The wonderful Baltic Sea cruise

Several folks I’ve met believe cruises are for: 1) Old people 2) Families with kids 3) Lazy losers.

But I say, baloney to that! I fall in none of these categories, but I still enjoy a great cruise. While on a cruise you can catch glimpses of not one but several new destinations, while getting a chance to relax and not having to worry about packing your toothbrush, scrambling for an inexpensive meal or running to catch a train. And if you fall in love with a place, you can plan a longer vacation around that next time.

The Northern European cruise I did with Mom in May 2014 was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life—I visited a part of Europe we hadn’t seen before, saw some beautiful places and I ticked off a place on my bucket list—St Petersberg, Russia.

Day 0: Flying into Copenhagen, Denmark

Late night, we flew from Mumbai to Copenhagen via Brussels. (While in transit, we bought a box of Belgian chocolates to enjoy on the trip. :-D)

Day 1: Copenhagen, Denmark

We arrived in sunny Copenhagen mid-morning. I’d booked a Copenhagen Card which I picked up at the airport, so the Metro ride into town was free. We walked past canals and hip restaurants to reach our budget hotel in Borgergade.

After some rest, we headed out for a canal ride, admiring the brightly-coloured buildings, the Copenhagen Opera House and views of erstwhile royal residences. Then we hopped on to a local bus and headed to the country’s most famous amusement park Tivoli Gardens. While we were too tired to try the rides, we did enjoy the lively, familial atmosphere, the peacocks in the gardens, the food and a light comedy sketch (of which we understood nothing). We took a local bus back to hotel.

Copenhagen Denmark canal ride

Day 2: Helsingør (Elsinore) and Copenhagen

I’m a literature buff, so it was natural that I’d want to visit a place of literary significance. So early morning we took the DBS train from Copenhagen station to Helsingør (Elsinore). Our destination: Kronborg castle, also called the “Hamlet castle” for it’s supposedly the setting for William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. No one knows for certain if Shakespeare visited this castle, but he might have. And he most certainly had friends who did. While the castle looked grand and imposing as we walked there from the town’s small railway station, it was actually quite comforting once we were within its walls. It also had some gorgeous vantage points of Ørseund Strait (and Sweden!).

Elsinore Castle Denmark

After a guided tour of the castle and a brave solo trip of the cellar, we took the train back to Copenhagen and walked to Rosenborg Castle. I marveled at the gorgeous marble floors, the little pendants among the jewellery and the armoury sections of the castle museum. From there, we took a Metro ride to reach the to the aquarium Blue Planet. We got there just 15 minutes before closing time, but the staff was kind enough to let us in and enjoy the place at leisure. Though we were tired after such a long day, I wanted to visit the one of the largest no-car streets in Europe—Strøget. Since it was summer, it was a late sunset and we window shopped in fashion stores and the Lego store (yay!), till we got tired and decided to just people-watch instead. After dinner at a wonderful Mexican restaurant, we walked back to our hotel.

Day 3: Copenhagen and cruise

We had a few hours in the morning, so we took a bus to Christiansborg Palace, the seat of Danish parliament. Unfortunately it was closed that day but we could go into the courtyard and view the glorious façade. Then another bus ride to the National Museum of Denmark (free entry). There’s only one word for this museum—mind-boggling. I especially enjoyed the prehistoric and Vikings section, and the toy section. Too bad I didn’t have more time to see the entire museum. We headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and take a taxi to the pier where our Royal Caribbean cruise ship Legend of the Seas was docked. We checked in, had a leisurely lunch at the restaurant, then spent the evening exploring the ship.

Day 4: At sea

After the past two days of hectic travel, we finally had a chance to relax. We made the most of our time onboard—we watched a Broadway-style dance show, played Bingo, tried our hands at a cooking demo and sampled the complimentary snacks around the ship.

Day 5: Stockholm, Sweden

Next morning, we docked at Stockholm. On the way there, we passed the Stockholm archipelago—thirty thousand little green islands dotting the Baltic Sea. It was a bright sunny day in the Swedish capital, and our pre-arranged tour guide (Carlos from Mexico!), took us on a city tour. We first visited Stockholm City Hall where I gaped at the grandeur of the “golden room” with its high ceilings and walls bathed in gold. The hall also hosts the lavish Nobel Prize banquet every year.

