Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving usually means four things here in the US – travel, family, food and shopping (not necessarily in that order!). I have most of my family back in India, most places are too cold to travel to by November, I am a vegetarian and I prefer sleeping in to shopping. So Thanksgiving has always been little more than a 4-day weekend for me. But this one was different and we managed to get into the spirit of this holiday by having a vacation that included all those four things.

Having decided to drive to Phoenix for a family reunion, we decided that 11 hours in the car would be too tough on the kids (and not to mention, our marriage!). So we thought of taking a break in LA, which was conveniently about the midpoint of our trip. But when you have 2 kids, staying in LA without visiting Disneyland is akin to murder. So we eventually left Tuesday, a day earlier than planned and visited Disneyland on Wednesday.

'The Happiest Place on Earth' has never let us down. Kavya was ofcourse the most enthusiastic in the group this time and enjoyed every single ride she went on. Since this was a trip targeted towards the kids, we focused on rides that the kids could go on. So we spent most of the time in Fantasyland before heading over to Tomorrowland for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, the only new attraction that none of us in the group had seen. The Jungle Cruise and The Haunted Mansion rounded off the day and for the first time, we headed back to the hotel without waiting for Phantasmic or the fireworks.

We continued on to Phoenix Thursday morning for the get-together with my brother and three other cousins. Pretty close back when we were growing up and rarely having a chance to meet after coming to the US, it was a fun reunion for all of us. As in most reunions, a lot of time was spent just chatting and reminiscing about the good ol' days. Kavya and Karthik had fun too since they had their own cousins in the same age-group.

All of us also had a small outing to Lake Saguaro, about an hour away. It was a pretty large lake and we rented motor boats (called pontoons) which we had to drive ourselves. We all (including Kavya) took turns sailing the boat and it was real fun.

When a group of us Tamils get together, food is never really a problem, is it?! There was no turkey on the menu ofcourse but food was never in short supply (and food tastes so much better when you realize you don't have to load the dishwasher afterwards!). Home-made snacks like pakodas and doodh bedas made me give a lot of thanks to the hosts!

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest shopping day of the year and the start of shopping for the holiday season. My shopping during previous Black Fridays has been restricted to sauntering into stores quite late in the day to pick up some trifles. With some enthusiastic shoppers to give me company, I got into the mood for some real shopping this time and was at Target at about 5am. There were 50 people in line before me and by 6am, when it opened, the line had grown to probably 300. The area resembled a crime scene with the line cordoned off with yellow tape and policemen patrolling the area! But I managed to pick up all the items I was looking for – a 10” portable DVD player (for $84), a 500G USB external hard drive (for $87) and seasons 7 and 8 of Seinfeld (for $15 each). It was a fun experience with both the shoppers and the store employees being surprisingly polite and helpful.

Overall, it was another memorable vacation...


At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

black friday was mom dragged me with her to jcpenny for some kitchen things at 4am...but then i went to circuit city with my friend later and got "good night and good luck" for $4...we also went to radioshack to get a 2gb flash drive for $15...anyways, i saw atm over the break, i enjoyed it actually. It defintely seemed a little different than recent tamil movies and especially vijay movies. However the first half just went a little to slow for me. Some of the dance sequences didn't impress me, however I was impressed by the acting of Vijay. Many people seem to complain that he did not distinguish the two two characters very well, but I feel that if he made them very different from one another, then his family and friends back in chennai wouldn't believe that the evil vijay was their original guru. So i actualy feel this was done intenionally rather than because vijay couldn't act. The double vijay fight seens were splendid, and the last vision was defintely unexpected. However, the ending was discouraging and left me with a bitter taste. However I do feel that it probably is one of the better vijay films of recent times as he seemed to experiment. I will wait to watch vel on dvd as it seems like a typical masala, village, twins brothers type of flick. But anyways, i give atm a 2.5 out of 4. Hopefully with dharani at the helm kuruvi is a bit more fast paced and keeps my attention throughout. Thats my two cents.

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji.. Turkey is Thanksgiving :)

At 11:47 AM, Blogger tt_giant said...

We got the 500 GB usb HD too!

glad you had a nice time.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, nice to know your back. should have gone to staples they had a 100 dollar Navigon GPS system.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a Sony Digital Camera, Printer, Digital Photo Ket chain from Compusa for $100

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we had gone to poconos (eastern pennsylvania) for a short break...
post-4 midterm exams i was more interested in sleeping in and zoning out of academia for a few days and thats exactly what i did! watched pollaadhavan - liked it a lot...
hated AT Magan...I thought it was the stupidestttttttt Vijay movie in a while...if u wanna make senseless movies, make entertaining masala movies; dont attempt to be different and make a mess!
anyways, back to t'giving, my wife found a place called Crossings (at Poconos) which had 100 Outlet stores in one place...need I say more?!

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bharath, like most vijay films, atm seems to be getting extreme reactions. ur thots seem to be similar to mine :)

nandita, not in our house :)

tt, great men shop alike i guess :)

glass, the GPS seemed to be 1 of the more popular items this yr. 'target' had a few on sale too :)

pattabhi, my brother got a sony digi camera from walmart. great deal :)

ram, 100 stores? wow... u manage to get anything? :)

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ram, 100 stores? wow... u manage to get anything? :)

bb, yes i managed to get some affectionate words and cute smiles :-)


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