Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unforgettable times with parents

Living in another country far away for from homeland is not very easy. Once, it was a dream to me to come to the United States. Four years before, I got the opportunity. I came here after my marriage. I was very excited to see the country. However, when I have started living here, I realized the pain of living in another country, far away from my homeland, and separated from dear ones. Anyway, when my parents showed interest to come to the USA, I readily agreed. However, at that time we couldn’t apply for visitors’ visa for my parents due to some reasons. After everything became alright, we decided to bring my parents here. I was very much tensed, because they are aged people. Though I agreed with them, I was in dilemma whether I took the right decision. When we were going to the airport to receive them I so tensed that I started shouting to my little son for no reason. My husband understood the problem and he asked me the cause of my tension. At that time my brain was not working at all, I was only thinking that if I saw them in bad health, what I could do then. My tension mounted up when they didn’t come outside after an hour. My husband and I requested wheel-chair assistance for both of them, because of their age, moreover my father has problem in his right leg. We knew that any person with wheel-chair assistance was always cleared first by customs at the airport. It was already more than one hour their flight arrived, but didn’t come. At the moment my husband went to the enquiry booth of the concerned airlines, I saw them coming. To my huge relief I saw them in good health. After two long years we met each other. It was an amazing feeling to all of us. Still I was concerned about their health for the forthcoming days. I was more concerned about my mother’s health than my father. However, the fact was that, my mother was almost normal, but my father suffered badly from jet-lag. When he reached home he felt dizzy and fell from the stairs near our home. Fortunately, he didn’t suffer from any kind of injury.
As the days passed by, they accustomed themselves with the new environment here. My mother was happy to get chance to spend time with her grandson. They played a lot together. She last saw her grandson when he was just a 6 months old. It was really amazing that my shy and introvert son became close with my mother within no-time. It’s very true that children always love to spend time with their grandparents, because only the grand-parents can act as of the same age of their grandchildren. Both of them had a very good time together. My father used to pull his leg, and my son used to get angry on my father. The little one used to show his anger on his grandpa by biting him. Two of them always had a good fight. That was also enjoyable to me. My father felt a little bore, because he couldn’t do his usual jobs at home, like doing grocery or going to the bank. However, my mother didn’t feel bore, rather she didn’t get time to relax. She was there to meet my son’s and my demands. I wanted to chat with her, but my son wanted to her to be his play-mate. I used get angry on my son, and he used scream at me.
Before my parents came here, my little son used to go to a day-care for three days a week, so I could freely do any jobs at that time.  My husband and I decided not to send him to the day-care anymore, when my parents came here. We wanted him to spend time with his grandparents. However, our fear was that, he couldn’t stay with them, without any of his own parents.  At that time I was attending one course, for that I used to go on Monday and Wednesday. My husband asked me to keep him with my parents one day to watch his reaction without us. So, one Sunday evening my husband and I left him with my parents, and went to market. What happened next was beyond to our imagination. My son didn’t cry for a moment, he simply forgot us and gladly stayed with my parents. From that day I understood that I could go out freely. So, I had no problem in attending my classes.
After arriving here they didn’t face any health problem, especially, my mother who has acute digestion problem. She is always afraid of eating anything apart from the routine food. I thought that, when they had no health problem, why wouldn’t treat them with some different dishes which they didn’t even dare to taste before? First, I baked pizza one night. I was very satisfied when both of them enjoyed it a lot. On the next they day didn’t have any health issue. That raised my confidence level. I had been started cooking different kind of dished from different country till the last day they were with us.
They stayed with us for one and a half month, which seemed very short time to us. Still I cannot understand how quickly that time passed by. Before they came I thought that, I could get enough time to spend with them. As the time of their departure was coming near I felt that, one and half months were very short. Within no time the last day came. It was very painful to say good-bye. Just after they departed all the inauspicious thoughts came into my mind. If it was possible I could have run to them. I wish I could become a little girl again. If I could become a little girl again, I could have spent the time with them what I’m missing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cardboard photo frame

