Disneyland or Disneyworld?

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“India Jones” ride, this ride was very exciting and adventurous, you pass through steep valleys, rail roads, and a big stone try to hit your Jeep etc. Next, we went to “Pirate of Caribbean’s” ride, I didn’t know about this movie until this ride, my wife liked it most. They make you sit in a boat, that boat give you a tour of pirate world and you also get to know something about movie. During the ride you always feel that at some point of time boat will take a sudden fall.

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Dhanushkodi – No Land only Sand

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We reached Rameshwaram from Madurai about 3:00 PM, we planned to visit Rameshwaram temple in the morning, so we asked our taxi driver Kannan if there is any beach nearby, he nodded his head and said “Yeeessss” (I liked the way he used to say Yeeessss”), it is 13 kms from here and is called Dhanushkodi.
Well, we reached the beach in about 45 minutes, on the way, we also visited a temple where Lord Rama performed the “Raj Tilak” of Vibhishan. Kannan told us that this is the beach, it was very deserted. We found an Indian Navy post there, a tea stall and a snack shop. The Indian Ocean was beautiful, roaring and with high waves. We dared not go too deep inside and also asked the kids to stay off.

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Macau – Not just the Casino place

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So, back to Macau trip, we reached the Macau Ferry terminal around 7:30, it is Visa on arrival and good part is that no Visa fees, had immigration formalities, Amit had a little issue at the immigration counter due to some glitch done by immigration officer, but it got sorted out soon. We inquired about the taxi for Venetian hotel and found that Venetian and other major hotels provides free shuttle service from Ferry terminal to there hotel, we came out and waited few minutes for Venetian shuttle. Venetian hotel is on Cotai Strip which is on the other side of the main business centre of Macau, it took us about 45 minutes to reach Venetian. As it was night, all the casinos, down town, bridge all were glowing with beautiful lights, our face were also glowing with lots of excitement, I don’t know what excitement, whether it was reminding Vegas memories or Gambling or what?? We found MGM, Galaxy, Hard Rock and few more hotels on the way, Galaxy is huge and looks like a palace of some King. After reaching Venetian, it took us about 15 minutes to find the check-in counter as this is also a very huge hotel, check-in was quick and we were allocated adjacent rooms on 10th floor.

Next day we planned for Macau trip, we booked a guided bus tour “Macao Discovery Tour” from the hotel itself through “Cotai Travel”, tickets were like HKD 400 each person and it was a 4 hour tour. We had lunch in the Desi restaurant “Golden Peacock”, food was very good, I told restaurant manager that this food is even better then few North Indian restaurants in Bangalore, and he kind of a offended and said sarcastically that “Sir, even better then many restaurants in Delhi”, I was not convinced though. Well, after lunch, we headed towards the lobby to catch the tour guide. After few minutes of wait, our guide arrived, explained few things and took out a flag and asked us to follow her and watch out for the flag wherever we go, this will help all to stay together. Then I noticed several flags with different colours in the lobby itself and all the sights we visited as well.

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Dekha 1 khwab to…Seattle Tulip Festival

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We visited Tulip festival first time in April 2002, and after that it was a yearly to do event. I didn’t knew about Tulip festival till my friend Amit asked me if we are interesting to go there coming weekend. I said yes, I was having office provided rental car that time, and pretty excited for a long drive. But my friend shattred my dream saying that he will take his car as I am not not an experienced driver in United States, I argued for some time without any luck. Anyway, it was a sunny day, not very common in Seattle, we took I-5 North towards Vancouver, I-5 connects West side of Canada and Mexico, passing through Washington, Oregon and California states. We were 3 families and it took about 2 hours of drive as I-5 is crowded, seems that everybody was driving towards Tulips. We took Exit 231 for Tulips, and I think it was wrong exit or it was much closer to Tulip fields.
Prasad, one of the other friend, took the charge as guide as he was supposed to be knowledgable about different Tulip fields. There are multiple Tulip fields, and you can see different colors of Tulip flowers like red, yellow, orange, white, magenta, some mixed color Tulips. We entered the first field, and it was the WOW moment, a Kodak moment, “Dekha 1 khwab to ye silsile…” moment. As it was a sunny day, place was crowded, everybody was taking pictures, we also settled ourselv and took few pictures. I didn’t had a any camera that time, so I was completely dependent on my friends.

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Ae bhai jara dekh kar chalo… Be Safe while on road

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I was travelling to Bareilly from Moradabad, distance is about 80 KM, highway is nice but with 5 railway crossings. I was lucky to pass 2 of them without any stop, 3rd one took me 55 minutes and 4th one took 40 minutes to cross. Reason, I stopped my car in the lane I was driving and watching people zooming from right, left, sidewalks, everywhere, not just the cars but state transport buses as well. Once the train got passed, I am not sure whether my car was moving or not, but after 30 minutes, I was able to see railway line men getting ready to close down the crossing again for another train. Same story is during traffic jams. So, guys, please wait patiently, be in your lane, don’t try to rush from your right or left, otherwise you will also be contributing to the traffic jam.

