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....

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Friday, July 30, 2010

The circle of camera life :-p.

Finally!! After much deliberation, research and what not, my new DSLR Canon EOS 50D arrived last week on Tuesday the 20th July 2010. So why wait till now for a post, you ask? Well, I "assumed" that the camera would work on an SD card and found out only after I got it that it needed a compact flash card, which arrived today ;-). So here's the gear:

This photo above was taken by my trusty Canon S2 IS which promptly died soon after the arrival of the new one, apparently as if from jealousy :-p. In fact this was one of the last photos I took with it. Last friday, I was working on re-capturing the same image (because I wasn't completely satisfied with it), when the lens got stuck and refused to retract. Supposedly its the infamous dreaded Lens error. I felt very very sad, it was difficult losing something that was so close to my heart. The camera was a silent ever-present friend to me and it was as if I lost a part of myself. I found out that it'd cost almost as much as $150 to get it repaired.

So I decided to open and check it myself. Well, the engineering degree I have in electronics has to be useful sometime right? :-p.

Please forgive the bad quality pic - it was taken from my iPhone as I hadn't gotten the CF card for the DSLR yet :-p. I have to tell you, I was scared like hell that I'd end up corrupting it further. But I didn't. Yesterday evening, with a bit of Sri's help, I pin-pointed the fault to the USM (ultra-sonic motor) inside (its most probably that or else there's nothing I can do about it). Now have the option of getting a spare part from ebay and fixing it myself, but still thinking about it :-\.

Lets get back to the DSLR now. Today I got the CF card and immediately had to take snaps :). Here are my favourite subjects :).

Looks good on these hands right? :).

So the first 2 steps in my Astrophotography dream are done (learning photography and getting a DSLR). The next step is to master the DSLR and try taking astrophotos without an equatorial mount (used to negate earth's rotation while taking long exposures of the night sky). Just can't wait :).

Meanwhile the MasterCard ad was made for this post ;-).

Canon EOS 50D with 28-135mm lens - $957
Canon EF 50mm f1.8 lens - $87
LCD protector - $3
Compact Flash card - $60
Having it in my hand and jumping up and down - Priceless!!

Man, was it a lot of money. I thought again and again on whether I'm confident enough to invest such an amount (had second thoughts about it even after buying it :-p). But you know what? I'm ready for this, to move on and learn more. To know and to do more :).

Or else, I can always blame this particular madness on the big three-oh (coming up soon), hehehe :)).

Friday, July 23, 2010

An excursion to Milwaukee..

I told you that we went to Milwaukee for 4th of July weekend. The trip was pretty much a success far as the fireworks photos were concerned :-D. As for the rest of it, you'll just have to read and find out :-D.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is about 8 hours drive away for us. We found out that the 4th of July fireworks was about an hour long, so we thought it might be worth it. So yeah here's the road map :).

We left Lexington on 2nd July Friday evening at around 4:30PM. The plan for that day was to drive to Lafayette Indiana (Point B) and halt for the night. We were thinking that we were making good time and were about an hours drive away to Indianapolis when the inevitable happened. The traffic stopped suddenly and we got stuck at the freeway for more than an hour! Later we found out that a truck caught fire on the freeway and hence all the traffic had to be stopped. We even got to see the burnt truck (this snap was taken on my iPhone)..

I was glad that we weren't anywhere near it when the incident happened. Once the traffic started moving, we had dinner and got to out motel at night.

The next day, early morning we headed out and started driving north. We still had about 4 hours driving to do and yeah, we had to pass through Chicago to get to Milwaukee. It was good to say Hello to the Sears tower yet again :-D.

It was noon when we reached Milwaukee. After resting in the hotel for a while, in the evening we went to check out Veteran's park where the fireworks were being held (on July 3rd night). They were having a Kite festival there, but there were huge crowds and no parking at all, so we simply drove through.

We stopped at a small park which had a kids' park and steps down to a small beach. Milwaukee has lake Michigan right next to the city and it was a great view :).