Stockholm City Hall Sweden

We then headed to Gamla Stan, the old city centre with its narrow streets, closely-placed buildings and plenty of cafes and restaurants. After snaking our way through the winding streets, Mom and I headed to an Indian takeaway joint for a packed lunch. Sitting in the main square, I opened my lunch box and tasted the most delicious dal makhni and jeera pulao I’ve ever had outside India. After lunch, we headed to Stockholm Palace to witness the changing of the guard, briefly stopping en route for a photo op with City Hall as background. And then we visited the Vasa Museum—a unique museum that’s all about ships. I didn’t even know I liked ships till I visited this one. Back on board late afternoon, we headed for an evening snack, then rested up before dinner.

Day 5: Tallinn, Estonia

Not too many people have even heard of this country in Northern Europe. Its capital Tallinn is a town steeped in medieval history. We went around the city by bus, taking time to walk around the cobblestoned streets in Old Town, spotting quaint churches and centuries-old walls. We later visited the stunning Kadriorg Palace, the entryway lined with gorgeous gardens and fountains. Inside the palace complex, I visited a small museum housed wonderful sculpture and paintings from around Europe. We later took a bus back to the pier.

Day 6: St Petersburg, Russia

Oh, how I’d waited to reach Russia! Despite the gloomy weather and continual rain, my day in St Petersburg is among the most memorable days of my life. Since we could enter Russia as a cruise visitor only via a guided tour, I’d signed up for one already. Our first stop was the amazing Peterhof Palace on the outskirts of the city. Despite the damage during the wars, the palace has been restored wonderfully and walking through the large halls to see the royal crockery, dining table and silks was like stepping back in time.

Peterhof Palace St Petersberg Russia

We then headed to the Hermitage Museum in the heart of the city. The building was designed in a typical Baroque style and I thoroughly enjoyed the classical Greek artifacts, Italian and Spanish paintings and Russian art. We then had a chance to ride the escalator deep down into the city metro just to see how the station itself is a work of art! Later we stopped for souvenir shopping (matryoshka dolls were on my list) and to the Church on Spilled Blood, named so after Emperor Alexander II was wounded here. Dead tired after this very exhausting day, we headed back to our ship for a dinner and rest.

Day 7: Helsinki, Finland

We were still recovering from the crazy day in St Petersburg, when we docked in Helsinki where it was cold and drizzling non-stop. The Finnish capital is a very charming city, and we bought a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket. We sat back to enjoy the ride around town, seeing places like Rock Church and Sibelius Monument. We then got off at Market Square to catch a ferry to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, located on an island off the coast of the city. We walked through the fortress-island and stopped along the way to peek at little souvenir shops, experience cannons and take in the rocky-green landscape.

Suomenlinna Fortress Helsinki

Back in Helsinki, I bought a reindeer tooth bracelet to gift a friend, and walked to Senate Square to enjoy the neo-classical architecture and browse through the designer boutiques nearby. Our cruise took off soon after lunch so we soon headed back to port by bus, and our driver turned out to a chatty Brit with a thick Cockney accent living in Finland. Good times!

Day 8: At sea

We used this non-port day to recoup from the craziness of the last couple of days. The cruise’s head chef had invited some of us to visit the onboard kitchen and so we went for the mini-tour, cameras at the ready. I saw the chefs hard at work, some chopping skillfully, some loading the bread-making machines, some rolling out pasta dough. Despite the flurry of activity, the kitchen was sparkling clean. We spent the rest of our day reading on deck and enjoying the special dinner.

Royal Caribbean cruise kitchen

Day 9: Return to Copenhagen, flight back to India

Our ship docked in Copenhagen early morning. After a quick breakfast and checkout, we hailed a taxi to drive us to the airport. Our driver turned out to be extremely well-read and told me he was currently reading J Krishnamurthi. (Woah, that’s super intense stuff). At the airport, we boarded our flight back home, coming back via Abu Dhabi.

