Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Travel plans

          2010 was a  'hopping year'. An eventful year with UK, India and US travels. Packing bags (read relocation) was always with mixed feelings - The anticipation of new, the nostalgia, those last days in the town which has been you home for sometime, the present, past and future. The packing, unpacking, repacking, throwing-away-stuff, praying the travel goddess to make your baggage weigh less, and not to mention the resolution to live light and travel light.

2010 gave some biggest misses as well - Hawaii and Scotland! Grrrr.... Visa goddess was unhappy for the first and the Weather god for the second. While the 2010 stories and photos are still awaiting to be published, the 2011 has began with grand travel plans. Wishing everyone a joyous, travel filled 2011.

The Lone Cypress Tree, Pebble Beach, CA

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Halloween 2010

The Pumpkin patch visits starts early in October. We were done with Pumpkin patch visit and Pumpkin collection event. But, what for actual Halloween? After looking up for events around, it narrowed down to the Folsom fest.

'Historic Folsom Night of 1000 Pumpkins' is what the event said. 1000! that was a lot. The week flew by and it was finally the the day.

@ Sutter Street, Historic Folsom, CA

Folsom is a city in Sacramento county of CA. Well known for the Folsom Prison, Folsom Lake, hydro-electric dam and the Fall Fest. The venue - historic Sutter street was a street similar to the old Sac street.

The finest carving...

Trick or Treat...

A lantern depicting the effects of smoking and the one on the right, showing the aftermath.

With the Sun going down at 5ish the timing was right. By 6, the entire street looked so amazing with the lit-up Jack-o'lanterns. We were amazed at the myriad subjects that was chosen to carve the lantern. People continued to walk-in to drop off their Pumpkin lanterns. Halloween costumes, Spot lantern carvings just added to the festivities.

Along with the Jack-o'lanterns, the yummy pumpkin pastry and the pumpkin bread is what I'll remember.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A typical day in UK

Every-time I stepped out, even to check the mail box or to bid a quick 'bye', I had to greedily grab the woolens and furs, without which I would have turned into a Snow-woman. But, this was after years of yearning to live in a snowing country. I felt how much lucky we are in India, and how much the glorious sunlight was taken for granted. It gets dark by 4p.m and the lack of sunlight so much saps out the energy in you. For someone like me, who would want thermals even for a UK summer, the severe winter was unexplainable. Fellow Indians braving the cold to make the most of the magical destination was a common sight. The shops are closed at 5! Only a few shops open in the mall (i am thinking they are open extra hours, wanting to meet targets before year ending) all play the song, 'Let it Snow, Let it Snow' continuously, as if the Snow outside is not enough!

The funny phenomenon - The year 2009, southern England in general witnessed the highest snowfall in the last 2 decades. Being from the tropics I always were praying for a Snow experience - read Snow fall. But, it came in as an Ocean of Snow! People responded to initial occurrences without much preparation. But, later on even when there was a hint of bad weather, everyone in the city/community rushed to the food store to stock up on milk, bread, fruit, veggies etc. It is a funny phenomena! There were days, where we saw stores with empty racks. People had cleaned the shelves. But soon, we too started living life like that of a Chipmunk, which stores food for the worst weather. Looking up for Yahoo and BBC weather, rushing to Tesco/Sainbury's and pushing home cart loads of food was a regular ordeal, as driving in those conditions was next to impossible.

I am craving for those sunny days again....

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bread Store

Veggie Sandwich anyone??....No, I love their wall art better.

Location - Sacramento, CA

Go Greek....

On this cold December evening we wanted to go out for a walk. December came with temperature in single digit and the sun calling it a day at Five in the evening! The hubby's all time favorite place is the downtown. Down-towns being area full of activity and non monotonous like the freeways, are perfect for visits anytime of the day. Walking down random streets, in no time we were walking down in the restaurant street or the culinary corridor, I should say. As we walked down, this Greek place was the most enticing of all.

The choice of Veggie food was 15% of  menu card (most times its b/w 0 and 10!). Elated, we settled in for the, 'Mediterranean Pikilia' - A Vegetarian platter.

