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Old 23rd April 2012, 14:24   #16
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

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Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Awesome second attempt I should say!! Truly mesmerizing pics and similarly good write up to boot. You are on a roll man! T-Log roll i should say! Let the other pics flow soon.
Thanks for the encouraging words, Abhinav!! This has motivated me to publish the next installment asap.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 14:46   #17
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

Nicely composed travelog of your summer stay in Cinci. The apartment looks great especially since its fully furnished. I was wondering if you have mentioned whats the compensation you took from the catalog that the airlines sent.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 15:23   #18
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

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Nicely composed travelog of your summer stay in Cinci. The apartment looks great especially since its fully furnished. I was wondering if you have mentioned whats the compensation you took from the catalog that the airlines sent.
Thanks motomaverick!Yep, the apartment deal was really a steal; even my US colleagues were surprised that I got such a nice deal in spite of searching myself!

For compensation, I chose a $150 voucher from American airlines. My next post about weekend trip will have reference to this
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Old 23rd April 2012, 23:06   #19
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Default Weekend in the Windy City

Weekend in the Windy City…

My friend proposed the idea of travelling to Chicago for the weekend; it was an immediate affirmative from my side, as I am always looking for a reason to travel! He intended to travel by the Greyhound bus, which takes approx 5 hours from Cinci to Chicago. But I had other plans; remember the compensation from United Airlines? I had received a $150 voucher from them based on my choice, which I decided to use for the Chicago trip. The reason I made this decision is because I was not sure if the amount would suffice for a flight on any other route, such as NYC. Looked up the UA website for available flights, and found options suiting my convenience.

Booked return tickets for CVG - ORD, onward Sat morning, and return Sun evening. Although the price was less than $150, there was some additional charge I had to pay. The website for some reason did not accept my AMEX for payment; but gave me the option to block the tickets and pay at the airport. No problemo! Conversely, my friend booked his return tickets on Greyhound by paying almost $100; leaving early morning Sat from downtown Cinci, and returning Sun night from union station Chicago. Subsequently after a quick Expedia search, a hotel was also booked; the website said the hotel was just 3-4 train stations away from ORD (good for me!). We got a good deal, in that the room cost us approx $30, which also included free breakfast.

My flight from CVG was at 11am, so I was in no hurry to wake up early in the morning. Missed the 9 am metro bus by a second, so was forced to take a cab and cough up $30! Some pictures from the cab on the way to CVG:

Travelogue - Summer in America-cab.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-cab1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-cab2.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-cab3.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-cab4.jpg

Reached the airport just in time, paid the balance ticket charges by cash and picked up the boarding pass. The airport is small and there weren’t many people around, save for a few stores and a couple of ATM machines. The flight (United express) was on time and took off at 11 am and landed at Chicago exactly at 11am; I wasn’t puzzled this time. I was travelling from Eastern Time zone to Central you see; EST is an hour behind CST, and the travel time between the two cities is also an hour!

Some pictures of the airport, CVG:

Travelogue - Summer in America-apt.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-apt1.jpg

The tiny plane:

Travelogue - Summer in America-plane.jpg

The long walkways of ORD:

Travelogue - Summer in America-ohare.jpg

Dint have to spend any time post deplaning waiting for the baggage claim, as I had not checked in any. Having said that, there is no option to check in either in this tiny plane! I walked straight outside the terminal towards the public transport bus pick up area. There was a friendly cop who was helping travellers with their queries; I showed him my hotel address and asked what would be the best way to reach there. This is when I got a pleasant surprise; he said the hotel had airport shuttle service!! I couldn’t believe that such a small place had this facility. The van was there in a few mins, and dropped me at the hotel in 15-20 mins.

Some pictures on the way to the hotel:

Travelogue - Summer in America-chi-cab1.jpg

The cab had to drop someone at a convention center, where some event was happening. There were a lot of young people in interesting costumes:

Travelogue - Summer in America-conv.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-conv1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-conv2.jpg

The hotel and surroundings:

Travelogue - Summer in America-hotel.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-hot-surr.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-hot-surr1.jpg
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Old 23rd April 2012, 23:20   #20
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

Nice breezy TL with good pictures. Generally TL/threads about US trips mostly contain stories & pictures revolving around monuments & tourist spots. Am loving the lack of it in this thread.