To check flights to Copenhagen and other Baltic destinations check out the listing of International Flights here.

Earth-friendly fashion, food and travel

Last week was Earth Day. I usually don’t pay much attention to such “days” because most of them are mere eyewash, but Earth Day got me thinking. Can I really make a difference in building a better future for a greener planet?

I assessed my passions (fashion, food and travel) and I figured- sure, I can make an impact, and quickly sat down to make a rough list. At the end of an hour, I re-read the list and scratched out a few unfeasible ideas. But a handful of practical and pragmatic earth-friendly ideas survived. An inner voice said, “Hey, this can work!” So I decided to take the list public and share it with you all.

Here goes:

Fashion

Biba kurtas

Shop within a limit. And I don’t mean your credit card limit. Plan your shopping and decide what you need to buy before you head to the mall. Even with just a dozen tops and half a dozen pants, you can be trendy and stylish. Sure, end of season sales are tempting and a wonderful excuse to buy the orange top or pink dress on your wishlist, but do you really need Blouse No. 52 in your wardrobe? Instead, do a thorough wardrobe cleanse over a long weekend, then only add new clothes and accessories to replace an older one that’s worn out.

Recycle and reuse. I’ve been hearing this mantra for years now, but never followed it. Late 2014, I reused my mom’s wedding dupatta with a new ensemble and made a modern-looking blouse to match her traditional sari, I realized that this formula works. You can transform a large silk scarf into a top or stitch neutral-coloured sari blouses to wear with well-preserved saris. Besides, you get bragging rights to declare, “I’m wearing vintage!”

pink dupatta

Buy locally-made clothes. Here’s how the supply chain of most fast fashion brands (like Zara) usually work: Clothes are manufactured in Country A, then sent to home country and dispatched around the world. Or the garments are shipped directly to warehouses or stores in Countries B, C, D and so on. Working on tight deadlines and short turnaround times, manufacturers often dispatch the merchandise via air. With hundreds of manufacturers and dozens of countries, you can imagine the amount of emissions a single brand’s business could generate. A simple thumb rule (broad generalization): the shorter the distance a garment travels, the more planet-friendly it is likely to be in terms of emissions. Buying clothes made in another part of the world may often be the easier (read: cheaper) option, but do try to opt for a local brand when possible. India has dozens of clothing and accessories brands that source and manufacture locally. “Made in India” seems appealing, doesn’t it?

Buy good quality clothes and accessories. You bought a cute pair of chappals from Linking Road and a stylish cotton kurta from Lajpat market for a steal. Both get worn out in a few months. And so you want to buy new chappals and another cotton kurta. Instead, how about you pay a bit more and buy chappals and a kurta that last longer? This way you generate less waste and save money in the long run. Think of each purchase as an investment of sorts, and calculate the returns in terms of how long it will make you happy. True, better quality may often mean more strain on your wallet, but when you’re buying fewer clothes and shopping less often, the extra bucks you spend are actually working to save you money in the future.

Food

Fresh local produce Chaing Mai Thailand

Eat local produce as much as you can. Of course, that’s not always possible. You don’t get great India-made feta or miso paste, but local fruits and vegetables are always the freshest and have travelled much shorter distances to reach you. Besides, seasonal fruits and vegetables are often delicious. So, if you have a choice, buy local.

Carry your own shopping bag. A cloth or jute bag or locally made basket is super handy in the market. My granny had gifted my mom couple of hand-woven baskets several years ago which she still uses. Myanmar has some lovely woven baskets as well, and I’ve bought not one, but two of them!

Use cloth instead of plastic and paper. Replace kitchen tissue with cloth towels to dry pots, pans and plates in the kitchen, or wipe your hands. There are some “highly absorbent” options which you can use for several days before throwing them for a wash. (Yes, I use just such a towel!). And oh, I prefer to use a handkerchief instead of paper tissue.

Reuse (yes, again!). I saw bamboo straws in Cambodia, and regret not buying them. They were reusable and very cute! Conscious foodies often carry reusable cutlery such as forks and chopsticks instead of using the disposable ones found in takeaway joints or fast food restaurants.

