Sunday, December 25, 2005

Never watch news when u r alone :-(

Yes...Take this as an advice. Never ever watch NEWS when you are alone expecially in a big, quiet house.
Last week, I came home late from office at about 10.30. I finished cooking at about 11 and was having my food. I switched on the TV. I was too tired to change channels. I just wanted to have some sound in the house. The local news was being broadcasted. It was the weather report...So the news was going to end. Suddenly there was a warning news at the end of the news report. It said there was a man on the loose in the area near mine and they were warning people to be careful. I was scared to the core seeing that news. I was cursing the TV channel - who was going to see the news at 11.30 in the night, why did they want to warn that time of the night. I quicky ate my food, dropped the vessels in the sink and fled to my bedroom. I locked it and went to sleep. A small noise upstairs or the wind blowing outside - I was wide awake. Finally, I managed to go to sleep. But after that I made it a point to never watch news channels especially in the night :-)

Trip to Mt.Rainier

This post has been pending for long and I got to pen this down only now. Anyways, better late than never :-)
It was my second weekend in Redmond. I joined Arun and Raghuram in their plans of going to St.Helens ,a volcanic mountain about 100 miles south of Seattle. We started at 8 in the morning as it was a 5 hours drive. The drive offered some real breathtaking scenes - snow capped houses, lands covered with snow looked as if they had a blanket of white over them. We were about 55 miles from St.Helens when the roads started becoming tough.

The snow hadn't been cleared properly and there was a huge lump of snow all along the middle of the road. Ours being a short car, it was really difficult to progress.

On the way we saw this lake which was totally frozen that one could walk over it. It was truly a wonderful sight!!

We went a little farther and then owing to the roads,decided that it was just impossible to go furthur. It was already noon and suddenly someone suggested the idea of going to Mt.Rainier instead. Still disappointed that we couldn't make it to St.Helens , we started driving back. All of a sudden at a particular point, the car started skidding even on applying the brakes. It was skidding over the ice and the steering wheel was turned to the left just in time. The car stopped just short of the cliff below. One look below, I was feeling nauseating. Oh my god! Then we chained the tires to prevent any more catastrophies and proceeded furthur.
The road to Mt.Rainier was much better and well cleaned. We proceeded to the Paradise point in Rainier. Once I reached there, I knew why it got its name. It truly looked like Paradise!!

The wonderful hue of the sun over the snow covered mountain and the pine trees all over made it look so beautiful.

We proceeded to scale the mountain. Initially, the snow was not fresh and was hard. It was difficult to climb. But as we proceeded towards the top, the snow was soft and fresh and was so inviting.

Especially near the trees, the snow was about hip-deep. It was fun to sink into the snow and later come out with great difficulty :-)

We spent a lot of time there in the snow and then decided to go to the Jackson observatory before leaving. The observatory was also good. They had telescopes with maps beside which described the name of every peak in the range.

The observatory also had other general information about the mountain. It seems it takes a person two days to scale the entire mountain.

It was 5 PM already and it was beginning to get dark.We started back as it would be dangerous to drive back in the dark. I reached home at about 8.30. At about 9.15, I was fast asleep :-)

BTW, today is Christmas... Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Apartment at Redmond

Some photos of my scary :-( cum cosy :-) apartment

Friday, December 16, 2005

Beyond the boundaries: My first travel abroad

Hi all...back after a short pause. Was busy preparing for my travel. Now that I'm here in my warm office, I'm going to pen down my experiences during my first travel abroad [I've got some comments about me being very verbose and so will try to make this post crisp :-)]. Read on...
After the initial hassles in my visa interview, I finally got my visa approved. I want to take a moment here to thank whole heartedly the good samaritan (I dont even know her name) who helped me outside the consulate when none came forward. I had a empty bag and the security outside wanted me to hand it to someone else before stepping in. They even didnt allow me to drop it in the litter outside. I was looking for someone who could hold it for me till I came out [I did not have even 5 minutes for my scheduled time] and none offered to help me. This good samaritan appeared from somewhere and took the bag from me and told me not to worry and to go in. When I came out I did not even thank her properly due to issues I had in my visa processing. Hey, if at all you come across this post, thanks a lot!!
Things were being done at full speed - booking tickets, arranging for my accomodation, packing - and Amma and Appa also arrived at Hyderabad to give me a send-off. Frankly, I was feeling really many different things - immigration, customs blah blah. How was I going to go through all this?
My flight from Hyderabad was on December 3rd at 3 AM. After bidding goodbye to my parents, Yams and Shika I proceeded to get the formalities done. I was relieved to find someone else from my office also there. The KLM flight to Amsterdam was the most tedious part of the journey. First, the timing was very odd and second itwas really cramped. I was just more than happy to alight at Amsterdam. The view of Amsterdam from above was just awesome, the waterfront and the greenery looked so neatly arranged just like out of a building set :-). I did not have time to go around the Schipol airport as my first flight was delayed :-( At the Amsterdam airport I realised there were 5 people who were taking the flight to Seattle that day from my office. The connecting NWA flight was much better. It seemed more comfortable or maybe just because it had a personal entertaiment system it appeared so ;-) I finally landed at Seattle at 3 PM on 3rd. [My watch was still tuned to IST and the time was 4.30 - I couldn't believe that I had travelled for 24 hours continuously]. Only when my head hit the bed in my apartment did I realise how tired I was but I was told to resist sleeping till 9 to overcome the jetlag.
So its been a week now and all jet lag gone. It gets pretty cold in the nights but my apartment is so cosy and so I don't know about it much :-)

[I guess I didnt keep up my word of making this short ;-)]