My US Trip

Staring from today you will see a series of posts about my US trip. I will be in san jose for a month on official work. In this month’s time I am planning to visit as many places as possible. I will also be going to New Jersery on a weekend.

So, let me just start right from my journey to san jose. I started from bangalore on 10th march. Took singapore airlines flight…..bangalore —> Singapore —> Seoul —-> SFO. Only the last part of the journey from Seoul to SFO was a bit boring as it was a continuous 10 and half hours flight without a break. From SFO took a taxi to reach my hotel in san jose. I did not had any jet lag problems and after getting fresh went out along with my btech friend rahul. He had done his Masters in US and is right now working in Cisco. He showed me all the big companies here in silicon valley…..then we went to have dinner at a mexican restaurant “On the borders”. My friend has ordered a burrito for me…….I just had a few bites and left it πŸ™‚ …..Lesson#1 : Never order a burrito again πŸ™‚ Then went to starbucks n had a frappuccino n a cake. That was my dinner on first day πŸ™

More to come in the next post….keep checking πŸ˜€

Trip to pondicherry

There is so much to write about this trip…….but these days I became so busy at my work place that atlast I found some time today (after a whole one week after the trip) to write about my pondicherry experiences.

Let me start from getting the tickets to pondicherry and back to bangalore. One lesson that all of us learnt was that be it to any place, its really really difficult to get tickets from bangalore to travel over a weekend……thanks to the IT boom πŸ˜€ . We were totally 5 guys and our plan was to start on friday night and reach bangalore by monday morning. We could not get direct tickets to pondicherry and we had to go to chennai and then to pondicherry. Even for the return journey, we had to come via chennai. And the next thing we tried was for hotels. Here the situation is still worse. We almost called all the hotels in pondicherry and the standard reply that we got was that they were full or the cost per night would be 3000 plus 😯 . So, we decided to go there and then find some place to stay.

For the journey from bangalore to chennai we took a volvo sleeper. And that’s a big mistake….never travel by a sleeper bus…the seats and all were so dusty…the maintenance was not at all gud…but anyways I could sleep properly and by 6 am we reached chennai.

One thing which will never change in chennai is the language problem…even in the bus stand everything is written in tamil……nowhere we can find even english….this is the only thing that is really bad about chennai….luckily among the five of us there was a guy who knew tamil and our problems were solved πŸ™‚ . So, one piece of advice if someone is travelling to chennai is that its better to have someone who know tamil.

Chennai to pondicherry bus journey took us around 3 hours. From the bus stand we took auto to find a hotel. We asked him to take to a hotel that would be at walking distance from the beach. On the way to the hotel, the first impression that we got about pondicherry was gr888….the roads were too gud…even the bylanes were properly made….the place was planned very well.

We took 2 rooms in hotel soorya international…its abt 10-15 mins walking distance from the beach. The rooms were Rs.1250 each per night. Non-AC were for around Rs.750. The hotel was good. One thing we came to know that many of the hotel ppl do not book over phone and its better we reach pondicherry and take rooms according to the requirement.

We were all ready in almost one hr. and after having breakfast the first thing we wanted to do was to see the beach πŸ™‚ . The beach was at walkable distance from our hotel…..went to the beach road first. And believe me the first sight of the beach was awesome…..this beach had only rocks (just like marine drive in mumbai) and no sand. The whole of the beach road (as the name suggests) is alongside the sea. Then we had a nice motor boat ride in the sea. Those guys just charge Rs. 50 per head and take us for a ride into the sea. It was too gud and worth the money. From there we went to the port entry point over there. Generally no one is allowed into that place but somehow we could manage to get in. There was only one ship that was docked over there. We went till the end and we were actually far into the sea. The view from that point was too gud.

We were all very hungry by the time we came back from the beach. We went to a typical tamil restaurant to taste some tamil cuisine. Didn’t like the food except that the sambar was good. We thought of trying some crabs also over there. Struggled a lot to eat the crabs as they were very hard from outside and we need to eat only the soft part inside.

Then I thought of taking a break for an hour and in the mean time my friends went to chunnambar boat house. They said it wasn’t that great place. From there we went to aurobindo ashram. It was a peaceful place and we bought some story books in the library over there. From here we set off to auroville beach. This is the place where we wanted to spend lot of time as this beach had sand. But by the time we reached the place it was pitch dark and there was no one except patol police πŸ™ . After coming back we had dinner and went back to the beach road. Its a very happening place over there as you can see many people even late in the night.

