Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Travelogue .. My first week at US !

Once upon a time ..
We dreamt of visiting America (not my dream destination … but a must see place)..
After all the formalities and tensions on my bday May 17th  we boarded Thailand flight waving bye to family ,leaving sweet home and chennai … nakshatra in hand and a general anticipation of everything we were about to experience, excitement, euphoria and loads of expectations and a deep desire to meet friends in an alien country …

On the 18th we reached Thailand early morn and we were provided room at the airport .. so quickly finished our free break fast and went to bed to catch the missing sleep .. by we woke and naksha was amazed when I asked which flight u like? Ya the room we stayed had a direct view .. and there were so many flights landed, waiting for take off .. As there was some communal riots the whole day we were there in the airport.. we were busily taking pics and tasting thai cuisine (don’t ask me if I liked it).. and checking out all shops …we were not allowing naksha to take rest ..

n the eve we did board flight toLos Angeles .. 16 hrs travel . .. and I can pen another blog on how difficult is to fly with kid …we reached LA on 18th night 8.30 .. hurray we saved 1 day ..

now its immigration time and I was preoccupied about the question and answer session .. we were asked to wait and there were more than 1000 ppl waiting in different categories ..first thing which I felt appealing in US was the public toilet … very neat and tidy ..
mean while in the queue naksha was not behaving well .. she threw her water bottle in frustration and there came a tall Afro American .. very tall and dark (like those we see in movies) ..i was standing like a dwarf in front of him and vj was smiling in tension .. the man asked us wht happened and we told him tht th kid dint like 16 hrs travel.. oh! he said and took us in a separate line and was proposing nakshatra .. and passport stamped for 6 months stay .. yippie .. for a min I thought ok .. am in US .. thanks to my Agoraphobia.

Raj was eagerly waiting to pick us up .. so many suitcases and we were wondering if his BMW has space .. some how we did manage to fit in things ..
Surprise surprise !nakshatra was expected to sit in a baby seat and seat belt .. for Indians like us mom’s lap is baby’s seat and mom’s clutch is seat belt .. here started all her tantrum and my worries .. she some how managed to sleep and I was delighted to see never ending roads and white lights in one lane and red on the other.. cars driven in such a discipline. we reached raj’s place and bala was waiting for us .. think we dint relax but started our never ending talk and th time we thought of taking rest .. tat a tain naksha woke up .. Jet lag!!!
19th  was early rise for us and by we did go to near by park where naksha made friends with Nicolas and his nanny .. she was playing happily and sun was not a stop, she tasted tangerine and learnt the word “tasty” .. evening we took train to San Diego and never imagined traveling was this beautiful .. myself and vj did fight for the window seat…In the train we were observing different types of Americans and there social behavior .. n drinking culture ..  n how happy the conductor is .. just a comparison of 2 different countries .. train halted and we were in tension tht we shud get down in less than a min and wid all these luggages some how got down at Solana Beach..
RR (rajesh and radhika) were waiting for us .. and radhika was running towards me . asked her wht happened and she wanted to help us in carrying our suit case .. wht a joke ..

Jokes apart ..San Diego is the place and a beautiful place …it looked more like a hill station and was very cold .. shared few moments and talks wid RR and they dropped us at Sunitha’s bungalow .. Man tht was no less than a five star hotel ..n sunitha was happy to see us .. n Rao welcomed us in his usual style and one quick namaskaram to sunitha’s mom and 2 lovable kids .. Uma and Meena .. Nakshatra’s best friend  and sister ..till date she believes meena is her sister ..wait a min .. I was searching my baggage .. gifts for kids and friends and was missing .. I felt real bad not only bcoz it was expensive but it took so many days for me to buy them .. was very upset .. ppl convinced me and Rajesh called up “Lost and Found”and yes .. our baggage was found . I felt so gud bout America ..And then sunitha showed us our room and it was BIG and of course very comfortable.. had gud sleep and early morn rise.

