Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ST. MOUNTHOOD.......OREGON

Mult-nomah falls








VIEW AS SEEN FROM THE TRAIN









FRUIT ORCHARDS





COLUMBIA RIVER AS SEEN FROM OUT HOTEL ROOM





SOME TROURIST DRIVING LAZILY IN A VINTAGE CAR
















last one was a long weekend here, so we planned to go to ST. Mounthood. On the way we have many falls, trails and vista points. One point was closed to vehicles and when we enquired it was a 7km distance up and down:(..I could never dare to go, but I saw that all others were going even the ones who had children.
We started arfound 9 in the morning by car and by lunch time we reached Troutdale and had our lunch at an Indian restaurant NAMASTEY...it was buffet with good varieties,but the preparations were just OK, anyway atleast I could fill myself well:)
Among all the falls the best was MULTNOMA FALLS.....and it was quite crowded also and there were so many Indians....one pattern I find very amusing and heartening both is...most of the visitors included.one young couple with an old couple(obviously parents)..sometimes they were quite old, not able to walk even properly, but their children had brought them there, as they wanted their parents to see all the things,........funny part is all the mothers wearing oversized jackets and sports shoes with salwar kameez or sari..this is one thing, I personally dont like,but even I have to do it here, wearing shoes with my dresses:).
This fall is very high and very picturesque also, took a tea break here and then drove down to ST> MOUNTOOD..reached there by 7PM, we stayed in BEST WESTERN.. and it was very luxurious and good, it had enough space and then microwave, fridge,even a jacuzzi in the bathroom. Since we had asked for a river view room, they gave us the one with a very good view, sitting on the bed one could see Columbia river. Here I saw many people travelling and staying there with dogs..the size of a lion:) and with the same disregard for the comfort of other people, the way I find it in India...all dog owners say the same thing.....its not going to bite you:), here she went one step more and said...he is not going to eat you:)......
Next day in the complimentary Breakfast there was not much variety for vegetarians, it was just cold cereal, but for non veg..there was everything, so we supplemented it with Starbucks stuff:) and started our journey in the vintage train to the mountain.Here experience begin the moment you step aboard this century old railroad and continues roundtrip to park dell via Odell. Dating from the early 1900, the Excursion train is made of enclosed coaches and a concession car offering light food and beverage My daughter had booked it in the dome car..which is on the top and one gets the best view from there. Its a one and a half hour journey of sheer pleasure, train going thru the pear, cherry, apple orchards..of course the fruits are visible in April only, but the beauty is still there.
On the way I got a pleasant surprise..my SIL and daughter had arranged a cake on the train..( it was my marriage anniversary )........in the morning before going my SIL was saying and asking repeatedly..plate rakh li, plate rakh lena.....I was wondering why do we need a plate, but as is my nature, I dont ask many questions:).
at the top it was a small place with a few shops,one museum and a few restaurants. One hour passed so fast and it was time to board again to come back.While returning we saw an outlet mall and had our dinner at GREAT INDIAN CUISINE in the down town of Washington...and it was delicious.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SOCIAL CONSCIENCE

I am in Seattle now:). While reading blogs and meeting people, I have seen that most of the people like discussing India:)..their main punching bag.....like there is so much of corruption...no good infrastructure,............. no systems working.......and then they put all the blame squarely on the shoulders of politician, But I think that at least politicians are doing something , what we are doing?... Does anyone bother to aske oneself..what they have done for the country?

Given the first opportunity.all the young people fly abroad and live there, why dont then they think of staying in their country and changing the things?

But then they want to live a comfortable life and duties are all for politicians to do something.

But then why not come into politics?

No..its too dirty to enter......

Isnt it a sad situation for the country, where students who study in the premium education institutes, at the fraction of a cost(sometimes subsidised by govt.) they would have to spend abroad if they study there, and then they work for the betterment of other countries?

And this is the reason I feel happy when the institutes raise their fee...



One more thing I have noticed that the same people who follow the rules and regulations abroad very sincerely have no patience when they are in the same situation in India.

