Sunday, October 9, 2011

2300 Miles US Road Trip - Part - 1

Recently me and my family had an opportunity to visit the US for two weeks. I had some official work for about 4 days. We had planned a vacation for the rest of the time. Naturally, I wanted to visit lots of places, do lots of stuff when I was in the US. Some of the top places I wanted to visit were Niagara Falls, The White House, Virginia Beach, Pennsylvania, Florida, Yellowstone National Park, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Sears Tower (Willis Tower) etc.

The list was endless and I knew we cannot cover all these places in just seven days. We had to decide on places that were practically possible and onces that I wanted to visit the most. We decided to do a road trip to some of the most appealing places (read that as places that were practically possible :)). We ended up doing a 2300 miles fantastic road trip, here is a post that summarizes my experiences on the entire trip and things that I loved the most.

Our journey started from the Pune airport.  We were supposed to fly from Pune to Delhi to Chicago.  We were visiting the Delhi Airport for the first, we had approximately 5 hours between flights, I thought that will be a good time to see the Delhi Airport.  I had heard lots of good things about it and boy, I was in for a surprise.

The Delhi Airport is one of the best International Airport that I have ever been to.  By the way, I have been to a lot of international airports (Dubai, Bharain, Addis Ababa, Israel, Frankfurt, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, Chicago, Minneapolis, Amsterdam etc.) and I can be sure that, this one was one of the best.

There were things to do, places to visit, shops to be explored, right at the Airport itself.  There are huge corridors, walkways, benches with palm trees around them, tint of indian culture etc.
Benches with palm trees around them

Huge corridors, walkways

Hand postures representing a dance form called Kathak
Out of all the shops at the Airport one that appealed the most to me had a healing pool in it.  Its like a small pool which has water till your ankles, people are supposed to remove their footwear and walk inside the pool.  The tiles in the pool would pressurize certain areas on your sole which gives you a very refreshing feeling.  This science is called Acupressure.  I did try it and felt totally incredible, felt really energized.

The healing pool with lots of bells hanging

As you can see people could walk in the pool and get rejuvenated
In the same shop there was live entertainment going on.

Person on left is playing flute and the other guy is playing tabla
The person with a long bamboo stick is playing a musical instrument called Flute and the other guy is playing a traditional Indian instrument called Tabla.  The sound of these instruments is very soothing and relaxing.

All around the Airport, there are huge beautiful metal sculptures which depict Indian culture

The Sculpture of lord Shiva
Delhi Airport had a western look as well.  There were recliner chairs with charging pods in the chair itself.  Nice, Shiny Mercedes was also lying around at the airport.  Over all it was a surprising experience.
Mercedes at the Delhi Airport

Next stop Chicago:

At Chicago on Monday - Labor Day - morning we visited a Swami Narayan temple near by.  The temple had a rich white facade with lush green lawn and blue fountains.  Under the clear blue sky with sparse white cloud cover it looked really beautiful!

The Swami Narayan Temple with white facade and lush green lawns

Blue colored fountains
Next stop Minneapolis:

As I mentioned earlier I had 4 days of official work.  I had to leave for Minneapolis on Monday.  But my trip does not stop here.  Even when I was at Minneapolis, my friends at work took me to some very nice restaurants in the evenings.
Pat sitting on the left hand side and Paul on the right

But by far the single biggest attraction of my stay at Minneapolis was the Base ball game!  My friends at Minneapolis had arranged tickets for a Base Ball game!

The game was between the home team i.e. Twins and Chicago White Sox.  Although the home team was not having a great phase they did win this game!  We had a very good view, our seats were right behind the batter, I could click some very good snaps

The road to the office was scenic, our office was around an artificial lake because of this the entire area had very good green cover with beautiful flowers and lovely trees!

Path way to the office

One evening one of my friend took me to the Mall of America!  Its supposed to be the second largest mall in the world and boy it was big!  There were hundreads of shops in fact it was so big that they had a mini amuzement part right inside the mall!  I did sit in one of the roller coster which looked the most scary roller coster it had a drop of around 93 degrees!

Back to Chicago:

After fishing my work in Minneapolis, I came back to Chicago on Saturday morning, we decided to visit Chicago down town in the evening.  Chicago downtown is just like any other city with lots of big buildings and beautiful lake near by.

We visited the Cloud Gate, Buckingham Fountain, Sears Tower, Navy Pier and oh yes, saw the fireworks at Navy Pier

The Cloud Gate is like a giant silver bean, it was quite a popular spot, we saw at least 6-7 newly wed couples near it.
The Cloud Gate

Snaps from the Buckingham Fountain, sears tower and navy pears
Buckingham Fountain

View from the Sears Tower

Fireworks at Navy Pier

At Sears Tower, there is glass compartment which is suspended, which means there is nothing below it - The Sky Deck!  You are standing on glass 110 stories high with nothing below you, Scary!

While heading home we even saw a opera it was quite interesting actually!
By this time one week had already passed.  I had lot of fun and some very first experiences in this memorable one week.

Next day we were supposed to leave for our road trip.  In my next post I will share my experiences about the places that we visited in the coming week!

Stay tuned folks!
Have some Fun!