Plano Revisited 2013

Plano on my Mind.. ramblings of my 2013 visit to Plano..

Last week, I was in Plano for my annual visit. This is the visit where I spend a few days with my brother and his family and spend a few days with my closes 1700 fellow employees from the employee resource groups from the company I work for.

Yet we all know that this post is about my Plano, Texas visit..

The term I want to introduce to my readers is “Tiger Moms”. These are mothers that become so involved with their kids athletic events that they think it’s normal to be total jerks instead of just encouraging their kids to play fair and do the best they can.

I went to see my nephew play at one of his tennis team matches in West Plano. Let me tell you this is serious High School tennis.. East Plano Vs. West Plano at it’s best.  Yet of course I digress.

Two young ladies were playing and it was a tough match. After the match the winner walked over to where I was sitting. The winner was limping and she apparently was playing injured.  Tiger Mom “A” (The Loser’s mom) says to the young lady (winner),  “you shouldn’t have played”.  The Dad casually says “She won (his daughter) anyway”. Well this set off a chain of events that led to escalation to the loser’s coach for the innocent response from the Dad, as “bad sportsmanship”, etc..

Of course the other tiger mom’s jumped in and were saying nasty remarks over this whole incident.. I was so amused by this whole one-act play at a tennis match. These women were living their own lives through their kids with their overbearing opinions and attitudes.

I actually thought the whole exchange was pretty pathetically hilarious! Parents should encourage their kids to show sportsmanship, instead of being role models, they act like they are in high school themselves. Remember these are upper middle class moms whose income exceeds 6 figures at a minimum.

High school sports in Texas is a very serious business. Football, Tennis, it’s huge. I don’t know whether any of you have heard of the show “Friday night lights”. That’s Texas sports in a nutshell,

Beyond that my Plano visit in a nutshell. Oh I forgot about my sinus infection and my visit to the local “Minute Clinic” at the local CVS.., What a concept. You make a quick appointment, get evaluated by a physician’s assistant, and get a script all in an hour. No doctor needed. All insurance accepted.

I also saw some amazing pre-construction new houses that are just state of the art in McKinney, Texas.  Keep in mind, McKinney was voted the best place to live in America in 2012. Overall, McKinney is a really nice small town which feels like a place where you can truly call home! Yes, this is coming from a long-term NJ, homey.

Every time I visit Plano, I love it more and more.. If all the stars align.. this may become a reality sooner than later..

That’s all for now..

Where else can you find random ramblings like this which don’t seem to have any logical stream.. Dad’s Taxi of course!

 

 

 

Longwood Gardens – Flowers and beauty everywhere

Our visit to Longwood Gardens, and Dad’s tips for having a great time!

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Yesterday, Dad and his family went to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Let me tell you this was one of the most fun I’ve had in such a long time!

Oh my the walking! I’m sure I filled my daily quota of 10K steps yesterday. Of course the 10K quota is an ongoing target for Dad in his futile attempt to lose weight by walking 10K steps each day!

I’ve been meaning to go to Longwood Gardens for such a long time and I was pleased that we finally went on Saturday. Of course everyone knows by now, I refuse to pay full price for admission to anything.

Dad’s Tip to save money: So the first thing in the morning, I scrambled through my mounds of emails and finally found a great deal on Groupon which saved me 50% off the admission ($18) for each person. Yea me! Of course as soon as we got there, we spent $50 for food that should have cost not more than $20 as a non-captive audience outside.

Oh well, such is the labors of saving money. One hand saves, the other hand gives..

Dad is not known to appreciate nature’s beauty, but the Conservatory, and the grounds that we walked truly were a sight to see. I’d like to come back again when we can see the night shows as well as the fireworks.

I won’t bore you with the amazing stuff I saw there, but I’ll give you my perspective on what I saw.