Snugli loved first playing in the park and then playing in the beach..

The weather was so good that we were about to regret not getting swimsuits (we were being careful after the California trip ;-) :-D), when we found out that the lake water was collllllllllllld! Plus it had lots of rotten algae floating around :-p. Anyways, we did have a good time before finally climbing back..

Then we went for some dinner (was really tough getting out of all the traffic) and went to a small park called Bayview park to watch the fireworks. This time I wanted to shoot the fireworks from a little faraway. But it actually turned to be a little more further than I thought it'd be :-D. Well, I got a couple of wonderful shots, so it was all in all a good try :).

The fireworks themselves weren't as good as the Louisville ones. Here are the US flag colours..

This one feels something like a fountain :).

The full effects:

Love the multi-level reflections on this one..

We were pretty outside the crowded region, so didn't face too much traffic while getting back to the hotel room for the night..

Next day morning, our idea was to get to the Harley-Davidson museum.

Harley-Davidson was actually founded in Milwaukee almost a 100 years ago! The museum is a dedication to all the motorcycles that H-D ever built. It has more than 450 bikes + 100s of 1000s of accessories!

From postal motorcycles to racing ones, from world war ones to bejeweled ones, the place had them all :). We marveled at the different ones - some were really amazing. They even had an area where we could climb on bikes and get the feel :-D. It was mostly fun, but after a certain time, it kinda got a bit monotonous :-D. Too much of a good thing, perhaps :).

We soon got out of there and went to another beach area called the Lake shore park.

Again the water was cold and had algae, but it was still enjoyable :).

Snugli didn't want to get out of the water :).

We literally had to drag her out. We next had lunch and went to the Summerfest happening there.

Summerfest is a festival for summer (duh :-p). It was a hugggggggggggge area and had various concerts going on. Basically it was a place for crowds to gather and have fun. Snugli and Sri had a good time riding on a ropeway (I stayed back because we had the stroller with us and couldn't leave it anywhere :-p).

It was extremely hot and humid. I had to wait quite a bit before they got back and man, it was pretty bad. We went to a children area where Snugli had a lot of fun :).

She wasn't really getting tired, but we were ;-). And we had to get back to Lafayette again for the night. So after a bit of tussle, we got back on the road.

While we were driving from Indiana to Wisconsin, we had noticed many many wind energy harvesting fields. And when we got back, I insisted on stopping for a view :). It was amazing to see man made stuff and nature so much in harmony :).

It was beautiful :).

I had a good time taking snaps from various angles I could think of (while the dear hubby and daughter fidgeted :-D).

Anyways, that was it for the day. The next day, since it was a holiday too, we lazed around and left Indiana only by 11 PM. By the time we got back home (thanks to a lunch stop and some shopping in Louisville Indian store), it was evening :). And so another long weekend was gone.

Just can't wait to get away again, sigh..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vanity, Thy name is Woman :).

Well, the actual quote by Shakespeare is "Frailty, Thy name is woman" (in Hamlet), but Vanity has taken over even the quote in common usage :-D. I have always put my absolute faith in the common usage quote :-D, mainly because I have no illusions about myself. I mean we women dedicate ourselves to threading eyebrows, waxing arms and legs most of the times, or in general torturing ourselves all in the name of our vanity :-D. Jerry Seinfeld says it best :-D.

I will never understand how a woman can take boiling hot wax, pour it on her upper thighs, rip the hair out by the roots, and still be afraid of a spider - Jerry Seinfeld.

I love Jerry and this is my most favourite quote of them all (I'm not afraid of spiders or anything that crawls btw :-D) :). But I never thought how our vanities matter in our day-to-day lives until the incident (is that ominous enough? :-D).

