Lifestyle

A weekend getaway with friends


Today is Gandhi’s birthday, and is therefore a national holiday here in India. That suits me well, considering I’ve just gotten back from two days in beautiful Alibaug. Alibaug is a holiday-home type island outside Mumbai. Many local Mumbaikars have villas there, which one can escape to over weekends and holidays, to get away from the Bombay-madness and all that it entails.

Whenever we feel the need to get away from the city, Alibaug is everyones favourite choice. Unlike Goa, its 15-20 minutes away by speedboat, and costs close to nothing in comparison…

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We packed up a basket with boardgames, wine and whiskey and sent it off with a friends driver on the night before leaving. Except hard liquor and beer, it’s tough to get a hold of good quality wines in Alibaug, and bringing it on the boat isn’t permitted. In the unlucky event that one gets searched, they’ll confiscate the booze. No fun.

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I packed bottles in old clothes to make sure they wouldn’t break on the 4-5 hour bumpy ride that it takes to get there by car…

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I had a few bags of this Swedish dipmix left from when I was back home last, so this was the perfect occasion to bring some with me as a snack. Who doesn’t love chips and dip? Basically my favourite dish.

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We planned for an early departure to be able to make the most of the day. At 7am we finished up our coffee in bed and left to pick up Devika from her house…

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There’s really something so special about early mornings. I can’t say enough how much I love these weekend trips. The feeling of getting up early, having breakfast in the car, empty roads, chilly air (well, its never chilly here but still, sweaters are for pre-8am activities), and an excitement that can only be compared with the kind of excitement one would have on Christmas morning while growing up. Pure joy.

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And off we went! Four couples–I love that about getting older! Doing weekend getaways with friends and their partners…

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The house is located about 15 minutes by rickshaw from the jetty, where the boat drops you off when you reach Alibaug harbour. We were met with greenery and absolute silence when we reached the villa–something unheard of anywhere else in Bombay…

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Beer and bathing-suits were all out by 10am…

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It was such a hot and humid day, there was no other alternative but being in and out of the water throughout the day. The monsoon has just about wrapped up for the year, so the humidity is even more extreme than usual, and the heat is…intense, to say the least.

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Post-breakfast/pre-lunch snack was vada-pavs. Its the most delicious street food snack India has to offer, if you ask me. Fried potato balls which you put inside soft buns, and add some chilly if your tastebuds can handle.

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Guilty pleasure. I never eat this stuff in Bombay–I don’t think my stomach could handle it–but on holiday everything is allowed

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Then we got back into the pool…

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Siya, me, Devika and Reyna – this was our most frequently visited hangout-spot for the weekend. Half land half pool basically…

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Saif and Zahan were also enjoying themselves. Saif wasn’t too into the pool-scene until we met, but I think after dating someone who’s alter ego is pretty much a fish for three years, he’s gotten quite comfortable…

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To me, there’s no happier place than in the sun and water…

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Lunch was homemade cabbage with peas, rice, rotis, daal and a prawn curry. Delicious!

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After lunch, Devika and I went for a little stroll in the massive garden…

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It’s so peaceful, I can’t even tell you enough what an amazing feeling it is to arrive here…

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It must require so much water in the non-monsoon seasons (about 9 months of the year) to maintain all the greenery. There’s a big well in the garden that picks up a lot of the water during the monsoon, and the gardeners then use that rainwater for as long as it lasts throughout the year…

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The garden was full of these little crabs. So random, considering its a 15-20 min drive from the beach. Who knew these guys live in the grass too?

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After a long afternoon by the pool, it was time for everyone to take a nap. Devika and I were the only non-nappers in the bunch. I went for a shower in one of the villa’s four beautiful outdoor-bathrooms…

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Saif crawled up in our bed for a nap. I guess nothing gets you as tired as day-drinking in the sun… Right?!

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Devika and I parked ourselves here for a couple of hours of talking and relaxing while the rest of the group was resting up for the evening…

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Snacks is obviously always mandatory. I can’t get enough of it! We served ourselves some hummus and feta cheese with thyme on crostini and lavash…

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After nap came dinner, and after dinner, a long night of boardgames, night swims, singalong’s and dance sessions. I definitely discovered my passion for pool parties in the dark–I wish I had captured what the pool-area looked like in the dark, lit up by underwater lights in a way that made the water look almost spooky. Beautiful!

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