I thought of writing lot of things, but I do not have right words, we experience these things when we are on road, I should have a video for it. Long back I read in one of the article that your child observes your driving, they adopt the same driving habits as yours, so, be careful.

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Disneyland # 3 – Hongkong Disneyland

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After swimming, evening walk, pictures, ladies dressed in nice costumes, we took a shuttle from our hotel to Disney hotel for the dinner. Disney hotel is built on Disney theme and it is beautiful, from outside and inside as well. Dinner was in “Enchanted Garden” Restaurant, it’s a very up-scale restaurant with a huge variety of food items in the buffet. It’s a multi-cuisine buffet, Asian, Italian, continental, European and on top of that Indian food – “aur kya chahiye desi ko”. Huge variety of Meat items, variety of sea food, poultry, must say that it’s a fiesta for meat lovers, vegetarians can also find lots of variety but not comparable to non-vegetarian items, Indian food too had Lamb, Chicken and Dal, but it was well prepared. During the dinner, all Disney Characters were visiting each and every table, kids as well as adults were super excited meeting Mickey, Mini, Goofy, Pluto and having photographed with them. We enjoyed a lot there for about 2 hours, good food, nice ambiance and on top of that Dinner with Mickey, Mini and others and came back to our hotel with unforgettable memories.

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Thekkady – Another hope for tiger sighting

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After check-in, we took a walk in the resort, it is a not a very big resort and does not have a very nice view unless you go on the terrace of the reception. It has a nice swimming pool though and not to mention that we spent that evening in the swimming pool as kids does not wanted to do anything else. I inquired about the must see things from hotel staff and they mentioned about Jungle Safari with Jungle Trek, Periyar Tiger Reserve boat ride in a man made lake, Kerala Martial Art, Kathakkali dance show, Elephant ride and Elephant bathing. We decided to first go to the Jungle Safari, we booked the Jeep for 5:30 AM in the morning. In the evening, we went out for dinner as we wanted to try to local food, we found one restaurant, it was newly opened, they were serving Kerala and north Indian food. We tried both and it was ok kind of food. Interestingly, the waiter who was serving us, told me that he lived in Ghaziabad for few years and has recently moved back and his sister still works as a nurse in one of the hospital in Ghaziabad.

This Jungle tour is a Kerala government 8 hour package tour which includes Jeep, Jungle Safari, Jungle Trek with guide, 30 minutes boat ride in a small lake along with breakfast and Lunch. We started at 6:00 AM sharp in the morning, driver was not very happy as we got late. After about 45 minute drive, we reached the main entrance of Periyar Jungle and our safari started from there, it was about 15 KMS we drove watching couple of monkeys and few birds and reached the government rest house where the Jungle Trek starts. Lots of people were already there and waiting for the breakfast, after having breakfast we were introduced to our guide who was suppose to take us to the Jungle Trek. He gave us a cloth to wrap around the legs to avoid the leaches, he asked whether we wanted to do 1/2/3 hour trek, I silently chose the 2 hr trek, my wife wanted to have 3 hour trek, but I somehow managed her.

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Universal Studios – Los Angles and Orlando

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The first memorable ride I remember in LA was the studio tour by bus, they take you in a multiple bogie bus for a tour, it gives you an experience of flood, train accident, Kingkong. In the middle of tour, driver and conductor starts arguing whether to cross a bridge or not which looks very fragile and can break any time. Conductor says that bridge will go down if we drive down the bus but driver wants to take a chance and he finally drove down the bus over the bridge. And, all of sudden you experience that bridge has broken, everybody starts screaming, after few minutes, bridge comes back to it’s original position and everybody start laughing. Your bus enters in to a railway station and suddenly everything started
shaking, one train tried to hit our bus, fire on the platform and then you say “Wah Kya Scene hein”. Then you pass through a Mexican city, bus suddenly stopped due to flood, it felt that we all are going to drown in the flood. I must say that this was one of the most memorable 90 minute ride I can have any time. But, this bus ride is not available in Orlando, all the above scenes has been converted in to a separate exhibit or ride. One of the exciting ride in Orlando was when they take you in the boat and sharks start following your boat and all of a sudden one of the shark appears from the water – name the movie now.

When I visited Universal Studios first time, “Water World” show was one of the best show I have ever seen. They created the show as you start feeling that everything is happening so real in front of you, fire, fighting in water, plane crash and more. Mummy’s ride in Orlando, a roller coaster ride in complete dark with hauling sound and suddenly roller coaster falls backward – baap re baap.

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