Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

********************************************************************************************* Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers *********************************************************************************************
Lilypie Third Birthday tickers *********************************************************************************************

Thursday, September 29, 2005

7 -> Satte pe Satta -> I've been tagged :)

Wise Donkey a.k.a Gayathri tagged me and I really can't refuse 'cause she's one blogger whose posts I really love. So here goes:

Seven Things you want to do before you die:

  • Skydiving :-D (If you had asked me an year ago, the first one would have been bungee-jumping ;-) But me and my hubby bungee jumped on our trip to South Africa, so the next stage should be sky-diving :-D).

  • Climbing Mt. Everest (someday).

  • Attend Tango classes with my hubby Sri (Poor guy, I get him in trouble all the time).

  • Own a really good telescope (I've been interested in astronomy since high school and can recognize most constellations, planets and have seen 3 comets :) ).

  • Learn professional photography (I love to photograph stuff, am planning to start a webshots section soon :) ).

  • Travel all around the world.

  • Own a dog/cat/both (Would love to own a golden retriever or a white/cream coloured labrador, but I am scared of the responsibility ;-) So am aiming it when Sri and me are really old and cannot travel anywhere ;-) ).

Seven Things you can do :

  • I can cook well (as I've discovered recently, its no big deal. But the credit for my cooking goes to my mom's recipes :). Will be coming up with a post on it soon :-D).

  • I can sing very well (Been singing from childhood, learnt classical for sometime before I got married. Will be resuming as soon as I'm back in India. I also know the lyrics of most songs - be it classical, kannada light music, hindi film songs or english pop/rock/metal songs).

  • I can bungee jump :-D (Jumped only once, but it still means I CAN :-D).

  • I can trek/hike/walk for hours without complaining :).

  • I can feel the wonder of little moments and enjoy them (This is when others are wondering what's the big deal about the same. See my last three posts, especially the last one).

  • I can be alone for a long time without feeling bored (Have come to know of it for sure after I came to U.S..).

  • I can drink more than 2 litres of water per day (Been doing water therapy since my adolescense. What started as a quest to glowing skin has become a habit now. I drink 1.5 litres of water right in the morning and later another 0.5 litres while working out. After that the whole day I keep sipping water at regular intervals :) )

Seven Things you say most:

  • God!! (At least, I think of Him many times a day because of this word ;-) )

  • What the heck??

  • Sheeeesh!!

  • Don't do this to me! (This to non-living things like a puri that doesn't puff, a curry that's trying to get burnt or the blogger which eats away my posts before I could save them ;-) :-D)

  • Hello??

  • "Love you" to Sri (Learning to say it many times a day ;-) ).

  • Ayyyyo :)

Seven Things you can't do:

There's very less I can't do, but I'll try to find seven somehow >:)

  • I can't still get over the fact that I'm so far away from my parents :( (Probably never will).

  • I can't think of a life without my loved ones (Sri, Mom, Dad, Darsh..).

  • I can't seem to stop biting my nails when I'm reading a book, watching a movie etc (will be soon coming up with a post on that :) ).

  • I can't pretend to like people whom I dislike thoroughly ;-) (There are very less no. of people whom I genuinely dislike, but I cannot pretend that I like them even in front of them ..).

  • I can't bear cigarette smoke. I get irritated almost instantly and make a scathing comment ;-)

  • I can't help but login to chat messengers every single day..

  • I can't eat meat - no matter even if I don't have anything else to eat (always brings a picture of the poor living thing being beheaden immediately to my mind..)

Seven Things that attract you to the opposite sex:

  • Dimples, Dimples, Dimples (do I really have to continue with the rest of the 6 things? :-D).

  • Sense of Humour.

  • Intelligence and the ability to talk about any topic (but not a Mr. Know it all).

  • Patience (and a lot of it!!).

  • Helpfulness.

  • Maturity (This I have found basically in men who are elder siblings. Younger siblings are usually childish and behave very immature though they are grown ups :) Just my POV ;-) ).

  • Just being himself :).

Seven Celebrity crushes:

  • Aamir Khan (The one and only hindi actor I considered an idol as soon as I saw his first movie. No others came close. But his "idol"ness has gone down a little after he left his wife :-p).

  • Harrison Ford (Saw him first in the Star Wars movie and loved him. Was very disappointed to know he was in the older generaton already :-p).

  • Pierce Brosnan (Can't believe the guy has a 30 year old daughter!!).