  • Tremendously helpful staff, and great layout! I had come here when I was a child and I really don’t remember this place being so well laid out and so beautiful! I think I was a teenager when I came here last and I remember the light shows in the water fountains! Spectacular!
  • The horticulture and the landscaping of this place is to die for. Thank god I don’t have to mow the grass here! The layout is conducive to walking and walking and walking. Plenty of places to sit along the way.
  • Luckily the weather was conducive to walking. Low humidity and a clear sunny day! I took so many pictures! I finally figured out how to (correctly) take panoramic pictures using my iPhone. Yes, that’s pretty pathetic, considering I’ve had this iPhone for a few years.. Once I got the hang of it.. I became panoramic picture happy.. Did you expect anything less?
  • Dad’s Tip to remain hydrated: Come in with a water bottle. Once you walk around, you WILL need it. Fortunately, there are quite a few well placed  (working) water fountains on the grounds. For the coldest water, go back to the main entrance, get your hand stamped and get water from here
  • The drive to Longwood Gardens from Central NJ (Middletown) is about 2 and 1/2 hours. If you follow your navigator from Google Maps.. 🙂 and don’t deviate no matter how many times you feel like. Of course, today I found out that I could have shortened my trip time, if  instead of taking local roads, I should have taken exit 4 from the New Jersey Turnpike and taken all highways!
  • Dad’s Tip: Arrive later in the day, so when there are night shows at the fountains, you can just lounge around and see the great fountain light show with music!

I’m finding that in order to have a great time, you really don’t have to spend a lot of money. Yet  Dad being so Frugal (many call me cheap) is always looking to cut corners with expenses and this causes paralysis by analysis before going on any journey!

Being of South Asian descent, I was also surprised at this: There were so many South Asian Families enjoying the same venue. From where I stood, there was at least a two to one ratio of South Asian visitors to others. I think this is great! So many extended families were there with their entire generational family members! I just wondered how the older family members managed to walk the amount of walking that had to be done!

Dad’s Tip: If you truly don’t want to walk, you can rent a 3 wheeled cart that you can take anywhere! Don’t think I wasn’t tempted, but these are truly meant for individuals with handicaps or have some kind of physical limitations on walking!

I tell you, the Water Lillies and the conservatory were the highlights of this visit, I could have spent the entire day in the conservatory just admiring the inside and how the beauty made you feel like you were not even indoor! Gotta go back here again and spend more time here.

Finally, Dad is doing things instead of just staying home and vegetating. Last week camping, this week Longwood Gardens!

If you have visited Longwood Gardens, what was the highlight of your visit? I’d sure like to hear from you!

Oh Canada!

Au Canda! Tips and observations of my Canada vacation!

I know I haven’t blogged in a few weeks! I have a good excuse, Dad and his taxi of life was en vacances in Canada this month!

Last week we took a road trip to Quebec and Montreal respectively. Feel free to comment if you have anything to add!

Driving to Canada takes about 8 hours, well actually 10 if you count the health and hunger breaks! This was the first time we didn’t rent a mini-van (to be a frugal dad). Our Camry was fine for the 4 of us. Everyone was happy. Well most of the time anyway!

I had never really visited Canada before last week (except for a Punjabi Wedding in Toronto about 20 years ago!, but that’s another story for another day!).

I could talk about what we did, but my readers don’t pay to be bored with that, so I’ll give Dad’s perspective on the trip!

We saw two totally different cities in Quebec and Montreal.

  • Quebec had amazing mountain ranges and outdoor activities, walking and lots and lots of history and culture. The Old Town area, the Gondola Ride, the amazing waterfalls, and the outstanding countryside scenes were truly breath taking. Of course I took lots of pics, but they are still on my iPhone and not published yet!
  • Montreal felt like NYC, except it was clean and the underground city, the Basillica of Notre dame, Olympic Park, the Biodome, Old Town, were just magnificent. I’ve decided that this will be another road trip next year here to truly get the impact of this city. Oh! I forgot the Metro trains! So efficient!

