Travel

Amogh is one year old!, Trip to India & the economy!

Yes, over a month since I posted. Has been crazy lately. The US economy is totally down & its my first recession after entering my professional career.

Well the tech slowdown in 2001 too effected me any many in my age group and it was pretty bad. Almost our entire class lost an year due to the 2001 slowdown.

This time around the situation is quite bad compared to the previous slowdown, and USA is officially in recession. The major difference this time is that its not just the IT industry thats hit, but almost all sectors are hit badly. Specially the housing & the financial market here in the US. And in today’s world, everything is interconnected. So, people from all walks of life are impacted one way or the other.

On the work side, many projects are being axes or postponed, budgets are being slashed and people are more and more cautious when it comes to spending money. For now, I have enough work lined up for the coming months. Must see how it turns out.

In other news, Amogh, my son turned One on feb 8th. Time fly’s by so fast!

Like mentioned in my previous post, both Amogh and Chitra are back in India. … and I could not miss Amogh’s 1st birthday. So, I flew all the way back to India for a week! :) and it was worth it!  The special thing about the trip was, it was a surprise trip!. Only Chitra knew that I would be flying. So, it was fun to see the reaction of every one who saw me there on his birthday!

….even for Amogh, the day I landed, it took a while for him to realize  that it was his father who had suddenly disappeared from the scene sometime back. And then, after a few minutes, he knew it was his dad :) … and clearly seemed to be very happy that day.

The Trip was quite hectic — 30 hrs of travel one way — 1 week in Mangalore & again 30 hrs of travel back to Houston!. So for around 2 to 3 weeks, my biological clock was totally out of sync due to jet lag/timezone changes! But it was worth it.

Its a pleasure to see Amogh these days. He now walks and virtually runs all around very comfortably. …and has now started to climb the stairs. He blabbers in his own baby language! ….. and has become very naughty! :)

If all goes well, Chitra & Amogh should be here soon — may be in a week or two. Waiting for thier arrival !

Back in Houston

It has been pretty hectic. The much anticipated vacation came and went past soo soon. Landed back in Houston on 3rd June. Well, must say the 1 month vacation was really hectic. Sooo many things to do, places to visit, and soo little time! Well, that’s how it is I guess!

Things done/Places visited in one month:

  • Around 4 trips to Karkala – Visited Karkala Sri Venkataramana Temple, Tellar Devaki Krishna Temple and other deities, visited relatives – √
  • Attended Karkala Rathosava (Carfestival, Teru) – √
  • Two trips to Puttur – visited relatives, temples – √
  • Trip to Manipal – Visited Relatives, MIT, and Manipal — back to Mangalore via Udupi – √
  • Visit to Gurpur Satyadevata temple – √
  • Visit to Chennai – For visa stamping (via Bangalore). The trip was uneventful. Amogh was pretty quite on all the flights. – √
  • Bharat Mall – √
  • Around 4+ visits to Infosys Managlore (Mangala) – √
  • Upgraded home computer (in mangalore) with more RAM and networking support – √
  • Setup a wireless network at my home – √
  • Attended Swami Ramdev’s Yoga classes in Mangalore – √
  • Pabbas – Chocolate Dad, Tiramisu, Parafait – √
  • Cherry Square – Some like it hot – √
  • Chefs, Prax – √
  • Family Photos by Professional Photographer – √
  • Most of Mangalore City, Kadri Temple, Venkataramana Temple – √
  • Visited/met lot of relatives – √

Now that its all over, I am back to work. …….. and I am missing Chitra and Amogh. Both of them are back in Mangalore and will join me in sometime. I don’t know how Amogh would react once he is back here in US!…since he likes to have lot of people around. I have posted some of Amogh’s pics on my Orkut Profile! Check out if you are on my orkut friend list.

Well, on work front, I would be joining a new Project here at BP. So, kind of excited about it.

That’s pretty much it for now!

Nearing Parenthood and other updates!

Well, its been a long time since I wrote here. Its the first post of 2008!!! Hope all of you had a great new year.

Well, all is good at our end. Baby is due pretty soon, and both me and Chitra are geared up for the big event! The official due date is 21-Feb-2008, but anything + or – 2 weeks is considered as a ‘term’ baby.

It has been kind of hectic the past month or so… shopping for baby stuff, childbirth classes, baby shower(s) :) …. and so on. Well, the child-birth classes were pretty informative and helpful. Things like these are unheard of in India. In a way its good, and in some ways, its bad – as-in they give too much of information! Well, shopping for baby stuff is another story …. All in all, its been hectic and fun so far :)

Life would go for a spin for sure, pretty soon – for the good!!