Photos always play an important role to decorate home. At least I love to do that. However, it is very expensive to buy exclusive photo frames. Also custom framing is out of questions. So, I decided to create photo frames out of cardboard boxes, of which I’ve a copious supply at my home, thanks to all carton boxe.  Moreover, I can make frames in any shapes. From this thought I started working on cardboard frames. I already created six frames and still working on the same. I use different kinds of card boards.
Before creating the frames I like to share some information about card boards
Mainly three different kinds of cardboard we can see in our daily life.
Graphic Cardboard: This type of cardboard is used for hardback book covers, three-ring binders and puzzles. This cardboard is made to be firm and remain flat. This card board is very hard to cut by normal scissors, so I don’t use this.
Carton Board: Is also called boxboard, this board is thin and has a smooth coating on one side. This smooth side can be used for gluing printed paper or foil to the cardboard or it can be printed. Carton board is used for boxes made to pack items like cosmetics, cereals, video games etc. this type of board is easy to cut, and I use it extensively in my work.
Corrugated Cardboard: Corrugated cardboard has corrugators to create the s-curves between two pieces of carton board. This kind of board I also use, but it’s really painful to cut this board with scissors.
First you choose the card board. According to me carton boxes are the best for this purpose.
Step one: Choose the card board and give it desired shape. If you are using carton board then you need three same shaped pieces. If you are using corrugated card board, you need two same shaped pieces.

Step two:
a)      Carton board:
If you are using carton board then in the middle of the two cut out pieces draw the desired size of your photo with pen or pencil. Then cut the marked area to make the pieces as shown below. Keep one piece aside. These two pieces are used for making the front-side of the frame.

If you have corrugated card board then cut some small pieces from that. Don’t worry if you don’t have. Take some newspapers cut into small pieces and then fold them into thick small strips. Then glue them on the sides of one piece. Then put glue on the strips and stick another piece which was kept aside. Now cut small newspaper strips, glued them and cover the whole front side of the frame.
b)      Corrugated board:
If you are using this kind of board then in the middle of the board draw the desire size of the photo and cut the portion out.
Step three:
If you have clear plastic sheet (I usually cut out these kinds of sheets from cartons of son’s toys) then cut it into desire size and glued it on the back of the front side. Otherwise you can keep without attaching anything.
Again take some small pieces of corrugated board or thick newspapers strip as above and glued them one the back of the front of the frame, leaving one side.

Step four:
Decorate it as per your desire.
Step five:
Take a piece of carton board same size of the front side or slightly smaller if you need. Sometimes it is needed to make the back-side little smaller because of the shape of the front-side. Cover the piece with nice paper and glued it to the back of the front-side. The photo frame is ready to hang on the wall.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Gorgeous Lake Tahoe

It was our long pending vacation. In 2010, once we planned to go there, but for some reason we abandoned that plan. After coming back from NYC, my husband suddenly suggested going to visit Late Tahoe, which was the largest alpine lake in North America. I readily agreed with him. In the last weekend of June we set out for the lake. Our plan was not to spend much money on accommodation, so we booked an economic hotel. Though we wanted to start around three in the afternoon to avoid the traffic, but we failed to do that. Actually, I’ve too many jobs to finish in the morning, from packing to getting the rental car. For that reason I couldn’t make it according to our plan.  Anyway, we started around half past three, and as usual we caught on the traffic. It took a long time to reach Sacramento.  We wanted to cross El Dorado forest before sunset. We simply put the idea out of our mind when it was already half past five near Sacramento. On contrary to that we could cross maximum parts of the forest in daylight, thanks to long daytime. We got clear road as soon as we crossed Sacramento. Then our journey started through the dense jungle of El Dorado forest. My husband didn’t want to take risk of driving fast on the unknown narrow mountain road. With American river on the right side of the road, slow driving was rather better that fast, as we could see the real beauty of the forest. Sometimes, we could hear the sound of the gushing sound of the river water from uphill, and sometimes on the same level, and that was a thrilling experience. It reminded me my first experience of a roaring mountain river in Yosemite. We were still in the forest when the sun already started setting down. In the tender orange color of the sun, the dark jungle was looking very appealing. We were little tensed as it was becoming dark quickly. Anyway, we had been chatting, while my husband was driving. Suddenly my husband shouted, “Look, look”.
Mystical sunset from distant