Some Dad’s Taxi Observations/Tips:

  • Canada is truly breathtaking and worth the trip. The immigration into Canada is a lot faster (minutes) as opposed to the return to US (over an hour). If anything the return delay coming to US was the only negative thing I experienced during this trip.

 

  • The natives are just amazing with their hospitality and their kindness. Even if you don’t speak French (I speak high school level of course!), you are not at a disadvantage!
  • Take along a credit card that doesn’t charge international fees! American Express or debit cards just don’t cut it. Be prepared to be hit with conversion and fees! Boo! I’d recommend you take cash.. and try to find places with minimal or no currency exchange fees.
    • Canadian $1 and $2 coins, are the norm.. so be prepared to jingle your way through Canada with your spare change..
    • The US Dollar is accepted everywhere! Since it’s only a few pennies difference, many establishments will give you a one-to-one conversion. Try giving Canadian currency anywhere in the US and see what happens!
  • Be prepared to spend, spend and shop! The artisans, the tours, and the things to do in both Quebec and Montreal is endless! Now I know why they say Oh Canada!
  • In Quebec, you quickly learn that “Demi Tour” means U-Turn and “Arret” means Stop.
  • You quickly realize that when the speed limit says 90 it does not mean 90 MPH. that’s 90 Kilometers per Hour (about 55 mph).
  • Do not leave home without your GPS! We lived on our GPS, as Quebec is all french when it comes to road signs (Nord is North, Sud is South, Est is East, what’s west again?)
  • We even saw our first “one day strike” in Montreal at our hotel! Oh gosh can they be loud!
  • Don’t take the Grey Line bus tour where you don’t hop-on, hop-off. The bus only tour (which we took) is a total waste of time and money! Hop-on and Hop-off double decker (like NYC) is the way to go..
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, because you will be walking everywhere! We averaged about 5 miles of walking per day!
  • Make sure your iPhone is “Juiced”, you will take many, many pictures!
  • Wireless and/or internet is NOT free and available everywhere. Be prepared for some frustration here. In Montreal, our room was wired not wireless. Of course they had plenty of free computers in the lobby, so that took away this pain.
  • Plan, plan, Plan your trip. Trip Advisor is the way to go if you want to plan your trip.
  • Be prepared for delays on return to US, if you are going through customs/immigration. Please do take back the same children you bring into the country. Our immigration officer at the border didn’t think my younger daughter was mine, and wasted quite a few minutes of looking at her “NEW PASSPORT” and her to ensure, I didn’t trade bring back the wrong 13 year old! Perhaps she was kidding?

Well that’s all for now, I’m sure I’ll think of more Dadism’s to add..

I could go on.. as many know, I love to ramble!

Au Revoir mon amis! Je suis fatigue maintenant!

Le Dad..

 

 

 

 

Perils of flying Stand By

If you really want to see the country and see multiple airports, be sure you fly stand-by at least once in your life!

Today, my younger daughter and I left early in the morning for a trip to visit my brother and his family. We decided to fly “stand by” since my wife had a few extra passes from her stint at an Airline she worked for last year.

We started our adventure in the wee hours of the morning (4:30 AM) from the suburbs of Middletown, NJ to Newark Liberty Airport in Newark. Being optimistic I figured with a changeover in St. Louis, we’d be arriving in Dallas by 10:30 AM Local time.. Wrong!

We got to St. Louis and that’s when our gate shuffle started. Our intended flight to Dallas was full and we were told to go another gate (10 Gates over) to try for the next connecting flight.. We get to the second gate and we are told by a very very nice gate agent that there is not much of a chance of us to get on THIS flight. Yet I have to tell you something, the gate agents at Southwest are one of the most helpful gate agents you will ever meet. Honest Truth!

They must have seen my pathetic and futile expression and the gate agent scoured all the flights that would enable me to get to my destination in the easiest manner. She sent us BACK to the gate we came from to get on another flight to Tulsa to connect to another (wide open) flight to Dallas! Yes! we were now back in business!

