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Old 21st March 2011, 12:01   #1
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Default Beyond the Horizon - A Business trip to Silicon Valley

When my manager informed me that I have to travel to Silicon Valley for a month, I was not too enthusiastic about it at first.

A business trip abroad is never enjoyable, specially if you go alone. You slog all the time and when it comes to going out, you don;t feel like going anywhere alone. Weekends are a bore and you seem to miss home too much. A partner sometimes solves this problem, but this time it's only me who would have to travel.

There are other logistical problems too. I have to send Nanda to Kolkata to stay with her parents. She was not too eager to go to Kolkata either, as she visited her parents just last month.

Taking Nanda with me would change things for sure. So after some deliberation, and lot of financial calculations, we decide that she would join me in this trip. This means, I would have to sponsor her tickets only. She already has a visa.

So the business trip has become kind of a pleasure trip for us.

Before I start writing the detailed log let me express my level of confidence while writing this.

First of all, I have never written about any of my previous foreign trips. This one will be first. Secondly, this would be a real time trip log. I will keep on adding story and photos throughout our stay is US. Also, I'm equipped with only company laptop, so all the posted photos will be unedited original photos.

Some teaser photos from our first two days of venturing out.

The Car

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The View from the Hotel Room
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Golden Gate Bridge
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California Coast from CA 1
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to be continued...
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Old 21st March 2011, 12:06   #2
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Default Re: Beyond the Horizon - A Business trip to Silicon Valley

Th third pic (California coast) looks awesome. Keep pouring the pictures in. Waiting to see more.

And it is true to what you said. Being alone in the western countries in the weekend is a hell. I have faced many of them and you'll feel like time is stand still.
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Old 21st March 2011, 12:35   #3
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Default Re: Beyond the Horizon - A Business trip to Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley has lot of places to be explored in and around the bay area. Keep the pics coming and you will find out a lot of lovely driving destinations around the bay area suburbs of Milpitas, San Mateo,Oakland to name a few. Do plan to visit some lovely vineyards in and around Milpitas.
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Old 21st March 2011, 12:49   #4
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Default Re: Beyond the Horizon - A Business trip to Silicon Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by KishoreC View Post
...Weekends are a bore...
I found a nice way to mitigate this. I was in San Jose for about a month and used to take the Day pass (all 6 zones) of Caltrain and hop at various stops checking out the cities. Ended up in SFO most of the times though.
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Old 24th March 2011, 05:42   #5
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Default Day 1 : The First Day

The day finally arrived. We packed 4 suitcases and a handbag.
Taxi came at 11:30 in the night and dropped us at Bangalore International Airport.

Our camera was packed in check-in bag, so no photos of Journey.

We spent the next 4 hours in the airport before boarding an Emirates flight to Dubai.
We had 2 hours of lay-off time in Dubai, most of which was spent looking for a smoking area in the Terminal. We found one near Gate 121. That was quite a walk back to Gate 217 from where our flight to San Francisco was.

It took 16 hours to reach San Francisco. I watched 5 movies and still had lot of time to sleep and feel bored. We finally reached SFO on-time at 13:55 local time. It was still Friday, even after 20 hours of flight and 2 hours of lay-off.

Immigration and customs were smooth and we were directed to the automated train service between terminals, to reach the car rental companies.

Getting the car took some time, even after having reservations. I got a Toyota Camry. Smaller ones wouldn't accommodate our four suitcases.

This is the part that scared me. I learned driving in US and driven in US for 5 years. But last 2 and half years and 70K of driving in India has made me an Indian driver now. I'm used to honking and other typical Indian driving behavior which is unacceptable in US. Here I have to drive to reach the hotel. And to make it worse, I had to get onto US Highway 101 immediately after coming out of the Airport, in evening traffic, to reach San Jose. I took 10 minutes to make myself comfortable behind the wheel before starting the car up.

First impression, this is a much bigger car than what I drive in India. Nanda sitting in the passenger seat is so far away from the driving seat.

First thing we notice after coming out of the car parking is "It's raining". That did not better our mood.

It took us more than one and half hours to reach San Jose. First US 101 South then CA 237 east to reach Milpitas where the Hotel is, all the way it was heavy traffic.

Checking into Embassy Suites, Milpitas was quick and easy.

The first concern after reaching the hotel is to get rid of the jet lag. The easiest way as per my experience is to try to push yourself to match your biological clock with the local clock. This means you don't want to fall asleep till your normal sleeping our as per the local time. For us it meant we have to be awake for 4 or so more hours.

Our plan was to immediately go out and spend the evening in the Great Mall nearby. So we got ready immediately to go out.

On our way out we took couple of pictures.

The Car:

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The Hotel:

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We spent the whole evening in The Great Mall and returned back to hotel by 9. Soon we crashed to bed.

A sigh of relief that we reached San Jose safely.

Last edited by KishoreC : 24th March 2011 at 05:47.
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Old 24th March 2011, 06:13   #6
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Default Day 2 : Go out

We have 4 weekends in total to enjoy, and the first one being immediately after San Jose. All the more reason to bring Nanda with me.

Started the day as usual. The view from the room is amazing. Silicon Valley is really as series of Valleys and you can see hills around almost from anywhere.

The hotel is quite a costly one and belongs to the Hilton Group of Hotels.
No worries there, company is sponsoring.

Here are couple of photos of the room we are staying in.
It is on 10th floor and the view from the balcony is amazing.

