Wednesday, March 03, 2010

US Top 10

I wanted to write this post for quite sometime - just to capture the 'moments of joy' during my 4 months stay in US & relive the experience by reading it again and again. :-) At last, I decided today is the day. Now the countdown begins...

1: 850 miles of driving to & fro Niagara, in a single day: (Feb 20, 2010 5 AM - Feb 21, 2010 2:30 AM)
It was nothing short of 'a dream come true' to drive all the way from Fort Washington to Niagara at a stetch, driving the car in 'cruise control', to watch the frozen Niagara lake & the semi-frozen falls & return back the same day. In fact, i didn't realize that I (& my car...which consume 40 gallons of gas!!!) had so much of stamina (?!), given that I woke-up at 3:30 AM in the morning to prepare Chapathi/Aloo with Anubhav/Pallavi & that I started driving cars in US only a few days back:-)). Without doubt it is the best moment of my US Trip.

2. Skiing in the Snow @ Spring Mountains: (Feb 12, 2010) - It was real fun to learn skiing- Thanks to Ed, who filled the boots of a trainer, and to try some of those stunts that i have seen only in the TV until then. If we were to play cricket, we would have easily formed a cricket team - We were 11 in number- Ed, Becky, Suresh, Arif, Badri, Padmini, Anubhav, Pallavi, Amit, Siva and I. We had good time while skiing & the best times were definitely when we watched others skii - we would have needed a three digit counter, if we had count the total number of times we fell down in the snow.

3. New year bash in Casablanca, Atlantic City: (Dec 31, 2009 - Jan 1, 2010) What more could I ask for a New Year Party? Electryfing crowd, dazzling dance hall with colorful lights & huge screens, amazing food, a VIP room in a 5 Star Casino Resort and more importanlty, my best friend Dilip & his friends around me!! Wow...that was the day!! I tried a lot of things that day - dancing ( it as 'shaking my legs' :-)), swimming in an indoor pool, experienced a high-end Spa, tried my luck gambling (& winning 5 dollars!!), ...

4. Teaching kids in Wissahickon middle school on Engineer's Day: (Feb 18, 2010 - 7:30 AM to 2 PM- back to back 5 classes) -
Team: Mike, Ed, Bob, Paul, Usha, David, Denise & Kart. It was wonderful experience to teach kids on how to construct batteries, small motors and a few cirucits on their own to demonstrate the power of Engineering & Science. I had a memorable day answering interesting and sometimes funny questions from the kids.

5. Different Cusines: I enjoyed trying different cusines, which includes Mexican (Tacobell, Baja Fresh), Arabian (Pita), Mangolaian (BD Chain), Japanese (Sushi), Malaysian (Rasa Sayang), Singaporian, Indian (Chettiand Restaurant, Palace of Asia), Thai, Chinese, Finesse (at Ollie's house), Italian & in a few English-American type restaurants such as IHOP, Burger King, MacD, Friendies, Subway, etc., during my stay in US and some were delicious and some were not so. The choice for vegeterians are limited but neverthless you could get a feel of it. I would want to write a separate review on different cusines some day.

6. Weekend trips: Except for the initial few weeks at the start of my US trip, I was a busy traveller. I had good time travelling to new places every weekend. Some of the memorable trips include - DC trip, NJ trip with my school friends, Pen's Cave, Poconos Mountains, Philly sight seeing, Delaware Shopping, New Hope Village, etc.,
7. Driving differnt cars & driving in the snow storm: I got a chance to drive a different car almost every two weeks, sometime every week. The cars that I drove include Chrysler, Ford Focus, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Nitro SUV, Kia Forte, Hundai Santa Fe SUV and a few more to come... It is real fun to drive in a snow clad road - the thrill of driving in the slippery roads is exhillarating. I grabbed the GPS from my school friend Suresh, after that it was all fun- Driving all the way, getting lost & then managing to come back home using GPS. It was so nice of Arif, Anubhav & Pallavi, who accompanied me during most of such adhoc trips.

8. Walking on top of a frozen lake: Walking on top of a frozen lake, in front of a secluded DC monument was a mind blowing experience. We didn't know the depth of the lake - it was already pretty dark, hardly any people around us, none of us know if the ice would crack & the last thing we wanted to do in the cold was to get drowned in a icy lake or pond. Amit was the one who started & soon, Shilpa, Badri, Padmini & I joined the party.

9. Free Books & Movies: The two things I would miss when I come back to India are - Free library and High speed broadband. Ever since I got my US DL, I became the member of a library - I read a few interesting books, not many as i hardly find time, such as 'Body for Life', 'The myth of multi-tasking', etc., and quite a few documentatry filims. I also enjoyed watching a few online movies from the net, when ever i get time, to keep myself refreshed in the midst of my busy office work.

10 a. Ice Fishing: It was something that i never heard of before until my visit to Poconos- people here drill holes in a frozen lake and catch fish using spinning rods in those holes. This would have been on the top of my list, had we caught at least a fish that day :-)

10 b. Watching ISS in the naked eye: I had a chance to watch International Space Station (ISS), the largest artificial satellite, in the naked eye - Thanks to Ben & Charlie. If anyone of you are intersted at 'sky watching', all you need to do is - to key- in the latitude & longitude in the site - to find out the exact time at which the ISS cross the horizon in your location.
A few of the other memorable moments include - 'watching Avatar movie in IMAX', parties in Best Western with Honeywell folks, standing before Best Buy at 2 AM on Thanks giving day, my Driving School experience, and the list continues.,
"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." is a quote from the poem 'Grecian Urn' by John Keats. Did I mean that sweeter melodies are still lying with me...:-)