Saturday, December 8, 2012

Travel Back home

Back to the US
Saturday, Dec 8 and Sunday Dec 9, 2012
Chennai - Dubai - New York - Jacksonville -Tallahassee

We left late in the afternoon around 5:30 PM from Chengalpattu in Thiyagu's SUV with another car carrying the luggage and my siblings families. We arrived at the Chennai International Airport Departure area around 7:00 PM and Bhanu had just arrived.

We said goodbye to our folks and checked into our Chennai Dubai flight EK547. The flight was delayed by 30 minutes and flew over the Arabian Sea. However, as it approached Dubai we were further delayed due to the unavailability of landing place ended by landing an hour late outside the gates and needed to use a bus to get to the Terminal 3.

We barely made it to our next flight to New York JFK and hoped our luggage would make. The flight EK203 a Boeing 777-300ER was also delayed fortunately since many people were still boarding past the scheduled departure time. We hoped this would be good flight since the duration was 14 1/2 hours long. It was okay due to good entertainment system called ICE.

We arrived an hour late in New York and went through the immigration and customs clearance and rechecked our bags to Jacksonville and waited for another delayed flight to JAX. Finally we left at 4 PM and arrived in JAX by 6 PM via jetBlue.

We picked our car and drove home stopping at a Taco Bell for dinner. By the time we arrived home it was almost 9:45 PM.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Visit Sripuram Lakshmi Narayani Temple

Visit Sripuram Lakshmi Narayani Temple
Sripuram (Malaikodi), Vellore, Tamilnadu
Thursday, December 6, 2012

With Thiyagu I went to Vellore to my relatives. We had planned to visit the "Golden Temple of Tamil Nadu" aka, Sripuram Lakshmi Narayni Temple but we were running late when we arrived at Vellore.
However, our realtive was ready and took us to the temple. We barely made it in time for the regular temple visiting time. The temple, the architecture, the surroundings were very impressive. We spent about 1 1/2 h at the temple.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Visit NESCO at Kalpakkam for karate tournament

Visit NESCO at Kalpakkam for karate tournament
Sunday, Dec 02, 2012
NESCO, Kalpakkam

Today we left around 6:30 PM with Arjun and Anita toward Kalpakkam NESCO auditorium to participate in the Kacheepuram district Karate tournament for Arjun. We arrived there by 7:45 AM and the tournament participants were required to be there by 8 AM. We had breakfast in the Mahindra XYLO SUV and headed to the site. There weren't that many people and it took about 1 1/2 hour before everything started to fall in place.

Arjun didn't participated in the katta part but did so on the individual fighting competition. The event was over by 12:30 PM and we headed home and arrived at Chengalpattu by 1:45 PM.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Travel to Chennai via Dubai

Travel to Chennai via Dubai
Wed, Nov 28 - Fri, Nov 30, 2012

jetBlue connection to Emirates

We traveled to Chennai from Jacksonville, FL (via jetBlue) through New York JFK international airport (via Emirates) and through Dubai international airport.
JFK-Dubai 12:30 hrs non-stop flight (EK 202)

We left around 6 PM at JAX and arrived at JFK around 9 PM. Then at JFK we left around 11 PM and arrived the next night 9 PM at DBX. This flight was Airbus 380 with almost 500 passenger capacity. It was big and nice entertainment program. Our 12 1/2 flight was okay.

Then from DBX we left around 3 AM and arrived at Chennai by 8 AM on Friday Nov 30, 2012.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Visit UCF and USF

Visit University of Central Florida & University of South Florida
Monday, August 13, 2012
Orlando and Tampa, Florida

We started early in the morning from our La Quinta Inn in Orlando (very good place to stay) and headed to University of Central Florida. However, since we couldn't pre-register for the tour we went around the campus using UCF's self-guided tour. Then at 10 AM we attended the information session which lasted about 35 minutes.

We then drove to a near by K-Mart to get some school merchandise and had lunch at a Subway nearby.

We then drove on I-4 West toward Tampa. Three-fourths on our way it started to rain heavily and that slowed our travel. We finally around 2:10 PM at the USF campus and missed part of the information session. Due to the rain the student tour was also delayed. Then around 3:05 PM we started the tour and we like the campus. We followed the tour until about 4 PM and left for home.