Its very easy to say that we going the capitalist way etc etc...but I dont find any harm in capitalism.......For me being a capitalist means working hard to earn money and give employment to many.and everybody gets according to his/her calibre

whereas in the socialism.......none has any incentive to work hard, because everybody is going to get the same....merit has no value here.
I have always thought that industrialist are the biggest contributor towards country's progress and we must not deride anybody enjoying the fruits of his labour.

Here when I say that I want to go to that famous mart here, then my daughter doesnt like it, as she doesnt go there because her social conscience come into it.. But I think aborting something or somebody is a destructive form of reforms...because if we want them to fail, the ones most affected would be the people we want to save, so we must go to the roots of the problem..why are children in labour? why the labour is being exploited?........because they are not educated and they are poor....so think and try to bring education to everybody, employment to everybody, once they are able to get better opportunity, they themselves wouldnt go these organisations, but before providing them a alternative for their livelihood, it would be a crime to snatch their present one, because thats what we will be doing if we boycott such organisations...its a myopic view of the situation.And I have always believed that to bring the positive results we must have the positive ways....instead of destroying someone or something, we must try to build someone or something, wahi puraani baat...kisi bhi line ko chota karne ke liye doosri badi libe kheencho, us line ko mat kaato.

On a pleasant note:) we went to Merrymoore Park here...it is the biggest park I have seen in my life...was a pleasure to see so much greenery and space to play the games, people were playing cricket, volleyball and many other games, then cycling and remote gliders etc etc.

Really a class analogy.. An Old Story


The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and
laying up supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the
summer away.
Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or
shelter so he dies out in the cold.
Indian Version:
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and
laying up supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the
summer away.
Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and
demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed
while others are cold and starving.
NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper
next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled
with food.
The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor
Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.
Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that
Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter .
Mayawati states this as `injustice' done on Minorities.
Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for
not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.
The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the
Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt
support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance) .
Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for 'Bengal Bandh' in
West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.
CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard
in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and
Grasshoppers.
Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway
Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.
Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ' Prevention of Terrorism
Against Grasshoppers Act' [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the
winter.
Arjun Singh makes 'Special Reservation ' for Grasshoppers in Educational
Institutions & in Government Services.
The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left
to pay his retroactive taxes,it's home is confiscated by the Government
and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.
Arundhati Roy calls it ' A Triumph of Justice'.
Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice '.
CPM calls it the ' Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden '
Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.
Many years later....
The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar
company in Silicon Valley,
100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere
in India,
.
......AND
As a result of loosing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the
grasshoppers,
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
India is still a developing country…!!!

__Ssource._,_.___Source

Thursday, May 14, 2009

MOTHER'S DAY IN ZURICH..SWITZERLAND

VIEW OF ZURICH FROM THE TOP OF
GROSSMINISTER CHURCH
CAKE FRIENDS.....six type of cakes served with
5 dips and fresh fruits

VIEW OF ZURICH


RESTAURANT--PAPA JOES



VEG FAJITA......with6 dips and wraps
A make it yourself type










Mother's day....I am so late in this, actually I was thinking of writing about my mother for a long time and then I thought wil do so on mother's day, again I was delayed. Though I dont believe in pampering mother's for one day and then forgetting, I prefer to be on good behaviour whole year, rather than going overboard one day only and then just be urself....I believe in looking after in day to day life sincerely which my brother does so beautifully.



