Fifi flipflop

Joined November 2015Living in: Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Day861

    The Big Turkish Wedding

    April 7 in Turkey

    So the day has arrived and I don’t even know what time the wedding is so hopefully Mustafa hasn’t forgotten about me. I take breakfast early and make my way to the shop downstairs to buy a throw top put over my shoulders and my head if needed. I should have done this yesterday as they only have carvalla or Chanel cashmere and silk and they want 100 euros for it. I pretend he hasn’t the colour I want. I google map for a local mall and it informs me there’s one 15 minutes away so map in hand I set off. The route takes me a strange way and I end up walking through a factory yard with some unforgiving stairs but carry on with a smile on my face saying marahaba which means hello. Eventually I arrive at the destination but no mall in sight just a few random local shops, but there is one that sells scarves/ throws and they’re only 2 quid. I purchase a couple it would be rude not to and make my way back to the hotel when Mustafa calls to say his friend Ahmet will pick me up at 2pm I jump in the shower and get myself ready a little unsure what I’m wearing is correct but I look ok and I’ll worry about it when I need to . Ahmet is fashionably late but that’s just the way it is here due to the traffic. Thankfully Ahmet speaks fluent English and when we arrive at the home it’s pandemonium so he suggests going for tea. We sit in a little bar around the corner and to my surprise a short while after Mustafa walks in looking petrified. I give him a mummy cuddle and tell him to take deep breaths I even offer him a cigarette but he refuses. As he disappears in the distance we can hear the sound of drums and after finishing our tea we make our way down to the house. There is quite a crowd gathered and I’m introduced to multiple members of the family, how I’m going to remember their names is beyond me.
    The drums start getting louder and as they come up the hill they are followed by traditional Turkish dancers who are similar to the English version of Morris dancers, they dance in the street to the music being played by the pope and drums and have a hankerchief/cloth in their hand. The music and the drums play for about 10 minutes before Mustafa suddenly appears being driven bu his brother. Everyone runs to their cars and we all follow in a large procession heading towards Elifs house. All the cars are adorned with a ribbon and has we drive through the streets everyone beeps their horns intermittently for the whole 15 minute journey. We arrive at Elifs who conveniently lives opposite a mosque. Before collecting his bride Mustafa and his male family head into the mosque to pray while we are entertained by the dancers. The boys and I hide around the corner so we can have a cigarette and after 30 minutes Mustafa is ready to take his bride.
    The street is in chaos as people are hanging out of the tower building to catch a glimpse of the bird but the whole road is held up as the dancers continue to dance in the middle of the street. As they come down prayers are offered and were on the road again - convoy has nothing on a Turkish wedding. The traffic is really busy and it takes us over an hour before we actually arrive at the venue which is decorated by huge flower displays sent by multiple companies and banks which stand in the foyer as well as outside. The two sides of the family stand either side greeting the guests but the bride and groom are absent.
    Ahmet has driven well and we are some of the first guests to arrive so we’re seated quite quickly in a room that must have taken so much to plan with over 25 pages of seating plans. All the names are in alphabetical order and although I’m not meant to be with Ahmed and Mohammed they tell me I should sit with them. We are all hungry and attack the bread rolls like we haven’t been fed for days.
    The venue is breathtaking with tables beautifully decorated and in the centre of the room a platform on one side decorated with beautiful flowers two chairs and a table and stage on the other with a band playing turKish music, a huge boom video camera overlooks all the proceedings recording the images to screens throughout the room. A photographer moves throughout the room taking pictures. The starters are put out on the tables as the guests sit down as there are a lot of tables to cover it really is seamless. Mustafas dad takes to the stage and gives the only speech of the night the lights go down and the music plays and the bride and groom enter the room pyrotechnic fountains start flowing and the couple make theyre way down the red carpet. Taking a seat at they’re table they sign a register and take they’re vows. Once all the formal stuff is done it’s time for the photos. They both look really tired at this point but still have so much to do as they go around every table to greet their guests everybody wants a picture and a little chat and after an hour or more they are still meeting and greeting, her bridesmaid follows behind with a basket in which gold coins with red ribbons attached are placed in the basket which was traditional as the men who went to war if anything happened to them the bride had the gold to take care of her financially, There is no dancing until the very end of the night when various groups of men took to the stage from very young to very old dancing to each song slowly first then building with speed at each verse. It’s time to head back and after saying goodbye to the remaining guests the boys drop me to my hotel .
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  • Day859