Travel

Boat ride Copenhagen

Use public transport. This one’s a no-brainer. And besides, if you’re using a local bus or public ferry you’ll get a better feel of local life. Better still, cycle around town.

Carry a reusable water bottle. Invest in a sturdy good-sized water bottle. In several countries, you can fill up your bottle with tap water (especially across Europe) or from a water dispenser in airports or malls. I carry my reusable water bottle all the time- when I’m going shopping or to a movie, so I’m not tempted to buy water or cold drinks, usually sold in paper cups, tin cans or plastic bottles. Besides reducing possible wastage, I avoid the extra calories in cold drinks. 🙂

Avoid takeaway. Takeaway meals are usually packed in plastic bags and cutlery, thermocol boxes and disposable plastic boxes for sauces etc. Instead, try to relax and enjoy your meal at the restaurant. You’ll savour the food experience a lot more.

Indian thali food

Book online. And don’t print your ticket, if it isn’t required. Save it on your phone or tablet instead. There are several museums, airlines, theatres, trains and other touristy places that don’t need a paper ticket. We once travelled in an overnight train from Rome to Palermo with the ticket on our iPad without a problem. And when I booked a ticket on the IRCTC website from Vapi to Mumbai, all the TT asked for was my ID proof. Most hotels are fine with electronic booking vouchers as well.

Carry e-copies. When my mother and I first travelled abroad in the late 1990s, we were advised to carry multiple copies of our passports, visas and tickets in case something went wrong. Now we save the scanned copies of our documents on email and in our phone’s photo gallery, so it’s accessible even without an internet connection. Do the same. Save paper and ink!

Stay earth-friendly and chic!

Myanmar’s beauty secret

Walking through the streets of Yangon, I see painted faces. Not the kind smiling down from giant signboards advertising vitamin supplements, but real people faces. Painted. Women young and old, little boys and girls and (some) men sport the paint like it’s part of them, as natural as wearing clothes or applying moisturiser. In the sundrenched streets, in the bustling wet market, at the airconditioned supermarket, in packed buses, I see cheeks and foreheads sporting circles and streaks of ochre, like a sort of war paint.

Myanmar girl in Thanaka

This “war paint” is thanaka or thanakha (pronounced tuh-naa-kaa), and it functions as a potent weapon to protect Myanmar people from the harsh sun.

Myanmar folk believe thanaka is a wonderful antidote to the harmful effects of too much sun. It keeps their skin de-tanned, safe and non-greasy.

Made from the bark of the wood apple tree that grows across Myanmar, thanaka paste has a gentle fragrance that vaguely reminds me of Indian sandalwood. Market vendors sell chopped pieces of thanaka bark at different prices, based on size. You choose your bark, take it home, and pound it into a paste with some water in a special grinder called kyout pin (pronounced chow-pi-ye).

Here’s the bark I spotted in my neighbourhood wet market (Hledan Zei):

Wood apple or thanaka bark Myanmar

And this is the grinder (kyout pin, picture courtesy Myat Su San)

Thanaka grinder Myanmar

If you don’t own the grinder (like me) or don’t know how to make the paste, you buy ready thanaka paste from the supermarket (like me). It’s less effective than home-made thanaka but still works, according to this experiential feature in Myanmar Times.

Thanaka in Yangon supermarket

Thanaka in Myanmar supermarket

Take some paste with a spatula or fingers, apply on your cheeks and voila! You’re ready to soak up the sun. You can also apply thanaka on your forehead, arms or any body part exposed to the sun. Some artistic Myanmar moms paint flowers on their daughters’ cheeks with thanaka. So cute!

Thanaka can stay on all day, but I’ve only used it for short periods of time, and my skin feels radiant, soft, bright and fresh after washing it off. Most importantly, I don’t get a post-sun headache and my skin feels cool when I’m in the sun. So yes, I believe it works. And the nearly blemish-free, bright skin I’ve seen on most Myanmar people is proof enough for me.

When people ask me what thanaka is, I say it’s sunblock, sunscreen, gentle exfoliator, face pack, cream, all rolled into one. You only need to try it to feel its magic!

Drool-worthy sports shoes are here!