Now about my mom:), I wouldnt praise her sky high, just state the facts. She has always loved me so much, that sometimes my younger sister doubted her for partiality. But later on I realised that parents love all their children equally, its only that the well behaved ones get more praise and thats sometime misconstrued. From my mother i learned the value and meaning of being well groomed, being well dressed all the time, doing all the things traditionally in full swing, so much so that, my children still like to be at her place on festivals.....because she makes her home full of energy, she is very social and very well respected for her intelligence and PR skills:), yes she is that way, she is the life of any party she joins...........As a daughter ,I dont think I have done anything for her traditionally, as I was brought up with a mindset that duaghters always make their home with inlaws, so neither I demanded any rights, nor I did much of any duties, except making her proud by being a good wife and mother, and whenevr she needed my presence, I did whatever I could to make that happen, but she always told me that my first responsibility lies in keeping my home happy,and I feel very thankful to her for making these demarcations which made my life so easy without any dilemmas and conflicts.And I have incorporated the same thing in my daughter's mind. I have always felt that mothers earlier were more selfless than today's, becuase they did everything for their daughters and nevr demanded or accepted anything from them, today if we do, then we demand also. Even today my mother's presence brings a feeling of security and safety to me, I know that she will take care of me and everything well, mothers are truely ireplacable:

And now my day..oh it was one of the best mother's day for me....as I was with my son and DIL and they made it really special for me, by pampering me, giving gifts,flowers, cooking special dishes and taking me out to lunch.


One thing I love in Europe is their cafe culture..they just relax there without any hurry and nobody even brings the bill till we ask for it.

For lunch we went to Papa Joes..a mexican restaurant in old town. See the languages idiosyncracies, in German.......
S is pronounced as J

J is pronounced as y

and then for the desserts we went to CAKEFRIENDS......yummy desserts and fabulous presentation .
HAPPY BELATED MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL !

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trip to Mt. Pilatus - Luzern..SWITZERLAND

PICTURES OF LUZERN AND MT. PILATUS, SWITZERLAND


Lake Luzern

The beautiful, fascinating buildings of old town in Luzern

The lake side cafetarias next to the wooden chapel bridge are always buzzing with people...


Stunning views from Mt. Pilatus



The steepest Cogwheel train in the world, which took us down Mt. Pilatus....Was an experience in itself




People paragliding on Pilatus...Was good fun to see them take off and fly over your head





Mt. Pilatus














The trekking steps up there would take one to the highest peak of Mt. Pilatus and is definitely worth the efforts as the views are mindblowing.


The stunning views from Pilatus.

This was one of the best views that we could stare for hours, as it looked like heaven.....It looked like small beautiful islands in the midst of the clouds



Another stunning view...


Midway to Pilatus....


The fun and adventurous Siel Park/Rope park, where there were activities lined up for everyone...


People trying to cross the rope....



The childern's playground, made completely of the wooden forest logs


The gondolas that we took up to Pilatus



The Lush green views while moving up in the Gondolas....


This weekend we went to see Mount Pilatus. From Zurich we took the train at 9.14 AM. What i love here is that travelling is such a pleasure by public transport, everything is so neat and clean and at time. Our train was a double decker and we had a very very beautiful scenic journey for an hour till we reached Luzerne. Zurich and Luzerne..both railway stations were as crowded as we see in India, and here I see many Indians everywhere.
In the Luzern we took a bus (tram type) to our stop Pilatus.It was a 15 minute journey and from there 15 minutes walk to the Gandola ride(yes for the 4 seater cable cars they call it Gandolas). It was 30 minute scenic ride taking us thru lush green fields to the top at another station for cable car. At this station, there were lot of activities going on........Basically it is a recreational area with well marked circular paths,inviting picnic places, a funfilled children's play ground and much much more.