    The Henna night

    April 5 in Turkey

    I leave early in the morning to catch my flight to Düsseldorf then catch my connecting flight to Istanbul. The journey runs pretty smoothly until I get to Istanbul where Mustafa’s cousin picks me up. The traffic has caused massive delays and I’m at the airport waiting for Two hours until finally Hakan arrives. We are due to be at the henna party at 730 and it’s 630 now with an hour and a half drive. There is no time to go to the hotel so just grab a quick wash while the housekeeper irons my dress. I look a show as I touch up my make up for the third time today but at least I’ll make the bride to be look at her best.
    We arrive at the ceremony and it’s in full swing but when I arrive it’s like the queen has just stepped into the room. Mustafa’s fiance Elif calls for me to go to her boudoir where she greets me and we chat for a short while. I had no chance of making the bride look better as she already looks stunningly beautiful x I join the head table and although there are only a couple of people who speak english there is no issue as I just watch and learn.
    The venue is set out like a wedding venue in the uk with tables spread throughout the room laden with food and soft drinks and chairs wrapped with bows. The bride enters the room with an enterage of drummers and tambourines to traditional Turkish music in the most amazing gown. We dance around the bride doing variations of steps that by the time of got the hang of it were on to the next dance and I’m learning all over again. By the end of the 4th dance I decide to sit down to avoid standing on anyone’s toes for a while. Elif disappears again and comes out in a blue gown this time. She really is like a princess and once again we make a large circle and dance around the bride who certainly has a few dancing moves and knows how to enjoy her last night of freedom.
    Towards the end of the night Mustafa arrives and it’s time for the henna ceremony. As one of the selected few we are taken away and dressed in traditional clothes and a small veil and given a candle. We form 2 lines either side before Mustafa and Elif are brought out together this time. Elif now has the most amazing red dress and veil on and they walk towards a seat on the stage has a canopy. Henna is placed in the hand of the bride covered by a paper flower to keep it in place and Elifs mother gives her blessing. Mustafa leaves shortly afterwards and we carry on dancing the night away. It’s time for me to lay my head but what a truly remarkable experience I can’t wait for the wedding. Sorry no photos due to respect ✊
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  • Day814

    Sledging Fun

    February 19 in Finland

    I wake just in time for the sunrise and just as I think it’s not that great the sun lights the sky with a beautiful orange glow. Once everyone is up we have breakfast and after a shower we’re out the door. The first stop is in the town where we go in the designer shop that sells lots of local wears including hand knitted items and clothes as well as artisan items. We take a walk down to the lake, but can only walk so far as the track is dedicated solely to skiers and they go crazy if your caught 😂😂
    We make our way to pick up moumou ( grandma) and on root I spot a park full of snowmen. We pull over and Ida explains they we’re built a while ago when it was warmer but because it’s so cold they haven’t defrosted. Back in the car we arrive at grandmas before taking her to lunch at the local spa. Lunch is pork cooked in a mustard sauce and various other items including salads and potatoes. After lunch we drive to Ruka a small town but it’s one of the largest skiing resorts in Finland as much as I’m keen to try everything skiing is a no go for me as breaking my leg would destroy the long term plan and knowing how clumsy i am I’m not going to take the risk. The scenery here is beautiful even though it’s a lot of trees and snow its very different every way you look. We make our way back to the cabin as sledging is today’s activity and Ida’s goddaughters are meeting us there. I try and convince moumou that she should join us but she’s having none of it so me and the girls head out with the sleds. I can’t believe how hard work it is the going down is fine but as I get off and try and climb back up the snow is waist deep and I literally have to climb through it and by the time I get to the top I can barely breathe. We have a couple more goes and it does get slightly easier as the snow gets packed. Ada then suggests we go along the road with the sleds and she pulls me. I have a scream but i have to say when I have to do the pulling it near damn kills me. We finish up and head inside for the best hot chocolate ever joined with Finnish sweet rolls called laskiaispulla which are filled with cream and jam followed by coffee ☕️. We are joined by lots more family and loads of kids. It’s great how family are so important here and everyone talks rather than watching tv 📺 we all sit round the table and drink coffee and eat breads and cheese this is very traditional so who Evers house you go to the put the percolated coffee on and everyone comes together at the table , even the young children. The only telly that’s been watched since I’ve been here is the Winter Olympics. Everyone leaves after a few hours and the Sauna is on. it’s a well known fact that going from hot to cold is really good for the soul so sticking with tradition I jump out of the sauna and run outside where I roll in the snow then back into the sauna and I have to say it’s amazing. Shortly after as I go outside the sky is lit up in one area and I run back inside to tell the guys. They come out and confirmed it’s the northern lights and as they’ve seen it before I stay outside to try and get some photos. I truly am blessed to see them as it’s not a regular occurrence here but another box ticked and I go to bed a happy bunny.
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  • Day813

