Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Headed to the airport again

I'm off to Berkeley for a night and then LA for a week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dinner and a movie (Johnny Rockets and The Secret Life of Bees)

I'd been reading quite a bit of positive pre-opening buzz around the movie "The Secret Life of Bees", so we made plans to watch it yesterday.

Before going to the movie, we had planned to eat at Motu's Tahitian Noni Island Grill, but when we got there, it was closed. Bankrupt? I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few other places at Westgate shut down - foot traffic was minimal, given it was a Friday night. Back to the food - we decided to eat some junk food at Johnny Rockets. We shared a grilled chicken club sandwich, half rings and half fries, and a root beer float.

Everything was good. The onion rings were especially tasty. I'm generally not a big fan of onion rings, but these were quite good. My only complaint was that the chicken breast on the sandwich only covered about sixty percent of the area of the bread. Here are some pictures:
Johnny RocketsJohnny Rockets - interiorJohnny Rockets - grilled chicken club sandwichJohnny Rockets - half rings and half friesJohnny Rockets - root beer float
After dinner, we headed to the theater (which is right next to Johnny Rockets) to catch the movie. Both of us loved the movie. BTW, neither of us had read the book before, so no comparisons or expectations. Great movie - go see it!

Here's the trailer:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why I'm Proud To Be A T-Bird!

Thunderbird is not your typical school. One of the things that differentiates Thunderbird is its strong commitment to "Global Citizenship".

In addition to educating "traditional" students via degree and non-degree programs, the school also has a program called Thunderbird For Good (TFG), which focuses on "non-traditional" channels of education.

Thunderbird recently welcomed its third class of Project Artemis Fellows - fifteen Afghan women entrepreneurs. During their two weeks on campus, the participants receive business and leadership training. The program also includes ongoing mentor support.

You can read more about their activities over the next few days via this blog.

Another project that TFG is involved with is 10,000 Women. This is a Goldman Sachs initiative to provide business and management education to 10,000 underserved women. Goldman has committed $100M towards this project! ...and Thunderbird is one of the partner schools!

Project Artemis - Afghanistan

China reassures Taiwan consumers on milk safety (from AP)

The issue is sad, but this headline makes me laugh (and wonder):
China reassures Taiwan consumers on milk safety (from AP)

Especially when you see the following associated headlines:
China orders more milk testing, HK boy sick (from AP)
5,800 Chinese babies hospitalized on tainted milk (from AP)

Trust us! Why should I?!?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vancouver - Day 1

Took the Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver this morning. I was planning to do a bit of reading and sleeping during the ride, but I basically had my nose glued to the window for most of the four hour trip. The scenery along the way was absolutely stunning. Saw thousands of birds, miles of beautiful shoreline, and interesting random sights along the way.

This was my only my second trip via Amtrak in my life (two train rides in three weeks). The first trip was three weeks ago - I took a "Northeast Regional" train from DC to NYC. Pretty comfy ride but nothing too interesting. The train on the Seattle-Vancouver ride was a very nice and roomy "Superliner" (double decker train w/ seating on the upper level). The seats on this train were similar to those used for business class airplane seating. I couldn't even touch the chair in front of me with my legs stretched out (guess I'm too short ;-). Another nice amenity was a dining car - I enjoyed a marionberry crumble and hot chocolate during the trip.

A very, very enjoyable experience. I highly recommend taking this train route sometime in your life.

Here are a few pics:

For lunch, I enjoyed a bowl of ramen and gyoza at Ramen Ezogiku. Very tasty!
Here are two pics:

For dinner, I was looking for something "light" and had a nice bosc pear and arugula salad and a bowl of corn tortilla soup at Mosaic (located inside the Hyatt Regency). No pics..

After dinner, I walked around downtown Vancouver. I love this city. It has a very diverse population, it's easy to navigate, compact, very clean, has a great public transport system...and there are people on the streets! I love seeing people on the streets - something you almost never see in Phoenix. A city just seems alive when there are people out and about.

After a nice two hour stroll, I was getting hungry and stopped by Tim Horton's (which is adjacent to the hotel) for a snack. I known Tim Horton's is HUGE is Canada but I've never tried it before. I got a chocolate croissant and hot chocolate. Both were good.

O Canada!

Off to our neighbors to the north! I'm taking the train this morning from Seattle to Vancouver. Planning to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My "first meal"

Before I arrived in Seattle, my sister sent me an email asking what I wanted to eat for my "first meal" back in the States. After two weeks of Indian and Thai food (made from chicken, lamb, mutton, or "VEG"), I requested either hamburgers or pizza.

Here what we had for dinner last night:
hamburger and sweet potato fries
My brother-in-law grilled up some nice thick juicy burgers and my sister made baked sweet potato fries! So good...

Monday, October 6, 2008

In Seattle

After ~23 hours of flying and 3 hours waiting in the airport, I finally arrived in Seattle this afternoon. It's nice because my sister and her family live here so I can "recharge" a bit...

Not much improvement on the flight here - no smiles seen during the entire flight. Is it so difficult to smile? (those of you who know me know that I love to smile!)

A hot meal and beverages were served (which is better than most domestic carriers these days). Here's a pic:
Continental Airlines - domestic economy in-flight meal
Two more days here and I'm off to Vancouver...

Back in the States!

I just arrived in Newark via Continental flight 49 (a nice direct 16 hr flight from Mumbai to Newark). Have a bit of downtime until my flight to Seattle...

The flight from Mumbai was pretty uneventful. On my outbound flight to Delhi two weeks ago (also on Continental), the plane was equipped w/ AVOD (on-demand audio/video) systems w/ a massive amount of entertainment options. The system on this flight was an older system with a choice of six channels of video and 15 audio channels (continuous looping, not on-demand), so the choices were much more limited.

The food was absolutely terrible on this flight. For the first meal, I choose a "chicken" option. It may have been the worst airline meal ever (which says alot). Here's a pic:
Continental Airlines - international economy in-flight meal
We were also served a snack-pack during the flight...cole-slaw sandwiches...yum.

The second meal was a somewhat scary omelette w/ chicken sausages:
Continental Airlines - international economy in-flight meal
The worst part of the flight was the service orientation of the flight attendants. I did not observe a single smile during the entire flight! What a bunch of grumpies...the crew did not look like they were happy to be there. On one of my trips to the bathroom, a flight attendant bumped into me pretty hard - I immediately said "excuse me" and she didn't even acknowledge me!

Such a stark contrast to the service in India (and Asia in general), where everyone seems to "bend-over-backwards" to SERVE you.

On our intra-India flights (total of three), we flew via Jet Airways. I am now a HUGE fan of Jet. The service was excellent (on-time and efficient) and the food was probably the best airline food I've ever had. Two of our flights were less than an hour in length and we were served full meals! What a refreshing travel experience!

Here's a pic of a meal from one of the Jet flights:
Jet Airways - economy in-flight meal
It really makes me wonder why the U.S. carriers can't do things right. The service experience is like night-and-day. In general - terrible food, surly service, and frequent delays.

Oh well, that's all for now. I have another six hours of flying to look forward to!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Near the end of my adventures in India

Leaving India tomorrow evening...

The food has been wonderful and the sights have been incredible, but what I'm going to miss the most are my fantastic travel partners for the past week and a half. Safe travels to all of you!