20th we thought we will go out and radhika gave us the suggestion .. Sea World . and we were like WOW .. thought of asking sunitha but was awe struck to see her schedule .. Poor gal .. the sunitha I knew was a care free and easy going gal .. and now so many responsibilities of motherhood and the way she handles it .. total make over.. She said yes and fitted us in her schedule .. Tht was a big day for us in all means .. Like small kids we were running here n there wid th map. We saw stroller rentals and understood our mistake ..so rented a stroller .. very costly …n the pop corn. Nakshatra wanted was costing us 10 dollars and vj was total upset .. he wanted to go back to India . I did my best to solace him.
We saw many shows, animals,aqua culture  at Sea world  and out of which the high light was Shamu .. the killer whale, which was a perfect entertainer. This is the biggie, and it’s all about the “special relationship” between the whales and their trainers .. I wondered, how cud they train a killer whale.. Next is this wild artic attraction we came face to face with beluga whales, walruses, and seals and other best show pet rules ..the dogs jump rope, dance, and race through obstacle courses, the cats who knew they could actually be trained?walk tightropes upside down, and a pot-bellied pig soaks the audience with sprinklers.

While all these were happening ..nakshatra was tired and she enjoyed few shows and completely hated many .. Lunch was horrible and selection of food was vague and worst..Naksha started dieting from that day :)

Gradually we were admiring ppl and America .. we had one year pass, so no hurry .. I was floored to see .. Every thing was organized and every individual was self disciplined .. they don rush, they smile at u , instantly ppl appreciate and children re so mannered, children eat on their own , they use the words.. “can I”, they stand in queue and wait for their turn, toilets re so clean . .. every small damn thing was new to my sight .. I felt India lags by 150 years .. As it’s a big country and population very less and no many politicians .. th country is so  well developed .. wen I see my friends go ga ga bout US previously,
 I used to think ..they over act .. now I felt th same thing .. cant stop praising the good .

And after a tiresome and highly calculative day . this time we were lost .. so we went to this lost and found and again and called few of our friends to let them know bout our where bouts.. R and R came for th pick up and we were sharing wht we did and wht we saw,At anna purna ( 100 % non vegetarian hotel).. had good food and nice time wid friends .. after talking to rajesh .. VJ Was comfortable and we understood theme parks are usually costly  .. night again sound sleep .
21st was a rest day and was enjoying aunty’s cuisine and we took few pictures in and around sunitha’s place .. every nook and corner was a picture perfect ..
22nd .. week end and was time for get together … we were supposed to be picked up by 7 in the morn .. but all these lazy fellas arrived sunitha’s place only by 8.30 .. Magesh and poorani had come from green ville . to meet us .. so sweet of them and poorani is a beautiful lady and perfect wife .. her “enanga” is very infectitious .. we friends .. rajesh, radhi, I , sunitha and magesh .. missed raj .. were very happy to pose for a pic .. who on earth cud ve imagined a get together in US ? we friends for a dozen year .. still felt like first year students .. trying to bully each other .. am blessed !

Las vegas our destination .. The Sin city .. thts wht ppl call this place.. we stopped at Star bucks to meet raj n bala .. gud coffee and to mention .. VJ taught American boys cricket .. tht too in tamil ….Travel to Las Vegas was amazing .. saw desert for th first time .. cud not enjoi much .. as I was not well and naksha hated long journey .. she cried and puked and had to make her lie down and hide her from cops.. was challenge to raj …

Vegas .. What a very bizarre place!! Everything you have read or seen about Las Vegas is true and very, very hot! And lesson learnt.. place was not for kids and the importance of stroller .There are so many people, lights, etc..First place we visited .. the Venetian!!!!! You can't even begin to imagine what this place is like...... it has a real Venice canal with gondolas and you can ride in them!!! This is a hotel that I can't begin to describe .. Just tht my health was not
co operating along wid nakshatra .. there were few more hotels we checked in .. but then was too tired to explore .. so bid good night to friends and we returned back to hotel and slept like logs .. thanks to the sleep

The next day was total energetic and lunch at M resorts .. it was windy .. tht it literally flew ppl .. and ya the food ,, was a total waste for me .. to start wid I tasted sushi .. thinking tht it wud taste better . yuck raw fish . spoiled 30 $.. had few desserts and to circus circus .. the place nakshatra enjoyed like god knows..was gambling . won some( 2 flowers.. 2 bears) .. lost some(dunno how many dollars) .. lastly it was paris .. and took few fotos .. we packed and were on our way to SD and I dint want to go .. was convincing vj to stay longer .. he dint agree .. we were wid raj and as usual our college stories and I wonder how raj dint tell bala bout all these before .. raj shared his school life story too “vazhuki vizhundha .. bharathiyar.. story” and time flew like tht .. met RR and magesh and poorani and emergency landing at RR’s place..the whole travel vj kept the crowd active talking bout kara kulambu and pulli sadham and poorani’s recipe “egg burji”....

(to be contd)

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