    Finnish Traditions

    February 18 in Finland

    We wake at 8 and I’ve slept well even if it’s not been for long. Ida’s sister is on her way to pick us up to drive to the chalet where we will spend the next few days. Ada and Elma (Ada’s 18 month old daughter) arrive shortly followed by Tina (Ida’s mum) and we all enjoy a breakfast together followed by me having a little browse around the outside of the House. There is only a small community here and the nearest shops are a car ride away together with the only pub for miles. For breakfast I eat a rice pastry with a dressing of eggs and butter which tastes very similar to egg mayonnaise but nicer. Belly’s full and a three hour drive ahead we set off. It’s crazy how a smidging of snow brings the uk to a standstill and even though the roads are well gritted they still seem treachorous to me. The whole journey consists of snow and trees which I suppose is pretty understandable as Finland has 80% coverage with forest. The snow clings to the trees making for the most adorable views. We stop halfway for a coffee but it’s not quite a Costa. The coffee here is traditionally strong but it’s warm and that’s what is important. I pay a visit to the ladies and have soon come to realise that it’s hard work getting dressed and undressed. It’s so cold outside but whenever you go into a place it’s so warm you have to strip off. After refreshments and redressing were back in the car for the remainder of the journey. The cars here have plugs a bit like hybrid cars but the plug here keeps the engine warm so it’s easy to start.
    After more trees and snow we arrive in kuusamo and at Ida’s dads cabin. Jonathan Ada’s husband is here and as we sit around the dinner table drinking coffee Papa cooks reindeer stew. It’s so good traveling with local people as you get to see the traditional family ways, and even though her dad doesn’t speak English everyone else does so communication is good. The reindeer stew is delicious and as soon as we’ve finished we head up for the most amazing sunset. The colours are so vibrant and the contrast with the snow certainly makes this one of my favourites. After the sun has gone down there is something that they call a blue moment here, it’s not like just the sky turning blue it’s more than that but something that you just have to see.
    Early evening we make our way to moumou’s which is grandma in Finnish and awaiting us is more food. Grandma lives literally at the end of the road and when we arrive all the family are waiting. We eat and drink and I have a traditional coffee with cheese yes cheese. You put the cheese in drink the coffee and then sprinkle the cheese with sugar and eat delicious. After spending a few hours it’s time to get back on the road and head for the final destination via the K supermarket on route for essentials. I love walking round foreign supermarkets and can’t believe they have a pick and mix for pets.
    We arrive at the cabin a short time later and once the fires going finish the evening cooking sausages on forks in the flames followed by marshmallows. What a truly amazing day
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  • Day812

    And were off again

    February 17 in Finland

    So today is a pretty crazy day for me as my usual agenda boarding a plane would be jetting off somewhere hot, but today couldn’t be more different, I’m off to Lapland with my Finnish partner in crime Ida.
    Even as I’m sat on the plane as we fly to helsinki it still seems a bit surreal. This is one of the first times I’ve flown where I’m not in that holiday mood of giddiness and I don’t know why although not feeling well might have something to do with it. We will fly to Helsinki first before flying out to Oulu which is about an hour away. Our arrival time is 1 in the morning and luckily Ida’s mum is picking us up so at least we won’t have our pants pulled down using an airport taxi. We arrive at Helsinki airport and the slight panic we might miss our connecting flight is calmed when the captain advises us that they have a delay on that flight also. The good news is it means I can have a cigarette in the airport smoking room which I have to say is the cleanest one I’ve ever seen. After a cigarette or two we head for the departure lounge and within no time at all we’re back on the bus to catch our flight to Oulu. Sitting on the plane waiting for take off a large crane like lorry approaches the plane and starts spraying the wing with anti free, this is to prevent anything from freezing up, well it is minus 16 outside. We arrive in Oulu without any freezing issues and I head through customs to have a cigarette while Ida waits for our case. Ida’s mums meeting us at the airport and as I go through there’s a lady that looks just like Ida and I say hello but it isn’t Ida’s my so rather than make a show of myself again I go and have my cigarette. Oh my gosh I wasn’t expecting how cold it was but the snow sparkles like diamonds even as it’s falling from the sky it’s so pretty. Back in the arrivals lounge it’s not long before Ida comes through with the case and is greeted by a lady that looks nothing like her and a lot younger than I was expecting. She drives us the 20 km back to the apartment and after a quick chat heads off and we get straight to bed as it’s 2amRead more