There it came - tyropita, spanakopita, vegetable souvlaki, dolmades, feta cheese and Greek Olives, Rice Pilaf, tzatziki sauce and pita bread. We loved the food, specially the Greek Olives and the delicious Dolmades aka stuffed vegetables in grape vine leaves. The rest being heavy on Cheese was a real feast too. It ended as, a meal to remember.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The first Snow

When I drew the curtains off my third-floor room window, it was a just another day for me. Morning ablutions, cooking and packing lunch, getting ready to work and rushing yo see my Client on time was all that was running in my head. Somewhere, at the back I was secretly wishing that my friend/apartment-mate was already up and gotten busy in the Kitchen. The opaque window screen needed some more effort and I pushed it aside to see if the UK Sun was already up, or if I was blessed with few more hours of sleep. And........... I see a sea of white.......... I rubbed my eyes and tried recalling where I had slept the previous night?! Southern England and a Sea of Snow in November?!? Unbelievable. While I still kept my eyes and mouth wide open, my friend shouted in excitement saying, "See outside, see outside the window".

And the next second, I laid hands on the camera (not warm clothes!) and we scrambled out of our rooms towards the Balcony. The view far and wide was just beautiful.The Door required some initial effort, due to the accumulation of the Snow. And there it was the first snow, fresh and clean, soft and fluffy and in loads! We were thrown back to our senses soon, as we were not only in thin layers but also bare limbs.

We spent the next hour playing in the Snow and clicking numerous photos. When a sleet and shower, blessed us with a work-from-home-day, a heavy-snow obviously kept us at home. We completed equipped our self and got down to the ground floor. The Snow was boundless. It was like they had transported extra loads to our Apartment ground for us to play. Polar Bear, Penguin, Snow Man, Snow Castles and what-nots where created in enthusiasm. And, when we actually realized that we hadn't even brushed our teeth it was noon!

The rest of the work-from-home-day was blessed with Onion Pakoras, Carrot Halwa, BBB (it also has a wiki page!) and washed with loads of hot coffee and chitter-chatter. And now I write this enjoying the California rainy day and recalling the previous November. The only think common is, its a work-from-home-day this day too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Pumpkin colors

The Pumpking Patch Visit

When I bought my SLR, it came with a colorful brochure of the colorful Halloween Pumpkins, and now I got to capture them in real. 

The month of October was Halloween, and most of our weekend travel was centered around it; as we didn't wanted to miss any of the happening in the offing. We had two choice, either to visit Dell-Osso or Cool-Patch. We quickly decided, 'Not again..... lets keep away from the freeway which we take to work everyday, and so lets head to Dell-Osso'

ATM sounded  a bit unusual....  

Colorfully stacked...

Rows and rows of huge colorful Pumpkins never ceased to end...

And we bought some home too...

There were plenty of activities, including a Train that took people around the perimeter of the Pumpkin Patch!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wild Flowers - 1

I think this post would lead to a series of the kind. As the list of hikes never would cease and so the fascination for wild flowers.

I had this habit of collecting wild flowers, while I went trekking and hiking in India. I have been doing that from the age of eight! All the dried flowers would then go into the scrap book, with pages labeled with place-&-year. Being myself, I spend the week dreaming wild flowers and planning the scrap book........Only to learn later that, forget littering....even collecting flowers or feathers is prohibited in this country and would incur a hefty fine! So, the only solution was to click them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gold Rush Day

These photos are from the annual Gold Rush Days festival, held on Labor Day Weekend. The discovery of Gold in California triggered the Gold Rush, eventually triggering a series of uneventful happenings. In-spite, I was amazed at the spirit in which the Gold Rush Day is celebrated with so much pomp.
Gold rush day is that time time of the year where, the streets of Sacramento are covered with loads and loads of dirt. The normal traffic blocked and the shops shutdown. The already existing 18th century look of the old Sacramento is further made up to relive in those Gold rush days. 

The people dress up to blend with the city and relive in those days.

Actors in cowboy garb enact scenes from the Gold rush days. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Old Sacramento

Its been more than 2 months since I moved to this part of the world and quite a few weekends spent traveling. But work kept me so occupied, and finally now I get some blogging time. 

You enter and it looks like you are back in those days of steam trains and the gold rush days.This is the original Sacramento, dating back to the mid-19th century. Built mostly during the Gold Rush (yes, the California Gold Rush) era. 

 The beautifully restored town is filled with restaurants, shops, museums and cobbled lanes.

Adding to this is the Steam Trains and Horse driven carriages.

The candy stores set up in old style......The free candies and toffees offered makes the experience even more yummy.

The waterfront is dotted with public docks, excursion cruises and waterfront restaurants.

The absolutely enjoying aspect is the Riverfront walk trails.

Next....Reliving the Gold Rush era - California Gold Rush Day Celebrations.

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