I couldn’t understand and I was searching what to see. Then he told me to see on my right side. When I turned my head on my right I became completely speechless. The captivating view of the pale rose colored lake from the distance in the golden light of the setting dun was one of the memorable moments in our trip. We crossed so many small waterfalls on our way, which were our added pleasure. We wanted to stop at Bridal-Veil Waterfalls, but, it was already near dark, so we didn’t want to spend more time there. My husband suggested that we would stop there on our way back, but I knew that was not going to happen. Anyway when we reached our hotel, it was eight o’clock in the evening.
The next day our plan was to make a trip around Lake Tahoe. We had our breakfast in the hotel and set out at eight o’clock in the morning. On our way, first we saw the trailhead of Fallen Leaf Lake. My husband wanted to go there. We didn’t know how far would be the lake from main road. He started driving, according to the direction. The path was narrow enough for a single vehicle. Furthermore, the path was extremely uneven and full of pebbles. There was no option of taking ‘U’ turn, but to go straight. As we proceeded we found that the road was divided into two directions. Incidentally, my husband took the wrong direction. After moving a little we understood our fault. To crosscheck that, my husband asked me to check the sign board backward. I found that we were in wrong direction. It was a big challenge for my husband to drive the car in backward direction and to come onto the right path. My husband, who is the best driver according to me, did the job very smoothly. Then we started in the right way. The path started becoming narrower; moreover cars were moving in the both direction. Either of the cars had to stop by the side of the path to make road for the car from opposite direction. To add awe to that there were many cyclists on the road.

Fallen leaf Lake

However, our effort gave us result. Finally up a deep blue lake surrounded by mountain came to our full view. We walked to the undisturbed lake with sun bouncing off from its surface. We spent some times there. Though I liked to spend more time there, but our lack of time didn’t allow me to do the same. Again we started our journey through the rough road, and then we went to Tallac Historic site, thinking that the visitor’s center of Lake Tahoe. However, that was not the Lake Tahoe visitor center. So, we didn’t spend much time there, and went to Vista point, crossing Baldwin beach. I wanted to go to Eagle Lake which was on the way to inspirational Point Vista, but due to time constraints we dropped the idea. I became completely spellbound when I looked at the lake from the top. The deep blue water reminded me the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, where I visited two years back. The amazing fact was that the lake formed 6,000 feet above the sea level amid the mountain about 2 million years ago.  The mountains covered with deep green Ponderosa Pines, surrounding the lake created a heavenly ambiance. Standing on both sides the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is famous for its crystal-clear water – to depths between 50 and 70 feet. Everything was going fine, but suddenly our camera stopped working. We thought that the batteries exhausted. I had no spare batteries with me. Anyway we decided to use the camera of my husband’s iPhone for the time being. We again started our journey; this time we went to the Emerald bay. On our way we crossed the very scenic point, where the lake much below on the both side of the narrow road. The lake was looking awesome from the car. Before entering D.L. Bliss state park we bought battery for the camera. However to our dismay the camera didn’t work. I didn’t know how to react. I was not going to have a good pictorial memory of our trip. Then we decided to stop directly at Tahoe city. We crossed Rubicon bay, Meek bay, and entered Sugar Pine state park. Then we passed Homewood, Tahoe pines, Lake wood basin, and many other picturesque points to reach small yet beautiful, and happening Tahoe city. After having lunch we went to see an old dam, which was originally built in 1870 at the mouth of Tahoe’s outlet. In addition to the beauty we saw various kinds of fishes in the dam. Though many of the original species were no more, still we could see many different kinds of them.  My little son was very happy to see them, and didn’t willing to go anywhere. We had a tough time to convince him for more attractive points ahead. Then we started our journey and stopped at king’s beach after crossing Lake Forest glen, Tahoe vista. That time my son was sleeping, so my husband suggested that I visit King’s beach. I walked down a short but beautiful trail. I got an awesome view of the lake from there. Some people were sitting on the beautiful big rocks by the side of the lake. I also wanted to do the same, but due to the poor grip of my shoes it was difficult for me to keep balance on the slanting area.
Lake Tahoe