There’s been a sudden surge of sports shoes at home recently. Between S and me, we have five pairs of various brands. Throughout my 13 years of schooling, I only had one sports pair: white canvas with laces, which had to be polished with thick and gooey white polish. We called them “tennis shoes”.

The few times I did go shopping for sports shoes, we’d fix a budget in mind and make a trip to Vama at Peddar Road. I’d try on a few pairs and then the most comfortable and “sensible” white pair was selected.

And then, for many years, I didn’t really need to buy sports shoes (I’ve never been a sporty or running or jogging or walking person). The sports shoes came out of the cupboard for holidays, vacations, picnics etc. And the shoes remained white and nice (and boring) for a long time. And then last year my white Nike pair (with a blue sswoosh) gave in, after several years of faithful service and support, and it was time to go sports shoe shopping again. I had started walking and jogging a bit and wanted good, no, great shoes. But when I went to the mall to take a look, I was blown away. I saw a mind-boggling range of sports shoes- different colours, textures, designs, some with fancy names, some with cool technology… and with several different uses. Shoes to wear with jeans, shoes for running, for walking, for tennis, for football, for fancy clothes… I was spoilt for choice. I finally settled for Reebook’s ZPump shoes in pink. Yes, PINK. And they look great, fit wonderfully, and have been holding me up for very long walks and runs.

Meanwhile, S needed to replace his old Puma pair. Again, white shoes, red logo. He’d decided to take up running (completed his first half marathon last week, yay!). S has bought three pairs since last year, two black and one blue, and he’s already looking for the next pair.

The transformation of our shoe rack (and our fitness level) has been incredible. We now own a colourful shoe rack filled with awesome-looking sports shoes.

Here are some awesome sports shoes lining up the stores these days, each with something “new” to offer, guaranteed to make you stand out in a crowd.

Colour crazy: Boys, make a statement with these black and gold MetaRun shoes from ASICS.

Asics MetaRun

Texture play: The two-toned mesh of the Skechers GORun Vortex shoes look super dynamic on the field.

Skechers GoRUN Vortex

Sporty but feminine: Ladies, here’s the purple sports shoe we’ve all been dreaming of! From Power Shoes (available at Bata).

Power by Bata Trail Zion (3) - INR 3499

Stars and stripes: When textures and colours abound, can prints be far behind? These patterned sneakers from Vans’ Americana collection will go great with jeans.

Vans Americana sneakers collection

High on tech: You just can’t go wrong with Reebok’s ZPump Fusion shoes (I own a pair!). The shoe molds itself to my foot and use the pump for cushioning and no-pain running.

Reebok ZPump Fusion - Rs 10,999

Which sports shoes are you planning to buy?

My favourite shopping streets in Europe

Also read: Awesome shopping streets in Asia.

Strøget, Copenhagen (Denmark)

A gorgeous street in Copenhagen, but alas, the shops close by 7 pm and the prices are outrageous for tourists on non-European salaries. Strøget is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, and is lined with popular high street stores like Topshop, Zara, H&M and some local brands. There’s also a giant Lego store (yay!). The summer of 2014, Strøget was buzzing with tourists and locals enjoying the atmosphere, sipping coffee at outdoor cafes, and just strolling about. I especially enjoyed the walk on cobblestoned streets and checking out the heritage buildings, still in excellent condition.

Shopping Stroget in Copenhagen

Stroget shopping Copenhagen

Taksim Square, Istanbul (Turkey)

Back in 2010 when I visited Turkey, the famous Taksim Square was THE PLACE to be on a Saturday night. Crowded even in the day, the place came alive on weekend evenings, with thousands of people partying, shopping and grabbing a bite well past midnight. The streets off the square became a no-car zone, dozens of food and souvenir vendors set up shop and the “party” began. The atmosphere was pulsating with high energy, and I felt like I’d just had two Red Bulls. After a quick pizza, I made my way through the packed streets to go shopping, spending at least an hour at the multi-storeyed Mango store. The best part—shops were open till midnight!

PS- Due to the changing political situation in Turkey, I’m not sure if the late-night shopping continues.

