July 08, 2003

The last three saturdays have been very very different for me but all of them had one thing in common....I was out of town on all of them......two weeks ago I had gone to Pittsburgh to attend a friend's wedding.

I had been wanting to go the SV temple for a long time and due to some reason I have not been able to. Last time I had gone to Pittsburgh I could not go to the temple due to heavy rain, but this time I knew for sure that I would be going to the temple....well..the wedding was at the temple. I got to meet a lot of people whom I had not met in quite some time. In general we had a good time and it felt good to attend an Indian Wedding as it has been a long time since I had attended one.

A week ago....I had gone to Niagara Falls..... on behalf of the Indian Students Association in Akron we had taken some of the members to Niagara. They are the largest (not tallest....Victoria Falls are the talllest) falls in the world....700,000 gallons of water per second...!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can u imagine the magnitude and the quantity of water?????. Its a beautiful sight. I had been there in my first year at Akron with the International Students Club but had not been there since....not that it changed in 3 years...we were 10 of us in 2 cars. The trip was subsidized for the members of ISA....ISA paid for transportation and lunch. So the people had to only pay for the rides and dinner on the way back. we had a good time in the car in both the directions. we had our lunch at an Indian restaurant 30 mins from Niagara. We had a little confusion with parking as both rajiv and me parked in different lots. I parked near the Rainbow bridge (the bridge connection US and Canada) and Rajiv parked near .....the cave of the winds.

after a bit of waiting and confusion we met at the cave of the winds......thanx to the cell-phone technology. Cave of the winds is where you get to go under a smaller fall next to Niagara.....the place has 3 falls...Niagara, Americal and Bridal veil falls. Niagara is by far the biggest and Bridal the smallest. All of us got wet under the falls......Rajiv went beserk and started acting crazy...Hari was resisting from getting wet but eventually gave in. At the end of the whole thing I was the only one who was dry :):):). I religiously held on to my Poncho so I was dry everyone esle got wet. Then we went to Maid of the Mist which is a boat ride that takes u right to the feet of the Niagara falls..... I mean not directly under it but as close as we can get safely. It was a great experience as all of us wanted to get on to the top deck of the boat and get as close to the falls as possible. here too alll of us got wet....that includes yours truly....booo boooo....everyone conspired against me and pulled the hat of my poncho down and they all pounced on me...so I had to give me. but it was fun....here too rajiv went beserk. During the whole trip Rohini was constantly filming.....she was trying to get as much footage as possible during these last few months in the US. On the way back we had dinner at Subway:):):) It for pretty late by the time we got home and I had to play the next morning...but I wanted to wish Brijesh Happy Birthday and also just goto Hemant's party for some time so I went there...spent around an hour and left as I was dead tired. I and Hari had gone home early from the party when people grumbled saying that it wasnt fair that we left the party so early.......but both of us went home got the nights rest......guess what !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! both of us get Fifties the next morning and were involved in a century partnership....so wasnt it a good decision to go home early????? just kiddding guys!!!!

This past weekend.....I had gone to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky for Camping. we were 6 of us.....Rajesh, Nisha, Amol, Sindhu, Jyothi (Sindhu's friend from KY) and myself. We left Akron thursday night and stayed over at Nisha's place in Ashland (50 miles from here). The next day morning we wanted to leave by 8 am as we had a 6-7hr drive. All of us (with the exception of Rajesh) got up at around 7 and were ready. I was delayed in getting ready by a hour as I let rajesh to get in to the restroom before me.....a mistake.....Atlast we got ready and packed everything into the trunk of Nisha's car. We started at 9:15 listing to songs we knew that we will be needing a large collection of songs for this trip. Nisha found this website....entertain123...from which we can download hindi Mp3's for free. She had a huge collection which lasted the trip.