I wanted to write this post on July 10th commemorating the 5th month anniversary of my fainting incident. But well, I am writing it now :-p. As you read then, I had/have a sense of humour about it, as long as I was at home and not facing any crowds. As soon as I had to get out of the house, the anxiety would start. I had a blatant scar on my forehead and a very noticeable lump and scar above my upper lip. So I would obsess that everyone would notice it (I know I'm not queen Cleopatra, to turn everyone's heads, hehehee, but sometimes my imagination runs wild :-D). I would wonder what anyone might think about it. In fact, things were so bad the first month that I hardly ever got out of home.

This is the only photo I have of me during that first month. It was taken on Sri's birthday, i.e 18 days after the incident. Atleast it was winter then, so whenever I did go out, I wore a wintercap which covered my forehead (I couldn't do anything for the scar above my upper lip). I have photos of Sri and me hung over the walls and sometimes, I wouldn't even be able to look at them without feeling sad and angry. I wouldn't accept invites from any acquaintances we have here, because I didn't want to narrate the entire story to them..

Sri was completely supportive and my parents were literally trying to knock some sense into me. Mom would recount stories of worse accidents (women who lost their teeth in accident and had major surgeries) and somehow though I understood everything, I simply couldn't help it. Dad was like, people have their own concerns and why would they be concerned with you. It'd always make me laugh, but again I would regress. Maybe it was some form of depression. I mean I have had accidents before, but having something on your face is different from anything else. To this day I don't know why.

I would apply vitamin E oil to it twice or thrice a day plus some other ayurvedic ointment at night (kumkumadi thaila) - both are supposed to help with scars. Slowly things started changing, but not because the scars started fading or anything like that. But because I would make myself go out - thats when I started taking Snugli to the library. I used to apply a thin coat of make-up to hide the scars, but if you stared right at my face, the scars would still be visible (I used to joke to my close friends that I have never applied make-up all my life and now I am becoming an expert at it :-D). And I got back to swimming, making it a point not to apply makeup for that :-D. I did catch up with people I knew when I went swimming, I'd see some questions in their eyes, but they were too polite to ask about it :). About 2 months later, I'd even go to the park nearby without make-up.

Today, 5 months later I still apply some compact powder before I go out, but thats about it. The scars have faded a lot, but the areas are still a tiny bit sore. There was a lump on the area above my upper lip which was pretty bad and which I worried about, now the soreness is gone and the size of the lump has reduced a lot. The scar there is hardly visible (unless you look at it too closely). The forehead scar is a horizontal 'Y' and it is visible. But the main thing is they are not on my mind all the time as it was then. I don't bother about them at all now. Guess I just needed time..

I took this photo today (no makeup whatsoever :-D, the thing on my chin is a pimple :-p - vanity strikes again :-D). On a side note, this was another photography experiment - getting the feel of portraits by taking self-portraits first :).

As I said, I still don't know why I was so bothered about it. Maybe I was afraid that people judged me by looks and hence would not even try to get to know me, the person inside. Or maybe I am shallow when it comes to certain things. Or maybe I felt like I lost a part of me forever. Or maybe I was just insecure and wondering whether people who loved me would continue to love me despite this (meaning I was being an idiot :-D). Well, I have been proved wrong in many of these already and as I said sometime back, I am me no matter what happens :). Like Aamir says in Dil Chahtha hai, "Perfection cannot be improved", hehehehee :)).

Friday, July 09, 2010

Snugli story-time :).

I don't even know where to start when it comes to Snugli these days. There are so many things happening each day that its quite hard to keep track of them :-D. And whats amazing is her ability to generate so many emotions in me. Sometimes she makes me angry, other times laugh, yet other times literally makes my mouth hang open in surprise. Its fascinating that such a little person can do so much :-D. We haven't yet decided anything about her playschool, but hopefully will finalize something soon :). Now onto the stories.