Rated it 5 stars. Please keep it going!
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Old 23rd April 2012, 23:42   #21
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Default Weekend in the Windy City

Weekend in the Windy City, contd…

By the time I reached the hotel, it was almost 3 PM. I was expecting my friend to have reached the place already. But when I checked at the front desk, the response was a negative. And they wouldn’t let me check in as the booking was made under his name. I was very hungry, so decided to grab a quick bite. Walked into a dine-in right opposite the hotel, and learnt that they made only pizza at that time of the day. Ordered a pizza and a drink, clearly knowing that the pizza would be too much for 1 person. Just when my pizza arrived, I turned around and noticed my friend also sitting in the same restaurant! When he joined me, I was shocked to know that even he had ordered the same pizza. They wouldn’t cancel the order as the pizza was already put in the wood fried oven. In spite of trying hard neither could finish our pizzas.

We checked in to the hotel and decided to do some sightseeing that evening; walked up to the nearest supermarket and picked up CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) day passes. These passes are valid for 24 hours from the time they are first used, and can be used in any mode of CTA transport (trains, buses...). My friend told me he had already picked up a Chicago CityPASS; this allows free entry to a number of attractions including the hop on hop off bus, I was told. I decided against buying one, as I had only 60% of the next day for sightseeing and buying this would mean I would not be able to see even half of the places listed in it.

Travelogue - Summer in America-station1-1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-station1-2.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-bus.jpg

Soon, we were on the train heading downtown. The day had been sunny and the weather similar to Cinci. What we had not realised was that it had gotten much colder through the evening.

By the time we reached downtown, we noticed that although it was quite early in the evening (8 ish) there were hardly any people around. One of the buildings had this temperature display which made me realize how chilly it really was; 33 degrees (just over 0 deg Celsius)!!

Some pictures of the skyscrapers

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt2.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt3.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt4.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt5.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt6.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt7.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt8.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt9.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dt10.jpg

I was literally freezing, and it was really windy. No wonder it’s called the Windy city!

Travelogue - Summer in America-me.jpg

Time for some hot chocolate!!

Travelogue - Summer in America-coffee.jpg


Returned to the hotel to catch up one some nice sleep, as the next day warranted much more energy for the day sightseeing.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 23:45   #22
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Nice breezy TL with good pictures. Generally TL/threads about US trips mostly contain stories & pictures revolving around monuments & tourist spots. Am loving the lack of it in this thread.

Rated it 5 stars. Please keep it going!
Hey ninjatalli, thanks so much man! It's responses like yours that make me wanna come back to the TL and update it!!
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Old 24th April 2012, 12:37   #23
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

Rated the thread a well deserved 5 stars Good going. Don't slacken the pace and keep the TL going!
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Old 24th April 2012, 16:03   #24
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

Chikkars,

Nice one on your experiences of USA in summer. Let us hear more from you. I know summer is the time everyone is outdoors enjoying the sun. Let us hear your adventures in Chicago now. Well deserved five stars!!! Keep it coming.
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Old 24th April 2012, 16:45   #25
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

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Chikkars,

Nice one on your experiences of USA in summer. Let us hear more from you. I know summer is the time everyone is outdoors enjoying the sun. Let us hear your adventures in Chicago now. Well deserved five stars!!! Keep it coming.
Thanks, Fauji!! I cant wait to get back home in the evening and update more pictures.
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Old 24th April 2012, 23:18   #26
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Default Weekend in the Windy City

Weekend in the Windy City, Day 2..

Was up and ready by 8 am; went to the lobby to see what was on offer for the breakfast. There were cup cakes, crossoints, cakes, bread and the like, and coffee. It was a nice sunny morning, and I was hoping it stayed that way so I could have a nice day roaming around. We checked out of the hotel, but left our bags back at the front desk as we did not want carry them the whole day. My return flight was 6 in the evening, so plan was to come get my bag and take the shuttle to the airport. My friend on the other hand would need to come back to the hotel all the way from city, collect his bag and go back to union station to board his bus.

We took the train, only to be told that there was some underground repair work going on between Division and Grand stations. This meant that we had to get off a few stations before the final stop and take a connecting bus or something. Although we had the free passes which could be used even in buses, the commute would still take longer.