From here we took a cable car for another 20 minutes and we reached MOunt Pilatus......a type of top station from where one can enjoy the view of city Alps etc. Here evrywhere one finds everything to eat, enough sitting places, shops selling souvenirs. Though stuff was quite expensive..a tshirt for 50 swiss F.There was a cave also and another top point for which one had to climb 100 steps at least, I didnt go there.My son and DIl went and see the surprise..i met a person there who was from Bareilly..rajendra nagar Awas vikas... dunia kitnee choti ho gayi ha ajkal:)
We had our lunch of wraps, coke, iceream and then coffee and enjoyed the view, there were para gliders also. Many myths surround this area..in the middle ages the bleak crevices were believed to be the haunt of a well meaning dragon and spirits
For our way back we took their special train ......from Pilatus Kulm to Alpnachstad, the world's highest cogwheel rialway winds up through lush meadows carpeted with alpine flowers ,past sparkling mountainstreams and fascinating rock faces. Over 900 species of flora are native to the Pilatus region..many of them protected species.....and that was the high point of our trip. This train goes down at a 80 degree angle , at times one cant see the track even, but its very comfortable and stable. Earlier I thought that the train for Mettupalayam to OOty had the most scenic and enjoyable ride, but this is one up on that also.Earlier I had travelled in a train like this while going to Chamonix, but that was nothing compared to this.It is a complete mind blowing experience.
After coming down to Lucerne we took a round of the city and saw Chapel Bridge..a 14th century chapel and and then sat at the bank of the lake Lucerne. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I enjoyed every moment of it.and i would recommend everyone visiting Switzerland to include it..is a must see place.






Friday, May 8, 2009

SHAURYA


Yesterday we saw Shaurya....a very different movie:), I know all of you must be thinking that all the time I say it is different:), but what to do:) I like only different movies:).
Storyline is this....Two inseparable friends..Akash kapoor (javed Jafferey) and Siddhant Chaudhary( Rahul Bose), AK gets a posting in Srinagar as a prosecutor in the case of Captain Javed(Deepak Dobriyal), and Sid then insists upon him to get him one also, and so he gets the posting for defence lawyer. Sid is not serious in anything and even doesnt want to be in Army, he is just supposed to plead guilty for his client and get it over with. But once there slowly slowly the case unfurls and Sid comes alive and interested due to the complete silence of accused, a very spunky journalist..Kavya shastri( minisha lamba) and then due to the righteousness of the mother of accused.
And then he puts all he has to solve the mystery.and the secret behind all this stuns everybody.
Brigadier Pratap(K K Menon) , a highly decorated army men, with multiple awards, had a very loyal servant Jameer..who once betrayed him, raped his youngdaughter , killed his whole family and absconded, and now he sees that criminal in all muslims and wants to remove them from his country.
And there is Captain Javed..a muslim for whom honour of his country and army is more important than his life.
In acting..KK has outshined everybody , but Rahul is also excellent..movie belongs to these two outstanding actors. They are a treat to watch.Minisha is also good in acting, but lacks in the looks department.
Director Samar khan has done a good job and handled the sensitive issue with a sensitivity, but he has left many things for the audience to decide, too many self assesments leave a lot to understand. Some people are too restrained....Amrita rao..wife of the major who was killed, Seema Vishwas..mother of the accused .
And the end is very week, the way a strong brigadier goes about telling everything without worrying about the consequences is just not palatable.He was given a choice to come out of the witness box, but he doesnt. Here if he had shown something else thru which the case was solved, would have been more realistic and apealing.
But all in all this movie is worth a watch, very interesting and giving you something to think about.
I saw...
1920...quite useless, and Rajneesh duggal..not a hero material at all.
Bachna A Haseeno......Time pass..good scenery of Zurich
AA dekhe Jara......a new story line and slick movie.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SALZBURG..SOUND OF MUSIC..VIENNA

A local Marathon in Salzburg
Next day we had a complimentary breakfast at the hotel and it was really supmtuous..with so many varieties of cereal, fruits with dips, croissant, crepes, juices etc etc and the best part was that all that variety was delicious also. So after filling the fuel, we started for salzburg by train----its a 2 and a half hour journey and the route is very scenic.

At the railway station we found Burger king and had Veggi burger..just like we have in India..very delicious, dont know why they dont make it in US

Here either we could take a Sound of music tour or see the rest of the city, we chose the second option, again took an hop on..tour, first to get a feel of the city and saw then Helbrunn palace, there they have a special trick magic fountain show, but alas we couldnt enjoy it, as there were very few english speaking people so the guide spoke only german.

