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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Goa

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Green Goa Country Side
If you ask someone outside of India what the vacation destination they know in India, there is very high chance that they will say Goa. Its in the west coast of Indian subcontinent and famous for beaches of Arabian sea. It used to be a Portuguese colony for a long time till 1961 when Indian arm force invaded it. Initially it was part of union territory Daman and Diu (Directly governed by central government ) but in 1987 it became as separate state. Which makes sense as Daman and Diu are way up north near state of Gujarat and culturally different. However all of them still have Portuguese influence. It's one of the 3 most football crazy and fish loving state of India (Others being West Bengal and Kerala even the north eastern states to some extent.).

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I grew up in a town pretty close to a beach in the eastern coast of India , so Goa beaches are nothing special for me. However it's highly commercial place with inflow of tourists from so many countries. Goan cuisine is also very famous among Indian dishes . One can easily hire a two wheeler vehicle and roam around the whole place independently without depending on any public transport. We had decided to drive down so we had our own car for local commute . We still hired a two wheeler to make sure we get to park it easily as weekends are full of crowd in some of the popular beaches. An average upper and middle class Indian family probably visits Goa once in every year. Its a very small state like Sikkim so the whole state can be covered in a long weekend trip.

Entrance to Goa crossing Western Ghats via Chorla



Chorla is probably the best route to enter Goa if you are travelling from central India. Its a hilly drive and very low/short visibility in the morning due to fog but roads are decent as compared to others. While entering govt charges INR 250 and while existing you will be searched for any alcohol bottles as it is illegal to carry them out of Goa. Due to low taxes alcohol is relatively cheaper in state.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Seattle

IMG_4490-3It has been a while now that I have written something in this blog. This post should have been here 5 months ago but I was waiting for myself to process all the pictures taken in the trip and do a final post. Recently I realized that ain't happening. Well thats what the TSA woman official said to me after seeing my T-Shirt slogan which said " Imagine all the people. Living life in peace" in her southern accent.

Anyway trip to Seattle was full of learnings. A lot of PHP, Couchbase and system administration of physically hosted servers. Key learning was how to deal with people who are technically challenged. While a little bit of technical details may make them nervous, lack of the same may make them think you have no control over the system. Management do not remember details. You can reiterate the same thing over and over without actually worrying about freshness of the update. Sometime asking direct questions or expressing direct concerns may not help, on the contrary it may just make you look like not willing to take any step towards any solution. In fact its OK to say yes to stupidest of the Ideas to begin with and take months of time and come back and say that it was stupid, which you already knew as soon as the idea was floated. Meanwhile you bought time to calm everyone down who are in an urgency of get something done as part of a solution after a catastrophic problem . The problem itself gets de-prioratized. You get to spend a lot of time on your own things and account that time for the analysis of that stupid idea. You learn a lot. The only disadvantage is that you may not feel honest about yourself. But wait ...this is business. You just see the profit.

OK above gyaan is totally fictional ...... based on real events. Now somethings about Seattle.

This was no first time for me in USA and its not a very diverse country like India that you get to see new culture. Thanks to Amazon and Microsoft , its full of Indians unlike Austin or Salt Lake City. If you look Indian, people may just ask you which of these company you work for.

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Rialto Beach - Pacific Ocean
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Blake Island


Seattle is geographically interesting. Its on the north-west corner of USA in the state of Washington (not where Obama lives, he lives in east cost , in the city of Washington DC in Virginia.). Its very close to Canada, in fact the Canadian city of Vancouver is just on the other side of the border. Technically its also closest state to Alaska. Seattle is actually part of twin city of Sea-Tac, Tacoma being the other smaller city in the south . They share the same airport which is somewhat at the midway of the two cities. Portland is another city even south of Tacoma in the state of Oregon. All these cities and states combined sometimes called pacific Noth-West (PNW) as they are in the cost of pacific ocean. IT giants Amazon and Microsoft are in Seattle and Bellevue (Redmond to be precise ) respectively , separated by a water body. Combined they are called "Greater Seattle Area".

I know its too much of geographic gyaan which you can know from Wikipedia and  Google maps, especially a lot of Indians know a lot about American states but does not even know whats the language spoken in the neighboring state. I just wanted to feed you this information in case you are not aware of never get a chance to visit.

Seattle is also not technically on the cost of Pacific ocean , its on bank of backwaters, so there are several beaches , like Alkai beach which is not actually facing and sea or ocean.

 
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Alkai Beach
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Mt Rainer
There are so many  places to visit near by Seattle. Some of them I visited are Mt Rainer,  Olympic National Park, Alkai Beach, Discovery Park, Bainbridge Island, Museum of flight..


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Seattle Sounder Vs Portland Timbers

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Seattle Mariners Vs Minnesota Twins
You can also go and watch one of the local teams playing soccer or baseball.