We stopped in Ocala to have dinner and arrived have around 9:30 PM.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Visit UPenn

Visit University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today morning we had breakfast at the Comfort Inn at the Downtown historic area. There were lot of people at the dining place but we managed to get some breakfast and checked ourselves out. Then we drove through the Philadelphia's downtown and parked our car on the intersection of 36th Street and Walnut Street and went straight to the information session at College Hall.

The information session was one hour long and then we went with David for another 1 1/2 tour of the campus. We saw the Engineering School, Library, Business School, and Locust walk and other areas of the Campus.

Then we ate some lunch at Taco Bell and had some coffee. Finally we went to the Penn Book Store at 36th Street. There we bought some memorabilia and left Philly.


We took I-95 and took a detour to Edison's Ferrari dealership. There VTS looked around some Ferraris and took some pictures.

Once that is done we drove all the way back to Newark and stayed at a motel near EWR airport (Newark International airport).

Then we ventured out Newark Avenue and had dosai, idli, vadai, and sambar. We went to bed around 10 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Visit Princeton University

Visit Princeton University
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Princeton, NJ

Today morning we left the motel and drove to Princeton, NJ to visit the Princeton University Campus. We parked our car in Lot 23 and took the central line shuttle to Frist Campus Center. Since there was no complimentary breakfast at our motel and there was no time or place grab breakfast we had some coffee and went to the one hour long information session. The session was held at the same classroom where Albert  Einstein taught a class when he was at Princeton.

Following the information session we went on a walking tour of the campus. We saw most of the campus but after 45 minutes we peeled off and went to Nassau Street to grab lunch. After lunch we went the Princeton Bookstore and bought T-shirts and coffee mugs for VTS.

There we met a lady from Tamil Nadu. She had been at NJ for thirty years. We then took the shuttle back to our parking lot and drove toward Philadelphia on US 1 & 9 and later on I-95. We reached Philly around 3 PM and checked into a good hotel on the ocean front.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Visit Columbia University

Visit Columbia University In the City of New York
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
New York, NY 10027

Today morning we checked out of our motel in Ridgefield, NJ and drove directly to Columbia University In the City of New York. We found meter parking on Amsterdam Street and went for a stroll on the campus. Then around 10 AM we fed the meter again and attended the information session held at the Uris Building and the University Hall. The session was about an hour long.

Following the information session there was a tour of the campus. Since we had already seen the campus ourselves, we grabbed some lunch at the Earl Building. Then we visited the Columbia Bookstore on the Broadway and grabbed some memorabilia and left the Morning Side Campus.

We drove to Battery Park in lower Manhattan and parked our car near the ferry terminals. We then walked to Castle Clinton and bought tickets to Liberty and Ellis Island ferry ride.

It was a hot and humid day with temperatures in the low 100s. Fortunately, the line for the ferry was short and after a brief security check we boarded the ferry and went to Liberty Island. Since they have closed the statue climbing we went around the Lady Liberty Statue, took some picture, grabbed some memorabilia and boarded the next ferry to Ellis Island. At Ellis we went around the Immigration Hall and had some coffee and cake.

Finally we took the ferry back to Castle Clinton. We paid for the parking people and drove to Trenton, NJ to stay that night at a Ref Roof Inn Motel.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Visit Cornell University

Visit Cornell University
Monday, July 16, 2012
Ithaca, NY 14853

This morning we left our motel in Cortland, NY and drove about 30 minutes via Cortland, Dryden and reached Ithaca around 8:45 AM. We parked our car in the visitor lot and headed to the Arts & Science Information session conducted by Asst Dean of Admissions and listened to him for about an hour.

Then we went on the student lead tour the Cornell University campus. We visited the clock tower, book store, Sage Hall, Ives Hall, various departments and the finally arrived back at the Information Center near the Day Hall. The tour took about 1 1/2 hour.


We then went to the Kennedy Hall and ate at the Trillion food court. The food was good. It was almost 1 PM. Soon we went to the Cornell University Bookstore and bought some memorabilia for our trip back home.

Soon he left Ithaca and headed back to New York city. We decided to take NY-79, I-81, I-380, and I-80 to reach our motel in Ridgefield, NJ. By the time we arrived it was almost 6 PM. We checked in and drove to the campus of Columbia University's Riverside Height campus. Since it was summer there was plenty of light, the sun was starting to set and we took some video and photos.