So, I came back and asked my husband to visit the same place. Then we passed Incline Village and Preston Field. We stopped our car and I got out, but my husband refused to accompany me, because our son was still sleeping. We didn’t find the way to Marlette Lake, so we couldn’t go there. I was checking in the map, it was somewhere before Spooner Lake. When we reached Spooner Lake in Douglas County, I realized that we missed Marlette Lake. I told my husband about that, and then he suggested that we go to Spooner Lake, but we dropped our plan, because still then our son was sleeping. Then we started towards Cave Rock. I had a great interest in Cave Rock, because that was an historical site. For the Washoe Indians, who lived peacefully on its shores for centuries and considered Lake Tahoe as a sacred place, the Cave Rock was a sacred burial site. However, unfortunately we couldn’t find the way. Anyway, we crossed a tunnel and reached Zephyr Cove camp ground. The next part of the lake was in Nevada, we crossed Pine beach, Nevada beach and three casinos of Nevada and we reached Ski Run Marina. We were refused to enter there, because the parking lot was full. So, we parked our car at a nearby parking space of a shopping complex and went there. As soon as my son saw the boats were sailing in the lake, he became crazy and desperately wanted to ride a boat. I was not interested at all, because I was pretty sure that he was going to be scared when the boat would go in the middle of the lake.  Moreover, there was turbulence in the water on that day. He was not ready to listen, so my husband went to the counter to enquire about the boat trip, but we found that was not feasible for us. Suddenly my husband disappeared from there, and when I called him he told that he would be back within five minutes. After a long time he came back with two tickets of a cruise in Tahoe queen, because our son wanted to ride boat. There was no need to buy ticket for that, as our son already forgot about boats and he was playing with sands. Anyway, at that time I was dying for a cup of coffee. So, we went to Starbucks. After four long months I had Starbucks coffee.
Next day we checked out from hotel and went to Ski run Marina for Tahoe Queen Emerald Bay cruise. We parked our car on Paradise Road. It was a two and half hours relaxing cruise. It was a great way to get a feel of Lake Tahoe. The views were great and the Captain gave frequent history and commentary throughout the cruise that was very interesting, though it was sometimes difficult to understand him, however. The crystal-clear water, sun, and backdrop of the mountains were breathtaking. As it was the month of June, so we couldn’t get the view of snow-capped mountains. Though the top deck was the best in nice weather, but we felt cold, so we were in the lower deck. The trip was from east to west and entered Emerald Bay, which was breathtaking. We saw Vikingsholm Castle, which was amazing, but lack of camera we couldn’t take nice pictures. We enjoyed the view of mountains, Emerald Bay, and the changing colors of the water, but our child got restless during the cruise. It was too long to hold the interest of a child. The lake was smooth and we had no trouble navigating our way around the boat.
Around three o’clock in the evening we started our journey back through El Dorado forest again. While coming back I felt that road was very dangerous. Moreover, the road was getting down very abruptly. Anyway our journey was very smooth and we reached home safely.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


On second day in New York we went to Statue of Liberty first. We planned to start from hotel at 8 in the morning. Our journey was smooth up to Lincoln Tunnel. I was shocked when I saw the traffic before the tunnel. The previous day when we came to New Jersey the tunnel was almost empty. After crossing that we entered NYC and caught in the morning traffic. In too many small streets and too many turns our GPS was taking more time to find the route than it took in normal time. My husband somehow managed to drive the car in the correct route by guessing. We parked our car near Statue of Liberty and walked to Castle Clinton to take the ferry to Liberty Island. Castle Clinton was circular Sandstone castle, located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York City, once used as America’s immigration station. Though we reached early, still we had to wait behind a long queue for one and a half hour for the ferry. Then after a stringent security check we got the chance to board the ferry. My son started sleeping in my arm in the cool breeze of Hudson Bay. It was thrilling experience to walk around the island. The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) was a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States. Since 1933 it had been maintained by the National Park Service. When we saw the Construction site from the island we felt chilled when we imagined that the horrific destruction was seen from the island on that fateful day. After spending more than one hour I suggested going back skipping Ellis Island visit. Because, returning the rental car before 3 o’clock at LaGuardia airport, which was far from Manhattan Island, could be a problem. However, my husband insisted me going there.

