Archive for June, 2007

Weekend 6 – Hawaii

June 23, 2007

On Friday, shortly after lunch, I left for the Airport. I actually was quite late but reached the airport 45 min before my Seattle-Honolulu flight. The other 3 guys had reached the airport an hour before me and I caught up with them at the boarding gate after grabbing a burger on the way from Burger King.

The flight took off at about 5:20 pm Seattle time. Since I had checked in late, my seat was not in the same zone as the others. I ended up sitting next to the window. The girl who sat next to me struck up a conversation which eventually led to her trying to (unsuccessfully) teach me Hawaiian – in the end all I learnt was ‘Aloha’ and ‘Muhalo’ (hi-bye and thank you). The flight reached Hawaii six hours later at 8:11 pm Hawaii time. I got to see the sunset fron the window and it was beautiful.

Once we landed, I headed to the bus terminals, caught the No 20 bus to Waikiki. Once we reached, Rishi and me checked into the Hostelling International Hostel at Waikiki. This was my first time at a HI hostel and I must say that it is really good and the people are very friendly and helpful (especially in recommending places to visit and things to do).

I slept of soon and woke up as per Seattle time which turned out to be 4 am local time in Hawaii. Then I went to the beach to watch sunrise. Needless to say, it was beautiful. Then on the way back I bought a few burgers and returned to the hostel to wake up Rishi. Then we met up with the others and proceeded to Hyatt where we got on to the bus from Roberts Hawaii.

The bus basically took us around the circumference of the island of Oahu starting from the Waikiki beach. We got to visit Diamond Head, Hanaoma Bay (the coral reef here is really beautiful and next time I go there I plan to go snorkelling), the Northern Shore (where we got to see some of the biggest waves in the Pacific) among other tour points. The northern part of the island was quite windy and it was good that I had taken my jacket.

We returned at about 5pm to Hyatt and got off. Nilendu claimed he knew a shortcut to the hostel but unfortunately it wasn’t so short and moreover, it took us through the private Sheraton beach. I went back to the room to freshen up and change after which I returned to the beach. I sat there for about 2 hours watching the sun set. It was a very relaxing experience and for some reason reminded me about the IITK campus. After that, I went back, had dinner and slept off.

The next day, again I woke up at 4 am. I went to the beach again to watch the sunset. There was this store that rented out surfboards so I went and got one and started trying to surf. It was my first time at surfing – I managed to ride two big waves in an hour which I guess is good for a start. Surfing is another thing that I would like to try out…it requires patience to paddle out to the Pacific and wait for a big wave and subsequently stand up and keep one’s balance but the thrill is well worth it 🙂

I went back to the hostel, packed up my stuff and caught a bus to the Aloha stadium. The Aloha stadium is where a big market is located where you get Hawaiian shirts, handicrafts, perfumes etc. I spent about 3-4  hours there, having lunch in between. Subsequently, I caught a bus to Pearl Harbour, where I visited the USS Arizona memorial. After that, I took a bus to the airport and caught the 9pm flight back to Seattle. The trip at $850 was a little pricey for a weekend trip but it was worth it.

Week 5 and Weekend 5 – Detroit, Michigan

June 12, 2007

Work speeded up suddenly. I was able to finish the first part of the project in essentially 2 days. Then a new intern came, who shares the office with me. Until then I had a ‘single office’. He is about to finish his PhD from Maryland, is ex IITM and is working with me on at least 2 projects. I haven’t seen my mentor much in the past week since he has been at home most of the time, busy with his new born. In the past 2 weeks he has given me all kinds of tips on marriages, wives, mother in laws and stock markets 🙂

I skipped work on half of Thursday and Friday to go to Detroit to visit my first cousins and uncle. I reached on Friday early in the morning. Thanks to the 3 hours timezone difference, I woke up only at noon the next day and didn’t do much in the afternoon. In the evening we went to my aunt’s workplace, a counselling centre. After that we went to church for a special service since the Bishop had come. After church, we went shopping and then back home.

On Saturday. again I woke up late, had breakfast and went to the Henry Ford Museum. It was a place where I’m sure any mechanical engineer would have loved to go (or even an engineer in any other field) … they had a lot of engine related items in the museum, including cars, planes, steam engines and so on. I spent about 4-5 hours there in total. After that, we drove to the Canadian border. It was a pleasant place with a nice breeze. I also got to see the headquarters of the big 3 US auto manufactureres – Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

After this I went home, had dinner, played for an hour with my cousin on his Xbox and then went of to sleep. The next morning I got up, had breakfast and went to the airport. The flight back to Seattle was a little bumpy. I was watching Ice Age on my Creative Zen…and a lady who was sitting next to me (and was about to become a grandmother in a day) kept looking at the screen, so in the end, we watched it together, followed by ‘Little Manhattan’ before the batteries ran out. I reached Seattle in the afternoon, went to have lunch at Subway, did some shopping and went back to the house.

Week 4 – Change of Residence

June 12, 2007

Work went on as usual. I got some results on the first project and began working on the 2nd project. I also issued a tablet PC from MSR, just to see how it is to use one. I decided to shift my residence and stay with the IITK guys for the rest of the internship. As a result my weekend was spent in shifting things. We had planned to go to the Olympic Park on Saturday but again, procrastination ensured we stayed at home till it was too late to go 🙂

On Sunday, I went to church in the morning and shifted all my luggage to the new place in the evening. I also bought a bicycle. It is pretty good compared to my bicycle in India (with all due respect to my old bike) – it has a really good suspension and gears. . . of course it cost about 5 times as much as my other bike.

Week 3 and Weekend 3 – Portland, Oregon

June 12, 2007

The weekdays went as usual. We had a 3 day weekend since Monday was a holiday, so I went with two of the US interns to Portland in Oregon, which is the state immediately to the south of Washington. It was a 5 hour drive. We left on Saturday morning and reached at about 1pm. We checked into a hotel, left our stuff there and set off.

First we visited Powell’s bookstore, which is the biggest bookstore in the world with over a million books for sale. One needs a week to properly see the store, but in the few hours I got I managed to see some sections…there were books on every possible topic and age…there was a room called the ‘Rare Books room’ which had books that were pretty old and costing quite a bit….I saw a book for $2500.

Anyhow, after this, we went for a movie (Hot Fuzz). The movie was supposed to be a comedy but I kind of didn’t like it that much though it was funny in a way. We finally got back at 11 and went to sleep.

The next day we woke up at 10 and went to the Portland Saturday market. It’s called Saturday market but is also open on Sundays. It is a big area full of stalls that sell all kind of things. There were also stalls that sold all kinds of food. We spent a few hours here and then left for kayaking. We reached the starting point, got on to our kayaks. I was in a kayak with one other person. There were others in single kayaks. Kayaking was different from rafting but still pretty nice. I kind of like kayaking a little better since you kind of have more control of the boat compared to rafting where you essentially are one of the six people controlling the raft. After kayaking, we went around the Pearl district and went back to the hotel.

On the third day, we again woke up late. We went to have brunch and then checked out and loaded the luggage into the car. Then we went to Washington Park. There were quite a few nice things to see there. One was the Rose Garden where I ended up spending a lot of time. There were also other gardens like the Japanese garden in the park. We stayed there till about 3 in the afternoon before leaving. We came back to Seattle and I slept off after having dinner.