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Old 8th November 2010, 02:08   #1
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Default San Francisco: The bad boy chronicles. EDIT: Point Reyes, Pics added.

Work has taken the bad boy to the US of A.

I left India from the Hyderabad Airport via an Emirates flight on Friday, the fifth of November 2010.
Booked a meru cab and the driver, Shiva Kumar called in about 30 mins before my booking time. Decided to leave for the airport. A pleasant mid night drive thru the PVNR and I am the at around 00:15 hours.
The flight is scheduled to depart at 4:10 AM.

The checkin counter opens at 1:10 AM.

Second in queue, I overhear the questions being asked to the guy in front. Realise I don't know the pin code of the hotel I am staying at.

Quickly launch the browser in my mobile and keep it ready.

Baggage is cleared and I proceed to the Emigration counter.
Stamped and then the security check.

Then a long wait till almost 4:00 AM when boarding starts.

The flight is quite empty.
Some people become comfortable and occupy the entire middle row. I watch a couple of movies. Served some food.

Landing in Dubai. The view outside is spectacular. I have been to Dubai almost 13 years back. The skyline is completely different. The buildings are so much taller.

My connecting flight to SFO is 8:55 AM.

So I quickly locate the gate and decide to stay close to it.
But since I have some time to wait. I start strolling around the duty free.

I find a police officer. Ask him if its ok to use my camcorder to record the place.
He informs me that its perfectly ok.

The first thing I spot are these beauties.








Then I start walking all over the place. I had to purchase some chocolates here.

This place is quite crowded and I don't want anyone getting angry at my recording.
So I try to keep as low a profile as I can.

Sorry if the vids are a little jerky or the focus is not very great.
Its a Sony handycam and I was not really concentrating on the shooting part.














Last edited by bblost : 8th November 2010 at 02:10.
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Old 8th November 2010, 02:16   #2
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The Dubai airport offers free wifi connectivity. I log on and quickly send an email to my family.
The flight is boarded and I realise that this is also a little empty.
I have 2 seats to myself.

Actually an old Pakistani lady was to sit next to me, but having found a 3 seater row empty in the front she gave up her seat.

I stretch out and relax.
Breakfast is served soon after takeoff.

The flight is almost 16 hours long and its mostly dark outside.
The flight plan takes us over the North Pole.

The emirates service does not walk around serving stuff. However anyone can walk into the pantry and pick up whatever they want.

I am quite close to the pantry. So keep going back for some water/ tea/ fruits/ sandwiches.
They inform me that while I am welcome to take water form the rear pantry, they have kept a couple of glasses in an area in the front.

This makes it very convenient for me.
I plan on drinking a lot of water. As I have never flown such a long distance, I am trying to do my best to avoid jet lag.

The view outside once we cross into Canada airspace is amazing.



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Old 8th November 2010, 02:23   #3
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I arrive at the SFO airport in the afternoon.

Clear the immigration process and get the card stamped.
I exit the airport and try to locate my friend who has come to pick me up.

Not able to find him. I try to switch on my mobile. A colleague had lent me his us sim card. But the phone refuses to come online. Finally I ask a lady at a kiosk where I can make a call from. 2$ to call a mobile.

And my friend was less than 10 meters away.

We get to the parking lot and load the stuff into his Civic.
Drive to his house, where I get some hot ginger tea. Feels great.

Stop over at an Indian supermarket. Pick up some frozen kababs and rotis.
I reach my hotel and I like the arrangements.

After freshen up, I heat the kababs and roti.

Realise that there are no plates or glasses in the room.
The lady who brings it in is also kind enough to show me how to use the coffee maker.

San Francisco: The bad boy chronicles. EDIT: Point Reyes, Pics added.-coffee-maker.jpg

Quick lesson.
Fill the glass container. Pour water into the container on top. Not into the filter basket. Put the coffee powder into the basket. Switch on.

Last edited by bblost : 8th November 2010 at 08:13.
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Old 8th November 2010, 02:35   #4
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Saturday 06-Nov-2010

I wake up at 8AM after a 12 hour long nap.
Fresh as a daisy but hungry like a baby.

Brush my teeth and get to the complimentary buffet. Its nice, but the novelty wore off less than 24 hours later when I realise its the same on Sunday as well.

I have a car booked for me at Avis. Locate it in maps.google.com.
Its less than 1.6 miles away. So decide to walk down.

As I exit the hotel, I switch on my Garmin Nuvi GPS. No lock. Damn. Now I don't know what to do. I continue walking.
Miss a turn and land up on this really broad road with four lanes.
There is no platform.

I am walking in a ditch.
Less than 30 meters and the ditch is over and there is no space between the road and the fence.

I turn back.
As I am walking back to the intersection a police cruiser backs up, gets right behind me and a loud siren plays out.
The officer inside asks me to STOP, Keep you hands where I can see them.

The song Bad Boys Bad Boys starts ringing in my head.

I stay where I am, lift my hands up on my sides.

He asks me to stay calm and just keep my hands clear. No need to stand with them parallel to the road.