A dramatic sculpture near the Battery Park ferry dock
Anyway, we boarded the ferry to Ellis Island from Liberty Island. Ellis Island was actually the first immigration office of the United States. Currently, there was a museum depicting the official work in the early days. We were feeling hungry as well as thirsty. Though our son was hungry he refused to take any cake or chocolate. I tried some times to convince him without any result. By doing all these we spent most of our time there. Due to lack of time we saw a little there. Whatever I saw was very interesting. Still there was some belongings of the immigrants were kept there. After that when we came back Clinton Castle it was already 1:30 in the afternoon. We rushed to a Subway nearby to buy our lunch.

When we started for LaGuardia it was already quarter past two.  It was a thirty minutes journey from there to the airport without any traffic. However, we caught in the traffic snarl. I called the rental office and requested them to consider our problem. Anyway, returning the car was hassle free. Only thing was that we had to face little problem to find the route to the rental office. Then we enter the airport to have lunch. We decided to do that one by one. When I went to wash my hands, in the meantime our son did a mischief his hand was stuck between two chairs. After much effort my husband and another person could free his hand. Our next plan was to go to Herald Square by bus and metro rails. We went bus stop 60. After getting on the bus when wanted to pay, we were asked to use only quarter dollar. However, at that moment I didn’t have any quarter dollar in my hand. So, we got off and collected sufficient quarter dollars to pay.
Manhattan Sky line
Ellis Island

Then we went to Astoria Boulevard, and from there we boarded train Q. that was new experience of train ride in NYC. We got off at Herald Square and walked to Empire state Building. It was very funny to know that the building was built for the sake of making tallest building in the world. We could avoid the long queue at the ticket counter, because, we had tickets with us already. From the top of the building I could understand the pollution on NYC. Everything was looking very hazy from there, instead of the bright evening sun. While coming down we could avoid all the lines, and we were guided outside through the emergency door, thanks to our son’s stroller. We bought Starbucks coffee before we went to take the night bus tour.  Getting on the bus was a great relief to me, because, I could sit after a long walk. We went through China Town and Little Italy. Surprisingly there was not a single Italian living in Little Italy. The bus took us to Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge was dazzling with light in the darkness of night.
MacDonald At China Town

 The Brooklyn Bridge was one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connected the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.  It was a bit cold there as we were near Hudson Bay. Our bus tour completed at 10:30 at the night. We walked to Port Authority terminus to take NJ Transit bus to our hotel in Clifton, NJ. In the counter my husband enquired about the bus to NJ. Unfortunately the lady in the counter told us two numbers which was wrong. At that time we didn’t know that. After some times my husband asked the driver of the bus, and he told that we were in the wrong bus!!!!! It was a horrible experience in the middle of night at an unknown place.  The driver asked us to get off at a place from where we could take a bus to our destination. We waited for a while on the deserted road. Then my husband called at the hotel and requested then to send a taxi. We reached our hotel at 12:30.
New York City Public Library

