without sugar, and rarely ‘medium’ meaning with a tiny amount of sugar. Some people also are able to read the leftover coffee granules as in fortune telling – it is really a fun thing. Similar to reading tea leaves… Had it done couple times, was fun full of speculation and some things were actually semi true Oooooo!

So next time you are traveling through any of these lands… order one and enjoy it!!

I leave you with the delicious visual of Turkish coffee presented with foam (the way I like it) at Kahve Dunyasi coffee shop in Turkey:
20140504-082703.jpg

Share your Kahve moment or picture with us – tell us how you enjoy your cup!

Note: both photos displayed here are taken by surprisesaffron (c). please drop us a note if you want to use them.

Fathers

Spent most of the day today contemplating… my father. I am blessed to have a great father whose warm smile and never failing encouragement has made me what I am today. None is perfect neither is my dad and we have some disagreements too – but at the end of day the good outweighs the negative.

Today was Father’s Day. Most Father’s Day have been filled with laughter, phone calls and cheer. Not living on the same continent is rough but our hearts know how to connect. This Father’s Day was somber; he was just diagnosed with cancer recently and the news did cast a shadow. For a fairly very healthy person it came as a shock to all of the family.

Just as in many things we never think we will loose things and people we love. Things have a way of seeming to be forever and maybe that is just how it seems to me. My mind keeps slipping back to my childhood and memories of my dad. I am a daddy’s girl – always wanted to hang out with him and be like him. A clear memory from past says a lot and has set a tone in my life. I was a child maybe 8 or 9 yrs old. That summer I recall visiting villages in rural Turkey. Dad seemed to knew everyone… holding his hand tightly, keeping up with his life filled fast pace, and saying hello to strangers was fascinating. We made a stop at a dirt floor home where my dad was smiling, greeted, and hugged his friend, strangers to me. They brought us tea as it is custom. I quietly asked him why were we here. I was a brat and I was uncomfortable sitting on just a carpet on the floor, did not want to drink the tea. He gently said ‘they lost a family member. we love all beings, no matter rich or poor, or whatever religion. drink the tea.‘. This is how he set his mark in my mind and heart. Best parents show you how to live and BE.

This Father’s Day all I wish for is to have my father live to an old ripe age. I maybe too old to sit on his lap now, but want to sit in his presence and listen to his stories as long as I can.

Please send a positive thought, a warm smile, and healing thoughts towards a good man, a stranger to you, a great dad to me, and a friend to many in need and otherwise.
20130616-230724.jpg

The Journey Starts: all 26+ hours of it

Time flies and I found my self on the bus to O’Hare already. My sisters will be on their flights as well, in about 14hrs. Destination mystery! surprise! but you can tell it is far, will take 3 flights to get me there. For long flights like this having a mini carry on is a must with an extra change of clothes – just in case you feel like jumping out of your skin, you can jump into another outfit. My backup is ready – Lululemon yoga pants for comfort and support and a relaxed Splendid top.

Already figured out what our first act will be: drop the bags and head to the ocean!!

For now I stare out of the bus window to white snow flakes lazily floating down… and I feel grateful.

O’Hare
First leg is a direct flight to Istanbul. Long hours of reading, napping, reading, eating, stretching….

Then it will be on to another approx. 10hr. flight and another one… See you all at the beach!!

My travel partner for first flight: my trusted awesome Marc Jacobs bag that holds it all!! Lots of compartments and very practical while still fashionable 🙂
20130116-162058.jpg

T-8 days to vacation!

We are super excited about our trip. Packing and planning is mixed in with our expectations about all the amazing seafood we want to eat, visiting temples, and snorkeling we might do. None of us speak the language where we are going – so exciting. Can you guess our destination yet??

Travel packing is an art; we have travelled a lot and still trying to get it right. So here is our breakdown and tips:

B @USA: limiting shoes to 3 is my personal goal. Sticking to it!! taking 2 small suitcases (one is a cabin size). My packing obsession is ‘rolling’ – yes I roll everything, it has transformed how I pack. Less wrinkles and makes better use of space. Still trying to decide: 1 or 2 bikinis??

Y @SWEDEN: Every where is white in snow and no sun. We have just few days left to our trip to the sun. This is a “must have” when you live in such a climate. Just now excited, nervous, and very busy with my studies. Can’t wait to de-stress with my sisters on the beach.

Girls, to tell the truth I haven´t started packing yet but in a little side of my mind I´ve packed everything. I love your packing style “rolling” its just perfect… and definitely two bikinis.

Excited about what we might find at our destination; organic lotions, hand crafted fabrics, who knows what else. Last requests please! I can bring some snow if you didn´t get any this winter.

G @TURKEY: I try to be very minimalist when it comes to pack for beach vacation; for this beach and relaxation vacation my goal is traveling with cabin size suitcase and big handbag only. I just bring my fancy Tory Burch flip flops, my bikini and 3 casual dresses 1 cover up for beach,1 t-shirt and short, my sunglasses <– this is very important!

For the long flights, I will wear my Keen sandals and leggings t-shirt and cardigan and 1 shawl which I can re-use when we visit the temples. I only need a big handbag to put all of these clothes in and few gifts for my sisters in my cabin size lagguage. Since I learned from my sister to roll the clothes I can’t stop, it’s very useful – I swear by it.

Almost all rolled up…
20130109-204336.jpg