The next day we thought of going to the beach early in the morning to see the sun rise. But none of us could get up early and we couldn’t make it by sunrise time. After breakfast we started off to mahabalipuram. On the way we wanted to go to a paper handicrafts factory. But after reaching that place we came to know that its closed on sundays πŸ™ .

From pondicherry bus stand we took a bus to mahabalipuram. It took us around 2.5 hours to reach mahabalipuram. Here we went directly to the beach. Had our lunch in a restaurant on the beach. I was surprised to see that there were many foreign tourists over there. The food was not bad. After seeing the temple over there, we spent some time on the beach and started back to chennai.

The bus journey from mahabalipuram to chennai was too tiring. Thought the distance was only around 60 kms, we couldn’t get a seat and the bus was over-crowded. Had a tough time standing in the bus along with the bag. We reached chennai station by 9 pm. Then had dinner in a nearby restaurant. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant exactly but one thing that surprised us was that the waiter over there was taking the order in his pda 😯

We reached the station just in time to catch the train back to bangalore. On the whole the trip was gr888…enjoyed a lot…only if we had time we could have spent some more time on the beach πŸ˜€

jetLite woes contd…

Recently I wrote abt my experience in jet lite ….this is in continuation with tht..

Today I took the same flight from hyd to blr again…and one thing tht surprised me was tht they just have a single coach to take passengers from terminal to flight…tht too tht coach had starting trouble :)  πŸ™ even many of the LCC’s are much much better in this regard. Indigo has got air-conditioned coaches and deccan if not air-conditioned atleast have sufficent number of them…but today jetlite has surprised me…I see the same coach shuttling 5-6 times to fill up the aircraft…this was really really bad….and atleast when its now merged with jet airways, why can’t they use the coaches together

And coming to the cabin crew…no sign of smiles anywhere…I don’t understand one thing..I think the first thing that might be taught to anyone who is in hospitality industry would be to smile…and thts wht is missing here…

And lastly the snacks….the same old stuff…they don’t even care to change it…in my previous blog I got a comment on this and thts 100% true.

After all this ppl might ask me why should I at all fly in jetLite if its so hopeless…and the answer is thts the only option I have bcoz….though kingfisher and air deccan have got flights at the same time…the kingfisher flight is an ATR and I don’t want to travel in an ATR and coming to deccan, maybe for the same price it would make sense to travel in jetLite only πŸ™

I guess jetLite’s current situation is just because of sheer negligence and its high time now tht something has to be done to make things better…

jetlite – stuck between a full service and low cost carrier tags

Today I travelled by jetlite from hyd to bangalore…it was after a long time after the merger of air sahara with jet airways that I took this journey…and the experience was not at all gud. I don’t say that the ground staff or cabin crew were not polite or behaved strangely but looking at the things one can easily make out the pathetic state of jetlite now. I guess the airline was pretty good under the air sahara tag and maybe after the merger its struggling to make an identity of its own. I think naresh goyal wanted to use it to give a tough competition to the LCC’s like air deccan, etc. but the fact is that jetlite is now neither a full service carrier nor an LCC.

Just after entering the flight one can make out the diff….at this point one thing comes to my mind…last year I read an article in Economic Times wherein kingfisher’s vijay mallya and air deccan’s capt. gopinath were interviewed together…and vijay mallya just says one thing I am not into aviation business but into aviation hospitality…and thts 100% true once you fly in kingfisher. On the contrary what I found today in jetlite was a very sad hello from the air hostess once I entered the aircraft…no signs of smile in her face …it looked as if they were doing their job just for the sake of doing it….the way the snacks were served appeared as if they were doing a favour by giving them…and the snacks that were served were hopeless…instead if they want to go with LCC tag why not stop giving snacks instead of serving some hopeless stuff…..even the way the announcements were made by the cabin crew was not appealing…on the whole I think the air sahara…jet airways merger has made air sahara lose its complete identity including its  service as well as reputation. Maybe after the merger this has become a victim of sheer negligence.

I hope the same thing would not happen with the proposed kingfisher, air deccan merger….. lets see how vijay mallya is going to handle it….

My first trekking experience

This time I thought of starting the new year in a different way. So, with some of my friends, I started off for trekking in skandagiri hills. It was a night trek. We started off from bangalore at around 10.45 PM on 31st. The place was about 75-80 kms from my place. None of us knew the exact route πŸ™‚ . Anyways we reached the base of the hills within 2 hrs. Thanks to all those local ppl and night patrol police who helped us in finding the place.