Her questions are getting more and more atrocious these days. I know I have to grateful that they haven't crossed certain "boundaries" yet :-D, but sometimes its hard not to get frustrated at all the whys. This conversation happened after one of our video calls to my parents:

Me: "Ammamma Ajjange bye hELu" ("Say bye to Ammamma and Ajja")
Her: "Yaake?" ("Why?")
Me: "Avaru malgbekalwa adhikke" ("Because they have to go sleep")
Her: "Yaake?" ("Why?")
Me: "Avarige susthaaithalla adhikke" ("because they are tired")
Her: "Yaake?" ("Why?")
Me: "Avaru dina idi kelsa maadidranthe adhikke" ("Because they have been working the entire day")
Her: "Okay bye, See you next time, Good night, Sweet dreams"

Madam just doesn't stop her "why"s until she's fully satisfied with the answers :-D.


One of the regular (I mean regular as in daily :-p) things she does is ask who gave that particular clothing item whenever she changes into any dress ("Idu Yaaru kottiddu?" It can be pretty frustrating for me since I have bought 90% of her clothes :-\). One day just before bath (thats when I pick out a dress for her) she comes and declares that she wants to wear a dress given by her Naanamma (Sri's mom). Since both her ammamma as well as her naanamma are fond of pampering her with clothes (to say the least :-D), I didn't know which dress she was talking about. So I started to point to dresses asking her whether it was the one. After a few items, she gets frustrated and tells me "No, Nannamma kottiddu red dress!!" ("The red dress that naanamma gave!!"). Well, thankfully there was only one red dress that she gave :-D.


One fine day, I discovered that her baby lotion bottle was empty. Since its a daily ritual after her bath, she missed it and prompted me "Baby lotion! Baby lotion!". I told her that the bottle was empty and the next time we went to the store I'd buy some :).

Cut to a couple of days later. I was talking to Sri over phone, telling him to get a couple of groceries from the store on his way home from office. And Snugli literally shouts at me "Baby lotion, baby lotion!" and in many words tells me that I need to ask her dad to get it from the store :-\.

And this hasn't been a one-time story. One day I took Snugli shopping and she kept reminding me about baby carrots, buttermilk etc at each appropriate section. Sri keeps telling me that I don't need to write a grocery list anymore, hehehee :)).


The next one happened when we were getting back from our trip to Milwaukee. Whenever we go anywhere, she has one standard question "Next elli hOgONa?" ("Where are we going next?"). So we told her that we were heading home to Lexington. Her reply?

"Illa. Beda. Restaurant hOgi mammu thindu hotel room ge hOgONa" ("No, no. We'll go to restaurant, have some food and then go to the hotel room")

Guess she really loved jumping on the bed and handling the remote in the hotel rooms :-D.


After coming back, the very next day I returned to our normal routine of taking her to the library. While coming back, I took a different road back home than the one she is used to on a regular basis. I think you can guess her reaction..

"Elli hogtha iddiya? Lexington, Kentucky hOgONa, manege hOgONa!" (Where are you going? Lets go to Lexington, Kentucky, lets go home!")

I was dumbstruck! I had to struggle to convince her that we were going home albeit on a different road ;-). As you can see right now she can't see the difference between the town and home. For her, her home is in Lexington, so they are equivalent :).


The very same day early morning I was a bit hassled and in a bit of a rush. So when she tried to stress her independence by grabbing onto the soap/lotion etc, I tried to convince her by saying "Ninge adu kotre late aaguththe. Ammange innu tumba kelsa ide kanda - innu ninna ready maadbeku. Amma ready aagbeku. Library hogbeku...." ("If I give you that, we'll get late. Amma still has so much work baby - I've to get you ready. Amma has to get ready. We have to go to the library...") and so on. Guess what she tells me once we get back from the library..

"Amma bega! Snigdha ge tumba kelsa ide - Innu dudhdhu kudibeku, Mickey mouse nodbeku.." ("Mom, hurry! Snigdha still has so much work - I've to drink milk, then see Mickey mouse.." and so on!

God save me! Hehehehee :)).