  • Michael Jordan (One of the first Afro-Americans I liked :) Me being tactical ;-) ).

  • Michael Schumacher (I know he's arrogant, but then he's generous too. He donated more than 10 million dollars for Tsunami..)

  • Sachin Tendulkar (Yeah I know, I know! He's short. But I had this hugggggge crush on him when I was in high school which lasted only for an year :-p)

  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Its not exactly a crush, but I'll be a fan of his for life :) )

Seven People you want to tag:

I really don't want to tag anyone, because they might just curse me ;-) But I'm putting a list here. Guys and gals, please post only if you want to and not because I tagged you :)

  • Amit (The first blog I ever commented on :) ).

  • Vids (I-care-a-hoot kind of woman which is why I like her).

  • Sachin (an old friend who I know will hate me for this :-D).

  • Neel (A blogger who makes very insignificant things extremely interesting).

  • On9thcloud (Her thoughts sort of reflect mine, I guess that's because we are both in very similar situations).

  • Anbu (You are caught because you commented twice on my blog. Hope you don't mind. Even if you do, I'll just have to bear your curses..).

  • Loonie (Comment once and you are caught 'cause I have nobody else to tag :) ).

Gaya, I'd have loved to tag you, but you have already suffered twice with the tagging business. Lekin mein is tagging ka badla zaroor loongi :-D Hehehehee :))

Monday, September 26, 2005

Car Wash :))

After a happy Time zone crossing, a worrying fire alarm, now its time again for a happy car wash incident :)

Sri wanted to get the car automatically washed on Friday itself after work. But he remembered that I had shown enthusiasm in seeing a car wash and so insisted that we are going on saturday together. So sweet :). Since we had movie plans in the evening, we decided to leave about 2 hours early (we didn't know how much time it would take). We bought the tickets to the movie on the way and reached the car wash at about 3:30 PM :)

From the outside, it looked as shabby as an Indian garage, but it was a bit more clean :). Sri asked for a deluxe exterior wash and was directed to another place where a man was standing with a hose. I admit I was a bit disappointed on seeing him. Is it gonna be only manual and not as shown in the movies? :-D But he simply washed off some major dirt, removed the radio antenna from the car, gave it us and waved us off. The car was directed to a building and I knew then that it was gonna be just like the movies :-D. As soon as we reached the inside of the building, Sri had to maneuver the car onto a conveyor belt! He simply switched the engine off and we aaram se started moving on the conveyor belt.

The first step was hosing down the car. We had obviously made sure that all windows and doors of the car were closed (otherwise we'd have an interior wash and an unwanted bath as well :-p). There were about 4 guys who sprayed the car from all the sides with soap water. Bechaare, all were drenched totally. But I absolutely loved the concept. Imagine to a kid who loves playing with water, that would be the ultimate job :-D.

After the soapwater spray,the conveyor belt moved to a huge mop like thing which was moving to and fro and was scrubbing every part of the car. At one point of time, it was covering the whole car and it was looking something like an octupus with 100s of legs :-D. I even grinned, pretended to be scared and said dramatically, "Help! help! There's a monster on the car". Sri also seemed delighted at the whole thing :). This process continued with more water spraying and scrubbing.

The next step was pouring water on the car like crazy!! It was as if we were sitting in the car during heavy rain. You can't drive as you can see absolutely nothing :-D. Next, we went towards 3 spinning bottle-brush-like brushes which were moving to and fro ominously. They rubbed the the car from the sides. I guess they were for rubbing the car a little dry. But I am not sure :)

At this point of time Sri had to start the car again, get off the conveyor belt and was directed to a place where 4 more guys were waiting to towel dry the car. They towelled the whole outside of the car and wiped the inside glasses clean. Our Nissan Sentra was dry, shiny, clean and looked like new after the vigourous towel-drying :-D. The whole process took only about 5 min (:-D) and 8 dollars, but was a whole lot fun :). I have already asked Sri to pull me along whenever he goes for a car wash again :).

The only problem was that we still had more than 1.5 hours for the movie. But that turned to my advantage as we did some window-shopping and had delicious ColdStone icecream :). My German Chocolate Cake flavoured icecream with pecans and brownies was awesome!! Later we went to the movie which was Jodie Foster's Flightplan and I absolutely loved it :). We also had dinner at an Italian restaurant :).

