Monday, July 09, 2007

2nd Week in Sunnyvale/SanFrancisco

Spent the 2nd week in Sunnyvale working and enjoying in SanFrancisco listening to different versions of the "Star Spangled Banner" at multiple locations around the Fisherman's Wharf.

2nd July:
Got to meet the 4 engineers from China who are also on a 4 week schedule to HQ.Meetings as usual and the engineering meeting after lunch. The meeting lasted a little longer for some of us due to various issues involved.

3rd July:
There seems to be a festive atmosphere in the company air. People have their individual plans for the next day. Work drags as usual and I leave just after taking the Carry-Out dinner from work. The fish is awful.., extremely salty and that just spoils the entire dinner.

4th July:
Wake up pretty late at 8:30 and leave for SanFrancisco at about 10am from Homestead. From the Crossman station I take the Light Rail towards Mountain View. It is all a rip-off.., minimum fare is a day-pass for $5.25. Then take the CalTrain from Mountain View towards SanFrancisco and its already past 1 by the time I reach Milbrae. Next is the 3rd change from Milbrae to Powell Street and I am finally in SanFrancisco. Next there is this huge line for the CableCar which takes towards the Fisherman's Wharf, GroundZero for the Fireworks of July 4th. The ride is amazing and you've got to see the videos and photos to realize the thrill of the ride. Foolish people were sitting in the carriage and some idiots standing much like the ones hanging from locals in Mumbai. I had found the best view place, not the most comforting but from where I could shoot a lot of great stuff. The CableCar runs on rails through some of the major streets in this area and the same roads are also shared by other cars, buses etc. Reached Fisherman's Wharf past 2 and I was very hungry. I buy myself a Shrimp Sandwich and buy the ticket to the Golden Gate Ferry also known as the "Red and White Ferry". This is the 2nd rip-off of the day, $21 for an hour long ferry. The ride itself though was very amazing. They take you out towards the Golden Gate bridge and it is frickin cold/chilly/breezy. The suspension bridge is truely an engineering marvel. Built by Huge Steel Ropes with something a meter in diameter and rested on two humongous Girders (is that the correct word ?) The return back is through the other side of Alcatraz but we just glide by it and there is no inside view for me for the famous "The Rock" prison of one time. Next I am out to see the very famous "Crooked Street" which is a part of the Lombard Street. Now SanFrancisco is a very weird town with totally ups and downs and it is a truly a weight-loss regimen for the walkers. The line for the CableCar was huge and I decided to tire my already fatigued legs just a little more. A couple of Chinese girls help me track down the correct way and then I am off on a very Kaustubh-like clicking spree. Now I am at the risk of running down the batteries and missing the fireworks being digitally captured. I next capture about a bare-minimum of required pictures at a Ship-Wrecked Museum. I am just looking at the watch now and checking to see if I could make the last train back home or atleast take me back to some place closer to Homestead. Finally its Dinner time and the lines at all diners are lengthy. I decide not to try something different lest I miss the show ;) Subway the safest bet is chosen as the Last Supper and after serving about another 20 famished customers, I am in-line to place my order. I order a double-Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (the Clemson favorite) with plenty of South-West sauce with a bottle of Coke to go with it. I then walk for another half-a-mile and perch upon a nice place from where I would have a great view of the evening extravaganza. And then, lo-behold, its begins, the initial display draws a lot of applause, then the next series is most of a repeat of the previous display but with minor changes. This is much like the Chopra-Johar-Advani movies in which the script is same, so are the actors, the locations change. Similarly the fireworks mostly had the same colors, shapes, sizes, just their locations kept on changing :D. I glance at the watch and realize that I am not going to make to the Powell station in time if I don't make the way towards the CableCar. So using my peanut-shaped-sized brain I slowly but surely start breezing towards the exit. The grand finale is something that should not be written about or captured but it something to be seen to believe. As Richie Benaud puts it most of the time "Simply Superb", but that too would have been much of an understatement.4th July 10:15pm:I am probably the 200th person in the line and so-close to missing my first train and thus all the next connecting trains. As I am standing contemplating how it would be to sleep at the SanFrancisco Airport much like the multitudes of Homeless people in this area. They somehow squeeze like 60-70 people in each Car and I am JIT for the ride to Milbrae. (5th July begins) As quite expected there was a lot of WhiteTrash in the cube that I was, and they did give me great company right till the end. At the Milbrae station there were just 4 students on their way back as well. The train was 15 minutes late and I was limping in the cold and trying to suppress yawns. But at 12:35am I am finding that very difficult and just then there is this group of 5 brothers who show up and the entertainment lightens me up, definitely missed Harshu enjoying the bro-sho. I get down at Sunnyvale station and pleasantly find an even more pleasant Sardarji as the driver of a Cab. $13.20 and 10 minutes later I finally enter Homestead. I barely change, brush and lie down to see the clock tick past 2am on July 5th.

5th July:
I really want to miss work and spend the day lying the entire day in the bed but alas I am ready as usual by 9 and leave for work. The day is as usual, nothing special except that I get a not-so-ok take-out from a Vietnamese place. The evening eating experience is much more wonderful with an all-Indian cuisine served at the office. I ignore the glares from other colleagues and absolutely gorge on the delicacies on display.

6th July:
In terms of work was slightly different from Thursday and much like Monday with a lot of meetings. I do get a ride back home from Pradeep and then I am looking at a "what-to-do-over-the-weekend" question mark on the door !! I have Chiwda/Ladoo that I have taken from back-home and then I sleep like a baby.

7th July (07:07:07):
This is supposed to be a very auspicious day and a lottt of people were supposed to get married. I do not have any such issues to tackle and hence I am sleeping my "behind" off. I wake up and find Makya's voice on the other side. After a 15 mins talk and a lot of catch-up chat we hang-up. I call-up a lot of friends including the ones in Pune and then I am off and running after cleaning up the dishes. I take a nice little nap and then I go to visit the grocery store. Just before leaving I have made all arrangements for Moong-Daal Khichadi. Just after I am back, its less than 40 mins before I am having my dinner. The taste is good except that as usual the salt is less and it could have been more moist had I shut-down the burner a couple-of-minutes earlier.

8th July:I wake up to the call of, neither a friend nor a family member, but to the call that we just cannot hang-up on. The more you try to put it off the more the pressure it generates. I come back with a very lighter bladder and switch on the TV. King Federer pulls off a stunner in the decider though I had a feeling that Rafa would win if it went to the 5th. Again a string of calls, more like a tete-a-tete with the Answering Machines. I eat the remaining Khichadi and another sandwich after another 30 mins run-plus-walk in the sun. Then its the time for the weekly laundry and in the mid-cycles I am again calling people. I have a 15 mins talk each with Mike Mixon and Jayson Sawyer and it is simply awesome catching up on old friends.

I am just smiling the entire evening and in a great mood, tomorrow's Monday notwithstanding.
With each passing day the urge to get back home gets stronger I guess. Nature and Humans have their own ways, again a strong guess.



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