Archive | February, 2008

Windows 2007

25 Feb

No, this is not a review of Microsoft’s latest product release. Instead, it is about 2 particularly pleasant journeys I made in the latter half of last year. There were two things common to both of them – 1) they were easily accessible from New York and 2) both offered window seats with great views!

To the end of a very ‘long island’

The Long Island Rail Road or LIRR is one of 3 commuter railroads that serves the NY Metro area. It is also the busiest commuter railroad in the US. Montauk is the furthest point East the LIRR will take you and like it or not, it is also the very end of Long Island. But given that it is 3 hours and over 100 miles away from Penn Station (including a transfer at Jamaica), it seems unjust to apply the ‘commuter’ tag to Montauk. Fact is, almost no one commutes daily between there and Manhattan – the furthest commuting point East being Babylon.

But the stretch between Babylon and Montauk serves the trendiest part of Long Island – the Hamptons. Best known for its palatial summer homes, private beaches and golf courses, the Hamptons is a summer favourite not only for the rich and famous but also for vacationers seeking a quick get away from the city. And the LIRR gets you there in style.. For a 29 USD return, it also gives you the best bang for your buck!

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Notes from Chicago

22 Feb

I travel back in time a bit, to a different year, and just to warm things up, a different season. And just as well, cause Chicago is a perfectly avoidable city during the winter months! In summer, however, it’s a very different story.

Having already attended the ‘Indian’ version of Utsav’s wedding early in ’07, it was only befitting that I attended the ‘American’ one. Besides, Chicago had long been on my list and this was the perfect opportunity.

A cheap air fare ($139 return all incl) meant a very early start for me as my flight was out of Islip Macarthur Airport in Long Island – essentially the boondocks! That also meant that I would miss out on the much storied Chicago O’Hare! Instead, I had to make do with Chicago Midway and to this day I am unable to discern why it is named so.

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The NRI thing to do – Part 2

11 Feb

For those who have been patient enough to follow my blog since its inception, you would probably know what I am referring to. For the rest, wondering where part 1 is – although it was never ascribed that status, ‘Morning at the Masjid’ probably fits the description best! For those hapless souls who’ve never come across the much abused term NRI, it expands to Non Resident Indian. Someone whose fondness for all things ‘Indian’ increases proportionately with the distance away from home! And yes, I have worn that tag on occasion – like I did on the morning of the 6th day of this year.

It never hurts to plan big – a half day outing to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, a walk amongst the ruins of Tughlakabad, a visit to the monuments at Mehrauli, a walk along Lodhi Road and such. But with 2 weeks in India packed with travel and family commitments, that little bit of time out seemed an extravagance. So with each passing day, itineraries were quickly eliminated from the list and with 2 days left on my trip, the last one curtailed. The plan had been to start at Humayun‘s Tomb, walk down Lodhi Rd, through Lodhi Gardens finally ending at Safdarjung‘s Tomb with the possibility of breakfast thrown in at some point. Breakfast was acceded to but the walk and Lodhi Gardens got the axe!

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