Kurfürstendamm, Berlin (Germany)

Who would’ve thought that the staid German capital would have such wonderful shopping! Kurfürstendamm (quite a mouthful no?) is the center of most tourist activities in Berlin and a great place to shop. The street has all the high street brands you could name- Zara, Diesel, Uniqlo, H&M, Pull & Bear… you get the idea. I shopped till I dropped at Pull & Bear, and got a great leopard print backpack from Zara for just €10. I also bought kitchen appliances at the German department store KaDeWe, which was stocked with unbelievable appliances in the German aesthetic: clean design and high-tech precision. Also the souvenir shops are worth checking out for cool tees, shot glasses and Berlin messenger bags that look great and are easy on the pocket.

Berlin Kufustendamm shopping

La Rambla, Barcelona (Spain)

Being in Spain, you expect to see local fashion brands at every corner. And well, they are! In and around the 1.2 kilometre-long La Rambla, you have the choice of the world’s best-known fashion and beauty brands, and you will never want to stop. I shopped at Zara, Mango, H&M, Bershka, The Body Shop, Shana… This was in 2011, and the Euro was not as frightfully expensive as it is today. At the Plaza Catalunya end of the street (north end), there’s the Spanish department store El Corte Inglés, where I bought Bobbi Brown makeup and tons of accessories. El Corte Inglés is a quintessential part of the Spanish life and each store is different from the others. It’s a must-visit anywhere in the country.

Barcelona shopping La Rambla

Barcelona shopping La Rambla artists

Awesome shopping streets in South East Asia

Shopping (and window shopping) is one of my favourite things to do when I travel to a new city or country. It gives me a feel of the local fashion, an opportunity to discover ideas for new looks and a sense of how the people there like to dress.

I particularly enjoy walking through shopping streets because they’re so much more fun than malls. You get to the see the neighbourhood, the city’s architecture and of course, street life. In this two-part series, I’m listing my favourite shopping streets. The first part covers my favourite shopping streets in Asia.

Hang Gai, Hanoi (Vietnam)

Hanoi’s Hang Gai has everything a fashionista would want: cute boutiques, chic souvenir stores, French-style cafes, local art stores and even a tshirt-only store. I shopped all of these on Hang Gai and in the neighbourhood, stepping into side streets to discover embroidery stores, handcrafted goods and lots of silk! My top buys: A tongue-in-cheek Hanoi tshirt from Ginkgo (local fashion brand) and hand-embroidered pouches. Browsing at local boutiques in Hang Gai and Hang Trong for clothes and accessories is highly recommended! You may just stumble across some unique finds.

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Orchard Road, Singapore

Orchard Street is anyone’s dream destination to shop in Singapore, and the craziness begins when you step off the MRT. I bought two pairs of shoes right at the station even before I hit the shopping street above. 😛 The good news is that Orchard Street has a range of malls to suit different shopping budgets. The bad news is, you want to go everywhere. After a lot of disappointments at Orchard Street stores (international brands were cheaper in India and H&M was a disaster), I finally discovered a store at 313 Somerset called Valleygirl that had trendy dresses and tops at moderate prices.

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Bugis Street, Singapore

Yep, two places in Singapore! Bugis Street is a delight if you want to hog while you shop! I shopped there late evening, and bagged cool bargains on tops, lingerie, nightwear and souvenirs. Then we had a very Singaporean snack right on the street- the icecream sandwich. The restaurants on Bugis Street serve good local fare as well. I didn’t venture deep inside the market, which is where the best deals are to be found, but the street-facing and ground floor shops have some great deals!

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

 

Sunday Street Stories: Hanoi’s night market

I landed in Hanoi late Friday night and got a glimpse of the busy city yesterday. In the evening, while looking for Hoan Kiem lake, we discovered this bustling night market.

image

Starting from Hang  Dao street going up to Dong Xuan market, this weekend night market was packed with locals and tourists. It was hot, humid and crowded, so not exactly a very cushy experience but worth a visit. Besides clothes, watches and footwear, I discovered some wonderful handicrafts, like ceramic bowls and trays, delicate embroidered wall hangings, cool memorabilia and wood carvings.

