Dating a biker… (before and after marriage)

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We have not gone on a date- in ages. Partially this is because we already spend all our free time together, either at home, or with our families. We grocery shop together, we hang out together, we go for lunch and dinner together- you get it…there is a lot of togetherness. Hence, there was never a real need to make time for some “alone” time. Except this week saw the 4 year milestone of our togetherness, and this called for a celebration of a different caliber. I decided to do something special for Alex on this occasion (or for me, I am not so sure anymore).
The first ever surprise date I ever took him (in 2007) on almost ended in disaster because the suspense that I’ve build up eventually turned into annoyance. He REALLY wanted to know where I am taking him. Luckily I had planned a dinner for us at a German restaurant, complete with a generous flow of house brewed beer, finger-licking dishes and dozens of varieties of meats and poultry. Gausthouse was complete with live tunes in the background, traditional Inn décor and customized waitresses. Let’s just say this place has been a favorite of his-ever since (it might have been those waitresses!). Turns out the wife, has pretty good taste after all . Here is a snap of us, from a few years back at Gausthouse.
In Muscat there remain very few places that we have not already tried and tested. I sincerely wanted to surprise him, take him to a place where he has never been before and get him to experience something new. I am not entirely sure how I have come to the conclusion to take him to a fish spa, but that is what we ended up doing.
Dr. Fish is a spa experience located on the first floor of Bareeq Al Shatti mall, walkable distance from the InterContinental hotel. It is nestled amidst a continuous line of shops, but is not hard to miss due to the massive blue doors with fish images.
I didn’t know what to expect from the evening, as there isn’t much information about the place- except that you get there, soak your feet in water and little fishies swim up to you to munch on your dead skin cells. Somehow, that sounded appealing to me. I thought Alex would it enjoy it too, since he is usually a big fan of all things weird. So throughout the week, I give him little hints like; there will be animals where we are going, no you can’t eat those animals, no we are not going to a pet shop on our date…and no it’s not a circus.

When we arrived for our appointment he was a little stunned, because he definitely did not expect a Spa treatment! He quickly grew fascinated with the aquariums and was the first one of us to soak his feet into a pool of hungry, hyper fish (not piranhas- as I assured him). I genuinely enjoyed the atmosphere at Dr. Fish, a room no bigger than your average sitting room, with sufficient space to place your shoes, bags, wash your feet prior to the treatment, and a staged deck surrounded by 6 separated aquariums. The lights are very dim with a bluish tint, soft gargling music plays in the background and very few customers- the perfect “private” date.

We snuggled on a cushion while soaking our feet, the little Garra Rufas nibbled at our toes, heels and other damaged areas, tickling us unbearably until we got used to the sensations. Although no extensive exfoliation was achieved, my feet did not feel any different than they did prior to the appointment- it is worth going there simply for the experience. There is a tank with slightly bigger fish for those more daring and/or bikers, where you can feel the pinches harder and the fish are more aggressive, especially if you have biker feet. Alex has about 20 fish vacuuming his one toe!!!

All in all, at least in the future we can say “and we went on a date to an all-you-can-eat-dead-skin-cells buffet for fish”, instead of just another dinner and a movie.

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Day 44. Steak Fridays.

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Bikers are energetic beings. Their meals have to be rich in Vitamin A,B,C,D,E which are all found in red meat and poultry. Folic acid is also a must, for all those scrapes and scratches to heal faster. I doubt there are any vegetarians amongst them. They require a lot of nutrition, but no nonsense such as soups or broths.
The truth about a biker’s nutrition plan:

• It’s not morning unless there is coffee

• It’s not coffee if it has milk in it. It is a Starbucks lie.

• If it’s not fried- then it’s not cooked.

• If it’s not beer, then it is not a beverage.

• Meat always wins over chicken.

• Chicken is hardly a dish on its own.

• It is possible to have 16 oz steak, with chicken as a side dish (and fries).

• Broccoli, spinach and cabbage- these are not food. They are garden weeds.

• The redder the better.

• The portion is only big enough when the plate can no longer be seen.

• Ribs and chops are “teasers”, bring on the whole shoulder.

• Sushi <—-where is the meat in that?

• Garden green salads <—-where is the meat in that?

• Seafood- not red, not fried, not lean- not a dinner option.

• A side dish cannot be boiled, grilled or slow cooked. It must be fried, or it will be thrown.

• It is not curry unless you cry when you eat it.

• It is not pasta unless its topped with bacon/cream/mince meat/all of the above.

• A bar of chocolate is not dessert, but a kg of chocolate is.