we got to the campsite at around 3 in the afternoon...Central time....Nisha and Sindhu went to pick Jyothi so Amol, Rajesh and I were left with the resposiblity of setting up the tents.....Amol and Nisha had a tent of their own and I borrowed a tent from my advisor. The tent hadnt been used for a long time so it was having a bad odor. We assembled all the rods needed to erect the tent and put them in a tensioning triangular piece at the top of the tent......which we thought was enough for setting the tent up.....we bent the rods to peg them to the ground and out of nowhere one of the sides of the tensioning device broke!!!!!! Oh-noooooo. we thought we can still manage.....then another broke....now it was useless....so we asked the girls to get some kind of super glue on their way back.....we then set up Amol's tent without any hassles.....we then had to use .....early man technology......stones and wood chunks to nail the pegs of the tent into the ground. Atleast we had one tent so we were happy. Then when the girls came back with the glue we tried gluing the broken part but to our disappointment it just didnt stick... :(:(:( . The we erected the tent as best as we could so that we were able to put atleast our bags in there. After the setting up and everything....we went to the near by amusement park....we went Alpine Sliding later in the day...its nothing but coming down a hill on a little plastic car....u have a lever to control the speed and to brake. It was fun especially at the turns...u would literally turn sideways.....alll this is based on the speed ur coming down with. Then we did the Bumping cars....we had fun bumping into each other and some of us were going in circles making sure not to touch any other car....but the others ganged up and repeatedly hit them. we got back around 7pm so we decided to play some volleyball...

After a while we decided that we were getting hungry so we started our BBQ experiment....we started a campfire and the campsite provided a grill so we had to only make sure that the fire was burning. It was big deal starting and then keeping the fire going. We had a lot of veggie patties and a box of chicken patties. Each of us had a couple of burgers each with onions, tomatoes and lettuce....it was a great dinner and the BBQ burgers were good stuff. We then started playing Taboo in the dark...it was first time for Sindhu, rajesh and Jyothi but they caught up pretty welll. we had fun playing and we came up with vague sentences and phrases to describe the word. The we decided to go to bed as some of us were going to sleep outdoors and we would be woken up by the Sun early in the morning. So Sindhu, Jyothi, Rajesh and I slept outside on the sleeping bags...we had 2 pillows and 2 blankets between the 4 of us. I couldn't sleep well as something....ant or some other bug......crept on to my legs every 30 mins or so. eventually I was woken up by the sunlight. We then got ready to go to the Cave itself.

We drove with six of us in the car...2 in the front and 4 at the back. It wasnt a long drive thankfully. we got there and to our disappointment most of the tours were sold out and the only reasonable (time and cost factors) tour was called The Frozen Niagara . It was supposed to be a 2hr long tour. So we decided to go on that. The guide was pretty funny but was wasting a lot of time just talking rather than taking us on the tour. The Cave was magnificant......it was great site...the rocks around and the dripping water....slippery floor and a long flight of steps to the bottom of the cave.....250 ft below the ground. The Mammoth cave spans over 365 miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...Now Now , dont come to conclusions that the caves will take you to Chicago from kentucky :):)....they are in 5 levels and each probably 70-80 miles long. No wonder its called a Mammoth Cave, the biggest and the longest cave in the whole world !!!!!!!!!!!. The next biggest cave in the world is half the size of Mammoth cave, that speaks volumes abt the cave. At one point the guide said that he will show how the rest of the mammoth caves looked as the tour covered only 3/4 mile. He asked us to switch off all the sources of light...cell phones, cameras and camcorders. he then switched off the cave lights!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was pitch dark !!!!!!! trust me it was absolutely dark and he said that the human eyes will never be able to adapt to that darkness so we will not see a thing. we could not even see the person next to us....man!!!!! just imagine living in such a cave ???????

The Frozen Niagara is nothing but a formation of limestone 70 ft tall that looks like a statue of a water fall. Its a look alike of frozen Niagara falls hence its name. it was great site...all in all it was paisa vasool. Then we had lunch at Pizza hut and went to a hauntd maze against my request to play putt putt....but i guess now most of the members of the group must be thinking..."why didnt we go and play putt putt ????" The maze was really scary....it was literally pick black and it had all the ingredients needed to scare a person.....some of the group members got very scared (I will not disclose their identities) and wanted to get out of the maze.....but it was a maze..so we needed to find a way out ....we came to a fork which had two options to go ahead...Cowards way and Brave's way....we went out the cowards way and dropped off the scared people and went back into the maze to finish the brave's way. It was really scary and we had to feel our way through the maze. somehow we made it out and we were glad that we were out....but before we could exit the maze there was one more scarry and unexpected surprise for us!!!!!!! All in all even this was paisa vasool.

then we went back to the camp and thought of swimming for some time. The mission for all of us for most part of the swim was "lets drown Rajesh". he cant swim so that made it more exciting. we played basketball and then even played Marco Polo of which most of us targetted Rajesh again......we then had the repeat of last evening......BBQ and then Taboo...we tried playing UNO but the light was insufficient to distinguish the colors... we then went to bed and like the previous night 2 pillows, 2 blankets and 4 people and lots of bugs!!!!!!!!!!!

to be continued.........

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