He asks me to get into his cruiser, front seat.
Tells me I could get arrested if I walk on the freeway. I tell him I am sorry, Did not realise it was a free way. And when I did, I turned back.

He is satisfied with my answers and drops me back at the intersection. Waves back as he drives off.
Good guy.

I come back to the hotel, book a cab.

10$ for the 1.6 mile drive.

I get myself a white Toyota Matrix.
The gps works once I get there. The drive back to the hotel is a little tense but I am ok.

Later in the day decide to drive into the city.
I exit the hotel and land on the wrong side of the road.

Damn IT.

Luckily this road is way inside and not much traffic. So I continue on the wrong side, turn inside a street and take a U-Turn. Come back to the hotel and park the car.

Decide that its a good idea to walk and observe the traffic.

Find a Safeway's outlet nearby. Less than 1.5 miles away.
So I walk down.
This time careful on not repeating my mistake from earlier in the day.

Unable to locate any Halal foods.
So end up taking a Crab soup, some muffins and a mixed olive salad.

That is my dinner.

The soup was horrible. Had less than a quarter and threw away the rest.
The muffins were very good.
The olives are good but that's about it.
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Old 8th November 2010, 02:38   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Work has taken the bad boy to the US of A.
Good good,so how long are you there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Baggage is cleared and I proceed to the Emigration counter.
Stamped and then the security check.
You mean the customs check right & not the ECNR?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I had to purchase some chocolates here.
Man!!! They've got all kind of best to wierd looking chocolates in their country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
The Dubai airport offers free wifi connectivity. I log on and quickly send an email to my family.
A few years back, these were paid (even now in few western countries), a few more years ago, once you start from India one can only make a long distance call which most of us don't. So its like you call up only after reaching destination. Thanks to the internet age

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
The flight is almost 16 hours long and its mostly dark outside.
The flight plan takes us over the North Pole.
Whoa!!! What route did they take? How long did the entire journey take from Hyd-SFO? This one seems to take you lot of places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
The emirates service does not walk around serving stuff. However anyone can walk into the pantry and pick up whatever they want.
This is awesome; does it also mean how much ever quantity?
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Old 8th November 2010, 02:38   #6
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Sunday 07-11

Drive to the Safeways.
Decide to spend some time in browsing thru the stuff.
San Francisco: The bad boy chronicles. EDIT: Point Reyes, Pics added.-img062.jpg

Finally purchased the stuff above.

Hopefully it will taste good. The time right now is around 1 PM and its been raining/ drizzling since last night.
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Old 8th November 2010, 02:47   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Good good,so how long are you there?
Return is around first week of December.

Quote:

You mean the customs check right & not the ECNR?
The ECNR guys

Quote:

Man!!! They've got all kind of best to wierd looking chocolates in their country.
True

Quote:

Whoa!!! What route did they take? How long did the entire journey take from Hyd-SFO? This one seems to take you lot of places.
Straight UP and then Down.




Quote:

This is awesome; does it also mean how much ever quantity?
Yes.
Did not appear like any limits were in place.

But what I would do was rather than use the button for service, I would walk down and ask for tea or anything like that. Plus when done, I would walk back and return my empty cups.

Plus the old Pakistani lady, who was supposed to sit next to me. Well she asked for my help in filling her customs form and the W form.
This meant I needed to make a couple more trips to the rear.

In the last one an Air hostess blocked my path and asked for 10$'s to let me thru. As I stand there confused
, she tells me no problem you can go after kissing all of us.

Laughing I told her then they gotcha pay me for facial reconstruction surgery I will need after my wife hears about this.

BTW: This is very good Stuff:
San Francisco: The bad boy chronicles. EDIT: Point Reyes, Pics added.-biscoti.jpg

Last edited by bblost : 8th November 2010 at 02:54.
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Old 8th November 2010, 03:09   #8
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In the last one an Air hostess blocked...all of us.
Oooh!!! What did you fancy them with @Bblost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I will need after my wife hears about this.


The ones that you bought, I mean the Stuffers, is a good stuff. Since I'm a veggie, I used to mostly live on Macroni + Cheese & Lasagnia from them. If you still prefer having Indian food (not me), try the flavour from Priya's, that should be good for now.

But this is US, you need to try all the flavours, except Indian

Last edited by aargee : 8th November 2010 at 03:11.
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Old 8th November 2010, 03:20   #9
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I am not trying for Indian food. I am looking for Halal food. That seriously limits my options out here.

But once I get the needed confidence of driving around here. Will ease my current scene quite a bit.

I can imagine how tough it might have been for a vegan here.
Yesterday I found a Tomato Basil soup. Happy, I pick it up to realise its made using chicken stock.
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Old 8th November 2010, 04:00   #10
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Oh wow!! Your experience reminds me of my friend from hyd who came along with me for the dirvers license test. He drove on the wrong side of the road and almost had a collision with a car while entering a free way!! This wasnt with the inspector and for a moment i remembered all Gods in my life.

Thankfully his license was rejected!