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I will post some photos of the view from balcony taken on a sunny day.
And some more photos inside the hotel.

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Soon we started our first day out, in the rain.
To be continued...
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Old 26th March 2011, 12:27   #7
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Default Day 2 : Continued

With No time to waste we head out. Our goal is to hit CA 1, which is supposed to be a very scenic route.

Rain gods are not pleased.

We start out towards north. Destination CA 1, coastal route. This whole are is riddled with green hillocks and valleys. No point in taking out the camera in this rain.

And then leaving the freeway we drive through numerous state and county highways to reach CA 1.

We reach CA 1 but find it to be closed at several places because
of flooding. We managed to touch Pacific Ocean and take couple of photos.

Only view of Pacific.

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We find CA 1 to be deserted. Bad weather I guess.
Soon we had to turn back because the road was closed. We stop at a local shop for coffee and snacks. Special attraction "Corn Dogs".

It's been a fruitless day today, but roaming around in this green environment is so freshening that both of our mood was quite high. We plan to take a different route home.

On our way back we come through Golden Gate bridge and also see San Francisco downtown.

Couple of pictures of Golden Gate Bridge.

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We spend the evening in the nearby mall with a dinner at the Arby's.
Second day gone, we are looking for better weather tomorrow.

Continued...
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Old 26th March 2011, 12:55   #8
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Default Day 3 - 20th March 2011: On CA 1, this time south

First thing we do after waking up is look through the window. There is cloud there, and hell lot of it.

Another rainy day. It's not raining continuously, but I'm sure it will rain the moment we go out. It will rain every time we reach a good spot and think about stopping the car. It will rain every time we take out the camera.

That has been the way it is.

So without much hope, we get ready and head out after a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel.

Today's destination is CA 1 again, but this time we will go south of San Jose.

Couple of pictures taken on Freeway US 101.

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We need some sunshine

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We come out of freeway onto the county roads. Green everywhere, and that's how we like it.

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Thick jungle around us

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We reach CA 1 and continue south. CA 1 becomes a freeway and continues to be a freeway for sometime. We pass a beautiful beach city. Some photos taken in this section.

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First view of Pacific today

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Camera was having hard time focusing, but this one came out nicely

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Sand dunes next to sea. Created by wind from Pacific

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After the beach city, landscape started changing. There were much more trees around. The road became hilly and the freeway section ended.

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Green everywhere

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Wouldn't mind living here

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Beautiful

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Not talking about the Honda Pilot

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Soon we get to a beach, continued in next post..
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Old 3rd April 2011, 03:36   #9
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Default Day 3 - 20th March 2011: Continued

Surprisingly I am not getting any time to write this travelogue. Weekdays are quite busy with meetings and weekends are busy with roaming around.

Anyway, lets continue with day 3.

Soon after we hit a portion of CA 1 with lots of places to stop. There was one beach and a few viewpoints. The next set of pictures are from this potion.

Monastery Beach

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To the next viewpoint.


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View of ocean from on top of a cliff.


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Then a series of coastline vistas


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And then the road was closed

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We turned tail and head back north again

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Stopped at this beautiful shop for coffee on the way

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That's the end of day 3 and we head back to hotel.
From tomorrow I have to go to office.
Continued...

Last edited by KishoreC : 3rd April 2011 at 03:47.
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Old 3rd April 2011, 04:18   #10
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Default Beyond the Horizon - First work week

It's been raining, from the time we reached here. And it's going to rain through the next week.

So going out meant going in, either to a mall or somewhere indoor.
Weekdays have been busy. Some of the days we managed to go go out, some days I had to attend meetings in the evenings.

These are the photos from the first work week.


Some photos from hotel balcony



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Traffic jam is an everyday thing here



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Eastridge - Another mall


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Some night shots


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Next up.. second weekend.. it's still raining
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Old 10th April 2011, 04:22   #11
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Default Second Weekend

It's till raining. We have only four weekends here, so we go out, raining or not.

We drive towards Sequoia National Park. Lots of photos taken on the way.

Moving east on CA 152

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And then we got lost. Our GPS was taking us through a road which was closed due to flooding. So we had to find an alternate route, and that's where we got lost.

Miles and miles of farm land. California grows produces almost 50% of the food US eats.

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And back on track again.

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Continued...
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Old 10th April 2011, 04:54   #12
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Default Second Weekend - Continued...

There reach the region of Sequioa National Park.
Lets the photo describe the beauty of the region.

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And then on the way back.

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Continued...
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Old 10th April 2011, 05:02   #13
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Default Second Weekend - Continued...

On the way back Sun came out, for the first time since we reached Silicon Valley.

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That was the end of the Saturday.

Continued...
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Old 10th April 2011, 09:11   #14
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Default Re: Beyond the Horizon - A Business trip to Silicon Valley

nice travelogue, I am liking the amount of pictures uploaded, its keeping me wanting for more.

I also see one Prius Taxi. Are those available for self drive rentals too ?
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Old 10th April 2011, 11:44   #15
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Default Re: Beyond the Horizon - A Business trip to Silicon Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanwaramit View Post
nice travelogue, I am liking the amount of pictures uploaded, its keeping me wanting for more.

I also see one Prius Taxi. Are those available for self drive rentals too ?
Good to hear that you liked the pictures.

I have seen privately driven Prius Hybrid around. They should be available for rental, but not really sure. I don't think rental companies have started buying hybrids. They don't care if customer pays more for the fuel.
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