We drove and ordered pizza take-out and went to bed by 10 PM.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Travel to LGA and Cornell

Travel to LGA and Cornell

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today early morning we left the Jacksonville Plaza Hotel and Suites and drove the Economy Parking Lot 2 at the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), parked our car on the long-term lot and took a parking shuttle to the Terminal A to catch our Delta flight to LGA.

Everything went well. We checked few bags for $25 each and left early in the morning with no delays. By the time we arrived in LGA we were about 20 minutes ahead of the schedule and landed safely. We took the Dollar Rental shuttle to a location in East Elmhurst, NY and rented a 2013 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV for our trip to Cornell.

We had some coffee and donuts. We had already rented a GPS unit from which was much cheaper than ($5/day) one would get from the car rental company. We plugged in our address of Cornell University, Cornell, NY and drove for several hours. On the way stopped at nice scenic byway just before reaching New York state (in Pennsylvania) and arrived in Cornell (amidst rain). We went around Cornell University taking some pictures (it stopped raining by then) and looking around the campus.

Finally we drove to motel in Cortland, NY and stayed that night.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travel to Jacksonville

Travel to Jacksonville, FL
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Today late evening we left for Jacksonville, Florida on our way to New York City. We decided to drive to Jacksonville, FL and fly from there to New York LaGuardia airport using Delta instead of leaving from our hometown since the tickets were 1/3 cheaper. Even after considering the gasoline, hotel stay, parking and food to and fro the flight from JAX to LGA made sense both economically and avoided multiple transfers.

We stayed at the Jacksonville Plaza Hotel & Suites on Duval Road in Jacksonville. The hotel was very good and had very good room. It was only 3 miles from the JAX airport.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lost Canon Camera Mac Book and Acer Aspire at airport

Lost Canon Camera, Mac Book, and Acer Aspire Windows laptop at airport
Jacksonville International Airport Economy Parking Lot 1
Saturday, March 24, 2012, 8-9 PM

After traveling for 6 days and having a good time we lost our Canon camera, MacBook laptop, and Acer Aspire Windows laptop on Saturday, March 24, 2012 between 8 and 8:30 PM at the Economy Parking Lot 1 of the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). We forgot to load it into our car and drove off home. We realized after 3 hours (after reaching) in Tallahassee.

The details of our lost items are:
Canon SD1300IS Powershot Camera
Canon SD1300IS Powershot Camera
Light Blue in Color
Model Number: D ELPH SD1300IS(BL)
Box Number: 4218B001 (AA)
Body Number: 1220 641 39 747

MacBook  2.4 GHz

MacBook  2.4 GHz
2x1 GB Memory
250 GB Harddisk 
Model A1342
Serial Number W8029ARWF5W
White in Color
Part Number MC516LL/A
Airport ID: 60 33 4B 18 28 7C (60:33:4b:18:28:7c)
Ethernet ID: E8 06 88 FB 7F B8  or (e8:06:88:fb;7f:b8)

Acer Aspire 1.3GHz 1410-2497 

Acer Aspire 1.3GHz 1410-2497 
Windows computer 
Blue in color
Ethernet ID: 00 26 9E B8 77 AE or (00:26:9e:b8:77:ae)

So if you come across these serial numbers, please let me know. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ferrari of San Francisco and Muir Woods

Visit UCB, Ferrari of San Francisco, and Muir Woods
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This morning we woke up early, showered, and went to the breakfast and had some good stuff. Our goal was to get to UCB campus by 9 AM. So we rushed back and picked the essentials and drove through US101 N and I-80 East and took the Ashby Street exit and via University avenue arrived at the Durrant Street Parking lot. 

We put our car there and went to the admissions seminar from 9 and 10 AM. Then we went to the campanili, paid $2+2+ 1 tickets went to the top of the tower. We saw the campus Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and the Bay area.

From there we drove to the Mills Valley Ferrai dealership on Redwood Hwy. We saw both the Ferrari and Masterari cars and wanted to visit the Aston Martin dealership but missed our way and ended up in the Muir wood road. We took it and went up the hill and spent 2 hours on the Muir wood forest area.

