Thursday, December 31, 2015

Halloween Party

This year I celebrated Halloween for the first time. And boy, did I have fun! Dressing up, posing and having a jolly time with friends. 

Vishnu dressed up as the masked Phantom of the Opera while I was a Gothic Priestess complete with my staff and hood. Finding the costumes and props turned out to be much easier than I had thought. 

It was exciting to see what my friends had dressed up as. There was Minnie Mouse, a Biker, a construction worker and more. Apart from the eating, drinking and making merry, the highlight was the photo shoot in which the men just let loose and posed away to glory. It was a treat to see this side of Vishnu's personality. Who knew dressing up would be so much fun!

Escape From The Time Travel Lab

Ever since I played the last Escape Room game, I have been waiting for a new one.  When I read about the latest Time Travel Lab room, I knew I had to try it. This time, I had a much bigger group comprising mostly of my colleagues. Everyone except Vishnu and I were first timers but super excited about the game. Luckily for us, no outsiders joined our team.

Happy face

As we were familiar with the set up of the game and learned from our mistakes from the past, we met up for dinner before the game to strategize. I explained the rules and split us into two groups: searchers and solvers. The former looking for clues and the latter unraveling the mystery. This really helped us become organized and we did not waste much time.

I won't reveal much about the game and spoil anyone's fun. I will say that it was a lot of hard work and suspense. The time travel element of the game was superb. We almost managed to get to the very end of the game and then ran out of time. Everyone had a blast running around rummaging for clues, puzzles and finally the key to escape. An evening of detective work, laughter and race against time. Can't wait to do more escape rooms!

Sad face
What: The Real Escape Game
Cost: $39

Italian Thanksgiving

The story of our Thanksgiving trip to Italy must be told before the new year sets in, before it goes cold. 

Grand Canal

It is not the Italy one imagines, but cold it was. The average temperature during our visit was below 10C during the day: less than comfortable for attentive sightseeing. Grey skies don't make for good photos either.

Regardless, the places are filled with photo-worthy art and architecture, possibly more than one can absorb in a lifetime. Most are Christian in theme, but such was the Renaissance period. Works inspired awe even if by sheer scale. The norm was to gape, including, and especially, at the ceilings: much of the notable architecture is of churches and palaces, interiors adorned with painting and frescoes. Often, these buildings are accessed through narrow, cobblestone streets, which encouraged walking and made the experience more than mere sightseeing. Venice was quaint as imagined (any piazza could've served as the stage for a Shakespearean scene), and hosted Tintoretto paintings in its important churches and palaces. Florence boasted of Dante, Brunelleschi's dome, Michelangelo's David, and the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. Rome was the most metropolitan of these, and yet has more history than the other two put together: the Pantheon was in very good shape, and practically every street corner seemed to be a Roman ruin or a structure by Bernini. The Vatican vied with the Roman monuments, and its museum (which includes the Sistine Chapel) contains some of the world's most famous frescoes by Raphael, Michelangelo, and Botticelli.

Restaurants in Italy have different prices for standing and sitting customers, or a cover charge per person for obtaining a table. No matter. Only once was an espresso bad; the food never. We drank wine at every meal. Partly because one need be no connoisseur: any regular Italian wine is as good as another. Partly also because water is not served free; but in Venice and in Rome, potable water flows endlessly from both artistic and utilitarian fountains to be found in every piazza. For me, a dried bean from a water-scarce Madras, that is a paradox of heaven and hell.

View from the Duomo, Florence

It's a vacation cliche, but time was truly wanting, especially for Rome. Rome wasn't built in a day; it can't be seen in two either. Fortunately, we performed the Trevi fountain ritual, so now I wait for the eternal city to beckon again.

Colosseum, Rome

(Guest writer:Vishnu)