I have to tell you, the helpfulness of “Joy” was truly a joy for us. She fought with her stuck stapler and got us the necessary paperwork, so we could go back to our originating gate and get on the flight to Tulsa!

So we go back to Gate 10, and wait patiently as all the “paid” passengers board the flight to Tulsa.. With dread a sense of despair, I tell my daughter “Well I guess we will have to keep trying”. That’s when the gods of “stand by travel” shined on us.. We were the last 2 seated on the Tulsa flight! Year us!

We got to Tulsa, Oklahoma and jumped on the next connector flight to Dallas! Lucky for us, the Tulsa to Dallas flight was wide open! Oh Happy days!

We finally get to Dallas by 1:30 PM CST and the only casualty of this endless journey is one broken wheel on a checked bag in St. Louis!

Lessons to be learned from this adventure about the perils of flying stand by:

  1. Don’t travel stand-by during the summer months! You are guaranteed to get “bumped” on full flights.
  2. Leave plenty of time, for the fact that you are at the mercy of flights being full.
  3. Don’t travel on Monday’s! Monday is known to be one of the most heavy days for air travel with commuters and vacationers traveling
  4. Develop patience and accept the fact you will be sitting somewhere, waiting for some flight to open for you to travel on!
  5. Avoid stand-by Travel if at all possible!
  6. Pick locations that may be easy to get to.. the larger the city.. the less likely of success in stand-by travel.

Updated on 7/30/2012:

The follies continued on my way back to Newark from Dallas. I gotta tell you one thing, if you ever fly standby, you should never fly an airline that doesn’t have direct flights (Southwest). Don’t get me wrong, the Southwest employees are really helpful and sympathetic both on board and on the ground..

So thing about this trip. We started from Love Field in Dallas at about 8 AM and we landed   at Newark at almost Midnight. Yes 12+ hours for a trip that should normally take 3 to 4 hours if you flew direct!

Our original flight to Chicago (Midway) was sold out so we went to the next gate so we could find an alternate route. Even the gate agent was frustrated yet she finally got us on a flight to Houston, TX, so we could at least have a better chance of getting home as a stand-by passenger

So we get to Houston from Dallas and now we are looking for an alternate route. We get on a flight from Houston to St.Louis via Birmingham. Remember if you can get bumped at any stop! We got lucky and ended up at St Louis by Mid-Day and felt lucky.

We were put on a flight to Chicago (Midway) and we got there by Mid Afternoon. After about a 2 hour layover and a boarding pass for a Newark flight in our hand, we felt that we were almost there! Not!

Our flight to Newark was delayed by 2+ hours due to T-Storms in Newark area. Yes the news gets better and better!? so the flight that was to leave at 6:30 PM left at about 9 PM for our final destination: Newark NJ!

We finally arrived to Newark by Midnight! So our long journey for day into night was finally over!

‘We went from Dallas –> Houston –> Birmingham —> St. Louis —> Chicago –> Newark NJ in a period of 15 hours! We changed planes 3 times and I think we must have traveled over 3 thousand Miles! This journey took more time than a normal journey from US to India!

In all my years of traveling standby, this had to be the longest journey I ever had! All I could say was Wow! I think I am now a veteran of flying standby. If you ever fly standby:

  • Be flexible and leave yourself plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B
  • Be prepared for detours!
  • Don’t travel during the Summer vacation times
  • Don’t travel during Monday or Saturday! Almost every day has a heavy load, but these 2 days happen to be the worst
  • Be nice to the Gate Agents. Almost everyone will empathize and try to get you on board if they can!
  • Get used to overpriced Airport Food!
  • Be prepared to Sit and wait!
  • Be prepared to walk from gate to gate to find an open flight!

Have you flown standby? If you have, I’d like to hear your story!

 

Where I’ve been

Having fun and doing charity work gives new meaning to the word enjoyment and giving back! Try it!

