Thursday, April 16, 2009

Past the 4 weeks point

Right now its 4 hours past the 4 weeks time since I landed in the US. Time has been passing swiftly with work in the weekdays and outings in the weekends. But still I have 8 more weeks to pass. This time separation is starting to take its effect.

Last time I visited US, when I was at this 4 week mark, it was less than 2 weeks that separated me from going home. I am starting to miss home. I love driving here, its driving for dummies. I can drive all I want, all cars big and fancy and drive them safely. But for that the feel is missing in this place. US is a great place to visit, but I would say it not a great place to call home.

The effect of this distance has started to show on Pallavi too. Mom visited her and played guest for a week, but she is also back to her duties and Pallavi is starting to miss me. She has grown up a lot, displayed excellent maturity. Last time it was just 6 weeks and not a day passed without her crying to me over the phone.

I miss everything. I miss Pallavi, that's very obvious, needless to say. We share a superb bond, emotional and surreal, one that words cannot express. One that only we can understand and just being so far away for so long is paining. I miss home, I miss the cozy place I have created where I can relax after a busy days work or laze around on a weekend.

I miss my friends. I am in touch with most of them, let me list the things I have missed or am forced to skip
1) Mathan-Gayathri's kiddo, pictures don't speak much
2) Vishwa-Seetha's wedding, man its today, I mean in a few hours from now...
3) Weekend cricket, sometime when I meet all my buddies together and we have a ball
4) I will be missing the utter nonsense talk during lunch/coffee hours with my buddies and hours of humor.

As much as I have a great times with friends, I have equally amusing times with family. April and May are the months that a lot of family visit us. We have accommodated at one point close to 12-13 guests in our small 900 sq.ft two bedroom house. Family will be visiting but I will be the one that odd and out.

There is a lot happening in the country that I will be missing totally. One thing is the election, before the US trip was planned, I had actually decided to take off and go to my native (ok, yeah I will mention Kottampatti) to cast my vote. My voter's ID card will be catching up with more dust.

There is IPL happening, of course we cannot be going live to SA, but watching cricket with company is always fun. You must come to the cafeteria when there is a heated match in progress. I bet you will not find a place to sit.

To be continued.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Livermore temple, Del Valle lake and Muir woods

So Friday evening ended with a ride to Madras cafe in Sunnyvale and couple of dosas. This place is typical Indian, you need to get your food coupons upfront before you are seated and the place was bulging full. Friday evening and the weekend means so much business for these folks.

Saturday morning we drove out on a 40mile drive to the Livermore temple. Good dharshan, lots of Indian crowd and best of all buffet brunch. Sambar sadam was a highlight. After finishing the temple we headed to a lesser known wilderness place called Del Valle lake off Livermore. It was rocking... People bring their own boats attached to the trailers and have a fun time boating, fishing, reading and having a leisurely existence. Apart from that there is cycling and hiking along the lake's shores and a lake side beach where people make fun.

We did not have a boat so we hired one. We wanted a rowboat for $10. But since oars were in short supply we got a upgrade to a motor boat. Couple hours in the lake, driving out in the vast water and into the shaded shores. It was fun, a new first for me. Vasanth and me were together on this trip and it was major fun.

Sunday was better, we took to the road again, this time to Muir woods north of San Fransisco city, we crossed the Golden Gate bridge and took to the Marlin county. This led us to a hill drive and it was challenging for me to keep to the lane and navigate through the curves. Bigger car here is a problem, but we reached Muir woods in good shape.

Muir woods is the a ecological preserve that hold the Coastal red wood trees, giants reaching 350 feet (30 storied building). There are some great trails for trekking (out here its called hiking) and we took a smaller one, but got lost and had to find a way back and finally we finished exhausted, but greatly satisfied that this day's gym time is done for.

View the pictures here

Saturday, April 04, 2009

What a hectic week this one was

I was constantly into and out of meetings and when I was not in one, I was hard into my document getting it into shape and putting all the deliberations into the document. Finally weekend has arrived, my document is also done and uploaded for review from the big guns. But come weekend I will have some time relax, have fun, try some different food and go some places.

Whats the vehicle for the weekend? Its a Toyata camry, man this one has got some power. I got to watch that pedal when I drive. I am done with the gym time for the day, now to head to the showers and then on to the road, One week without Indian food is enough and I am heading out to Madras Cafe in Sunnyvale for a Dosa dinner.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Days pass by

Finally I got the guts to rent a car. Driving is the only thing I like US better than in India. Its simple and easy since driving is predictable here, you can define how the other vehicles are going to act. Its transportation automation here. But Indian driving, its R&D...

Ok, Friday evening I visited Annapurna restaurant at San Mateo. Same place, nothing has changed really. Even the waiters are the same. I order for a "Sambar Vada" and a "Masala Dosa". The Dosa was so big that I could have slept on it, but I did not complain, a week without dosa is too much for Sudhu.

More importantly I found some company. A guy called Vasanth, an employee of Accenture working for a project in Oracle on a short term trip as me and staying in the same hotel. We went out Friday and finally seems like I got some company to hang around! He was expecting some guests and he would be out on Saturday, but I had a plan for Saturday too.

Saturday was lonely but not too boring. A vehicle makes all the difference here. The vehicle I rented for the weekend was a Pontiac G6, a full size car. For breakfast I drove out to Ralston and had a coffee breakfast at Starbucks. Then I collected some information on Sony service for Sriram anna's broken laptop. I found one at Stanford shopping center at Palo Alto about 15 miles from my place.

Drive to Stanford was eventful, lost my way a couple times and then clawed back into the right route to finally get to the shopping center. My God it was huge. Managed to find the place and give the laptop for service, its gonna take a week to a months time depending on whats gone wrong. The way back was easy and I came back with no issues.

Each drive was carefully planned. Go to for a route chart, get accustomed to the turns and curves and then write down the text map. Then start the drive. Late afternoon I drove back to Ralston and lunched Chinese at a Hongkong restaurant. Was nice, not too different from the Indian Chinese food. But 90% of the menu is pork and beef based and I avoided all those and took to a chicken order.

Done with the food and a chat with its Chinese owner, man that guy was very informative, he has been living here for 30 years... Drove back to the hotel and spent a quiet afternoon. Actually I was just waiting for the evening to arrive. At about 8 PM I started the drive to Saravana Bhavan at Sunnyvale. This was a simple route and one that I had taken numerous time during my last trip, but I got lost.

Instead of talking the Fremont avenue exit, I went past it, but it helped that I knew the route, basically I had to go left on taking the exit into Fremont avenue and at S Mary I needed a right. So I decided to take the next exit and follow the same path and try my luck. Yes it did last, the next exit into the lane parallel to Fremont also met S Mary and I reached the restaurant unscathed.