Well, I also realized that I am not really finding time to play with the Wii that I bought a few months back.

Wii

So, decided to put it up for sale on eBay. Its a amazing game system, but I don’t really see myself sitting and playing given where I am in my life! :). So, if you are interested, bid for it! BTW, its still hard to find Wii’s here in the US! This thing still has very high demand!

Also, up for grabs on eBay is my Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens! I would be upgrading to a new lens pretty soon (Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM)

On the work front, I am still working for the same project that I was in. The work load is decent. Not too bad.

Well, the next couple of months would be exciting! :) More updates as and when I get time!

Toledo Bend, Zwolle & Natchitoches – Louisiana

Here are some snaps from the Labor day long weekend trip (Sep 1st – Sep 3rd). We had been to a place called Zwolle. Well, it sounds like a African name, but its a very small place in Louisiana. To be more precise, we went to the Toledo Bend lake area and stayed at one of the resorts (Wildwood Resorts) on the banks of the lake.

This place is on the border of Texas and Louisiana. Actually, the Toledo Bend lake is formed due to a Dam which is built across the Sabine River. This river kind of forms the border between Texas and Louisiana! The lake itself is pretty big, and I read on one of the websites that its the largest man made lake in the South (of USA).

Here are some snaps……..

Fishing Pier at Wildwood Resort - Toledo Bend
Fishing Pier at Wildwood Resort – Toledo Bend

Fishing Pier at Wildwood Resort - Toledo Bend
Fishing Pier at Wildwood Resort – Toledo Bend

(more…)

Las Vegas – The Strip

This is Part 3 of a three part series of our trip to Las Vegas.

Links to Part 1 and 2 can be found here :

The next 2 days, we spent at the Las Vegas Strip – Going from one Casino to other :)…. It was fun.

Life of Las Vegas is centered around one road popularly called “The Strip“. Almost all the Casinos are on The Strip! Majority of these properties on The Strip are owned by MGM Mirage or Harrahs entertainment!

Check out the Snaps of the Hotels and Casinos …..

This is where we stayed! – Monte Carlo.
Monte Carlo at Las Vegas
Monte Carlo at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Newyork Newyork – Hotel & Casino… There is a huge roller coaster around this Hotel.
Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas
Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas
Newyork Newyork at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Statue of Liberty at  Newyork Newyork - Las Vegas
Statue of Liberty at Newyork Newyork – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Casino Royale - Las Vegas
Casino Royale – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

MGM Grand Lion at Las Vegas
MGM Grand Lion at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas Convention Center – Click to Zoom

Stratosphere and Public transit system at Las Vegas
Stratosphere and Public transit system at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

One of the Casinos in Las Vegas
One of the Casinos in Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

The famous Stratosphere – the tallest structure in Vegas!
Stratosphere at Las Vegas
Stratosphere at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

And this is a ride on top of the tallest building… and we did sit on this one. Was an Amazing experience!! :)
Big Shot - Ride on top of Stratosphere - Las Vegas
Big Shot – Ride on top of Stratosphere – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

One more Thriller Ride on Top of Stratosphere - Las Vegas
One more Thriller Ride on Top of Stratosphere – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

The Las Vegas Strip as seen from top of Stratosphere
The Las Vegas Strip as seen from top of Stratosphere – Click to Zoom

Circus Circus as seen from top of Stratosphere
Circus Circus as seen from top of Stratosphere – Click to Zoom

Harrahs - Las Vegas
Harrahs – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Buck and Winne at Harrahs Casino - Las Vegas
Buck and Winne at Harrahs Casino – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Venice in Las Vegas! – Venetian – Mind blowing stuff!
Ceiling Inside Venetian - Las Vegas
Ceiling Inside Venetian – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Inside Venetian - Las Vegas
Inside Venetian – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Gondola Rides inside Venetian - Las Vegas
Gondola Rides inside Venetian – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Treasure Island - Las Vegas
Treasure Island – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Wynn - Las Vegas
Wynn – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Mandalay Bay at Las Vegas
Mandalay Bay at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Monte Carlo at Las Vegas
Monte Carlo at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Effiel Tower in Las Vegas…
Effiel Tower at Paris - Las Vegas
Effiel Tower at Paris – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Luxor at Las Vegas
Luxor at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Bellagio at Las Vegas
Bellagio at Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

Bellagio Fountains - Las Vegas
Bellagio Fountains – Las Vegas – Click to Zoom

We did not gamble much – since we did not know much about how to play – but it was fun!….

