Sunday, July 15, 2007

God Bless America-part 1

Long time since I updated my blog!! It's been a 4 month wait getting a topic to write about. Yes, this is all about my experience as a true desi in the Land of Opportunities. I am talking about a 231 year old country that has grown & given opportunity for the rest of the world, popularly known as "USA"..

I am here on a business visit to work for Citicards and I stay in a very beautiful place called Florida. To be precise, I stay in the city of Jacksonville.Well, yes America is very exciting however it requires a big time maintenance to bring it to normal.

First, let me share why America is exciting. Florida with its sexy beaches, Bikes & Cars makes you wonder if you are visiting a different planet where you see prosperity all around. In Florida I first visited Daytona along with my friends. The Daytona beach and its NASCAR track makes you feel orgasmic. I had seen around 20-25 bikes which were 1000 cc Honda engines near the beach front. Well a global war is imminent when it comes to bike market in America. The Japanese & the Harley Davidsons vying for every inch of the automobile market makes you believe its a battle of pistons :-) . So when, you are all pumped and want a feast for your racing senses you know where to go. Believe me, the beaches are so clean that you would even start following the norm of "No Litter" policy. There was one of the streets that we entered which takes you to a different time zone. Yeah, the Harley Davidson bikes parked there makes you believe that there is so much tradition with the owner of each bike being over 50 years of age.So, life never is over for the people in this place as there is a inner urge to keep loving what they do and never get bored. Through out the street we saw people having beer along with their wives /girl friends, god knows the chemistry :-) The average age group was around 40 years. I am sure back in India life ends @ 45 as many of our neighbors & relaives would retire from being normal.

From Daytona, I had an opportunity to visit St.Augustine, one of the oldest towns in USA. True to its reputation, the town is so laid back and you start wondering if you have visited one of the villages in India. People suddenly seem to have all the time in the world to go boating, chill around in one of the many pubs there with their family, stroll on the beach sand, playing with their pets, swimming etc...A quick gush of laziness would certainly hit you once you step into this town. An ideal place for newly married couples to open up and get down to business :-)

The pinnacle of craziness was when I visited Panama City in Florida. Luckily it was summer break time and all the college kids were present along with their gangs. They were in their full gear when it came to their cars & bikes and in full oblivion when it came to their attires. "Truly American craziness Inc" is what you would see in Panama City. Bumper to bumper cars, honking, booing, singing, and all the stereos singing in chorus the Metallicas and the Iron Maidens of the world....being the norm. Our Pachaiyappas & Presidency college students need a big learning curve to get to this level :-) I visited La Vida, the largest night club in America along with my friends. Well, to say it was great is an under statement. I met people all around the world inside the night club.The funniest part was there was a separate entrance for teenagers less than eligible age (21 years) too...The synonym of merry making would be understood by everyone who enters La Vida.But remember to take your passports as photo identity whenever you visit this place. From La Vida, we headed to a beach side party that was full of young people who I am sure were kicked in their butt by their parents for being what they are.Even monkeys would have behaved better :-) Nobody owns nobody's girl friend inside, is what I realised as the party progressed. My friends and myself actually ended up with a culture shock treatment as we kept re-assuring that we were in our senses and "Seeing is believing" was really true.

So, being over nourished with the beaches, I decided to visit Orlando and get to see the various theme parks. I wonder if Disney owns half of America. Well, thats the feeling anybody would get once you step inside any of their theme parks. I visited Magic Kingdom along with my friends. So many acres of land that incudes resorts, lakes (they look real. but may be man made), golf corses etc makes you believe you have entered Wonderland.

Innumerable fun rides, sweet looking kids, all the disney characters of Mickey, Donald, Goofy that we saw as kids in our Door darshan Sunday cartoon feast and grandeour all around makes you feel so lost in the Wonderland. When we bought tickets we saw packages for 2 days, 5 days, 7 days & 10 days and were wondering why? This got answered once we entered the place and started to realize that "Magic Kingdom" alone needs 2 full days to cover.So, this just being one of the 4 theme parks definitely requires that much time to cover them.So anybody visiting Disney, I would definitely recommend the various fun rides around. Do not especially miss the Splash mountain, Mountain rail, Sharks and Space ranger rides. The best one I liked was the Space ranger where a fast moving rail would take you across the virtual solar system in absolute darkness, madness etc that you start feeling that you are actually floating in space. The reason I could logically think of was that since there were no lights, the people on the ride lose their point of reference and feel as if they are really travelling in space.

In my next posting I would talk about my experiences in Universal Studios, work & culture, and why this country requires a big time maintenance overhaul. Until then...