Now you may wonder, why I enjoy such small, not-very-important things like a car wash. Its because I believe that such little fun moments make up life. We are so busy with the bigger aspects of life that such small moments are squashed like ants, unnoticed and then forgotten. But I don't want my life to be like that. The wonder I feel at these small things is comparable to the wonder that a child feels at seeing new things. And this is the wonder that keeps me young at heart, that makes me more lively and keeps me alive :). Hehehe, Sri even calls me an "enthu cutlet" seeing the way I enjoy these moments :). One bit of advice from Prof. Deepthi - Treasure little moments in your life and you'll see that unhappiness is suddenly a smaller factor, the reason simply being that there are many more happy moments :).

Alrighty, that's enough of my blabber. Wish you all a very happy day filled with many many little fun moments :).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Smoke without a fire ;-)

Have to write about a worrying experience I had on Tuesday evening.

I had put oil on heat for frying something. The oil was emitting some smoke. I wasn't too worried as the oil was a lot used and I just switched on the exhaust on high mode. But as as soon as I put the bittergourd I wanted to fry into the oil, the container just emitted a burst of smoke. Before I knew it, the fire alarm in the house started ringing (there was no fire anywhere, damn it! There are only electric stoves here!!). Sri immediately opened all the windows, switched the AC to full blast and opened the door. The alarm rang for about 5 times and then all was quiet...

Now my worries started. Will the fire department be coming? If so, will they accept that it was just a little bit of smoke? Will they fine us for a false alarm? Sri said they usually just take a signature saying there is no problem and they return, but he didn't have any experience of it either. I could see he was tensed (he even went near the parking lot to receive and send them back from there itself) and that made me even more nervous. After pacing and worrying for about 10-15 min, there was still no sign of any fire engine. I was surprised. I mean, if its a real fire situation, shouldn't the fire engine be coming within 10 min? Sri also agreed with me and said that they are probably not coming. Since the alarm didn't ring continuously and stopped almost immediately, I guess, they realized that it probably was not a fire.

Phew!! Anyways, I think I'll remember the ten tense minutes all my life (I've made sure of that by putting it here on my blog) :-D

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Crossing milestones err.. time zones :-D

Another experience I just had to blog about :) You may think, this girl has run out of topics and is talking about crossing time zones? If you are a person living in U.S, you'd have already crossed many time zones while flying to U.S from India. So you'll be definitely thinking 'What's the big deal? :-p" :). The fun I'm talking about is not crossing time zones on a plane, but by land :-D

I never knew until last Friday that Kentucky state itself has 2 timezones. Most of Eastern KY comes under Eastern Time zone (indicated by blue colour in the picture below), but there are some parts of western KY that fall under the Central Time zone (indicated by green colour).

We drove to one place called Rough river in Western KY which falls into the central time zone last saturday. There is no border/toll post or anything as such to indicate the timezone change.Its simply a board stating the place and the time zone below it (I'm getting tired of repeating time zone again and again, so short form -> TZ). As soon as you cross the TZ from east to west, VOILA!! You have gained one hour!! :-D Reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin's dad explains the theory of relativity to Calvin. Click on the pic to see the big pic :)

Sri told me that the TZ are not exactly according to longitudes. Yeah if they made it that way, probably cities would have had different TZ, or maybe colonies and even houses!! Imagine one part of your house is one hour ahead of the other part :)) Hehehehee :-D. Even now some people maybe facing problems due to this. After all, people do stay in one town and sometimes work in another. Imagine if the 2 towns are in different TZ :-D Say the office is west and house is in the east. A person going to work at 9:30 will actually be leaving his home at 10 or so. And when coming back say he leaves his office at 5:30 in the evening, he'll probably reach his house only at 7!! Would be maddening, would it not? :-D

That maybe the reason why the TZ lines are curved. Each city has probably chosen which TZ it'll adopt and has stuck to it! Hmmm the things I get to think and blog about. Well, I'll leave you to contemplate about this one. Will be back next time with another weirdo topic :))

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ina Mina Katrina..

I think the first named hurricane I ever heard of was Ivan. I remember wondering what's the big deal about a person called Ivan destroying something. It was only later I realized that Ivan was not a person but a hurricane. I really thought naming a storm was a stupid practice. Imagine!! If the practice ever reached India, the tsunami would probably be named as "Kaali maata" or the earthquake in Gujarat would probably be something like "Shiv Tandav" ;-) :-D But later I did some research and found a reason for the naming here:

Yeah I did change my mind about the naming factor after reading the article :)

There have been many hurricanes/named storms in US. Recent ones we know of are Charley, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004, Arlene, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina and Ophelia till now in 2005. Since september is supposedly the peak for hurricanes, there are surely more to come. But none of them have been like Katrina before...