Vegas Trip – Grand Canyon

This is Part 2 of a three part series of our trip to Las Vegas. Links to Part 1 and 3 can be found here :

As planned on Day 2 of our trip, we headed to the Grand Canyon. For the uninitiated, Grand Canyon is a natural wonder located in Arizona.

Grand Canyon is around 5 hrs drive from Las Vegas, NV. So, we started early in the morning at around 5.30 AM. We decided to go to the south rim of the grand canyon since the north rim was closed and we could not find much information on the west rim (nor we had time to be adventurous)

Lake Mead from a Distance
Lake Mead from a Distance – Click to Zoom

The drive was pretty cool. Its flat land. Desert. The roads are straight and you can see miles of straight road ahead of you! … it was a great experience to drive ! :). We reached Grand Canyon at around 10.30 AM.

Here are some snaps ….

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Cliff at Grand Canyon
Cliff at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

At the Grand Canyon South rim, there are buses which take you to different View points along the Rim of the canyon. And they are free (i.e, the cost is included in your entrance fee to the National Park)

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Pathway to one of the view points at  Grand Canyon
Pathway to one of the view points at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

You can see the Colorado River (which carved the Grand Canyon!!) in the snaps below…
Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Colorado River at Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Colorado River at Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon and Colorado River
Grand Canyon and Colorado River – Click to Zoom

More snaps…
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Desert View – you can see the desert at the distance…
Desert View at Grand Canyon
Desert View at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

River Again – Zoomed in …
Colorado River at Grand Canyon
Colorado River at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Cliff at Grand Canyon
Cliff at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

A Guy sitting on the Rim at Grand Canyon….
A Guy sitting on the Rim at Grand Canyon
A Guy sitting on the Rim at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

A couple enjoying the (cold) sunset at Grand Canyon…
A Couple enjoying the Sunset at Grand Canyon
A Couple enjoying the Sunset at Grand Canyon – Click to Zoom

Well, by 5 PM, it was pretty dark, and all of a sudden, it became very cold!
We started to head back to Vegas at around 6 PM. We reached back our Hotel at Las Vegas by around 10 PM.

More on Vegas trip in the next post….

Vegas Trip – Hoover Dam

This post was long due! Memories from our Las Vegas Trip! When I look back at it, its almost 6 months now since we had been to Las Vegas!!! Wow. Time runs so fast!

Anyways, Since I had lots of photos to post, I have split this one big post into three posts.

Well, it was a 5 day trip and it was fun. Here is the photo essay!

Las Vegas is the land of casinos. Don’t be surprised to find slot machines when you come right out of the Terminal Gates at the airport! You can find slot machines every – from Gas Stations (aka Petrol Pumps!!) to Superstores! More about Las Vegas in part 3 of this post.

Welcome to Las Vegas…
Welcome to Las Vega
Welcome to Las Vega – Click to Zoom

We landed in Vegas in the afternoon, and immediately we were on our way to Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is around 30 mins drive from Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is considered to be one of the greatest engineering works in history and is a must see!.

Here are some snaps…
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

We could go under ground !! (i.e, base of the dam where the generators are located) – Check out the massive generators!
Power Generators at Hoover Dam
Power Generators at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

This is one of the massive water intake pipes. It can house an entire school bus within it! Everything about this dam is BIG!
Water Intake Pipes at Hoover Dam
Water Intake Pipes at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

The power stations as seen from the top of the dam…
Power Station at Hoover Dam
Power Station at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

Power Station at Hoover Dam
Power Station at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

This is the Visitor center which was built recently…
Visitor Center at Hoover Dam
Visitor Center at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

View from the dam…
View from the Dam
View from the Dam – Click to Zoom

These are the water intake towers ….
Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam
Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam
Water Intake Towers at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

And the dam…
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

There are two spillways at the Hoover Dam. This one is on the Arizona side of the Dam. The spillways at the Hoover dam are Massive, and they have been used only once when there was major flood.
Spillway at Hoover Dam
Spillway at Hoover Dam – Click to Zoom

Since this was in late November, it was pretty dark by 5 PM… and we could not spend much time. We started back to Las Vegas and headed back to our Hotel (Monte Carlo).

Check out the Wikipedia entry on Hoover Dam.

More on Vegas trip in the next post….

Off to Vegas!

Will be traveling to Las Vegas later today on a 4 day vacation. Its been quite some time since me and Chitra had a nice break from work, … and thanksgiving is the best time to have one ! (ideally.. not! – but given our work/situation!)

So, we start on the 21-Nov, and return back to Houston on the 25-Nov. Also plan to drive to Grand Canyon on one of the day.

Photos and updates once I get back!