John Lennon's apartment
We woke up early in the morning to take 8:15 NJ transit bus. I had been packing for the day while my husband went to get ready. Our son also woke up. He was playing. Suddenly he cried out loud. I saw him on the floor. He fell down from the sofa. How he fell down I didn’t know. After putting cold water and giving him bath he didn’t show any sign of improvement. My husband put ice on his injured elbow. I wanted to cancel the trip of the day. Anyway after a while, our son himself wanted to go out. Then we started at 9 in the morning from hotel. We reached the bus terminus in NYC at 10:30. We went to Times Square to get on the Downtown tour bus. We passed the Strawberry Field (John Lennon’s Memorial at the Central Park) and got down at Museum of Natural History.
Before getting down, the tour guide showed us the apartment of John Lennon. He told that his widow Yoko Ono was still living there. Anyway, we wanted to show the world’s largest dinosaurs, to our son, who was crazy about that. After seeing the size of the queue we came out from there. It was really astonishing that my little son never complained of pain in his arm. Moreover he was enjoying in that scorching sun with smile. My husband decided to go to Central Park which was exactly opposite to the museum. We started walking towards the gate of Central Park. I didn’t know how far the gate was from there. We were walking and walking, but I couldn’t see any gate.  I became very impatient. At last my husband showed me the gate. My first job was to find a chair to sit. Though it was sunny, but it was too stuffy and uncomfortable to sit for a long time there. We decided to take the Down Town bus again to go to WTC. We waited for a long time in vein to get our bus. We were running out time, so we decided to go there by metro rail. We got off at Fulton street station to go to WTC site. It was extremely hot to stand outside. My husband wanted to show me the memorial pool at the WTC site, but we couldn’t manage to go inside the site. Then we went to the WTC memorial museum, only to come out with a heavy mind. Any disaster always moved me a lot.
Near Central Park
Our next and last destination was Hersey’s chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. For that we went to the car rental office. We got on the train Fulton Street and got down Union Square. My husband told me that we needed to walk a little to reach the office. I didn’t know at that time, how “little” I needed to walk. We started walking in the melting sun, and we reached there nearly after one hour, half-dead. After waiting some times we got the rental car without a toddler car-seat. Instead of that we were given one booster-seat in which my little son couldn’t sit. I didn’t want to take risk to go 150 miles without car-seat. However my husband was desperate to go. Anyway we started our journey, without any lunch. After crossing Holland Tunnel we reached NJ, and from there journey became smooth. Around three O’clock we had our lunch at Subway. Our journey in Pennsylvania was very nice. After spending few days in a heart of a congested city, the green Pennsylvania was very refreshing to us. That was the first time in my life I saw deer were just roaming around the front-yards of the houses when we went inside the locality after we lost our way. Anyway, my husband couldn’t speed up the car, because my son was in a booster-seat. I supposed there was plenty of deer in Pennsylvania, otherwise how could so many deer died on the freeway due to accident? We wanted to reach before 6 in the evening compared to our previous plan of reaching at 4. We reached there around 6, fully exhausted. I had no energy to enjoy there. We took nice factory tour to know about how chocolates were manufactured. We bought some chocolates. Then after having some snacks we started our journey back to the hotel.  My husband deserved for kudos for driving 150 miles again to the hotel. I felt asleep in the car along with my son. We reached exactly at midnight. My little son enjoyed the whole day by holding his left hand with the right. Because, in pain he couldn’t keep his left hand hanging. However, he didn’t complain for a single time. We decided to skip dinner. We had to wake up at 4 in the morning to catch our flight at 7.
We woke up at our scheduled time and got ready very quickly. We started very early to avoid the morning traffic, but all our effort went in vain when we caught in the traffic near Lincoln Tunnel. We were counting every second. Anyway we reached JFK airport just in time. After returning the rental car we rushed to the terminal. When we reached there, boarding in the plane had already started. Anyway, after reaching SFO our first job was to take an appointment with doctor.  When we went to doctor, he diagnosed that my son had suffered from a fracture in his elbow and he plastered his hand. Through-out the process he was very co-operative and didn’t make much trouble.

Niagara and New York City

All of a sudden my husband decided to make a trip to Niagara and NYC on Memorial Day weekend this year. A long ago, before our marriage he was in Connecticut and at that time he made a trip to Niagara and NYC. However, I’ve never been to those places. My husband desperately wanted to show me Niagara and NYC, and he made a plan for us. In the months of March and April, he spent most weekends in front of his laptop planning for the trip. One Sunday in the month of March, he spent a whole day booking air ticket and hotels in Niagara and NYC. At the end of the day, he was totally exhausted but very much successful in finding good deals on air tickets and hotels. My husband took three days off from office to make a five-day trip. Honestly speaking this time I didn’t participate at all in the planning. I didn’t even know the hotels where we were going to stay. He made a very compact plan to visit the famous sites. After revising many times he made the final plan before our departure.
After doing many research he booked our air ticket through Expedia web site. The main advantage was that he could book the tickets in different airlines where it was convenient to us in monitory terms. We first went to Niagara and after spending one day there we went to NYC.
05/28/2011 (The journey to Buffalo)
In the trip our first place to visit was Niagara. On 28th May we departed for Buffalo in the early morning as time of our flight was at quarter past seven. Though we tried hard, still we were little let; we hurriedly went to board the flight. We were the last ones to board. The airline asked us to check our bigger suitcase. This time our son really annoyed us a lot. He was not listening to us at all. Everything was more-or-less in our favor when we the flight departed from San Jose airport to Denver. It was two and half hours’ journey. My son was enjoying before the flight became ready to take off. As the flight started taking off he held me tightly and had started sobbing out of fear. We had a tough time to make him sit on his place. He fell asleep out of fear and we relieved. We had a layover for two and a half hours at Denver airport. The next flight from there to Chicago was delayed by half hour. We worried that time, because we would have only half an hour in our hand to catch the flight from Chicago to Buffalo. Somehow we managed to catch our third flight. As usual my son panicked when both the flight had taken off. At last we reached buffalo around 9:30 at night. I waited for a long time near the luggage belt in vain to pick up our suitcase. It was the worst case when we found that our suitcase didn’t arrive. There was nothing to do but to lodge a complaint in the lost baggage section. We did the same and went to the hotel Comfort Suits.
The wooden walkways at American Falls
We woke early in the morning to start for Niagara at eight to avoid the traffic to Niagara. We reached Niagara early, there was no queue at all, and so, we didn’t face any problem to enter the park , and to park our car. I didn’t know about our plan, so I simply follow my husband. He first redeemed our ticket at the counter, which he booked on-line. He decided to visit ‘Cave of the wind’ first. We were given water-proof ponchos and sandals for the tour. My son was not at all ready to wear the poncho. My husband really gave effort to convince him to wear that. However, he tried many times to put that off. An elevator took us to the 175 deep gorges. Clad in the special ponchos and sandals we went through the series of special wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck which was merely 20 feet away from the billowing torrent of Bridal Veil Falls. When water started pouring over us, my son became too scared to do anything; he held my husband very tightly. The rushing water loomed above us, dousing us with generous spray as we could see the thundering falls head-on. It was a captivating experience. Drenching in water reminded me the rainy days of my childhood days. Though the name was ‘Cave of the wind’, there was no actual cave anymore.