Enjoy your stay here and please be careful driving. Find out some indian stores around you but please lookout for the expiry dates on what you buy. You would be surprised that no one has died eating what some of these guys hold as fresh stock.

Enjoy your stay here and let me know if you need some help. I am on the east coast though so cant help with directions
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Old 8th November 2010, 04:59   #11
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Quote:
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That seriously limits my options out here.
Hmmm...quite a news; I used to stay at St Paul & Troy city & I was able to see quite a few outlets serving food with Halal. I thought it was the same everywhere. May be you need to locate a Bangladesh or Pakistani restaurants. Google Earth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
But once I get the needed confidence of driving around here. Will ease my current scene quite a bit.
Trust me it doesn't take more than a week for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I can imagine how tough it might have been for a vegan here.
Well, I'm a vegetarian, not a vegan. Its not that difficult being vegetarian in US. It becomes difficult only when we expect the same sambar kind of food.

Right from McD, Taco bells & even to Chillis, I used to have vegetarian menu. But only thing is one needs to get accustomed to it. I even had vegetarian food in Thai & IIRC once even at Taiwanese restaurant. The worst being Japanese as their vegetarian meal has fish in it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Yesterday I found a Tomato Basil soup. Happy, I pick it up to realise its made using chicken stock.


Don't worry, it might only be a chicken broth & might not have actual chicken.

A friend of mine, pure vegetarian, once went to Pizza hut & was tired of eating the same old cheese pizza & tried something different. He came to us & said it was excellent & we should try. We went with him next time only to realize that he had pepperoni pizza last time.

Last edited by aargee : 8th November 2010 at 05:01.
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Old 8th November 2010, 06:17   #12
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Decided to drive today.
I mean whats the point of having a car parked and such beautiful roads and being worried about right or left.

Since last night I had been reciting, right turn, turn it easy. left turn take 2.
Well that makes sense to me and that is all that matters.

Configured GPS to Baker Beach. The google maps had indicated it was a spot with a great view of Golden Gate Bridge.

Decided to avoid the freeway when going there. So took a road called El Camino Real.

Slowly and steadily started getting the feel of the road.
Understoon that the speed limits are important. But no one is driving at exactly that. Most of them were maintaining 10% higher speeds. Rain soaked roads, mild drizzle in some parts. But what a beautiful drive.

The view of mountains soaked in the clouds. The first glance of the magnificent Golden Gate bridge. The slightly curvy roads that took me into the along into their arms.

Made a mistake in taking a turn. Landed up in a residential area. Stop sign after stop sign. I follow the following procedure. Stop. Count till 5 and then continue. Now I can count till 5 without any mistakes. I would be among the top 3 people worldwide in this.

The Baker Beach parking lot had a chemical toilet. The cold weather and high pressure of the drive. Well I made my little contribution to it.

Its so much better than the way we treat our places in India.
Name:  Golden Gate.jpg
Views: 5058
Size:  41.8 KB

That pic was shot less than an hour back.

There were a couple of guys fishing. I have never seen anything like that. They have this long fishing rod. Its end has a heavy tackle. They launch the tackle and it goes quite some distance into the bay.

Then there were a couple of guys playing games. A family with a dog doing the usual, throw a ball, dog run after ball game.

Also a young couple. They must have been mouth doctors or something. As they were busy doing an examination.


On my return, I thought I must check out some shop. So requested the GPS to locate a Sears for me. There were simply to many Stop signs and the roads too narrow for me to stop. Got honked at once when I missed a car on my right and almost cut him off.

My car has multiple blind spots. Have started the turn head and check routine. The rear views are inadequate.

Cancelled the plan to drive to Sears. Continued back home. Decided I was ready for the Freeway.
In fact the Freeway is a lot lot easier to drive in compared to the other roads.

The speeds are higher. But there are no stop signs and no signals. As long as you stick to your lane its perfect. The only time I get a little edgy is if some car in an adjacent lane is driving beside me. The speeds were around 70mph.
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Old 8th November 2010, 09:14   #13
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@bblost, driving in SFO is fun (on the weekends) what with the up and down roads.

Regarding LHD, the easiest way to get used to it, is to always remember that the driver stays towards the middle of the road, and the passenger side towards the kerb. This is true for LHD as well as RHD :-)
So, whenever you turn, just quick check if you are towards the middle of the road, and you'll turn right.
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Old 8th November 2010, 10:08   #14
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Good start with videos of Dubai dutyfree.
Pictures of Golden gate looks good.
Police holding on for walking on the freeway,for some time that looks scary.
Thanks for sharing.
Post more pics if possible.
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Old 8th November 2010, 10:35   #15
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@BBlost - You missed Sears; I love to go to Sears for one thing - The Craftsman tools . Pls try to make to Sears as much as possible during your stay. They sometimes give a good deal on certain tools or on your entire purchase; do not miss them.

Also if you happen to locate a K-Mart in your locality, take a visit over there too. They also have a wider tools section.

Yes, driving in free way is scary until we take a plunge. Once the plunge is taken, its very easy & most comfortable way to reach the destination.

Last edited by aargee : 8th November 2010 at 10:36.
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