Then we drove back to the Aston Martin dealership and spent about 15 minutes. Later we drove back home via the Golden Gate Bridge. Fortunately for us the bridge was covered in fog and we had a pleasant surprise. We stopped on top of the hill on the Sausalito side and took plenty of pictures and heard on ship whistle due to the fog. We drove through the fog and got tot the hotel.

 We put an load of laundry (detergent $1) , washing $2.50 and drying $2.00. While the washing was going on we went to Taco bell had dinner and came back and put the cloths for drying. We picked up the cloths and went to bed by 8:30 (I had a good shower)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Visit UCB an Stanford

Visit UCB (aka Cal) and Stanford
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Berkeley and Palo Alto, CA

We woke in the morning by 5:30 AM and had room coffee, shaved and showered then we all went to the hotel lobby to get morning breakfast. It was a good. 

Then by 7:45 AM we all got ready and headed out the door to UC Berkeley (also known as Cal). This time we followed the GPS directions and went over the bay via the Oakland Bridge to UCB. 

We arrived at 9:15 AM but missed the admissions meeting. We decided to attend that meeting tomorrow morning. We parked our car on a public place on Durrant and Telegraph avenues. The Berkeley tour started at 10 with Edgar and we went around the campus for 1 ½ hours visiting Life sciences building, Doe Library, Bancroft library and ending at the campanile.

We grabbed subs at the Sub-way and headed to Stanford University. We were worried at first since the tour was supposed to start at 1 PM and our GPS indicated we would arrive only at1:05 PM. But when VTS called they said the tour will start at 1:30.

We arrived at Galvez Street and joined the 1 hour lecture by a Stanford student about her experience at Standford. Then we went on a tour from 2:30 to till 4 PM by Victoria a science major. We went through libraries, Hoover tower, Main quad, Memorial church and ending up at the dorms.

Then we had coffee and bought some Stanford stuff at the book store and checked out the Med campus on car and drove back home.

We went to Napoli Italian place had dinner and went to bed by 8 PM

Monday, March 19, 2012

On-ward to San Francisco
Monday, March 19, 2012
Jacksonville, Atlanta, San Francisco

We woke up at Red Roof Inn in the morning and got ready by 5:10 AM and checked out of the hotel.
We dropped off the key cards at the front desk and drove toward the Economy Parking Lot Number 1 via Airport Road. We took the token for parking and and within 5 minutes we got a shuttle and got off at the second stop for AirTran and SouthWest at 5:25 AM.

The baggage checking-in was quick since there were not many people waiting and I had already paid for them $18 ($20/bag but they gave me $6 credit since I paid seat fees).  This took about 15 minutes and by the time we got into the gate area C it was almost 6:10 AM and they were already boarding and so got into the plane. We took off bit early at 6:30 AM from gate C6. Due to the early departure we arrived in Atlanta also 10 minutes early by 7:35 AM at D9 gate. So far I am impressed with Air Tran schedule and staff.

We took the train and there was a line for the escalator to go up to the concourse C (may be because it was Monday morning in ATL and it was 7:50 AM peak hour commute). Our gate was C21 and was next to the escalator and we didn’t have time to grab breakfast as AirTran started to board by 8:20 AM. We were airborne by 8:45 AM few minutes ahead of schedule. But the captain warned us that there was a rainstorm that they were trying to avoid and so we will go via Mobile and that would add few minutes delay to our trip. So getting off early was good.

Once we were airborne and climbed to 10,000 feet I opened my MacBook and found out the onboard wi-fi service was only $4.95 for my 5 ½ h flight and so I bought the service. This allowed me to see where we were going in real time.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trip to Jacksonville Hindu Temple
Sunday, March 18, 2012 3-8 PM
Tallahassee and Jacksonville, FL

This afternoon we packed and left home around 3 PM toward Jacksonville, FL. We took I-10 East and drove for about 90 minutes before stopping for a restroom break.

Then as we reached the outskirts of Jacksonville we stopped and took a coffee and donut break at a local Dunkin Donuts. Then we drove to Jacksonville Hindu temple (Hindu Society of Northeast Florida’s Ganesh temple). By the time we arrived at the temple, its had been open only few minutes earlier (the time on Sundays are 6-8:30 PM).