  • Day712

    Out at Sea

    November 9, 2017 in Saint Lucia

    So I wake this morning and the view as I step onto the balcony never ceases to amaze me. I feel so much better and shower and dress before heading down with Judy to have my morning brew with the office staff. We head out on the bus at 10 to catch the boat from the harbour and sit up front while Captain Kurt drives us to pigeon island. On route my hat blows off and although we turn around to find it we can’t see it anywhere. I have another one at the house so I tell him to carry on. We arrive at the island and take a small trek up to the fort at the top. You can see for miles and even Martanique in the distance. We walk back down and after a quick swim it’s time for lunch. The picnic supplied is sublime and after a good munch I’m back in the sea for a refreshing dip before our tour of the rest of the island. Were shown the houses of all the celebs before anchoring off to do some snorkelling . We head for home It’s been an amazing boat trip and just when I think that I couldn’t smile anymore we are surrounded by pods of dolphins 🐬 the babies frolicking in the sea jumping and diving they swim around the boat curving the bow as we dangle our legs over the side as they play beneath us. There are multiple pods and two different species with the youngsters being the most playful. The boat brings us back into harbour and we disembark back to the hotel. While Judy heads back to the office im left in charge of ordering drinks so 2 James Bond martini 🍸 it is. They are like rocket fuel then Judy orders a bottle of prosecco. Phil and Lorna join us for the sunset and we head back to the ridge. We have dinner and as I go outside the stars are amazing shortly after there is a power cut. With no light pollution whatsoever Judy and I cuddle up in fluffy blankets and fall asleep under the stars what a perfect end to a perfect day with a perfect friend.Read more

  • Day710

    Sugar beach

    November 7, 2017 in Saint Lucia

    My routine is waking at around 6am daily but I love the fact of getting up and just sitting having a couple of cups of tea with the most heavenly view. Each time I come out of the front door I just gasp with the sheer beauty of it but as I come out today The Piton is gone. It’s pouring and the rain causes a mist which totally shrouds the beautiful peak. The plan for today is the sulphur springs and mud bath so after finishing my brew with judy at the office I head down. It’s still quite early so I get my own personal guide who explains how the whole of SOUFRIERE is a volcano crater and that it means sulphur in French. There’s a strong smell of rotten eggs as I watch the sulphur pools bubbling away and then it’s time for the mud bath. Firstly I get in the hot water spring pool which opens up the pores then I cake myself in mud. You allow it to dry before rinsing of in the pool again. It’s supposed to make you so rejuvenated that it will make you look ten years younger. I plan to stay in here for a few hours with that promise but after 20 mins hoards of people arrive that have just docked on a cruise liner so I get out and make way for the tourists. As I walk back up the hill to the ridge I slide on the road and end up arse over tit hitting the ground with a bump. I recover myself and although I’m bruised and dirty finally make my way back to the house. After a quick shower I’m ready to go again and walk nick to the hotel to be picked up by the bus. This afternoon is a day on the beach and as we drive to the town Captain 👩‍✈️ Kirk is waiting on the boat to take us to sugar beach. We set of and the boat goes so fast I feel like my backside is still on the jetty.
    Arriving at the beach it’s rammed but pretty soon a large boat arrives and evacuates it. So armed with my towel I claim my sunbed and settle myself down for the afternoon. The sun beds along the beach are 90 dollars so I’m glad I blagged a cheap seat. After a couple of hours enjoying the view and sipping on coco water the boat is back to pick us up. I treat the crew to a drink and the captain invites me to the driving seat. We are soon back on dry land and heading back to the hotel a quick drink in the bar and we have to go and get ready as tonight we are doing the bbq. It’s nice to get dressed up and although the makeup runs off you I go the whole hog. The food is amazing starting with gazpacho and bloody Mary’s followed by chicken ribs and multiple salads. We enjoy a couple of cocktails after the obligatory sambucas at home and then Judy orders prosecco I am certainly loosened up ready for the limbo dancing 💃 later. Pudding is to die for and although there’s little room left I indulge. The show starts with acrobats and fire 🔥 eating and the it’s time for shaking my thing. I thoroughly enjoy having a good dance and although I’m not flexible like I used to be I have a good go. After the evenings finished we make our way back to the house where I’m in the land of nod within minutes.
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  • Day709