Just yesterday (I don't really remember the context now), I was telling her how she was a big Somberi (lazy bum) and she corrects me saying "Illa. Snigdha small somberi. Amma naana big somberi" ("No, Snigdha is a small lazy bum. Mom and dad are big lazy bums" :-D.

True that, hehehehe :)).


Her memory is growing by leaps and bounds. She has these flashes of memories - suddenly she remembers how she went on a scooter ride with my dad (during our India trip) or on a bike ride with Darsh. Yesterday evening she was narrating how she went to a boy's birthday (remembered his name too) and how she played with his elder sister there (remembered her name too!) and how they ate baby carrots and noodles together. All true :). But the birthday happened more than 4 months ago!


Today morning I was in the kitchen when Sri started to leave through the front door. She tells him "Bye naana. Hogbeda. Innu Amma bye heLbeku" ("Bye dad. Don't go yet. Mom hasn't said goodbye to you").

I just don't know what to say anymore, hehehee :)).


This happened after I posted - decided to add it here today itself than note it for another post. Yet another thing she is aware of these days is that I switch on a shower cleaner after both our baths. She never fails to remind me of it every day. Today was no exception. The conversation went like this:

Her: "Shower cleaner, shower cleaner!"
Me: "Ivaththu beda kanda" ("Not today baby")
Her: "Amma snaana aada mele shower cleaner" ("After mom's bath, shower cleaner")
Me: "Amma snaana beLiggene aaithu baby" ("Mom's bath was done in the morning baby")
Her: "Amma batte neeru biddu galeeju, adhikke snaana maadbeku" ("Mom's clothes are wet and hence dirty, so mom has to take bath")

Not to mention that my clothes were half-drenched due to her bath :-D.


Last story of the day. Snugli is very fond of typing on the keyboard. And we are not at all fond of it :-D. Just yesterday somehow she managed to manipulate the PC into shutting down! So the rule in the house is that if she touches the keyboard, she gets a rap on the bum from a paddle bat (before anyone gets all riled up, its a very cheap and delicate bat and believe me when I say it hurts zilch :-p). And usually as soon as we get up from the PC chair she's on it. Again today was the same. I got up and she went to the PC chair. Sri called out to her "Paddle bat beka?" ("Shall I get the paddle bat?"). She says "Illa beda. Naanu muttilla innu" ("No Don't. I haven't touched it yet") :-D.

God help Sri and I :-D.


There are so many such stories happening that I usually have to make a note of it to remind myself about it later :-D. More stories will be up as they happen :-D.

Friday, July 02, 2010

From L.A to San Francisco Part 2

Part 1 is here.

7th June 2010, Monday, the first thing we did was to visit the Mystery Spot at Santa Cruz (Point F in the route map in Part 1 :-D). Sri and I visited another place similar to this in Tennessee..

Waiting for the tour..

The mystery spot is a place where people just cannot seem to stand straight, they seem tilted in a dramatic fashion. The tour guides there claim that its all due to some kind of gravitational variations and magnetic anomalies in that particular spot. For eg:

But since I saw the one in Tennessee, I have believed it all to be an optical illusion. The cabin itself is built in a way that it distorts your vision. Once you step into the cabin, there is no reference to ground. So even though you stand straight, due to the effects all around you, you feel like you are tilted. See this one:

Compare Snugli with the trees and the cabin. She and the trees are straight, while the cabin is not. The description on wikipedia does seem to support my POV :-D. Well, we somehow stood and took the photos, but poor Snugli was totally bewildered by the place. She obviously didn't understand what was going on and was actually scared - you can imagine how it'd be for her. We got out of there soon enough and had lunch somewhere near Sunnyvale (Point G).

We headed west first to Redwood shores which is home to the Oracle headquarters. I am an ex-employee and always hoped to go and work there sometime. Oh well, better outside than nothing :-D.

It was very overwhelming for me, the company has been a plus point of my career and I can never forget that..

