Monday, April 30, 2007

My favs amongst Aristotle quotes

Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

The gods too are fond of a joke.

Evil brings men together.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NYC tour

Though I have been near NYC for over an year and a half, I never got a chance to explore the city, with the exception of a couple of night club visits. A bunch of friends visiting from Louisiana finally catalyzed my much awaited NYC tour. Armed with Newyork passes, which promises free entry at over fifty tourist attractions in NYC, we had chalked out a plan to visit Statue of Liberty, Empire state building and Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Even that turned out to be asking for too much, given the long queues and security check points at each place. But the New York pass certainly did its part by saving us from the long queues for buying the entry passes.

On an unusually sunny day (in December ’06) we started with the ferry ride, from Battery Park on the southern most tip of Manhattan Island, to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island The Clinton Castle, a circular fortress built in 1811 to defend the NY harbor, from where we boarded the ferry, later led me on an interesting read of NYC history in wikipedia. Sky ride, a simulated helicopter ride over Manhattan, at the Empire state building with narration in the backdrop by Kevin Bacon was the highlight. The finale, dinner at "namba ooru" Saravana Bhavan on Lex avenue – 28th street was a fitting reward for famished crowd after a long-tiring day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Henry Ford on Re-incarnation

It's mere coincidence that a friend and I were talking about "Re-incarnation" and around the same period I was reading about Henry Ford out of sheer curiosity. I found Henry Ford's view on "Re-incarnation" more appealing than what religion has to offer about it!!

Henry Ford: "I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was twenty six. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilise the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan I realised that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

DC trip

After browsing over the internet for good, economical and not-too-far (hard to have all of them together) cabin accommodations around NYC, we decided to change the theme of vacation to “sight-seeing city trip”. Boston and Washington DC were the names that sprang up immediately on our minds. A week later we were on the road to DC. Bright and sunny weather laced with mesmerizing music by “Robert Miles” ensured the five-hour drive was pleasant.

One thing markedly different about DC is the dominance of classical European style architecture. Later I learnt that Thomas Jefferson introduced this style to the US. The DC weather, around this time of the year, makes it conducive for tour-by-walk, providing all the time you might need to appreciate the beauty of the numerous beautiful buildings. If you find more beggers on the streets than other US cities, don’t be surprised; it’s the capital of the capitalism. A stroll in the national mall by the day and through George town by night speak volumes about the city and its culture. One thing I would have loved was the “segway” tour of the National mall. DC metro experience is a far cleaner one, if you have been on NYC subways.

The lover of art, culture and history that I am, I would have loved to visit all the museums there. But time forced me onto only the National museum of natural history. I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see unless you are a kid or a taxidermist. The various animals preserved through taxidermy are worth a quick glimpse. If Jurassic park ever caught your attention, then try the dinosaur fossil exhibits.

On the first night of our stay in DC, we tried Ethiopian cuisine at the Zed's in George town area and without a doubt that was the highlight of the trip. The moment we entered the restaurant, the strong onion and garlic smell struck some known chords. I was least prepared for what was to come. The traditional bread of Ethiopia is “Injera,” and it tastes just like… guess what?... Tamilnadu’s dosa or “appam” to be more precise!! And when you have that with the spicy non-vegetarian side dishes, you get a feel of “chettinadu” cuisine. Vegetarians!! Don’t shy away, you have a lot of choice out there too! If you ever get a chance, don’t miss Ethiopian food !!

The second day, we visited Udvar-Hazy Center of the Air and Space Museum near Washington Dulles International Airport. My recently cultivated interest in aviation history drove me to it. I was rewarded with the sight of one of the “Wright Flyers,” a bi-plane flown by Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, NC, in 1903. Among other spectacular exhibits, it houses space shuttle “Enterprise”, the Enola Gay (the B29 that dropped the first atomic bomb) and an SR-71 Blackbird ( it’s feast to your eyes).

The Cherry blossom splendor around Potomac River Park can really take your breath away. Understandably the cherry blossom trees were a gift of “city of Tokyo” to the “city of DC”. Its looks like the shores of the lake had been white washed and splashed with lavender. It certainly is worth a look.

Overall the DC trip was a big relief away from the Big Apple!! And a special thanks to the sweet couple who accomodated us!
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