Tuesday, November 30, 2004

LA & Vegas

On the afternoon of November 19th 2004, it was snowing in Colorado Springs and hence Peggy chose to drive me to the airport herself. We were yet to get accustomed to driving in snow. 
At airport, I grabbed a pack of french fries and coke and sat there observing the planes come in and take off. It was a lovely sight.
The flight was amazing. As the plane moved above the clouds in Denver, it transported itself to a clear sky above. It's interesting to notice the difference and watch a blanket of clouds pouring down at the cities while you fly over them in a clear sky.
And then something magical happened. As the sunset the sky was as thought split in two halves. In the west, Orange conquered and east was turning grey or dark with a transition of yellow int he middle. At that moment, I felt a strange but very pleasant happiness. I was happy to be me and witness all that i am witnessing. 
My BIL received me at LAX and we drove home. As an expert in cooking that Anu was, she had cooked several dishes for dinner. I started off with homemade veg puff. Chapatti, Brinjal Palya, Panneer Butter Masala and Pulav was a treat.
Next day, Anu, Varsha and me visited Disney land. It was as though entering a magical land of fairy tales. It was beautiful and I could not appreciate any less the details paid attention to. I don’t think anybody should miss a visit to Disney land in their life time. Some of the rides I enjoyed were – Indiana Jones, Jungle ride, splash mountain and Tarzan.

In the Indian Jones ride, the jeep stops at a point and a huge rock rolls down at us. Just when it is about to hit us, we escape through a route below that we did not know existed. It was one of the best moments of that day.
House of Mickey mouse and Donald duck was nice setup to attract the kids. Varsha was so happy and shy at the same time to meet Micky in person.
We watched a play on snow white which was impressive. A parade in the evening were all the Disney characters walk the ramp is just an amazing sight to witness. Cindrella, Aladin, Mickey, Donald duck, Pooh, Goffey, Beauty and the beast, everyone were there and it looked like a grand celebration. This was followed by fireworks. With a sparkling night sky, this eventful day was put to an end.
Next day, we went to Universal studio. I loved the rides there; Jurassic park, mummy, Back to Future to name some. The terminator and Shrek -4D movies are a delight to watch. Water world show, Van hasling, Back to future, Mummy revenge every other show was brilliant. The last bit of Jurassic park ride where we just escape the dinosaur abut to feed on us is brilliant. I bet if you are someone who does not like adventure and amusement parks, then you are going to change your opinion here. It takes one to a world of illusions.

During the day I was at home, I tried a Korean haircut. They tried some spikes on my head too which I thought was cool. 
On Saturday evening, we drove to Vegas. It appeared like every car from LA was driving to Vegas for weekend and hence we were stuck in a bad traffic jam with cars moving at 5-10 miles per hour.
When I entered Vegas, I was shocked. It glittered from far away and as I drove close I blended into the sparkling city of casinos. Looking at it now, who could say that this is a dessert? We stayed at Mirage. At the casino’s I played mostly Slot machine. But there was no need to play, I just enjoyed looking around. I played for $20 and won $40 and then continued to lose everything.
Every casino has a theme. – Casino Paris with an Eiffel tower, 1/3rd the actual height and a false roofing of beautiful blue sky; Caesar palace with roman architecture; Excalibur with European castle; Casino Luxor built like a Pyramid. It’s like entering a dream.
The fountain show at Bellagio was brilliant. We returned back to LA next morning.

In LA, we also visited a temple and I was surprised to see a very Indian atmosphere once we entered the campus. On our way back, we drove to Malabo beach which I thought was nothing as compared to the beaches in Suratkal, compared to which the beaches here were not very clean. The sand looked muddier and the beach was filled with dry leaves, branches and impurities. And without any waves the sea looked dead. 
During a shopping at Atrecia street full of Indian stores, I bought a idol of Ganesha. For some reason, i felt a need of it. Being raised in a Hindu family worshipping idols, it has become part of my nature to confess my feelings to an idol that is believed to be superior to myself. I missed that and the Ganesh idol I bought in LA made me happy.
While returning, we took a walk on Hollywood Street and saw Kodak theatre were Oscars is held.