It’g been a pretty crazy few weeks. Every time I decide I need to write a post, something comes up to distract me. Life continues to keep me in the fast lane, that even a seat belt wouldn’t have slowed me down. With doing double duty at work and spending time with the kids at home, I’ve wanted to put on the brakes to stop, but have not been able to do so! So here is a summary of where I’ve been over the past few weeks. Pictures to follow!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve attended multiple marrow drives for a friend nephew and went to NYC this weekend for St. Patrick’s day Parade and festivities. My first parade in NYC! Gotta admit this was truly the highlight of this year for me.

We must have walked over 5 miles in NYC! You know when you are getting old when a 5 mile walk stays with you for days. Oops, forgot the few hours of tennis.. I could remember the ancient days when I could do this and be ready to go at it the next day.. oh well such is life..

Have you ever been to Georgetown Cupcakes and Chelsea Piers! Gotta admit, eating cupcakes and hitting Golf balls was never this fun! Walking in NYC and seeing the throngs of people is just uplifting and shows what life is and how fast it moves.. Just look around if you are in NYC!

We of course went to the happiest place on Earth (of course it’s the Apple store anywhere, but this one is in historic Grand Central Station!), is such a treat! Of course this place is not so happy when your iPhone gets smashed and you have to shell out money to replace it the next day.. that’s what happened to my daughter.. oh well, such is life..

I have to admit that the Marrow drives were the most rewarding! It’s the first time I felt that I gave back to the community and am now thinking of other ways I can do more of this. If you ever want to save a life, this is one great way to do it. If you are between the age of 21 – 61 this is an excellent opportunity!

It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks and I could write pages and pages on each of the activities above as everyone know’s Dad is never one to be word shy…

Spring starts on Tuesday Morning at 1:41 AM… Ready for it?

Chinese New Year – Year of the Dragon

An Exceptional site showing off the Year of the dragon in Pictures!

The Year of the Dragon

I came across a blog site which had some excellent pics from the this years Chinese New Year celebrations in Austin, Texas.  This is the “The Year of the Dragon”! The Candid pictures were really of excellent quality and I wanted to have a way to see them over and over again!

Hope you enjoy!

Vegas – A trip not meant to be

Flying Stand by and the joys of are illustrated! Viva Las Vegas!

Yesterday (Friday), my wife and I planned a weekend getaway on the spur of the moment to Vegas.. Of course any spur of the moment plans usually lead to failure (to launch), and this plan was no different. Our plan to partake some fun in Vegas was just not meant to be this weekend. So Sin City still awaits our future visit.

My wife works for the airlines and she had a couple of passes to fly to Vegas on  out of JFK airport in NYC.. So we packed our weekend get away bags (in record time) and headed towards the airport, with the knowledge that there WERE available seats for “standby passengers”. Needless to say the things went wrong one after another.. and here we are back in NJ after two trips to JFK with us being no closer to Vegas than seeing the departing flight numbers at the terminal.

There was some good news failed takeoff: We were educated and impressed with JFK airport and the way to get to/from and between terminals at JFK.

The comedic tragedy of events unfolded like this:

  • We made sure our kids were taken care of . The older one agreed to take care of the younger one after she had her semi-sleep over dates with her BFF’s from middle school.
  • We took off for NYC on schedule and on-time! Our first issue was where to park the car since our family member in NYC had plans… Thankfully this first disaster was a blessing in disguise. My Sis-in-law had other plans, so she couldn’t drive us, so we were on our own and had to figure out how/where to long-term park our car.  Instead of wasting hundreds of $ in sin-city, we were fortunate to spend most of our money in the parking lot where we spent $36 for 2 days of parking when in reality we only parked for a maximum of 2 hours!