We spent sometime praying and took some prasadam. We also met the senior priest we had seen earlier during previous trips.

From there we took I-295 South to I-95 North to our hotel Ref Roof Inn on Duval Road near the airport. We checked into our room and immediately went to see the economy parking  lot where we will park our car tomorrow.

Once that was finished we drove back to have dinner at a Taco Bell and went back to the hotel. I checked the e-mail and went to bed around  9PM.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Graduate and Post-doc Institution Fair

Graduate and Post-doc Institution Fair
56th Biophysical Society Meeting
San Diego Convention Center, 111 W Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Sunday, Feb 26, 2012

I registered at the 56th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting in San Diego, CA and also for the Graduate and Post-doc Institution Fair. I arrived at 12:15 PM and set-up the table in the Hall FGH around 300 aisle on position six. The Fair was set-up in the same hall where commercial vendors were situated.

I put up the MOB brochures, pens, flyers, and graduate program information. Soon many students (under graduates, post-docs, faculty) stopped by and inquired about our program. There were many senior under graduates also inquired about the program.

Soon Claude came and helped me put the table cloth and as the two hours time went by many more people stopped by and took the information. Our own MOB students also came to the table.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trip to San Diego

I left Tallahassee on DL5047 around 1:25 PM (instead of 12:35 PM) due to a weather related delay for the flight DL5047 from Atlanta to Tallahassee (CRJ 200) and it reached Tallahassee at 12:55 PM.

Then I arrived in Atlanta in a slightly bumpy ride due to cloudy weather. There was no rain in Tallahassee or in Atlanta while I left or landed but it had rained in ATL before and rained in TLH while I was in ATL. I arrived 2:20 PM on concourse D 28.

My connecting flight to San Diego was in Concourse A19 and it was 4:25 PM. So I went to Concourse A and grabbed some pizza and coffee and waited to board the flight. There was free Wifi at TLH but not in ATL. 

I boarded the flight. My DL 1467 flight to San Diego took off around 4:35 PM. It was about five hour flight. We went over AL, LA, TX, NM, AZ, and CA. Half-way through the flight around Dallas they served some cold drinks and peanuts. I was able to watch some free TV shows like TBS, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, and CBS. But all the interesting things to watch need to be purchased ranging in price from $2 to $6. Nothing was worth that price. Then approximately 45 min before landing they served coffee and peanuts. Fortunately, we landed 10 min early at 6:25 PM.

Even though I arrived in time, my checked luggage didn't make it. So I filled paper work for luggage to be delivered home.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

University of Florida

University of Florida (Gator Nation)
Gainesville, FL 32611 
Day trip
Saturday, March 18, 2012

VTS and I made a one day trip  University of Florida, Gainesville to be part of the visitors of freshman class. This was our first Recruitment Conference visit to UF. We left last evening (Friday) around 6 PM. It was a cloudy day and there were few drizzles on the way (mostly cloudy while at I-10 and drizzled while at I-75). We just stopped once at a rest stop.

We arrived at VB's Springs Dorm around 8:40 PM. We all three then headed to Kabab House for dinner at the intersection of W University Drive and 12th SW Street. Then we dropped off VB and went to the motel. Our directions were completely wrong. Then we looked for accommodation in two overbooked hotels. Finally we arrived at one place that had a room but happened to be next to the one we had reserved. So we asked the front desk person to hold that room and found our own reservation. Interesting and long evening.

In the morning we checked out of motel and headed to J. Wayne Reitz Union via the Museum Road. We parked the car and went to the registration. There were long lines and literally hundreds of people (even 8th graders attended the recruitment). The following was the schedule for the day:

9:00am-10:00am     Registration/Campus Resource Fair
10:00am-10:20am   Open and Welcome
10:25am-11:40am   Academic Advising Sessions 1 & 2 
11:40am-12:00pm   Lunch (provided)

12:00pm-12:45pm   Breakout Sessions by Grade
12:50pm-1:30pm     Parent/Student Panel
1:35pm-2:00pm       Scholarship Information
2:00pm                    Program Close

Then at 2 PM we started to drive towards our home. In Alachua we stopped and picked up our lunch. The rest of the day was cloudy and we arrived home around 5:10 PM.