From there we drove further west to reach a place called Half Moon Bay. All this because I was still hoping for a sunset. Well, no such luck, it was misty again and cold yet again!

The currents were pretty bad there, so no one was allowed into the water. What I did like about the beach was that there were campsites right next to the beach and I thought "Wow, now I'd love to camp in such a place". Sadly we are nowhere near a beach :-\. We just took in the place for quite sometime and then headed back to our hotel in Santa Clara. On the way, there were a few more vista points..

We had dinner at Udupi Palace, oh man, now that was something. I miss vegetarian Indian restaurants so much here. And that was it for the day..

Early morning on 8th June, we set out, bravely facing the horrendous morning traffic and went directly to another lodging for the day at San Francisco (Point H). We parked our car there and carrying only a bag with all the essentials we set out to explore the city. It was very windy and chilly and the hotel owner did warn us that it may get colder later. So we bought a couple of jackets (for me and Sri) at a nearby store. Thankfully we carried a jacket and a shawl for Snugli from home. But it turned out to be more miserable than we thought.

We did check the weather, but never thought that wind chill would matter so much. I had packed only summer clothes for myself and Snugli, so there just wasn't a way out. I mean Lexington was hotter than San Francisco, can you believe that? Plus we decided to take the city transport to avoid expensive parking fees which turned out to be another mistake.

We planned to go to Pier 35 first to book tickets on an Alcatraz ferry. First of all we didn't find a bus for a long time and later walked for a long time assuming that the pier wasn't very far off. Snugli who is always on her feet at home, simply refused to walk (we didn't take the stroller with us - another mistake) and so Sri had to carry her. In turn I had to carry the heavy bag and it was a mess all around :-p. Plus when we reached the Alcatraz cruise, it was closed for the day and we had to buy tickets for the next day. We also found out that they had a ticket-booking online! Mistakes happen and lessons were learned :).

Things were a bit better after that - we caught a tram and had lunch at an Indian restaurant. Then walked around the Fisherman's wharf and Pier 39. A view of Alcatraz island from Fisherman's wharf..

And the famous sea-lions at Pier 39:

From there we again caught a tram to the Ghirardelli square..

I obviously insisted on going to the shop and we had a nice strawberry milkshake and a fabulous sundae :-D. It did compensate a lot for the morning's woes.

Our next stop was the San Francisco Cable car station.

Our plan was to take the cable car to the Crookedest street and back. But moods again got worsened as there were mile-long queues to catch a cable car. The wind felt like it had a mind of its own and was upto cause lots of misery to people around. Plus the cable cars were very very slow. La-di-da they are cable cars! :-D. Meanwhile atleast Snugli had a bit of fun - a roadside artist was playing some fast songs on his guitar and she had a nice time jumping and dancing to his tunes :-D.

Finally we caught the trolley and landed near the street. Here's the road on which the trolley travelled..

SFO, let it be known, has some crazy up and down streets. The only thought in my head was that I wish I could ride a cycle there, hehehe :-D. Here's the view from the top of the crookedest street (or Lombard street)..

We got down the street to the see it from below:

The curved street was created because its very steep to have a straight road down! And its not only tourists who use the road but also the people living in the adjacent houses who have garages in almost every corner of the street. We did take the usual snap :).

Climbing back up was a horrible horrible thing. Sri carried Snugli all the way (she absolutely refused to get down - would cry a lot if we put her down) and I had to carry the heavy bag. We were totally tired by the time we got to the top. Yeah it was that steep :-p.

After deliberating for sometime, we were still torn between going back to the hotel room and ending what hadn't been that good a day and going to the Golden gate. Though Snugli promptly fell asleep on me, we decided to tackle the Golden gate and be done with it :-p. We soon caught the cable car back and then climbed a bus to the Golden gate.

The Golden gate bridge was the longest suspension bridge when it was built. Again it was misty and freezing, as you can guess from our appearances :-p.

Poor Snugli's nose turned red due to the cold :-\.