Katrina exposed another harsh truth about US, the first one being exposed by the 9/11 WTC incident. The response was pretty pathetic and this time George Bush couldn't repeat his all-time favourite dialogue "The United states of America will stand united against all terrorism" :-D Sadly, a natural disaster can in no way be named as an act of terrorism, even Bush doesn't have the power to call God a terrorist. In a way, I'm pretty sure the real terrorists must have been really happy. They didn't have to do anything this time and there was utter chaos!! But I was surprised when Bush said "I'll take the responsibility" :-D. Man, its late, but good. You atleast now realize that you are responsible for something. And that vacation at your ranch in Texas isn't your only responsibility :-p. The News channels really had a field day with his statement ;-). They actually made it sound as if Bush was the cause of Katrina :-D.

I recently got this mail from a friend. I dunno how many of the so-called facts are actually facts, but here it is:


New Orleans vs. Aamchi Mumbai

Inches of rain in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina... 18
Inches of rain in Mumbai (July 27th).... 37.1

Population of New Orleans... 484,674
Population of Mumbai.... 12,622,500

Deaths in New Orleans within 48 hours of Katrina...100
Deaths in Mumbai within 48 hours of rain.. 37.

Number of people to be evacuated in New orleans... entire city (almost)
Number of people evacuated in Mumbai...10,000

Cases of shooting and violence in New Orleans...Countless
Cases of shooting and violence in Mumbai.. NONE

Time taken for US army to reach New Orleans... 48 hours
Time taken for Indian army and navy to reach Mumbai...12 hours

Status 48 hours later: New Orleans is still waiting for relief, army
and electricty.
Status 48 hours later: Mumbai is back on its feet and its business is as

USA: World's most developed nation
India: Third world country

Oops!! Did i get the last fact wrong???


Even though the rains in Mumbai cannot be compared to Katrina, the fact is that the response here in US was sluggish to say the least :-p. Is it really necessary that a governor ask specifically for a particular kind of help, when the whole country has a huge warning being flashed from all sides about the hurricane? Ok they might not have had a warning for the 9/11 incident (I still cannot believe that), but hello? You had one clear and bright here!!!

First of all, I don't understand building a city like New Orleans. According to them the simple steps to create a city seem to be:

1) Find a pit between a high huge river and another high lake.
2) Make sure this place is near the sea from where storms/hurricanes can come anytime.
3) Construct pathetic levees for the river and the lake.
4) Build a city that's completely below the water level of both the river and the lake.
5) Live in the city and declare "I'm safe :)".

I really don't understand why they are rebuilding the city either. Now that they know how unsafe it is, why rebuild and again invite another disaster to happen? Most of the people have already been shifted to other places, being given jobs, shelter and they probably won't want to come back once the city is "rebuilt". Why not keep the city as it is as a "New Orleans Memorial" as they did for WTC :-D? Jokes apart, if they are definite about rebuilding, then they must make sure that the levees this time are higher and stronger than the Great wall of China...

The problem with the people here in US is that they depend too much on the Government. "The Government didn't send us buses, the Government didn't make sure we were all evacuated, the Government didn't get us food and water at the right time" etc etc and etc. I know people in India too depend on the government, but its usually only for the compensation they get later ;-) But this is too much! C'mon, 2 days before the hurricane struck, the warnings were being issued. There were evacuations ordered. What do these people expect? That someone should come, check each and every house, if there are people push them into a bus and carry them out of the city??? Roof top evacuations were being telecasted after the storm and I remember people begging to be rescued. They didn't listen to the warning, did nothing to avoid the hurricane and want to be rescued? Sheeeeeeesh!! Even worse than this was the way the people behaved when put in the superdome! Rapes!! God!! A man is in a life and death situation and all he can think of raping a woman who is in the same situation as him? Its totally outrageous and unacceptable behaviour!! God, why did you make men this way? Is there any logic in looting people and raping women where you should probably be helping them out? And yup, they can always claim that "The Government locked us up in the superdome and didn't monitor us"!! I guess people are animals, if they are not in a controlled situation, they return to the ancestral monkey behaviour :-p Quod Erat Demonstrandum from Katrina!

