Sunday, July 30, 2006

Grand Canyon: The Sunset

Sunset Time!

Anjali* recently had put up a few (aweosme) pictures of
sunset at the 12 apostles. Sunset at the grand canyon I think is America's reply to sunset at the 12 apostles. Of course, you need Pals to make it the perfect sunset ever.

Like I had mentioned earlier, Pals is a Rain-God. Where he goes, rain clouds follow. All day, we had clear sunshine with cloud cover when it got too hot. Perfect. But as we lined up for sunset at Hopi point, dark clouds appeared at the horizon. This would mean the sun getting blocked as it tips over the horizon and we lose the perfect sunset.

The first snap, with the clouds and rain at a distance.

At this point I was beginning to get stressed out about missing a Grand Canyon sunset and about to toss Pals into the Canyon. But it seems the clouds sensed Pals presence and started moving towards us. This created a very unique phenomenon. There were clouds over us, but they had slowly moved off from the horizon. Thus the sun started to reappear again. You can see the rain fall on the left, and sun rays making their way out on the right.

And then, the unique phenomenon I was talking about. The sun rays actually reflected off the inside of the clouds and fell into the canyon, lighting it up like there were a zillion slabs of gold in the canyon. Pure heavenly sight. Cant be described, since no words would do it justice. Can just be felt. It was raining all over us, but the canyon was lighted up.

I didnt need to buy postcards. Who would have ever thought the rain would make the sunset so beautiful!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Grand... Is Not The Word

7th to 10th July, 2006, the NRI-Nanguys met half-way across the country. In my journey as a kiddo to adulthood, I have made many friends. Some have really stuck with me through thick and thin. Nanguys come into that category.

So here I was, with the NRI branch. Adit, Pals and me. And since you all know, Pals is known as the Rain-God. Where he goes, it rains.

This time was no different. We landed in Las Vegas by 10 PM, hopped into a rather uncomfortable coupe and drove out of Sin-City. After an all night drive, we reached the outskirts of the Canyon by 7 AM. A very spectacular drive from Vegas to Tusayan. Not a soul to be found on the freeway. I mean, not so much as a rest-area for miles. But as we got closer to Tusayan and the sun started to peek out, the sight was breathtaking. Also, a huge Elk greeted us outside our hotel and I knew I was in for a ball of a time.

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My first view of the Canyon from Mather Point. This thing is really Grand. You have to be there to see it (or click the photo to enlarge) and feel the 'grandness'

Awesome snap of Bakshi... it almost looks unreal. Like a movie set. I glad he didnt keep walking. Heh!

The Colorado river flowing through the Canyon and me, awaiting the sunrise.

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Not to make this a extrahumungouslylong post, I have decided to cut it into three parts. So more coming up soon....

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Go On... Stop!

Yup. Stop.

I am tired of hearing this. The City never stops. The City goes on. The Spirit of The City. Salaam Mumbai.

We dont Stop. And this is what higher administration feeds off.

Bomb Blasts. The next day, the city is back to normal.

Water Flooding. Next day the city is back to normal.

Come what may, the city is always back to normal. And hence, whatever may happen, it just passes by as normal.

Develope a better infrastructure from the taxes we pay, or eat up the money. The city will always function as normal.

Develope better Emergency Medical Services and Crime Response Teams from the taxes we pay, or eat up the money. The city will always function as normal.

Its become normal to function as normal.

Hence, Stop. For a city which lost 200 lives in a matter of few minutes, how can you go back to normal? Look at the families of those 200 dead. You think they are back to normal?

Nothings going to change if things go back to normal.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Long post with one too many snaps ahead. Author takes no resposibility of readers who fall off to sleep on the keyboard.

Ah! What a killer the first weekend of July was. Probably one of the best weekends I might have spent ever since I moved to US of A. It was in my to-do list for many a year. Now I can finally check it off and move it into my to-do-once-a-year list. The following is my formulalog and tips for others who might want to travel to the "racing capital of the world" in the future, split mostly into pictures and videos.

For those who are still guessing what this is, its my experience of the USGP (or more widely known as Formula 1 Racing at Indianapolis to the rest of the world).

The shops, lined up outside the speedway. Very colorful. And some vintage cars (aint they grand? - I'd love driving around in one of those!)
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And my dream machine. The McLaren MP4-21. The brief contact I had with it.... Heavenly!

Flavio BriatoreWiki. He did act a little pricey and refused to sign any autographs. Well, after taking Renault from 'zero to hero', I guess you can act pricey. And a little spice with the F-1 babes! Followed by cars in the Hall of Fame museum and me by The Pagoda.

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The electric atmosphere in the stadium; me with the Red Bull Racing; another shot of me overlooking the circuit, dressed in my McLaren-Kimi gear and a Ferrari on the road (not all the action was restricted to the tracks)
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And from the photos, you might have figured I am a big McLaren & Kimi fan. And I take special pleasure in boo-ing Ferrari fans... but I was so outnumbered that my only hope was McLaren pulling past the Ferrari's. But that was not to be. As the following pictures might depict.

The cars moving into turn 1.

Kimi and Montoya (both drivers for McLaren) decided to take the outer line. Before the race started I had joked how Massa was capable of taking off Schumacher on Turn 1 and having both the Ferrari's retire.

And as fate would have it, there was a huge pile up at Turn 1. Which sent Nick Heidfield into a tumble.