American Falls

Originally there was a natural cave behind Bridal Veil Falls which was 130 feet high and 100 feet wide. The cave was discovered in 1834 and a guided tour was begun in 1841. The tour was stopped in 1920, on safety issue, when a huge rock fell down near the tour area. The cave was obliterated in a massive rock-fall in 1954 and subsequent dynamiting of a dangerous overhang. From 1924 the tour was opened in front of Bridal Veil Falls instead of the back. After finishing our tour there we walked towards Horse-shoe Falls. Weather-god favored us on that day. The sky was clear without the scorching sun. The majestic beauty of the falls left me breathless. The rushing torrents, spectacular scenery making my excitement flew like water. While we were coming from Buffalo my husband showed me the quiet Niagara River.

Furious Horse shoe Falls

The obervation tower near 'Maid of the Mist'
It was really hard to believe that such a calm river became a roaring beauty with gushing water within one mile. Anyway, after taking a walk around Horse-shoe falls we decided to take the ride of ‘Maid of the Mist’. We thought that we would walk to the observation tower of the ride. Instead of that we had to take the trolley, because our son wanted to ride ‘tram’. So, we waited for the trolley in long queue near ‘Cave of the wind’, because of some reasons only one trolley was in service. Anyway, the trolley-ride was a fun. We came to know one interesting fact that, every second 75,000 gallons of water was pouring from the falls into the river. We had our ticket with us, so we directly went to the queue of the journey. Though we had to wait for an hour, it was not so tiring, because weather was very comfortable. Moreover, we were enjoying the alternate warm and cold breeze. At last we rode the ferry cladded in blue color poncho. This time our son didn’t deny to wear the poncho, might be, because he we feeling sleepy. My husband told me to go quickly to the left side of the boat on the second story, to a better view. The journey started from the Observation tower near Rainbow Bridge, which connected the USA and Canada.