The other problem I've found is too many good facilities. They say "Too much of something is not good" and thats precisely the problem in US. The electricity is continuous and there are no power cuts. So none of the buildings have generators!! In India, I think there's a stipulation that every building with a lift should have generators (I am not sure but I think so). Heck, most of the upper middle class families have invertors for their houses. I know its due to the common power cuts, but its good. In a way, we are prepared for emergencies :) Here most of them do not. Because they are oh-so-confident about the power. No wonder the whole Los Angeles city stopped working at the recent power outage. Moreover everything else depends on electricity. I heard one of the news channels actually issue a warning saying "Don't use any of the food in cans which have been outside the fridge for than 4 hours". The food last only 4 hours without electricity? :-o? What the heck?? So if I'm stranded in my house without electricity, I can't even eat the food in the house after 4 hours?? What's the use of storing food then? I just don't have the words to express my disgust here..

My heart went out to the many people who were sitting in front of the superdome waiting for help. There were children, old people, new mothers with babies and nothing was being done for them. I really hope that Katrina is a lesson learnt and things are much more smooth if a disaster strikes again (God Forbid!). We are in mid-US and the chances of us being attacked by a storm is pretty less (but Lexington it seems, is a tornado prone area, just my luck :-p :-D). But there are millions of people living on the coastline who may be hit any time by a hurricane. Hopefully next time, may all of them have the intelligence to get out of the storm path when warned and stay away until its all quiet, calm and safe again :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New York New York!!!

Whenever I have not posted for a few weeks, I have always made it a point to post a hugggggggggge post to compensate (How's that for a beginning argument as a lawyer? :-D). Yup, I know I have been missing for 2 weeks now from the blog world and hence as usual here's my lengthy post. Don't blame me if you get bored (as if you would. Why would you come back to my blog again and again otherwise? :-D)

Its been sometime since I posted a travel post. I think Ain't no small feat :) was the last one describing one of our trips. So here it is. An account of our trip to New York, exclusively on Dip Tea :-D

We had been planning of a trip to New York for a long time. We wanted to visit during July 4th, just so that we could see the fireworks, but due to cost factor (the prices of flight tickets were really high during that season), we could not. We had decided to plan it for the next upcoming long weekend and that was the first weekend of September. Thankfully we got tickets pretty reasonably priced (we booked them way back in July!!) and were all set :) Moreover Sri's cousin Sunitha lives in New Jersey with her hubby Raghu and they had been inviting us to visit them for sometime now :)

Friday - 2nd September 2005:

Off we went at about 6 PM in the evening to Louisville airport to catch our Delta plane to JFK, NY. Louisville is one hour drive from Lexington. We had some cheeze pizza in the airport and oranges we had carried with us. That was our dinner. The domestic flights in US don't shell out any food as such, which is probably good for them, but definitely not very good for us ;-) Yup, they did give us a soft drink and a pack of crackers/peanuts but its like "Ravana na hotte ge kaasina majjige" :-D (means a drop of buttermilk for a stomach like Ravana's). Anyways we had nothing to complain about ( as we had already eaten the pizza) :). The plane was late (common as some of my friends tell me) and we landed in NY only about 11:20 PM. The total flight time from Lousiville to NY is about 1 hour 40 min. I have to mention that the night lights of NY as seen from the plane are so beautiful that I really don't have the words to describe it :) Raghu and Sunitha drove to pick us up. We found out only then that we'd have to drive 1 hour to reach New Jersey (this was at night, without any traffic). So in total, we probably drove for more time than we flew :-o!! We crashed almost as soon as we reached their home.

Saturday - 3rd September 2005:

At about 10:30 AM in the morning, after a breakfast of Rava idlis, we started towards our destination of NY Manhattan downtown. Since the traffic between NJ and NY is heavy (to say the least), we went to a train station called Harrison. We got stuck in a traffic jam on the way!! There are 4 laned highways, yet the traffic is so terrible. The situation is same, India or US :-p Anyways there are 2 types of trains from NJ to NY. One is the NJ transit and the other is Path. We caught the Path from Harrison to the WTC path station.

