Saturday, September 26, 2009

It was a beautiful day in The Netherlands - a perfect day for a picnic.

Several Amsterdam families thought the same thing. While taxiing down
the maze of runways, I noticed many families having a picnic on the
grass along the fence. They were watching all the planes take off and
land. Whenever a plane came close, the children would run up to the
fence and wave. It was a happy sight. Another thing that made me happy
was the fact that I had a window seat. With this seat, I was afforded
excellent views of the city of Amsterdam. Each seat was equipped with
an LCD screen so I was able to track the plane's position as it
crossed into Germany. There were many small towns surrounded by short
stretches of green forests. My eyes were constantly surveying the
varied terrain as we passed over the Czech Republic, Slovenia and
Hungary. Well into Romania, I noticed that the farms were not
large squared off parcels of land, but thin strips. These colorful
strips of land were spread as far as I could see. It was an amazing
sight. Romania's farmland soon gave way to its coastal shores along
the Black Sea. Soon, I was able to see the Crimean Peninsula. In
recent years, the beaches of the Crimean Coast have become a famous
vacation spot for wealthy Russian and Ukrainian families. Many large
and opulent parties take place at their seaside villas. The flat
expanse of the Black Sea eventually gave way to the rugged mountains
of Georgia. From this point till we began our decent into New Delhi,
many signs of civilization were hidden. The Caspian Sea, with Russia
to the North and Iran to the south, seemed much larger than it appears
on the map. In the late afternoon, as we crossed into Turkmenistan,
the orange early evening light over the Great Black Sand Desert revealed
something amazingly beautiful yet at the same time completely barren .
As the sun set over the Afghan mountains below, I was astounded by how
all the mountain peaks looked eerily similar. Across North Pakistan
and into India, the lights below were far and few between. As we
neared our destination, The lights of the cities grew larger and
brighter. I noticed one city square below where several bright strobe
lights lit up the night sky. As we began our decent, an enormous
nuclear power plant with numerous cooling towers came into view. As we
neared the airport, the orange night glow of the City of New Delhi
enveloped the plane. I began to see individual cars and rickshaws in
the streets. Even late at night, the traffic looked very busy. Jay
pointed out a hotel he stayed in on a previous visit. The wheels
touched down on the runway, the cabin broke out in applause and I was
ready for an adventure!

Continued in part 3

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sydney Dust Strom

Sydney Dust Strom, originally uploaded by tomhide.

Two figures slogged through a dark muddy parking lot. For one person,
it was the start of just another work day. For the other, it was the
start of an adventure that would take him to the opposite side of
earth. My dad, who takes the same bus every workday greeted the driver
while I plunked 12 quarters into the coin slot. By the time we had
passed all the downtown
stops, I was the only rider. The driver took this opportunity to tell
me most of what he knew about BSU football.
From New Delhi
When the bus stopped at the
airport, I picked up my backpack and found the rest of my group.

While waiting to board the plane that would take us to Minneapolis, Uncle
Jay tried to give away his first class seat to fellow travelers. One
man accepted, but had to decline after his wife found out. She wanted
to sit next to her husband. I was right behind Jay as he walked onto
the plane. He looked at an empty first class seat and said to me,
"This one is yours."

The pilot came on after we landed in Minneapolis, to inform us that
there was not
enough staff at the arrival gate. He went on to say that there would
probably be a 10 minute wait. I wasn't very worried - the plane to
Amsterdam would not leave for another 40 minutes. 30 minutes later, we
were still waiting for someone to swing out the welcome hallway. I was
still not very worried, but I imagined most of my fellow India bound
travelers were. A few minutes later, the door was opened, and the race
for the plane that would take us to Amsterdam began.

After literally running to the other side of the airport, I rounded
the last corner and saw attendants waving, urging me to hurry.
Immediately after my cousin, Jenna stepped on the plane, the door was
sealed and the plane began to move out to the main runway. The
passengers on this plane struck me with their fine clothes and
sophisticated composure. I suspected many were returning home to
Europe after attending to important business in a Midwest city. My
seat was in the middle of the plane, making it difficult to view
outside a window, so I missed seeing Hudson Bay and the sunset over
the North Sea. When we were over the UK, I was able to lean over and
peek out the far window to see a
few lights south of the city of Hull. After clearing the east coast of
the country, the sun slowly began to rise over the European continent.
I was able to clearly make out the coast of The Netherlands. As we
neared the city of Amsterdam, I observed many illuminated warehouses.
At first I wasn't sure why the entire roof of each buildings was
glowing orange. Then I realized that the roof must be clear and the
glow I was seeing was from the lights inside. Seeing dozens of
enormous glowing warehouses was very impressive.

Stepping off the plane and into Amsterdam gave me a warm feeling.
The sight of travelers from every corner of the world dressed, in some cases,
in traditional dress turned even me into a " people watcher". We had
six hours to explore this little corner of Europe before we left for New
Delhi. Even at 6:30 in the morning the airport was bustling. Shoppers
taking advantage of no duty shopping were eagerly buying up premium
distilled beverages and perfumes.
From New Delhi
I noticed several luxury goods
stores such as the Rolex showroom and a Versace boutique. Of course
the ubiquitous tulip was available in several forms. There were tulip
bulbs, tulip themed merchandise and bunches of freshly cut tulips.
From New Delhi
noticed a Lego display built to resemble the airport.
From New Delhi
special highlight from my time in Amsterdam was being able to visit
the Rijksmuseum. This is a museum located inside the airport that
periodically features prominent artists that called Amsterdam their
home. My visit coincided with the exhibition of Melchior
d’Hondecoeter. I was especially impressed with his painting entitled "A
Pelican and Other Birds at a Water Basin." Although it has a fairly dry
title, the the detail and color of the painting is extraordinary!

At a little before noon, Western European Time, we boarded the
plane bound for India!

Continued in Part 2

Sunday, September 13, 2009


DSC_0110-, originally uploaded by Aik'.

Friday, September 11, 2009


busted!, originally uploaded by m g a.

Welcome to the Berlin Underground.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The City Guide New Delhi. coming soon