A little detour from Project 365, just for laughs

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You know you married a biker…

  1. When entering your home you stumble on a helmet, pair of heavy boots, a motorbike part or a packed hiking sack. All of which, are “exactly in their right place”.
  2. When you husband doesn’t own more than 1 pair of shoes, but has over 4 pairs of boots and snickers.
  3. When that pair of leather pants, doesn’t belong to you.
  4. When you freezer is maxed out in its capacity to contain steaks, beef ribs, whole beef shoulders and lean cut meat and “the other fridge” is bulging from cans of “extra strong” dark beer.
  5. When the idea of a romantic date involves going to Honda to shop for motorbike parts.
  6. When going for a romantic dinner, or to the cinema on a motorbike is a fine idea- so what if it’s raining?
  7. When the pile of darks in the laundry, can single handedly take over your whole house.
  8. When a motorbike roars two traffic lights from where you are standing, and you are able to tell its brand, engine compactly and the release year.
  9. When pets and flowers arrive protected under a heavy leather jacket, on a motorbike and have to then be nursed back to complete health.
  10. When choosing a suitable weekend getaway, your primary concern is the variety of water sport activities offered on site or a mountainous landscape nearby.
  11. When any electrical appliance (from a plug to an iron) gets fixed, as if by magic, in under 5 seconds.
  12. When 3 out of 4 cupboard drawers are filled with bolts, screw drivers, hammers, wires, electrical cables (of different diameters!) and tool boxes.
  13. When the availability of a good GPS system is the key factor in deciding which phone to buy.
  14. If energy drinks and coffee have a much higher consumption rate than water in your home.
  15. When the extra room in your home is an office/warehouse filled with… (see point 1)
  16. The challenge of remembering all the birthdays, occasions and anniversaries of his entire family is yours alone to bear, because you know – if it’s not technical and cannot be measured in km/h or watts, and then it’s not easy to remember.
  17. When you find yourself enrolling for diving courses while sun tanning at a local beach, reading forums on hiking in the Himalayas while a Cosmopolitan is open on your lap or looking out for a leather jacket every time you go shopping for a new cocktail dress- well because the life style is contagious.
  18. When everyday of your life, is different, colorful, challenging and full of possibilities and new discoveries.

You’ve already won me over…

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…in spite of me
Dont be alarmed if I fall head over feet
Dont be surprised if I love you for all that you are
I couldnt help itIts all your fault”

(Alanis Morisette, Head Over Feet, lyrics)

When I heard the honking of car horns around 10 a.m, I knew that he was close. The bikers were coming to take me away from my grand mothers house-but it was not going to be as easy as they thought. My girls devised a cunning and particularly cruel maze of questions and dares that would have to be fulfilled to their satisfaction. They came up with such witty riddles and never done before tricks, in about 24 hours! They did such an amazing job. I still consider this to be the best part of the day. It all started as they greeted the bikers about 20 meters from the door…

They stood holding hands as 3 bikes roared towards them. Alex was riding together with the best man and my bouquette. The other bikers, were close friends of ours. They got off their bikes when they reached the girls and the first challenge was to cut the ribbon behind them to let them pass. The girls presented them with a tray which had 3 types of scissors on them. They had to pay to buy a pair. The next trick was to step on the footsteps laid out on the ground, and pick up the paper footstep and read the dare on it. These ranged from “dance the little ducklings dance”, “name 4 britney spears songs” to “scream as loudly as you can”. At this point, Alex screamed “Olga, I love you more than anything in the world”. I know. Anything. Thing. Ok. I told myself-anything-means bike. He loves me more that his bike. I can live with that. Other memorable moments included when he had to dress a baby doll in just 20 seconds, he had managed to put one of the legs into the pants, and then as he had 3 seconds left, he stuffed the doll upside down, inside his jacket. Which kind of works, because at least the poor thing was warm! At the door of the building, another unusuall challenge require bows and arrows. He had to shoot at the reason he married me, he shot three times, and mostly got “The party has ordered me”. Inside the hall, he had to guess the outline of my hand trace, and the color of my lipstick. He guessed neither 🙂 Alex them bravely drank 1 ltr of very questionable water to pick out the key to the house. He guessed the key from his first try! The last task included finding the room in which the bride was awaiting him. Alex had a choice of 4 rooms, my room, my grandmothers room, the bathroom and the toilet. I ofcourse hid in my grandmothers room. Biker people kept yelling “pick the room with the baloons!!!” but ofcourse I wasnt there. Instead there was my grandma with a white scarf over her head, yelling “You have found your bride!!!” it was hilarous! Alex them unsuccessfully peaked into the bathroom and the toilet, found me in neither and went for my grandma’s room. I was standing there, trembling, listening closely to the commotion outside. And as the handle of the door turned, my heart stopped beating. He walked in,tall and handsome and his eyes opened wide in amazement. He hugged and kissed for the longest time-unable to believe our luck…

On the other side of town the groom was…

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…hitting he snooze button until screams of panic reached from the adjoined room. “Wake up, you can’t sleep through your own wedding” shriked an emotional Liya,who’s boyfriend is Alex’s best friend. She woke them both up around 8:00 am,prepared coffee ad some breakfast to calm the nerves. Alex got dressed and soon his mom reached our aparment. After a few minutes of “Awws” and “Aaahh” she put herself together and began helping with the preparations. Soon after the photgrapher arrived, and began taking pictures of Alex getting ready for the big day. Followed by Kirill and Nadya, fellow biker mates-who all crowded in our tiny apartment.