I was eager to see what was left of the great WTC. It seems the station was destroyed too, but was rebuilt later after the 9/11 incident. Also, it seems the station opened directly into one of the WTC buildings. As soon as I saw the spot, the enormity of the disaster struck me. The WTC ground zero has been cleared of all debris and already there's a basement built. But its still signifies what a huge misfortune happened that day 4 years ago. Its a huge empty spot amidst several tall buildings and this is what brings home the fact that the towers were so wide and so big. Imagine there were probably 100s of people getting down that station that very day at that very time. People going to their particular floors on elevators, people having coffee, people grinning and saying Good Mornings to each other. So many people, so many... Not to mention that people drving along NJ trunpike, people in downtown, tourists on cruises to the Statue of Liberty, tourists on the top of Empire State building - all with a clear view of the WTC. Wonder what went through their minds, when they saw the planes strike the buildings, when the buildings collapsed like a pack of cards. I remember seeing it on BBC, and it was horrifying. How must it have felt to the people in New York? Larry Silverstein is already planning the Freedom Tower, despite criticisms from hoards of people and despite the fact that there are no takers for any of the properties (many people believe that its jinxed :-o). I guess right now the emptiness and later the Freedom tower will always point to what the Americans couldn't prevent that day. I really wish I could have seen the WTC towers though :-!

As usual, click on any of the photos for all our New York trip snaps. I usually take them off when I upload new photos, so hurry ;-)

The buildings in downtown Manhattan actually made my head spin. Arey baap re :) I was definitely like Jerry in the Tom & Jerry cartoon "Mouse in Manhattan". My face was almost always pointing towards the sky. Its surely a thrill to see all those huge buildings gathered together at one place :)

Our next stop was the notorious Wall street. As soon as you turn into wall street, you can see the New York Stock Exchange. It seems even the walls are painted with some chemical, so that no radio waves can pass inside/outside the building!! Mobile phones don't work inside the building and nobody is allowed to loiter for long outside the building ;-) The entry to the bulding obviously requires special card :)

We casually walked along the streets to see the Wall Street bull - a 7000 pound bronze statue of a bull :) Later went to the Battery park for the Statue of Liberty cruise, but the queue must have been about a mile long!! We had bought the tickets already, yet decided to postpone the actual cruise to Tuesday and got out of there. Had lunch at a Food court at the Seaport and later saw the Brooklyn bridge and the City Hall. Caught the Path back to Harrison.

Once back in NJ, we visited a place called Edison and this I HAVE to write about. As you enter the place, its as if you have been miraculously teleported to India!! Indian chat shops, sweet shops, jewellery and Indian clothes stores, God!! There was even litter on the streets like India ;-) And of course every damn person roaming on the streets was an Indian. No American in sight! I almost went crazy :-D I had bhel puri and sugarcane juice (sadly the prices were still in dollars and not in rupees :-p) at a shop despite the fact that my tummy was still full from the noon's lunch :-D For a moment it was as if I was back in India. It felt marvellous :) :) :)

We wrapped up the day's adventure and went back home. Watched a Robert Redford and Paul Newman movie "The Sting" (it was wonderful), had the tasty Pav bhaaji that Sunitha had made (eating chat twice, looks like it was my lucky day ;-) ) and retired for the day :)

Sunday - 4th September 2005:

Our day started late again. After a break fast of Bagels and omelettes, we were off to a day of sunshine. No traffic of NY for the day for we had planned to visit an NJ beach and another notorious place Atlantic City.

We drove to Atlantic highlands, which supposedly is the highest place in NJ from where you can view the NY skyline. These Americans sure know where to put tourist spots! The place was serene with a beautiful view. We sat there for a while enjoying the peace.

The island strip that you can see in the photo is the place we went to next, called Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is a tiny island at the NJ shore and is connected to NJ by a bridge. Sea is all around & it has many beaches (Yup, even nude ones, though we didn't go to one ;-) ). We were surprised to see living quarters on the island. Sri even wondered at a point of time, that if a tsunami comes here, the whole island will be washed out.. But I guess they are prepared for such emergencies. We spent around 4 hours walking on the beach and then headed off to Atlantic City.