Thank God, that was it for the day.

The next day, 9th June, our last day in California, we decided not to take any chances. We packed up everything, cleared out hotel room and went in the car to Pier 35 and parked it to head for our Alcatraz cruise. We certainly didn't want a repeat of the previous day :-p. As the boat ventured out, Alcatraz island and the surroundings were encased by mist and it was somehow very mystical (mist-ical :-D). The Golden gate had turned invisible due to all the mist :).

It was a short ride, but once on Alcatraz, we had to climb quite a bit to see the actual prison. Knowing Snugli would make a fuss again, she and I took a tram ride (offered only to people with needs) while Sri volunteered to walk. When we entered the prison we were provided with devices for an audio tour and I had my first view of prison cells (Sri had been there once before).

It was a bleak and depressing place :(. Yeah they did have a library facility and a big prison yard, but it somehow didn't make me feel better (I know they were bad people and they probably deserved it, yet I felt bad for them). Anyways we also saw the solitaries where my cute prisoners struck a pose :-D.

We also learnt how only a few people ever tried to escape the prison and now they were not successful. By this time we just wanted out and next saw the gardens (the crew and their families lived on the island) and the lighthouse there. By this time the mist had also cleared and we could see the Golden gate stretching across the bay.

The gardens were the best part obviously since my photography skills happen to gel well with those :-D.. The island is home to Snow Egret herons and we saw several of them...

Here's another shot from the garden that I'm proud of..

There were a lot of seagulls flying around too. We soon got down and climbed onto the boat to head back. The mist had completely cleared up by then and here's a view of the island from the boat, you can see the prison, the lighthouse and a bit of the gardens..

It was noon by then, so we had lunch and went across the Golden Gate bridge to see it from a different angle..

We also tried to go to another view point from which you can see the bridge from way above, but the route was closed due to some construction happening. We just stopped someplace before the construction to get this pic..

It was still about 4PM and our flight back was not till midnight. Since we had hours to spend we decided to drive to Napa (Point I). Napa valley is very famous for its vineyards. There are miles and miles of grape vines and though most of it is plain land, its somehow fascinating to see. Sadly by the time we got there, it had crossed 5:30PM and all the vineyards were closed for business. It'd have been nice to go on a tour, maybe some other time ;-). We did stop on the way though..

We didn't spend too much time as we had to get back, drive to the SFO airport and drop our rental car. On the way we did stop a while for a night view of the Golden gate :).

That was not it. After we reached the airport and our gate, it was chaos. The earlier plane hadn't yet left at the time our flight was supposed to leave and we literally panicked thinking its our flight. The board showed our flight while the earlier one was boarding. There were hoards of people waiting for both the flights leading to further confusion. Our flight to Detroit was delayed by an hour and in turn we missed our flight to Lexington from Detroit. Since it was a weekday, thankfully there was no rush and we were able to get tickets on the very next flight. Guess what the compensation for missing our flight was - a $6 coupon each for breakfast courtesy of the airline :-p. Well, flight delays have become such common things that they know they won't hear any complaints :-p.

Anyways, that was it :-D. We had a good time all in all, except a few minor mishaps :-D. There are a couple of places that we'd have loved to go to, but 5 days aren't enough to cover everything right? So hopefully there's another time (have to go to Yosemite). The major achievement for me (other than finally going to California :-D) was that this time I took about 90-95% of the snaps in complete Manual mode of my camera. And all 884 (!!) of them came out great :-D. Well, many of them were repeats because I was petrified that all snaps would be either underexposed or overexposed, so I didn't want to take any chances :-D. It feels good knowing that I am capable of what I set out to do :). So..

Photos taken in total - 884
Photos filtered and sent to friends/relatives- 254
Photos uploaded to Orkut/Facebook - 36
Photos on the 2 blog posts - 56
Self satisfaction - PRICELESS!!! :-D

Heading to Milwaukee today for July 4th fireworks, so see ya after I'm back :).