  • First Attempt to take off: We get the airport in time, park the car, and get on the free train shuttle to the  Terminal. When we get to the terminal (Terminal 5), we quickly realized the  the walk from the train to the terminal is at least a mile away! So we schlep to the counter at the terminal and we are told that there is “slim to no chance” of us using our tickets on the flight. Not a problem! Experienced “non-rev” passengers, just wave this off and either pray for cancellations at the gate, or just wait for the next flight.
    • I gotta admit the  Terminal at JFK is impressive and the staff at the counters were very reasonable and helpful! This was one of the rays of sunshine on this cloudy and cold trip…
    • Since this was the last flight of the day, we rolled our listing to the next morning flight at 7:45 with our hopeful sin-city thoughts.. again this was just wishful thinking of course.. We went back to the long-term lot, paid the $18 for the privilege of parking for 1 hour and. We had a nice dinner and went to mother-in-Law’s house to crash for the night. Gotta tell you my in-law’s are the greatest when it comes to taking care of u! Bet you didn’t see that coming!
    • Next morning we rolled out at 5:30 AM for our sojourn into more disappointment.
  • Second Effort to Take off (Next Day):We now are experts at JFK parking, so we park our car in Long term and go through security and head to the gate with positive vibes that maybe we will be on this flight and have our weekend get away after all! Not..
    • We get to the gate, and of course we find out that this flight has about 15 seats, but since we are a “courtesy freebie”, we will have to wait till all the “paying passengers”  are loaded on.. That should have been the first warning sign that we headed for more disappointment. For me, I ignored this signs with unabashed optimism since I’ve become a seasoned “non-rev” flyer during this summer!
    • We got some food for our 6 hour flight and me being irrationally exuberant asked the cashier to ‘throw away the receipt”. Big mistake which cost me another $20 as the rules are “no receipt – no refund!”.
    • I called up hotels.com and ensured we had a nice 3 star hotel lined up in Vegas. Of course, going with my instinct, I decided to NOT make a financial commitment and reserve the hotel.. Best decision I made over the past 24 hours!
    • Fast Forward.. All the paying passengers load and we are left waiting.. the agent says 4 or 5 people have not shown up, so we may be on the flight! Oh happy days and euphoria rises inside me.. This lasted about 4 minutes.
    • Just as the agent is about to call us, who strolls in but the two couples from their morning coffee break.. And you can guess the end of this story. By this time by euphoria quickly reverted into anger/disappointment and just plain exhaustion!
    • We had spent the last 24 hours going back and forth to JFK so we can have a nice quick getaway to sin-city.. was not meant to be..
    • I went to return the unopened food to the place where I bought it and of course couldn’t get the refund.. I have to say the counter woman, really was amazing! She  went through the stacks of discarded receipts trying to find the receipt  I had asked her to throw away! No luck here! The lines were quickly backing up for other passengers, so I just gave up and another $20 gone..

My wife and I huddled/argued and decided that we were being told not to go to Vegas so we better just give up! So we did.  We went to my sis-in-law’s house  (I of course caught up on my lost sleep with along 6 hour nap) and off we were back home to NJ !

See I’m not the spur of the moment kind of person and everyone that knows Dad’s taxi can attest to that. I’m a planner and a very minimal risk taker. For the first time I decided to throw my gut instinct away and go for it.. Big mistake..

What I learned (for the umpteenth time):

  • If you fly stand by, you are at the mercy of people not showing up and you getting on.
  • If you fly stand by, fly on an airline that will give you favorable status on the stand-by line. My wife works for ******, so we should have flown on *****. Being stranded in Chicago, is much better than never getting off the ground!
  • Always keep all receipts! Refer back to the food fiasco..
  • If you fly stand by to hot locations (Vegas!), never ever fly on Fri-Sat.. You are setting yourself up for guaranteed failure, as millions of people fly on weekend sin city..
  • Plan, Plan, Plan all contingencies!
  • JFK Airport’s internal mode of tram’s is very impressive and reliable.. I’d never hesitate to park in long-term with the masses and take the train to the terminal.. Of course make sure you have your walking shoes!
  • If you fly stand-by.. always take your vitamins and pray for seats!