The plan was to see some places together, and split our ways by approx noon. That's because my friend has his sight seeing pass thingy and would get on one of those hop-on hop-off buses, and I would continue with public transport.

Some pictures of the sky scrapers around Madison & Clarke/Lake area:

Travelogue - Summer in America-sky.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sky1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sky2.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sky3.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sky4.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sky5.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-dog-man.jpg

This was one of my customers, clicked this pic so my colleagues who worked for this client would be happy to see

Travelogue - Summer in America-rrd.jpg

The canal

Travelogue - Summer in America-rivr.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-rivr1.jpg

Our first stop for the day was Sears tower; the tallest tower in Chicago. A little bit of trivia from Wikipedia:

The Willis Tower (formerly named the Sears Tower) is a 108-story, 1,451-foot (442 m) skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois.[4] At the time of its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years. The Willis Tower is the tallest building in the United States and the seventh-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The skyscraper is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago, and over one million people visit its observation deck each year.

We could already see it

Travelogue - Summer in America-sears-far-view.jpg

And then we were there

Travelogue - Summer in America-sear.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sear1.jpg

Chicago was one of the contenders for Olympics 2016, which eventually went to Rio. Incidentally, I now work for the company that is the official IT partner for all Olympic events!

Travelogue - Summer in America-olymp.jpg

And very soon we were in the observation deck. View from the top was amazing; notice the Lake Michigan which looks like an ocean!

Travelogue - Summer in America-sears-top.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sears-top1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sears-top2.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-sears-top3.jpg

Notice the shape down there? That's the shape of the tower:

Travelogue - Summer in America-sears-shape.jpg

There was a souvenir shop at the deck; 90% of the items were Obama merchandise. He was from Chicago when he won the presidency you see. It was Obama mania, really!

And then we headed down

Travelogue - Summer in America-lift.jpg

Checked out some stores and grabbed something to eat

Travelogue - Summer in America-barnes.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-mcd.jpg

Walked around a little bit

Travelogue - Summer in America-street.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-street1.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-street2.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-street3.jpg

Travelogue - Summer in America-street4.jpg

It was time say bye to my friend and proceed my way. My next destination was going to be the famous Millennium Park.

Last edited by chikkars : 24th April 2012 at 23:22.
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Old 25th April 2012, 15:12   #27
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Default Interesting experiences

Interesting experiences

I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences during this trip, some funny, some not so funny, and some not so pleasant. You already know about the most unpleasant one, the baggage loss, so I am not going to go into that again. During the course of this log, I will share some of these experiences as and when I can between posting the pictures.

Well, here’s one of them.

The “Special Meal” story

I waited restlessly for the web check in to open on the Lufthansa site, so I could choose the best seats available. To my disappointment, the site allowed seat selection only for the first flight between BIAL and Frankfurt, as it wasn’t yet 24 hours for the next leg of the travel. Never mind that. I then looked at the meal options - chose the Indian special meal, no big deal right. What I had no idea about, however, was that apparently I was the ONLY person on the both the flights that had chosen this meal!!! How bizarre is that; you’d imagine that at least someone else would have opted for the same meal, no? You ask me how I knew I was the only one; I will tell you how.

As soon as the flight took off from BIAL at 2.30 am IST, they started service drinks and then the dinner. Now this is the funny part; the flight attendant, a friendly middle aged German lady starts making an announcement. I don’t give it much attention; well, until I hear my name being called out.

She goes “Mr Chikkars?”
And I am like, “yes”?
She – "Ah, so you are the one who has ordered for the special meal, eh. Here you go, sir, enjoy your meal! Too bad others have to wait a little longer, ha-ha."
I – I don’t know how to react; I thank the lady and try to see what’s in store for me in the box!

The whole plane is looking at me as I am being served the food first, a “special meal” at that, and they just have to wait longer to get their food. I could see the expression on my neighbors’ faces, it dint look anything close to pleasant; they were green! Well, as for me, I was happy for getting the special treatment, and at the same time embarrassed with the whole “hungama”. The same story repeated on the United Airlines flight too. I was served the special meal first, while others had the option to choose between Ravioli or Chicken! I wasn’t a least bit complaining.

