Published: 30/03/2008 3:21 am
For Jannat Shafaei and Hani Mirza of Bin Mirza International, the prime concern while planning a vacation is what the destination has to offer their two-year-old son, Sami. And that is one of the main reasons why London has become the couple’s favourite holiday destination since his birth. “We are anyway not the mountain climbing type,” says Shafaei of their kind of holidays. “We are more city oriented and prefer a five-star hotel with a good bathroom. You will never find us camping. A holiday has to be relaxing and luxurious.”
London is our all-time favourite destination. In fact we like it so much that we have bought a house there, opposite Regent's Park. London has always been close to our hearts - this is where we studied, and this is where we met for the first time. So there are a lot of fond memories associated with the city. We go at least twice a year to London - for about two months in summer and then for two weeks in winter. It's almost a second home for us. Even when we go to other places, we always have a stopover at London for a couple of days. We go to Canada several times a year on business trips. We take a break at London in those trips because it divides the trip into shorter duration flights.
After Sami was born, our vacations are dictated by his comforts and his joys. We are not the type who would leave the baby home and go for a holiday. Since our place is opposite Regent's Park, there are lots of things Sami can enjoy. We spend a lot of time playing in the park in summer and in winter there are lots of festivals being held there. Even when we go shopping, we usually walk across the park to Oxford Street. We usually zero in on malls that have maximum activities for children so that Sami can have his share of fun while we shop.
Our holidays in London are as much about shopping as they are about relaxing. Before Muscat City Centre expanded I practically did all my shopping in London. I don't like shopping in Dubai because it is overcrowded in a very small area. Though London is also busy, it is spread out over a larger area and because of that you don't feel the tension of everybody shopping. There is always enough choice there. I just feel more comfortable shopping in London than in Dubai where people go crazy when there is a sale. Everyone is shopping, all the sizes are over, there's a huge rush...honestly I just don't like shopping like that.
For us, vacations were always about relaxing. Earlier we used to think, Ok, which country do we go to now?" But of late it's more about chilling out. When you have a baby to take care of, things change. You don't want to overdo things and exert him. We usually go for long walks when we are in London. But there have been times when Sami got excited seeing a bus or train and we've hopped in so that he can enjoy a ride.