After the thankgiving weekend at LA, I returned back to Denver where it was still snowing. Peggy drove me back from Denver to COS. On the way back peggy and I discussed our Novel themes. I had the thought of my novel “ Miasma” very clearly in my mind. 

During the drive back, at one place the car almost skidded on snow and Peggy was so scared. However we stopped right on time not to hit the vehicle in front. Driving in snow is a tricky job.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dinning, Driving & Donuts!

Its already winter and gets dark at 4:30 in the evening. That is too early for me to say its dark but I like this big difference. Suresh, our boss was in Colorado for few days. On one of the weekends we went on a long drive after lunch. We took I25 till Denver and then I40 west. It was a fun drive with excellent views of the mountains. We stopped near a gas station at Idaho Springs and returned back. On the way Suresh gave us some tips on driving in Interstate.

On our way back, we stopped at a rest area on I25. This place was covered with snow. Jonah & I turned kids by throwing snow balls at each other.

One of the evenings during Suresh's visit, Alan invited us for a dinner at a Mexican restaurant. His family joined too. I am beginning to love the mexican food and the spices resemble that of Indian.

At office, I also befriend a very kind man called Fred who is in his mid 40's. Fred took Suresh, Jonah and me for lunch at an indian restaurant called - “Taste of India”. A very funny thing happened here. A bunch of daily labors sat next to us and while Fred was speaking they began to comment. Fred ignored them completely and that helped them to return back to their work. I found their behavior strange and Fred's behavior very wise. If I look back at this incident now, i also feel the strong class distinction that builds hatred and jealousy among citizens no matter in where.

During one other weekend, we invited Mike and Peggy for lunch at India palace restaurant. After which, Suresh drove us up the Pikes Peak. Since it had snowed heavily last week up in the mountains we could only drive till 12,500 ft. The road ahead was still blocked. Even though we could not make it to the summit, we enjoyed every bit of that drive. The mountain looked so different to me from how it appeared the last time I drove up in August. The trees were partially covered by snow and their new look was awesome.

It was interesting to notice how COS was slowly transforming into a different appearance, a different town itself by covering itself with layers of snow.

With another Colleague Bob inviting us to an Indian restaurant called Mirch Masala, we had now tried all three Indian restaurants in COS. Sweet old couple, Bob and his wife, talked a lot about US and India.

It was very nice of Brett to gift me 8 DVD's of old movies, mostly thrillers. He also came over to over place to watch “Rear window”, a brilliant Hitchcock film.

At my driving class, I completed my Residential, Rural and freeway driving. I had a very good instructor called Dennis. He was a cop before; had to take a break after a recent injury to his leg. During our Freeway classes, I drove almost 20 miles at a speed of not less than 75 miles per hour and it was awesome.  We also took the roads to Black forest which was an impressive drive. But influenced by Indian road conditions, in a signal, while taking a left turn, i crossed the median and drove to oncoming traffic. That was foolish and funny.

It was Dennis who introduced me to Dunkin Donuts. One evening he drove me to the store on 8th Street close to downtown and treated me with a  glazed donut. It tasted like heaven. That was when i got hooked to the donuts. When I informed Brett about who got hooked me on to donuts, he laughed loudly as there goes a saying that the cops are always found at a donut store.  Dennis explained that during night shifts, Dunkin donuts was the only store open and they would always stop there to grab a coffee. He and his friends would grab dozen donuts and some coffee to stay awake all night.

Dennis always had such interesting stories to tell me while we drove. He was also enthusiastic to know about India. One thing that always surprised me was that Americans shared their personal life very openly to strangers on the other hand Indians are tight lipped about it. It was an interesting difference to notice.

During the month I began writing my first novel – “Miasma”.

Sebastian, another colleague of ours from India arrived on 14th. Now all three rooms in the apartment are occupied.

I enjoy my drives to plant which is about 20 miles from office and this was due to excellent views of the city that I get to see on the way . I felt good about the fact that I was right here, in one of those places where I always dreamt to be in. I wanted to pen down every thought, every moment; happiness that this sight brought.

Peggy helped with my shopping of gifts to Anu and family. I am all excited of the trip to LA, to visit my sister during the Thanksgiving vacation.