April 08, 2007

Balle Balle Hyd to LA

The previous post titled "Long interval" was to put an end to the long interval for which I had written something on this blog, but that turned out to be an excuse to take another one!

But this time I have enough justifications though. After big confusion and tension, I decided to travel out of India as part of my job and here I am, writing this very line from Los Angeles - the entertainment capital of the world. Obviously this has been one of my most awaited moments in my life and something which I was looking forward to from the day I started my career three and half years ago. And yes, life is quite different on this other side of the globe.

It all started when the Chennai US consulate decided that I am fit to be in US of A during my second appearance for the visa interview. I had already planned my visit to Kerala after the interview and the trip was good with me being the next-lucky-guy to go to US next week, the 9th of March 2007.

The international travel in Singapore airlines was another first, when I realised that treading half the way around globe is quite different than the usual one hour domestic ones. The latter is short and simple while traveling a full day in the sitting posture on that "less comfortable economy class" is difficult. And since you have started it, there is nothing doing until you land at your destination as an alien!! Even after having two stoppages at Singapore and Tokyo, I found the travel tiring.

Out here in LA, things are amazing for this newcomer. The first trip from airport to apartment in yellow cab on freeways, the orderly fashion in which the streets are planned, the roads are built and operated, the red and orange Metro buses which look better than the best "videocoach" in India, the line discipline on the roads, the fire engines and cop cars which rule the roads, the occasional bikers with best-of-its calls bikes were things to get used to. This place has all the characteristics of a developed country. The luxury cars you would dream of in India with mostly single occupant, beautiful houses with no sign of occupation which gives the feel of a postcard picture or a painting, skyscrapers in downtown are few examples. The city has a good bus service which charges you one dollar and a quarter for any trip you make. We use the monthly pass for the trip to office which needs two buses. Then there is the 9-1-1 service of which you get amused at first and then reminded of always by the sight of fire engines in the road and the sound of fire alarms at night. I have my colleague who was served two times in two weeks since he reached, once by accident and once in real emergency! And lastly yeah, I can see the famous Hollywood sign if I get out of my apartment!

But everything is not as cozy as they show you in Hollywood movies. There are many beggars around in streets, whom they call here home-less. They tend to wear all they own on their body, so look fat and stinks at one mile distance! People say they are dangerous too, especially at night and when you are alone. I am not sure why such rich a nation who have aid fund allocated for the whole world cannot manage to give shelter to all of its people!

Of all the things that I will learn with my USA experience, I think my cooking skills will be the most polished. Though there are some Indian restaurants around and places like Artesia - a mini India with restaurants and theaters which show Bollywood movies, they are not easily accessible and are costly. So we are depending on the desi stores which sell Indian groceries and food where you will get all you want to experiment in cooking. And these are places where they sell Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi food together and people form all these countries do not think twice while buying!

The first two weekends were busy ones with a travel to Cachuma lake for camping and Seaworld Sandiego. Both trips were really amazing with lots of new experiences. And a trip to Hollywood street completed the first month roaming.