I was sure to leave good guidelines for Liya, foreseeing the chaotic preparations so early in the morning. There was an A4 paper stuck to the fridge which contained instructions similar to the following:

“Don’t forget the bowtie and the rings. The rings are in a box on top of the TV, the TV is in the sitting room”

The list had a few more vital bullets to help locate the bridal bouquet,the golden cross, the ribbons and balloons and emergency contacts. Liya later told me, that if it wasnt for the list, Alex would have probably forgotten all about the bouquet and the rings, thats how nerveous he was.

You are probably wonderig, and where is the best man during all these events? Oh, he was home-sleeping 🙂 he did eventually wake up and flew to our place at the speed of light (or a honda bike…) to help get ready. The most important task, before they were to pick me up, was to tie ribbons and balloons around the bikes on which they would ride to my house. Yes. Bikes. My husband rode a bike to our wedding. In his suite. With my bouquet. Both survived.

Having decorated both the groom and the bikes, the party was on their way to pick up the bride. The camera man traveled alongside the bikes in a rented car, and shot the whole 15 minute journey into an amazing video soundtracked by System of a Down’s “Arials”…

Bride for sale

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There is an absurd Russian tradition to “buy out the bride”. The idea behind it, is to give the groom as much trouble as possible before he reacher his wife-to be. I believe this all originated in some classical ideology of the man demonstrating his strength/wit/masculinity for all to see. In the more modern version-it is just there for laughs. The bridesmaids usually greet the groom, before he enters the house/flat the bride lives in. The “buying out the bride” procedure presents every groom a unique opportunity to show his love for all to see. Whether he will need to scream “Darling I love you” for hundrets to hear, or to say 15 compliments about his bride- this is his opportunity to show that the sky is the limit. The bridesmaids also have a field day, because this one day-they are able to get the groom and his friends to do whatever they please.With all possible tricks and games, they try to get him to pay as much money as possible, in order to get to his bride. Some of the most common dares include:

1) The groom is offered three containers,filled with clear liquid. One of them contains sugar, the other salt and the third something bitter. The one the groom picks and tastes is supposed to signify their marriage-would it be sweet or biter.

2)Every stair has a flower laid on it, as the groom picks up the flower he is supposed to say a kind word about his bride (beautiful, sexy, funny), if he runs out of words he pays up.

3)The groom is supposed to spell out the name of the bride with cash notes on the ground (lucky someone called Veronika, or Aleksandra!)

4) A tub of water is put before the groom, and he is asked to put the that which the bride cherishes the most in it (the groom needs to be smart enough to take his shoes off and step into the tub himself)

5)The groom is required to answer all sorts of rediculous questions, ranging from “what was the colour of the dress that she was wearing when you met” to “what is the star sign of the future mother in law”

6)A poster is prepared,covered in kisses of different colours. The groom must correctly guess which colour lipstick belongs to his bride (or pay money!)

The list of competitions and tricks is endless. They are always fun and make it onboard every Russian wedding. I can assure you my girls had a fielday getting bikers to sing Britney Spears Songs.. 🙂

The stripper who slept over…

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My biker husband-to-be was quite famous for his desire to have an unforgettable bachelor’s bash. He would shout left and right about the wild night, with the guys in the bar, and the unlimited number of alcohol and fun that they were planning to have. In his defense, I believe he was scared silly to get married. Because we are such opposites, he knew he would never convince me to do all the things he hopes to do in life. And god forbid I ever stop him from doing them. My burden as a biker wife, is to sit and watch quietly as he swims with sharks, climbs mountains, takes his bike around the world, plans his routes through Georgia and Iraq and stocks up all possible sports equipment in our balcony.
The same was true for the Bachelor’s party, I was totally tranquil to the idea of his ‘wild night out’. I nodded and smiled and supported it. No point of whining about it, if its going to happen anyway! As the wedding date appoached he was so caught up in organizing,planning,freaking out-that he forgot to have a bachelor’s party. His friends were also caught up in the frenzy, and caught off guard about their fellow biker getting married, they forgot to plan a party for him. Ha Ha. What did end up happening before the wedding day was quite the opposite of a “wild party”. Alex called over a good friend of his along with his girlfriend, to spend the evening with his, because he was too nerveous about next morning. They came over, had a few drinks, the girl cooked up something to eat, and before he knew it he was asleep…just like that, the wild biker who longer for a party he would be too ashamed to tell his wife about, was put to bed at 11 in the evening, to get plenty of sleep and rest, before the BIG DAY…This story told by our good friend Liya(who is a umm..stripper, in her defense she has a professional dance diploma!), sounded quite exciting after the wedding with the correct choice of wording, and without too many details:
“Alex has the best Bachelor’s Bash in the World, he spend the evening having drinks with his best friend and a stipper, who cooked him dinner, stayed over, and made him coffee the next morning…” 🙂

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