'Maid of the Mist'
Hotel Sheraton in Canada
 For more than 150 years, Maid of the Mist had taken visitors through the foaming water beneath the falls. Maid of the Mist took us to the base of American falls first. The furious but beautiful falls generously splashed water on us and drenched us completely. Then we were taken to the basin of Horse-shoe Falls. It seemed that, water was crushing from the top with full force and anguish. I couldn’t keep my eyes open in fear of losing my contact lenses. After coming back from the ride, my husband suggested that I take the trail to the top of Horse-shoe falls. I denied that, because I didn’t want to go alone. And it was not possible for him to climb up with a sleeping child on his shoulder. Then we went to have lunch in ‘Top of the Falls’ restaurant and went to watch the movie at IMAX theater. The movie was about the survivors who fell into the falls throughout the time. After that we came near ‘Cave of the wind’ by trolley. I was taken aback after seeing the unbelievable long queue to enter ‘Cave of the Wind’. I wondered when those people would get a chance to go down. Anyway, at that time we started feeling cold, so, took our jackets from our car. We decided to go to Goat Island to watch the Bridal Veil Falls from top. The nice little falls was roaring to show her strength beside the much larger American Falls. Again our son fell asleep. Anyway, we went to the museum by trolley. It was already six in the evening. We spent little time there. At that time everybody was exhausted. We again came back near ‘Cave of the Wind’ and had our evening snacks. I wanted to go back but my husband wanted to wait to see the fireworks and the lighting effect from Canadian side. We waited for a long time. At last at 9 o’clock we could see the beautiful lighting effect, but to our disappointment, there were no fireworks. Around 9:15 we decided to go back to hotel. As soon as we started from there it started down pouring. The wipers of the car seemed not working. It was too risky to increase the speed of the car on an unknown road. The GPS was not working properly; sometimes I was feeling that the situation was going out of control. My heart was beating very rapidly. I was counting every second. The twenty minutes driving took one and half hour. We reached our hotel at 10:30 at night. Also, we received our lost baggage in our hotel.
Bridal Veil Falls

James Farley Post office
Penn 5 Plaza- home to the city's finest shopping, hotels, restaurants and theaters, as well as Madison Square Garden.
We woke up before six in the morning to catch the 9 o’clock flight from Buffalo airport to LaGuardia in NYC. First we returned the rental car, and then rushed to the airport. However, all our desperate effort became useless because US Airways rescheduled the flight at 10:30.  My husband started re-planning our NYC tour. At last our flight took off at 11:45 in the morning. Previously we decided to go to the hotel first, but when we reached in LaGuardia, it was too late to do that. Besides that, we had our luggage with us, so, we chose to rent a car. My husband booked car online, thanks to his iPhone, and we went to Budget office. After waiting for a long time we got the rental car.

The largest Macy's in the USA

 Then we found out a Subway restaurant to have some food. We literally gulped down some sandwiches rushed to the City Sight office for tour. That was the first time in my life in NYC. The city reminded my very own hometown Kolkata. The crowd, the congestion, honking of cars, and the crazy drivers all were very similar to my hometown. We went through dingy Jackson Heights, which was my husband’s favorite, because of the biryani shops.  Actually he wanted to have biryani there, but time didn’t permit us. The children were playing on the streets, like my own country. Anyway, we parked our car at Times square and rushed to find out the City Sight office. After much effort, we found their counter inside a shop. My husband redeemed our tickets and according to the direction we tried to find out the bus-stop. When we couldn’t succeed, we asked a person who was eventually an employee of Gary Line Tour Company. My husband wanted to go to the night tour, but the problem was the time.  
Memorial tiles at Manhattan
At that time it was 4:30 in the evening, but the tour would start-time was 6 o’clock. What should we do for one and half hours? I was too exhausted to walk around. So, we took the Downtown tour and went directly to the Battery Park. The city was a great example of harmonization of old historic building and high-tech new buildings. I really amazed to see that. We passed The James A. Farley Post Office Building, which was the main post-office building in New York City, built in 1912. Before going to NYC I heard that the largest Macy’s was there. I was interested to see that Macy’s in my own eye. I also came to know that this Macy’s was the oldest in the USA. Then we passed Empire State building and Engine 54 of NYFD. The firefighters who died on the fateful day of September 11, 2001 were from Engine 54. After getting down at Battery Park my husband took us to the financial district of New York on Wall Street. When we were busy to take photos in front of the famous bull there, the camera battery exhausted.

 I became angry because, I asked my husband to take spare batteries with us. Anyway, we walked around there, saw U.S. custom house, museum of American Indian art. We were too tired to go anywhere else and also it was the time for last tour bus to Times Square.

The famous bull at Walls street
I was extremely thirsty and my brain ceased to work. Moreover, our son started screaming for ice-cream. After reaching Time Square my husband first bought a bottle of water and a smoothie for our son. I got back a little energy after drinking some water. I suggested going to hotel. My husband agreed with me. We went to our hotel La Quinta, in Clifton, New Jersey.
Times Square
Empire State building
Flairton Building
United Methodist Church

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