Last edited by chikkars : 25th April 2012 at 15:13.
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Old 25th April 2012, 16:52   #28
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Default Re: Interesting experiences

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I waited restlessly for the web check in to open on the Lufthansa site, so I could choose the best seats available. To my disappointment, the site allowed seat selection only for the first flight between BIAL and Frankfurt, as it wasn’t yet 24 hours for the next leg of the travel.
Hello Chikkars,

Firstly let me appreciate your Photography & writing skills. The pictures are really great & leaves one wanting to go to those places as soon as possible.

Regarding the Lufthansa experience I have shared almost the similar experience with Air France. When I went Munich, Germany, I had choice of Emirates & Air France. I opted for Air France.

On boarding the flight I was surprised to see the flight interiors not up to mark & there were mosquitoes flying around. I am vegeterian & Foods options were really limited for me. My colleague from Banglore opted for Emirates & was really happy with food options & most important for Indians - free additional Baggage allowance.

Thanks,
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Old 25th April 2012, 17:11   #29
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Default Re: Interesting experiences

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Hello Chikkars,

Firstly let me appreciate your Photography & writing skills. The pictures are really great & leaves one wanting to go to those places as soon as possible.

Regarding the Lufthansa experience I have shared almost the similar experience with Air France. When I went Munich, Germany, I had choice of Emirates & Air France. I opted for Air France.

On boarding the flight I was surprised to see the flight interiors not up to mark & there were mosquitoes flying around. I am vegeterian & Foods options were really limited for me. My colleague from Banglore opted for Emirates & was really happy with food options & most important for Indians - free additional Baggage allowance.

Thanks,
Thanks, Jignesh!!

Regarding the airlines, I prefer Emirates any day over other airlines. Their meal options, in flight entertainment, service & the fleet are all top notch. More over, they upgraded me to Business Class on the Dubai-Amsterdam flight when I flew with them last time!
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Old 25th April 2012, 19:33   #30
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Default Interesting experiences

Interesting experiences - The Deodorant fiasco

Remember the Russel Peter story about losing his luggage in China, when he was left with no clothes, and more importantly his Deodorant? Well, I had something of that sort happen during my travels too. So here goes the story.

I had done thorough research about the luggage packing guidelines and all, and was aware of the 3-1-1 rule. But during the last minute packing of my carry-on bag, I had mistakenly put a new deodorant can (150ml) in it. Needless to say, the security officer at the counter was very quick to spot it, and throw it away. There went my brand new deodorant straight into the trash (not sure if it stayed there for long)! I landed at Frankfurt early morning local time after a 9 hr flight, and still had a 4.5 hr layover ahead of me. While walking through the terminals, I spotted a duty-free perfume store. It struck to me that I should buy a deodorant here; it would be useful as I had another 15 hours of journey left.

So I walk into the store and start looking around. I notice that the deodorants are quite expensive, and decide that I might as well buy a perfume. I was planning to buy a few bottles of perfume in the US anyway, so why not pick one up now so it comes in handy in place of the deodorant. I see they have Davidoff Cool Waters in the new arrivals section; and this is one of my favorite perfumes. The price was almost 50 Euros; expensive considering it was a duty free store. I say what the heck, and go ahead and pick it up. I reach the billing counter and pay the lady in dollars; she does her conversion thing and gives me some change back in Euros. Now comes the shocker – she packs the perfume into a neat polythene bag, so far so good. Now she goes on to seal the cover in a way that it cannot be opened. She hands me the cover, thanks me for shopping and drops the bomb – “as with all duty free goods, this package cannot be opened till you have reached your final destination”!! I could not believe what I just heard, and didn’t know how to react. How could I not have known about it?? Yeah, it was my first travel abroad, and within a short notice; but how could I not know this fact!! I just could not believe that I had used my dollars for the first time, paid extra for a product which was much cheaper elsewhere, and something that I could not even use! GAAAAA!

I just convinced myself that although I might not be able to use it right away, it was something I wanted to buy anyway and so it’s okay. I turn around to exit the store and I notice something interesting. The store ran in parallel to the walking corridor, i.e. you could walk in to the store and walk out and it would still be the same distance as walking outside. OK, that’s not the interesting part! I see many people, mostly airport staff, flight captains et al walking in, just spraying random perfumes, and walking out. Just like that, like as if it was something they did each morning. I know what you’re thinking; it struck me suddenly that I could have done the same, no?

Let me sum up how I felt at that exact moment, in one word; actually, in one smiley…

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