Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When we went to Amreeka!

I always thought America was a different world. It took us 2 stop-overs and 25 hours to reach San Francisco from Bahrain. By the time we reached, we were dead tired. The drive from the airport to the city was quite boring – we both thought to ourselves – is this it? 

Never trust your first impressions – that’s what the country taught us. It grew on us and each day was better than the earlier day. 18 days and I never once felt too tired to explore more, except on the last day – more on that later.

We explored a bit of California, the obvious Las Vegas, the awesomeness called Niagara Falls and the city of New York. We saw less, we experienced more. What I mean to say is, there is nothing to tick mark in the cities we went to. But everywhere you go, you are bound to have fun. That’s what made the trip awesome.

I am sure tid bits from the trip will feature in my posts here on. For now, I will let pictures and captions do the talking. There are 30 pictures here, I would like to call it an express tour of the destinations we went to!

Americans are really high on their bridges - San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge in the background :)
We loved the parks - This is a minuscule section of the Golden Gate park. It was fabulous.
The Japanese Tea Gardens in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. It smelled of heaven.
Shops in Haight Ashbury, the hippie district of San Francisco.
SFO is good mix of beauty and raunchy!
Daily dose. Literally, daily. I told you, we had a lot of fun ;)
The famous Alcatraz Prison, SFO
The prison from inside. We barely knew anyone who was sentenced here.
Imagine going to Tihar, now that would be something!
The Zig Zag road in SFO. Every hill station in India can have one of these.
But sadly, no one cares :/
The pristine beaches of San Diego. First dip in the Pacific Ocean :)

I love people watching. I can observe for hours and not get bored. It's a talent :D
The Dolphin Show at San Diego Sea World. 

This Seal Show was hilarious. Americans are the best entertainers. Really.

This was a Dolphin Show at night. The whole stadium was dancing to their tunes. Loads of fun.

And then we went to the sin city called Las Vegas.
It is divided into two areas - The Strip and Downtown. The Downtown is more fun.

Freemont Street Experience, Downtown Vegas. It was barely a 500 metre stretch with 3 Live bands performing simultaneously, walk in Casinos, a Sound and Light show every hour, amused people, amusing 'artists', shops, etc etc etc.
The same stretch. There were girls wearing lessor clothes... 
The stretch had a Heart Attack street named after this restaurant.
It was a burger joint displaying the ill-affects of having a burger.
The waitresses were dressed as nurses. Yet the place was full of people!
The much hyped Las Vegas Boulevard. Lights, cars, people, Hotels, Casinos, restaurants.
One walk down the strip is enough.  
Vegas has Venice, Paris, New York - all in one city.
It's a different world. We found it average! The shows, however, are unbeatable.
And then we flew to Buffalo to witness the Niagara falls.
No picture or words can express the experience. 
This boat takes you under the Horseshoe Falls where you feel the mist. It is the bestttt thing in the world.
You have to feel it to know it.
These are the smaller Bridal Veil Falls. It's amazing to walk under it.
You can see a rainbow wherever you turn. You can't ask for more. Ever.
Oh, Times Square, New York.
Again, New York is an experience.
Even though you see people everywhere, you end up relishing each moment you spend here.

The Boy and the Wall Street Bull!

It wasn't easy to reach this building. Only a true fan will understand my enthusiasm! 
The Empire State Building. I missed the view from the top...

That's the picture of NYC from the plane.
The Central Park is in the centre. Look how organised it is. Loved it.

This lady is not worth the 4 hour queue. It gave me such pain in my feet.
Thank God it was only the second last day. Otherwise it would have spoilt my trip..  
Central Park, NYC. This is one of the many benches the Boy sat on with me lying on his lap :)

There are many more pictures. There are many more stories. They will come in their own sweet time. After this vacation, all I want to say is... divide your earnings in three parts. One, for necessities. Two, save as much as you can for old age. Then use the rest to travel beyond your city. There is no better gift you can give yourself.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Your Phone is Spying on You

The world is becoming a scary place to live in. My Android phone peeps into my Gmail. It digs out my flight details, my check-in dates at a hotel, the weather in the city I am in, the weather in the city I am going to and puts all the information on my screen. 

Really. I was amazed to read that my flight was delayed just by looking at my phone. I did not have to click on any link. It automatically scanned my Gmail, checked for the status of my flight and let me know. It also wished me a safe journey.

This GPS location thingie is becoming a nightmare. What if I don’t want anyone to know? My friend went to her mom’s house for two days. She deactivated her Facebook account because she didn’t want her in-laws to know (who, by the way, live in the same city as her parents.) She didn’t want anyone to 'check her in' anywhere at all! 

The day we landed in San Francisco, the Boy bought a new mobile number. He started getting random calls from people asking him where he was! Obviously, it was a mistake. My brain started working in myriad ways. I told him that he checked-in on Facebook at the hotel earlier in the morning. Maybe someone is tracking us and wants to rob us. Overdose of Discovery ID and National Geographic I tell you.

This is not all. The way these devices store and use information can be embarrassing. Now I saw Ye Jawani Hai Deewani in an Islamic country. They did not show ‘the kiss’. How could I miss a Ranbir kiss. So I looked for it on Youtube. A few days later, the Boy was looking for something on Youtube and was amazed to see the suggested videos for me to watch (I was logged on to Youtube while looking for the video). I HAD to disclose the reason lest he thought I watch Mallu porn.

You have to see the suggestions for his id – NewYorkers react to Google Glass, India vs Pakistan 1996, Android 4.3 on Nexus 4. Ah, I am the lech of the house.

Ofcourse it has an upside.  I can never get lost. I can always find water. And I can always turn off my GPS, my internet and everything that makes a phone smart. But what if I forget?

Earlier, if I didn’t want my parents to spy on me, I would just delete Internet Explorer history. Now I have no clue what all to delete! I mean, if I don’t want to be spied on, I will have to Google the whole process. 

Thank God my teenage days are behind me. I pity the kids of today – they have no privacy whatsoever!

This is just timezone that the phone spied on.
I should have taken several other screen shots too!