This past summer, I traveled quite  bit (Texas 4 times!), and was bumped once in St. Louis.. but never had to go home empty-handed!

Oh well at least I got myself a souvenir US Open 2011 T-shirt at a 25% break at the terminal! Yes! that’s the silver lining to this adventure I was looking for! I also got my aerobic exercise of daily 2 mile walks with my trips from the tram to the terminal at JFK!

Maybe, I’ll try next weekend for a Vegas Getaway.. I guess I just don’t learn do I? Have you ever flown stand by?

Dad’s Air Taxi – On the Road again

Father’s day 2011 dad’s air taxi musings from Newark, NJ to Dallas adventures.. via Oklahoma city..

Haven’t had a a chance to post any new posts over the past few days as, Dad’s Taxi was transformed into Dad’s Air Taxi for my 12 year old as a delivery and pickup service.

The past Sunday (Father’s Day), I dropped my 12 year old to her friends house for a visit. As it happens, her BFF (I’m sure you know what that is), happens to live in Oklahoma City!My end destination after this delivery was Dallas, where I would spend 3 days awaiting the pickup of the delivered passenger to Oklahoma!

This trip took the long and winding air route to get from NJ –> St. Louis –> Oklahoma City –> Plano Texas and Back 4 day later.

Let me tell you something, this exhaustive trip was just that, exhausting.

Flying stand by is extremly stressful, as you really don’t know whether you will be on the flight till you get the boarding pass in your hand! Sometimes you get lucky and the flight is open, other times, you just hang out at the gate waiting for your name(s) to be called for available seats. No doubt, you and your closest 100 or so air paying traveling friends are along for the ride, you certainly are just out there hanging out  from airport to airport to airport…

I can tell u one thing, if you want to know which airport has the best fast food, hands down, it has to be Oklahoma City.. You can absolutely die happy with their Sonic burger Stall!

Going from NJ to Oklahoma city (second to last stop on this magical journey), was not bad, except when I failed to notice the sign at the airport saying “go beyond this point, you must go though security scan again” (Courtesy of the great people of the TSA which protect us at the airports). I was supposed to hand off my daughter to her friend’s dad at Oki Airport but of course, since I crossed the threshold of TSA, I had to go back the counter and get a new security clearance certificate! So imagine, me and my daughter running through the airport with a couple of bags, so I could re-enter via security check. All because I crossed that invisible line beyond the point of no return sign. Funny thing was that I had stepped about not even 5 steps beyond the sign when the TSA agent who stopped me told me I had just exited a secured area.. BTW, I would be fortunate for him security check me back INTO the gate area for my next flight from Oki land to Plano, Texas!

By the time I reached the steamy Dallas Airport, my energy had just about drained out of me as we had started our journey at 6 in the morning from Newark and after all the flight changes, by 5 PM I reached my final destination of Love Field in Texas! Hoorey!

It gets better.. When I went to pick up my daughter on Wednesday night from Oklahoma city, a normally 40 minute ride took me 5+ hours, due to “equipment malfunction” another way of saying we don’t have a plane to take you where you want to go sir.. After my endless Wednesday night trip, I got to my friends house by 11 PM and after a few hours of respite.. repeated by journey from Oklahoma City —> St. Louis — Newark Liberty Airport.

The St. Louis to Newark trip could have also been endless, but someone had mercy on us and we were able to sneak in before the T-Storms hit NJ!

My reward for all of this travel adventure was for my daughter to tell me on the car ride home: “All parents do this for this kids, Dad” after I had (in my unique sarcastic)  jokingly said to her.. “I will never ever do this kind of taxi service again!”

I just found out, our next trip in a few more weeks will either be to Canada, Hawaii, or Los Angeles.. hmm. I choose LA, because it has the most stops and I can go through more torturous security check lines at more airports!

Which airport has the longest security Check in line?

