Saturday, April 09, 2005

West to East !

Hmm, so it's been a while since I've ventured out to create a post.. Sounds hackneyed and I really hate to say this, but life(read work) been "hectic" to say the least.. Its pretty funny to think that I've never spent such night outs during the fifteen odd years of formal education.. so much for the extra dollars, huh :)

But, I’ve been fortunate enough to do some traveling over the past few days. Its been one of the best days of my life, for sure. And it's definitely one of the “highs” of my short stint in the States. Went to San Diego, on the southern tip of the west coast and had a real gala time there. Each day’s experience was mighty, yes, “mighty” enough to write about on individual posts. But that would be make it a boring read, coz, these are moments that one really has to “experience” rather than read about and enjoy. Anyways, cutting the crap, let me begin…

San Diego is called the “nicest city” and not without any reason. Its sunny for twelve months of the year but at the same time , there’s a cool breeze flowing all the time , thanks to the winds from the Pacific Ocean. So its always bright and sunny throughout the year, but one never feels the heat. Now that’s what I call “perfect” weather. Another unique feature of San Diego is that it has a lot of mountains as well as the ocean, all lying side by side. It’s a paradise for trekkers as well as windsurfers. There are highways passing through woods. But all this does not come for free - the price of real estate and living is the highest here in the whole of the US.

The most popular destination in San Diego is the Sea World, which conducts the famed dolphin and killer whale shows. These are awesome and the show of the whale ‘Shamu’ is just awesome. It happens in a big amphitheatre with a giant screen at the center. Also part of the theme park are aquariums, rides, a 4- D show, penguin and sea lion show and much more. But the highlight of the day was the dolphin feeding session where I actually fed the dolphins. The bodies of dolphins are so smooth and feels like the surface of an eraser !

The other popular destination is the San Diego Zoo. I was not at all excited about this as I’ve seen a lot of zoos in India and didn’t expect anything different out here. My thinking was that “A zoo is a zoo is zoo”, be it in Hyderabad or San Diego. But, I should say that I was in a for a pleasant surprise. The zoo is extremely large and it still is a forest, and the animals are provided as much of natural habitat as possible. One feels like walking through the jungles, especially in the bird sanctuary. This place is to be visited not so much for watching the animals (which definitely is wonderful) as for experiencing their natural habitats.

Another amazing place I went to was Point Loma, the southern most tip of US mainland where land meets the ocean. The drive on the road leading to the vast Pacific Ocean is mesmerizing. The backdrop of setting sun on one end and the downtown and port on the other from Point Loma will be vivid in memory forever. Encintas, also on the Pacific coast, where the ‘Ashram’ of the late Paramahamsa Yogananda is situated was the next on the list. Its got a wonderful garden and the serenity of the place is just compelling. For the uninitiated, Paramahamsa Yogananda was the founder of the Self Realization Foundation and his “Autobiography of a Yogi” is one of the best books to be read.

San Diego is an amazing city, with the harbour, airport and downtown located almost at the same place. Spent the evening at the Sea Port Village which reminded me about the carnivals and “ulsavams” (festivals at temple and church campuses). Another highlight of the trip was the dinner at ‘Coconut Groove’, a restaurant which served delicacies from Kerala. The best part was that the waiters were both US nationals, but they could pronounce the names of the dishes (tough by any standard for someone from other than South India) as well as we did. The food tasted nice too. By the way, had prawns after a long time :)

The Universal Studios at Los Angeles turned out to be much more exciting than what I had heard about it. Home to innumerable classics (Spielberg movies, to name just one) , the Studio takes one back to the age of black and white movies of the last century as well as to the future through the exhilarating rides. The “Back to the Future” and “Revenge of the Mummy” rides last not more than a couple of minutes each, but are thrilling experiences of a lifetime. The attractions which I was able to go to were the Jurassic ride(believe me, it’s a hair raising experience) , the Shrek 4-D movie and the Waterworld show. The one hour “Studio tour” by bus takes us though the story of how the sets and the special effects are actually made. My favourites were the motel of Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and the shark of Spielberg’s “Jaws”.

Within ten days of traveling to the southern West coast, I found myself flying to the northern East coast, this time on business though. My destination this time was a small port city called Portmouth in the state of New Hampshire which is part of the six states that constitute New England, the others being Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,Rhode Island and Vermont. This is a place where it snows for six months in an year, but fortunately or fortunately, this year’s winter is already over. Talking about the place, there are three things which strike any new traveler – the coniferous trees on both sides of the road for miles together, the buildings made of bricks (so typical of English architecture) and the warmth and hospitality of the people.

The post has grown pretty long, so I’ll stop here for the time being. Will be back with more details on New England later, coz, I’m slated to travel there again in two weeks, and stay there for a month this time. So, hopefully, a lot of traveling is on the cards :) As for now, I’ve started reading “Run to the Hills”, the biography of Iron Maiden, my all-time favourite British heavy metal band ( do I hear some grins, uh). Its just great to listen to the band while reading about the how they actually grew up to become the Gods of heavy metals! So, till next time…

15 Comments:

Anonymous Arun said...

Hmm.... finishing the read, my head is spinning. That's really a lot of places you visited. I'm also curious- what is a 4D tour?

Hope there will be more entries like you promised ;)

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dinks.. the San Diego and Point Loma snaps were really gud. can imagine how excited u wud have been! ..A killer whale show!-unimaginable!!
..nyways,wish u have even more fun!
Luv, Dan

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice description man..now that i am also interested in going to all those places...Also i envy u for the travelling and places u visited..anyway have a nice time and enjoi maadi...

Regards,
Ravi

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gr8 man...im not sure i'll b able to c these places...but ur descriptions are close to a real tour for me!!--gaatha

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Deepti said...

Dinx...U came all the way 2 California...and u didnt meet me...hw mean of u!!!Neway am soo happy that u got to see all these awesome places...its the best place to work in-in the US offcourse...nuthin 2 beat dear old India :)Better catch up with u and go see all those places!U havent sent me the photos yet!

9:13 PM  
Blogger raynbow mermaid said...

I was wondering if ever the posting was gonna end !!! Luckily it did ;)
But me glad that it ended with a promise of some more !!!!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Sunny said...

Hey Dinky...You visited so many places in such a short time!!!:-o Cool man!!!And quite an exhaustive description.;)

11:07 PM  
Blogger hariharan said...

dei dinks...
dont u have any other work??? everyother day u seem to be travelling somewhere... no work??? may be its more profitable for infy to send u off to trips so that they can work peacefully in the offices. Good way to improve productivity. hmmmm infy guys are more intelligent than you think!!!!
anyways, seems like u are having the time of ur life!! enzoiii man!!!

8:52 AM  
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