Picture taken on: September 26, 2015
Location: Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
Device: Google Nexus 5

Sunday Street Stories: Bogalayzay Street in downtown Yangon

Downtown Yangon was built by the Brits, designed like a grid with numbered streets going north to south, crossed by “named” roads going west to east (similar to the Manhattan grid). Sometimes, the numbered series is interspersed by a “name” street. Bogalayzay Street (pronounced bo-guh-lay-zay) is one such street in downtown Yangon that runs north to south.

Yangon street sign Bogalayzay street

Bogalayzay street is between 42nd and 43rd street, and is filled with places to shop, hip restaurants, and travel agencies and offices of well-known companies. So you can go to Hola dance Club to learn salsa, get your nails done at 88 Foot & Nail Spa, sample Mexican street food at TinTin, and shop at Gamone Pwint Shopping Center (lots of beauty products and electronics!). If you’ve got the travel bug, head to Khiri Travel to book your trip to Bagan, Mandalay or elsewhere.

Picture taken on: August 8, 2015

Location: Yangon, Myanmar

Device: Nexus 5

Sunday Street Signs is a series of images recording street signs from my travels. They could be significant in some way, funny, or have an interesting story behind them.

Style & Shopping Guide: Deepika Padukone’s Piku look

FOUND: Deepika Padukone’s kurta from Piku! (Read on to know more).

In Piku, Deepika Padukone has one of her most unglamourous on-screen avatars. Here’s a complete style breakdown of Piku and where you can shop Deepika Padukone’s look.

Deepika Padukone in Piku

Deepika Padukone as Piku

Deepika Padukone’s character Piku is a working woman and always in a rush due to her father’s morning drama. No high-end designer wear or heavy makeup for her. Instead there’s minimal styling and accessories. Piku’s look is relatable and girl-next-door and indo-chic but deliberately non-colourful.

Clothes seem to be thrown together, her hair is almost a mess, and there isn’t much time for makeup and accessories either. She carries one big bag in which she can dump everything.

Deepika Padukone in Piku fashion

Piku (Deepika Padukone’s) complete style breakdown

Minimal no-fuss kurta

Loose pants (salwar pants or palazzos), sometimes skinny jeans

Long printed scarf/ dupatta tied on bag or loosely draped on her neck

Footwear: Flat sandals/ chappals

Bag: Large leather carryall/ tote/ shopper

Jewellery: Small drop earrings that go with almost everything

Sunglasses

Makeup: Almost none. It’s mostly a nude-ish lipstick and a small bindi

Shop Deepika Padukone’s Piku look

Blue and white kurta-pants set from Biba

Biba kurta set

Black kurta from Aks (available on Jabong.com)- exactly the same Deepika Padukone is wearing in Piku (see the first picture above)

Aks-Black-Kurti with pants

Maroon palazzo pants from Soch

Soch Maroon Palazzo Pants

Bag from Elespry

Elespry bag

Glares from Titan

Sunglasses by Titan

Drop earrings from Tanishq

Tanishq- drop earrings with pearl

 

Picks of the week: Avengers Age of Ultron tees

Yay! The awesome supervillain-thrashing team (aka Marvel superheroes) is returning this weekend in The Avengers: Age of Ultron! Now if you’re a true fanboy or girl, of course you need a tshirt declaring your love when you go watch the film. VoxPop has more than 50 super cool Avengers Age of Ultron t-shirts:

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee -Shrit

Inspired by the superheroes and moments from the film, there are enough choices to spoil the fans: colours, graphics and themes. I’ve been browsing for a while now and it’s difficult to pinpoint a favourite (liking too many of them!).

Iron man Tee-shirt

Hulk Tee-Shirt

Iron man Tee-shirt

Special note for fangirls:

Ladies, this t-shirt collection may be for the boys, but don’t let that stop you. Buy a size that will look like an oversized tee. Then throw it over a spaghetti or racer back top, and let it show. Or you could shorten the length to make it a crop top. Wear skinny pants or shorts with coloured sneakers, and voila! Here comes the fangirl. 🙂

Shop The Avengers: Age of Ultron tshirts at VoxPopClothing.com (Price: Rs 799)