Atlantic City is a mini Las Vegas in the east coast, a mini sin city :) Of course there are hell lot of casinos. We went to Donald Trump's Taj Mahal (being an Indian, the name Taj Mahal is an instant attraction, but sadly, an American is making lots of money out of this fact ;-) ). You should see the outside and the inside to believe the amount of money spent here. Sadly, they didn't allow us to take pictures inside. Some kind of protection I guess. But Trump is definitely making billions and billions, smart guy :)

We udaoed $20 on slot machines, $11 on a game called Keno which is similar to Bingo/Housie and $10 on a dart game where Sri won a stuffed dog (which is sweet but definitely not worth 10$ :-p). Later cribbed and cribbed all the time that Trump ate away us poor people's 41 dollars. If you guys think this story is sad and want to send your contributions for the recovery of our money, you are welcome. Just comment and I'll let you know where to send it ;-) :-D Just kidding!! After we became tired of being looted, we simply went home and crashed ;-)

Monday - 5th September 2005:

This day we had planned to visit Manhattan mid town. We drove till a station called New Port and caught the Path (again :-D) to 33rd Street. One point I didn't mention about these trains is that they actually travel under the Hudson river to reach NY. There are huge tunnels built under-river for the passage!! After getting down at the 33rd street, our first stop was the Empire State Building.

Sunitha and Raghu refused to join us to the top of the ESB as they had already seen it many times before. We had to wait for an hour to cross the queues, but the sight at the top was worth it. The cars and the vehicles are so small they are like toys. The people can't be seen at all. I did wonder what it'd be like to bungee jump from there ;-) :-D

Again we saw the buildings that surrounded the WTC and wondered how they'd have been. They were both taller than the ESB, so they must have been rather a powerful sight from the top. {Sighs} No point in wishing we could have seen them..

I took photos from all possible directions (no wonder our NY photos total to more than 90!! :-D). For a pigeon's eye view (or should I say Pigeon view :-D), see the photo below hehehee :))

After ESB, we walked along the streets and saw many many buildings like the NY Public Library, Chrysler Building, Grand Central station, Metlife building (supposedly the richest in NY), U.N Building, 3 of Donald Trump's towers (the man supposedly owns 13 buildings all over NY, filthy rich or what!), the Rockefeller Center etc. We also visited the Central park which is in central NY and is more than 800 acre large!! We walked and sat there for sometime until it was night. And why were we waiting for the night? To visit Times Square ofcourse :)

The Times Square is absolutely fascinating. You just don't know where to look. The whole area is such a lovely palette of colours that your mind is boggled. There is so much to see in each and every direction. Each and every building is covered with LCD boards or TVs which continously display colour advertisements. Its just amazing how the crowds throng the place. The side roads are surprisingly empty of any signs of life. We had a most amazing time walking around and taking in all the sights :) One of the building even had a huge TV that was displaying U.S Open live!! We wandered here and there until we were tired and then caught the Path back to Newport. From there back to NJ, back home, had some rotis for dinner and crashed :)

Tuesday - 6th September 2005:

As tuesday was a working day for Raghu and a school day for Sunitha, we just asked them to guide us and drop us at a station convenient to them. We packed up all our stuff and got dropped at the NJ Transit station Aberdeen-Matawan. After saying our goodbyes to Raghu and Sunitha, we caught the NJ Transit to Penn station and later the subway from Penn station to Battery Park for our cruise to the Statue of Liberty. The journey took almost 2 hours!! We were hoping to get passes to go until Lady Liberty's foot, but they had all been already issued and hence we missed that chance :(

Luckily the queue wasn't as bad as it was on Saturday, sowe were able to make it on the ferry pretty early. The NY skyline from the ferry and later the Liberty island was amazing. More amazing was the statue itself. God!! Its so huge. As most of you would know that statue was a gift from France to US and it was sculpted by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. But wonder who posed for it. Not very surprisingly, I took lots of photos from all possible angles. The name of the statue is "Liberty enlightening the world" . How many of us know that? :-D Here are some of the snaps:

Bechaara Sri had to carry our luggage on the ferry too, as we had no other place to keep the bag. Thankfully it was only one bag :) We had plans for some shopping that day, but the cruise ate away our shopping time :( We had to hurry to catch a subway train to a place called Chamber street and from there had to switch to another subway train to JFK. We were able to reach the airport well within time and were glad to see that the plane was also on time. But our joy was short-lived :( The plane left the airport but while taxi-ing to the runway, there was a delay of 2 hours!! Its due to all the air traffic in JFK (its supposedly the busiest airport in NY. Finally after all the delay, we said Good bye to NY. Funnily the 40-seater plane had only 7 passengers + 1 air hostess + 2 pilots, only 10 people in all :-D :)). Anyways we were glad that they didn't cancel the flight and later drove from Louisville airport to Lexington. Were back in home sweet home in no time :) That's the end of another satisfying trip :) More later, folks!! :)