    Tommy the Tarantula

    November 6, 2017 in Saint Lucia

    I wake at 5 as my body is still on English time and make my way to the kitchen to put the kettle on. I pick up the kettle and as I turn to fill it up from the water filter there’s a bloody big Tarantula giving me the eye 😱 with kettle still in hand I run out the back door back in the front of the house and shut the kitchen door. For the time being Tommy the tarantula is contained. I watch him through the Louvre doors as he breakdances around the kitchen floor. I take myself back to my 4 poster bed and hide beneath the mosquito net until I hear Judy up and about. Her first question is why is the kettle in the middle of the lounge I explain and she opens the kitchen door but Tommy has gone. We have our cup of tea and then walk the dogs in our pyjamas before coming back to find Tommy has returned. She wastes no time and chases him out with a broom. We have another brew and the most beautiful rainbow 🌈 appears over the Piton mother nature is such an amazing thing. The plan today is to have a walk into town so after a quick cuppa in the office with Judy and the team I head off with shopping list in hand ad tonight I’m cooking dinner. Town is a mixture of shops and banks so I ask where i can get a local breakfast and I’m directed to a little restaurant called petit Piton. They obviously misunderstood what I wanted as it was local English breakfast. I opted for an egg sandwich and a coke and as I’m eating away I hear a guy below the window. We get chatting and he offers to be my guide although I advise him that I won’t be giving him money but will buy him a pair of flip flops as he has nothing on his feet. He escorts me round town which is great as I don’t get mithered by anyone else. Shopping list purchased and Judy comes and picks me up and drops me at home. I spend the afternoon with Shirley the house keeper and she cleans while I cook. After dinners prepared I head down to the bar and meet Phil and Judy and we enjoy a few cocktails before heading back to the house for dinner. We sit on the balcony watching the sunset over the Piton before retiring to bed early.Read more

  • Day708

    Just Landed

    November 5, 2017 in Saint Lucia

    I touch down after a gruelling flight and realise I will be administering a nicotine patch for the journey home. I collect my bags from the only carousel in the airport and make the vey short walk to customs. I get pulled over and lie through my teeth to the oficer telling him I only have clothes and make up in my bags. Throwing him off the scent by opening my bag and showing off my newly purchased underwear. If he’d asked me to open my bag I would have been up shit street without a paddle. Waiting in arrivals is my good friend Judy who hastily scoops me up and directs me to her jeep.She is such a good friend as on the back of the seat is a cool box with chilled bottles of Piton beer in it. We crack open a beer and drive away from the airport pulling over shortly afterward so I can get into my shorts and have a paddle. 40 minutes later we arrive at Hotel Boucan where we order a Gin and tonic and sit down by the pool. It starts to rain quite heavily so drinks in hand we head back to the house. A couple more gins and I’m well on my way having started with eggs benedict and champagne for breakfast followed by numerous bloody Mary’s on the flight. Judy’s cooked up a curry but when I get to my room I’m blown away and there on the side is a gift bag. Upon opening it I find a bottle of sambuca and a bottle of grey goose the girl knows me so well. Phil debriefs on the dangerous things on the island including tarantulas but I take it all in my stride and turn in for an early night as I’m beat .Read more

  • Day236

    All things Chinese

    July 21, 2016 in China

    After the best nights sleep in over a week I feel like a new woman, and am ready to start a new day. The plan today is to buy a lonely planet guide book as you are not allowed to bring any books into China we didn't want to start off on the wrong foot so we adhered to the rules. The guy on reception has given us directions to the biggest book shop in the world and is pretty sure we will get it there. It's quite a long way from here but the tubes are pretty easy to follow so we set off on our quest. This place is crazy, they have motorised bicycles as well as mopeds that are all allowed to drive on the pavement and at times I think I'd be safer walking in the road. We disembark at children's palace and as soon as we get off we are instantly at the bookstore. It is huge, and I wonder how we are going to find anything in here even if we were Chinese. We have a few attempts at asking a couple of the staff if they speak English but no one here does. I try and use my initiative and ask someone in the English book section if they can help and we show him a copy of the lonely planet in Chinese and explain exactly what we want, but after he's spoken to a couple of people they tell us they don't have the book or anything similar in English and they only have the likes of Jane Austin. After nearly 2 hours we admit defeat and after a bite to eat we head home.
    When I explain to the guy in reception he says he can order it on line and it will arrive tomorrow so we go with that and place the order. It's really strange how they're so advanced with so many things and yet are so restricted at the same time. Tonight the television reception is down and since being here the Internet has been rubbishy, or so I think. When I mention it in reception he tells me they have no Facebook or google here and if I'm using this as my search engine I need to change it to Yahoo.
    We head out and buy a few bits at the supermarket and tonight cook a bit of dinner before grabbing an early night.
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