Hands down it’s Newark Liberty Airport followed closely by Dallas Love Field!

Happy travels friends.. Just remember.. “With Air travel, if you don’t plan on delays,  you are truly not experiencing today’s air travel experience. !”

Bharatbeat Relaunched

Dad’s Taxi and BharatBeat is proud to announce the re-launch of BharatBeat which is your first stop on the web for the Global South Asian!

And

Dad’s Taxi and BharatBeat is proud to announce the re-launch of Bharatbeat, your first stop on the web for the Global South Asian.

Bharatbeat is your first stop for the Global Indian.  Regardless of where you are, we try to provide you with a one stop source for all things related India (Forums, Movie Reviews, Gossip, Indo-Links, Travel).

Our newest venue is a Forums site which is  a chai-time based site where our members post  questions on a variety of topics, read interesting articles and find answers to anything and everything. We are looking for volunteers to take an active role in monitoring and responding to issues/questions to enable a global discussion that impact the South-Asian community

In the  BharatBeat Genie Forums, you can post feedback  related to:

  • Community Cafe  – Debate, ReelTalk, NewsRoom, Cooking Recipes, and Tips and tricks for life!
  • Moni Cafe – Savings and Deals Galore. Who doesn’t want a bargain?
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Trip Log Delhi – April 3, 2010

Vacation Journal summary from India for March 2010 tour of India by Dad’s taxi and his family.

So this is the last day of  our vacation in India.. The kids and wife are in Mumbai and I’m in New Delhi awaiting my trip back to the US tomorrow morning.

We all started early this morning from Kochin after our 5 day drip to the great state of Kerala. We had a total blast on the houseboat, the hill station in Munnar and the shopping in Kochin.

We are all weary from this long trip as we have traversed across India to see the beauty, culture and lands. We have truly seen the beautiful land that is today’s India.  No doubt, the wealth of India is in it’s people. The economics of change and the growing wealth is visible everywhere with the amount of money that is flowing in this country. Regardless of where you go,  Indians are the most friendly and enthusiastic citizens I have seen. Regardless of what they do for a living or their socio-economic status, they are all happy. From the taxi driver to business man, they are pursuing their dreams for the good life and success.

I did not meet anyone in my 3 weeks that I could say was bitter or mean spirited (Of course I exclude myself from this formula).

The wealth that is in India is amazing. Money is everywhere and there is money to be made everywhere.  It’s just a matter of where you look and how you utilize the opportunity that you are presented with.

To me this whole trip was eye opening.. Life without a doubt is different from my life in New Jersey. People do struggle no doubt about it. Yet from all my relatives that I met and all the people from the service industry (travel and tourism) that I interacted with, everyone is striving for a better life. You do not see unhappiness.

Perhaps I’m looking through rainbow colored sunglasses, but what I see is a wealthy nation that’s strength is it’s people. Technology is driving the wealth across the country. The spirit of the Entrepenneur is alive and thriving here.

I will go out on a limb and say this: Within the next 2 to 5 years, India will surpass all countries with their technological advances. The infrastructure to support this technology is a work in process across the country as you will witness the road construction going on everywhere in the country.

The problems that India continues to face is: Corruption at all levels, and population growth that continues to grow unabated.

From the places I visited this time,  below is my ranking of places that I  find to be the best places in Incredible India!

  • Munnar (Hill Station Retreat)
  • Kochin (the Houseboats tour)
  • Goa (Beach Resorts)
  • New Delhi (Tourism)
  • Pune (Visiting Relatives)
  • Mumbai (Shopping/Food)

I have yet to see all of what India presents, but I plan to do so over the next few years, as Dad’s taxi continues to explore the country that he is proud to say is in his DNA.

As I’m fully recovered (thank god) from the bout of food poisioning,  I realize that what I love the most (food) is the true reason for any ailments that befall me when I come to India.

After my return, I’ll go back and update my travels with additional thoughts on my visit.