Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mt. Rushmore and South Dakota

We started out from office early on Friday 22/04/2005 and headed for the car rental agency also in downtown. After lot of deliberations and not finding one to our liking in mid size, we decided to go for a slightly expensive but really cool Jaguar. Yes! the trip was of to a wonderful start and we were out of Minneapolis by 6:30 PM.
The drive was fabulous with scenic views of the vast grasslands of the American countryside. It was fun sitting in the Jaguar, just a really cool and fast car. We made good progress through the night and were at Rapid City at 3 am. (Helped by 1 hr time difference). We checked into out hotel and hit the beds and it wasn’t until 10 am that we were up and ready to head to our first destination.

Mt. Rushmore Posted by Hello

This of course was Mount Rushmore. The drive again was very pleasant the place was reasonably good. We didn’t expect to see anything great and we weren't surprised. We took some snaps, spent some time there also had ice-creams (temp was around 5-10 C).
It was almost 12pm and we headed towards Custer state park, through Black Hill forest. Driving through Black Hills was refreshing with conifers on either side of the road and ice around the road that had not yet melted.

Wild Buffaloes at Custer Park Posted by Hello

We were hoping to see some Wild buffaloes at Custer Park and we were not disappointed. We saw some herds and even managed to get some good snaps, thanks to me sticking my head out of the moonlight roof of the Jaguar. We did spot some Ponies and Deers too and we continued to drive till we reached Jewel cave. We learnt that the full 1 hr tour was over for the day and we could only go in for the "Discovery" tour down to the first cave. The tour lasted only 20 minutes and we weren't very impressed, neither did the snaps come out okay. However we were excited contemplating how the full tour inside the cave might have been.
It was almost 5 and we decided to head back to our hotel and go out in the evening. The plan was to visit a Casino and we did find one in "Deadwood", an hours drive from where we were staying. It was my first time in a Casino and the results were encouraging. I doubled the money I put in, while playing 'Blackjack'(in one hour that too). I did a smart thing by having learnt how to play it and practicing it on Yahoo. We had dinner outside headed to our hotel.

Badlands Posted by Hello

Next day we started back home at 9:00AM. We planned to cover 'Badlands' and ‘Sioux falls’ on the way back. ‘Badlands’ was a pleasant surprise with excellent scenery and some what resembling Grand canyon!! It was a long byway - around 60 miles, we spent an hour there.
'Sioux falls' is probably a misnomer as the height of the Water-fall was only 5-6 meters. It’s more like a park. However one interesting thing is that a train passes over the falls.
Interesting ahah!!
All in All a Good weekend, had a nice time, but don't think I would be visiting South Dakota again.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Weekend Trip to Lake Mille

After another hectic week at work, we were looking forward to an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. We made an elaborate plan for what we would do on Saturday. We planned to go to Lake Mille; about 100 miles from here, then head for shopping at Albert Ville, and finally spend some time at Lake Callaghan in Minneapolis before having dinner and winding back home.

Driving on the Interstate Posted by Hello

We started out at around 10 and soon caught the Interstate and were on our way. Speed limit was close to 70 Miles an hour so we made it to Lake Mille by 12:30 or so. We drove along the banks and had a good look around. The ice had not yet melted even though the temperature was now touching 60-65 F. The view of the lake was breathtaking and with the warm weather the time spent there was really enjoyable. Lake Mille is a fairly big lake and we were not able to site the other shore.
From there we headed towards Albert Ville which is a huge shopping place with all kinds of branded goods available at good discounts. It took us a lot of time to look around and we did buy few things too. The place is around 40 miles from Minneapolis, but by the look of it, people from all around come to shop here. After spending a few hours there, we headed back.

Lake Mille Posted by Hello

We stopped at Lake Callaghan for some time to relax. This was more like a park with many people coming to Jog, skate, barbecue, play sports and hang out. It was bustling with people. We sat there for some time taking in the sights and later took a stroll around the lake.

Lake Callaghan - Minneapolis Downtown in the background Posted by Hello

We had dinner at on Indian restaurant "Taste of India" and guess what?? It was my treat!! The food was good and the whole day had been so enjoyable.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

First Week

It’s been a week here and an eventful one at that.
After relaxing on sunday, I had to head for Office on Monday, not fully over my Jet lag though. 'American Express Financial Advisory' is the client I work for, and the office is in downtown (Hub of Minneapolis). Downtown is full of Sky scrapers much like Manhattan but with lot lesser and smaller buildings. (Pictures coming soon)
It takes about half an hour by Bus to get there from our place. Everything seems so neat and serene here and even the Bus ride is so comfortable. The traffic moves at extremely fast pace on the expressways.

France Av. - Main Road Posted by Hello

Our office is a 30 story building; I am on the 11th floor. All buildings are connected via Skyway, at 3rd-4th floor so no-one ever need step on the street, which is an absolute necessity in the winters. Even now, the temperature fluctuates from 40-60 F which is about 6-15 C.
I didn't expect so much work on the first week. I had my laptop and Ids ready the very first day and was into meetings with the business daily. I have been a spectator most of the time with mostly business and strategic decisions being taken and other members being VPs and Directors. We have couple of members from Compliance and legal department, this being ‘Compliance’ related project. All in all a very interesting week with having lots to learn and this exposure would certainly be an excellent experience for me.
Accommodation is very cozy as expected. We have all the essentials and more including excellent connectivity (Broadband and routers) so that all of us can be connected through our Laptops simultaneously. In fact yesterday, we were seeing Indo-Pak match on the net!!

Cedars of Edina - Home Posted by Hello

I went for Jogging twice this week to centennial Lake. I have some pictures of the same. The sun does come out but is ineffectual and its pretty chilly when the wind blows. Jogging requires some effort but is refreshing and good exercise too and of course the scenery is good all round which makes it worthwhile.

Centennial Lake Posted by Hello

Joggin arnd Centennial Lake Posted by Hello

Went for groceries today and this brings us up to date. Lots of small things I want to mention as they are so interesting but I want to keep the blog readable too.
I have to get back to my GMAT/MBA plans, that as soon as I get settled.
Just enjoying myself for now.

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