And Montoya did what Massa should have. Yup, took out his team-mate. Off goes Kimi and Montoya, ending up facing each other. 10 seconds into the race and the team/driver I support were out of contention.

I wont speak much about the race. I spent the most of it with Finnish ladies consoling them on Kimi's early retirement. But Ferrari took a 1-2. And all the folks in Red went berserk.

The McLaren MP4-21 which did not get to rise to its potential on 2nd July.... up close, as close as it gets, on Video!

McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 on Vimeo

On the whole, it was an awesome experience. Getting seats at the first turn, to watch Kimi and Montoya with others crash in front of my eyes, to get a decent view of the pits as the cars came out, I'm ready for 2007 already.

Ok, and here are tips for hard-core fans. Others, dont blame me if you go "Huh? Why do I care?"

1. If you have time at hand, I would personally suggest you fly/drive into Indy a week before the USGP. Simply coz one week before the GP, you can actually drive your car around the circuit and have some photographs clicked with the F-1 babes.

2. You really cant do much in Indianapolis for a week, but Chicago is not too far, and spending a few days there would be a good way to kill time and explore another city. But getting back to Indianapolis by Thursday is a must if you want to catch the practice, pit lane walk-about and Qualifying on Saturday.

3. The track is dead close to the airport. About a 10-15 minute drive. Advisable to rent a car. Cheap stay is available in Plainfield, which is about 10-15 miles from the airport and track. About a 20 minute drive. Its possible to land on raceday, take a shuttle from the airport to the track and back if you dont wanna spend time around the city or rent a car.

4. If you want to rub shoulders with the F1 stars, put up in downtown. The entire Bridestone team seemed to have put up at the Hilton while celebs such as Flavio Briatore were at Conrads. Of course this comes with a price tag of $200 a nite.

5. After the Saturday qualifyings, head to downtown to monument circle
Wiki. Parking is free on weekends. This place is all decked up with vintage cars and displays from current models. If you are lucky, there might be a few F1's on display. I happened to come across the Red Bull Racing machine. Also, parked outside Conrads was the McLaren MP4-21. There are plenty of places to eat around here so that is not a problem. If you want to get a view of all the action happening outside conrads, you could either hang out at Rock Bottom or Champps which happens to be opposite to Conrads.

6. I would advise you to be at the racetrack early on raceday. Between 9-10 sounds like a decent time (tho I was there by 8:30). The advantage of that being you can walk around the entire brickyard, visit the Hall of Fame Museum and understand the entire layout (I am assuming you are a F1 fan when I say all this). Also, the first 'N' cars get free parking inside the speedway, after which you need a parking permit. There are many other lots outside the speedway. Some are free and some charge you $20 (loot you would be the right word). If you plan to rent a RV, there are camping places for you.

7. You will find roadside shops outside the speedway. I would suggest to take a walk around and absorb the liveliness. Good place to pick up some souvenirs. A basic Ferrari T-Shirt will cost you $30/- and can stretch to $145/- I didnt see much of McLaren gear. Ferrari, Renault, BMW and Scott Speed was all around.

8. If you have a 3 day pass, you can get in and out of the speedway multiple times. If you have a raceday pass, once you are in, you are in for good. The Hall Of Fame museum costs $3/- for entry. Dont expect any F1 cars there. Personally I could pass this one. But since you are there, might as well see it. Doesnt take more than 20 minutes to take a walk around. The pass is valid all day, and altho they dont mention this, it can be transferred.

9. You will find plenty of beer, hot dogs and lemonade stands all over the speedway. Keep yourself well hydrated. The prices are not a killer. Hot dogs for $3, a bottle of coke for $3. On the expensive side, but not a killer.

10. Before the USGP starts, they have a few other races happening. It might interest you, and if it does be at your stand by 10 AM or so. Free face painting is available. But make sure you are at your seat by 1130. Thats when the drivers parade starts, followed by the warm-up at 12:15 (dont miss the warm up, its a pleasant surprise to suddenly see the cars zipping out of the pits).

11. Seating. I personally prefer the first corner seats, which is Stands H and J. Try to get seats which are section 20 or beyond on Stand H. Or seats which are Section 10 or less on J. This puts you right on the first corner where all the action happens. I was in section 1 of Stand H, which gave me a decent view of turn 1 and also of the pit lane exit. The problem with these stands is they have no overhead cover, while the paddock, Stand C etc have ample of overhead cover which blocks the sun. From the Paddocks, you get a view of the start and pits, but you miss out on corner 1. Some of us might feel comfortale having ear-plugs. Dont get a seat too close to the track (since its at the bottom). Being at a reasonable height gives you a good view. I would suggest between rows L and V to be a good spot.

12. Traffic can be a little backed up after the GP. Hence if you plan to fly out the same day, give yourself at least 4 hours between the end of the GP to your flight time.

And a snap of me as I said (a little sad) bye-bye to the Speedway!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Demi Goes Chinese

Few months off blogging and some people change. In an extreme way!

Our good old
Demi Godezz goes Chinese

Good lesson. Delete your posts if you must. But keep the URL active. I think once a blog is deleted, blogger should not allow the URL to be taken up for 3-6 months. I could have taken up that URL, posed as Demi and posted something nastea and vindictive. Why didnt I? Damn!

Its been a while since I updated. Thats obviously coz I have been busy doing something I love.

Here is a hint

All about that, coming up in the next 48 hours.