Then we roamed through the old town...its a pleasure to walk on cobbled roads, without any vehicle and see all the top brands and some local stuff also.We found a good restaurant also to have tea and garlic bread. I was surprised to see an Espirit Shop where they were selling the same Tshirts I bought in India for 1800/ in 30 Euros..means the rates are same, and if we consider the currency value, they are selling much higher in India.

And then we saw an Indian restaurant:):) and booked a table for our dinner over there..HANA'S RASOI--the food was very good and ambiance also good( most of the indian restaurants abroad compromise a lot on ambiance etc).

We had our return train at 12.44 in the night, and when we reached our reserved cabin, we saw their two men sleeping and were they stinking.....it was impossible to stay there what with smell of smoke,deinks perfumes and what all combined ...was so pungent, we couldnt stand, and despite our reservation we completed the journey somehwere else
Salzburg is so Mozart oriented that everywhere you find everything with his photo or statue, and it is amazing to see someone becoming such an Icon though he died at the age of 35 only.He prepared his first composition at the age of 5 only

Monday, May 4, 2009

VIENNA--CITY OF MUSIC

AUSTRIA TRIP PICTURES

DAY 1 - VIENNA PICTURES

The Hop on - Hop off bus, that took us on the city tour of Vienna



The Mozart and Strauss Concert




The main Opera Singers- The Female was mindblowing !





The Orchestra that performed beautiful Mozart and Strauss compositions



Such Magnificent Statues are a common site in the historically rich city, Vienna




The Huge and Beautiful National Library in Vienna




The popular Giant Ferris wheel which gives a panoramic view of the entire city of Vienna.




The Secession Building, Vienna






The famous Danube River





The Fine arts museum or Kunsthistorisches Museum as they call it




The Statue of Legendary Mozart


1May being a holiday, this wa sa long weekend here, so we decided to utilise it for a trip and we went to Vienna. From Zurich we took a train at 9.44 PM. Here the metro and tram system is so well integrated that one doesnt feel the need of a car. From any place to every place you get tram or metro. We took a tram for the main railway station.Banhoftrasse.. its the most happening station I have sen. Last time I went there, there was a local market..sort of stalls were put up for all the fresh and cooked products. This time they had made a makeshift stadium for a match. But here people smoke like a chimney specially the girls. The station was littered with cigarette butts.








Trains are quite comfortable here, but in the night around one..3 girl students came to our cabin, and didnt let us sleep at all, they kept on talking , drinking and laughing all the time..whole night with no consideration for fellow passengers.Anyway we reached Vienna in the morning around 7.30 AM








We had booked a hotel near the station only...FLEMING'S--it was a very good one, we had a nice room here and it was the walking distance from the railway station.But when we saw the room we shocked to see that the bathroom was in the room...like shower cubicle and the walls were of transparent glass without any curtain even. I have seen many countries but never expected something like this:). Then we checked may be this one room is like this, so we will change the room, but no...there all the rooms had the same type.....cant understand their sensibilities,...is it that there only couples come or what?








Since we had only one day at our disposal, we decided to take hop on hop off tour....for 24 hrs they charge 20 euro/ person and one can complete the whole city this way. There are three routes, one should take the shoenbrunn palace route first because this service stops early. Most of the bus stops have food kiosks and food there is quite reasonable and good.








Vienna is one of the most beautiful places I have seen..with beautiful buildings, magnificent architecturee, gardens( 23 in all and huge and very well landscaped) and Danube Lake.








If we go to Vienna and dont see Opera...Nainsaafi ha unke saath:), so in the evening we went to see opera at Imperial hall. Though this was in german, so we couldnt understand much except what the anchor told us, it was very enjoyable, specially the ballet, and the female opera singer and two compositions of Mosart and Strauss.








I was very happy to find good vegetarian food over there,and I found that austrian people are the most beautiful ones..men and women both.Vienna is place for artists,its very rich .in culture and heritage.We all fell in love with the place.








In the tours...hop on,...... they provide every seat with head phones and running commentary about the places we are passing thru in most of the languages,One can devote time as and where one wants.








We returned the hotel by 11 PM