Looking at the base camp we were really happy to see so many people over there πŸ™‚ ….happy because there are many other mad people like us who came to spend the 31st night trekking πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚ . After paying the entry fee (tht was a nominal 15 rupees per head), we started off for the trek. We started the trek blindly following others (assuming tht they knew the place better than us πŸ™‚ )and ended up at a dead end. But luckily we did not go too far…so came back soon and decided tht we will go on our own rather than following others…we decided to show the way to others rather than following them πŸ˜‰

Anyways after taking the correct route, we saw many ppl following us….tht made us happy becasue if at all we would be lost, we will not be alone πŸ™‚ .With not much difficulty, we managed to reach the top in 2.5 hours. So, by 3.30 AM we were on the top of the hill. On the way we took a wrong path and made our trek a little more adventurous πŸ™‚ . After reaching there the view was awesome… made us to forget all the pain we had taken to reach there…On the top we found some locals selling tea n some snacks. We took tea n started looking for a place to setttle down. It was very cold on the top…and the biting wind was making it worse. We managed to get a local villager over there to get some firewood n lit a fire over there. Things were a bit fine after this. Luckily we even found six other colleagues of mine who also came there.

From tht highest point we could actually see a cloud forming in front of us. From a distance it appeared as if there was some water body over there…but its actually a cloud. Tht was too gud to see. All of us were actually wating over there for the sunrise. Heard that the view would be gr8888. After an eager wait of 2.5 hrs, at around 6 AM we could actually see some sun rays. The view was awesome. The different colours has mesmerized everyone. The view was something like this……the clouds over there looked like a sea…and at far away distance we could see the sun rays in all different colours (orange, yellow, light blue n green n a combination of them)…..and below the clouds we could see the city (or rather village) lights n they appeared as small stars. The scene was too gud n i really can’t describe it in words…one has to actually see it in reality n no cameras can capture the whole beauty. And atlast after a long wait we could actually see the sun rising in the sky. It started as a small dot and kept rising……this was the first time I had seen sun rise in such a manner….. and I think its really worth to take all the pain to get to tht place just to see this.

After taking some snaps over there we started off to get down. It was pretty quick and we reached the base within 1.5 hrs. From there started off on our bikes to bangalore. And one more thing tht I forgot to mention. The road from bangalore (to be precise from marathahalli…becoz everyone knows how pathetic the city roads are πŸ˜€ ) to devanahalli is too gud..thanx to the international airport coming up over there… it was a six lane highway with service roads on either sides. We reached bangalore by 11.15 AM.

On the whole, the trip was was a really gud experience to see the first sunrise of the year from such a point. Hope tht this new year would definitely bring in many gud things like tht for me. Will upload the photos when I get hold of them…this time I did not take my waiting to get the photos from my friends.

Trip to ooty

Had been to ooty this weekend. This was not the first time I went there. Last time I went to ooty was when I was in third year. That was real fun then. This time also I stayed in the same place where we stayed 3 years back. I even had dinner n breakfast in the same restaurants where we had before. It was really good recollecting the past memories.

Went to the lake, doddabetta peak n botanical gardens. It was a nice short trip for 2 days taking a break from the routine life in blore. Will be uploading the photos soon…

Trip to Jog Falls

Last weekend I had been to Jog falls n murdeshwar beach. Was very excited to see the overflowing jog fallsin newspapers…heard that it was full after 12 long years. The journey was not tht tiring. Once we reached the place…half of my excitement was lost looking at the falls…i was expecting more water (thanks to the pics in newspapers n mail forwards). Then the worst thing was that all the hotel rooms near jog falls were booked πŸ™ … the way there were only two places for accommodation with each one having arnd 10 rooms.

Then after putting the luggage in a cloak room we started off to go down to the bottom of the falls (it was approx. 960 feet). The route was not that gud..but somehow we managed to reach the bottom of the falls within 50-60 mins.  That was the actual place to be….I could manage to go further till the point where the water actually falls into the pond….the scene was too gud to be described in words. I could see rainbow everywhere….in the water droplets falling on the rocks….in the pond water…..I was unable to directly look at the falls from tht point….after looking at all this I was very very happy….it appeared as if this was a gud enuf reason to go to jog falls. I think it was actually gud that water flow was less or else they would not allow us to go to the bottom of the falls πŸ™‚ .

After leaving jog falls, we started off to murdeshwar beach (abt 3.5 hrs journey). Took a room near the beach. But the beach was not upto our expectations. We were hoping to see dry sand where we could spend some time ….but this was not of tht kind. It was a place wherein the fishermen could go fishing but not tht gud place for tourists. There was a famous temple also over there. After spending some time over there we started off to bangalore.

On the whole the falls were gud but murdeshwar beach was hopeless. Anyways have uploaded the photos in the photo album.