Thursday, December 29, 2016

Muir Woods

Muir Woods National Monument is located about 12 miles north of San Francisco. It is a beautiful park with giant redwood trees.

 It took us over an hour to drive from Sunnyvale. As we saw signs along the way that the parking lot was full, we went to the shuttle stop and waited another hour for the shuttle to arrive. It was freezing and as usual I didn't have enough layers. 

When we finally reached the park, we grabbed a map and decided to do the easiest trail that would take us 30 mins round trip. It was pretty flat, shaded and beautiful path. It was a bit crowded and there were some people who were talking loudly which took away from the serenity of the place.

We covered in the loop and got back to the entrance just in time for the shuttle back. I wish we had planned better and started early. We barely got an hour to spend inside the park after all the driving and waiting.

The park is scenic but I don't think it is much different from any of the other parks with giant redwoods. The state park in Santa Cruz is just as beautiful. So I'm not sure I would go through the trouble of driving all the far and wait for the shuttle when I can go to other parks. It may be that the other trails in the park lead to much more dramatic scenery but from what I saw, I won't be paying a second visit. 


This was my first ever dandiya. I've always wanted to go for one but never got a chance. When Pooja from my dance class suggested we go, I was all for it. After all, Falguni Pathak was going to be at the event!

The trouble of not having appropriate clothes was solved by Pooja who offered me her lehenga and jewellery. I was so happy with the the attire.

Leena, her roomie and I took an uber to pick up Pooja and then headed to the venue in San Jose. There was so much traffic and people had trouble finding parking. Lucky for us, we asked the driver to stop at a distance and walked the last mile.

At the venue, we were joined by a big gang of Leena's friends. We kept our belongings on the floor and formed a circle around it to dance. Most of them had no clue how do play dandia. We just copied steps from each other and tried to do the best we can. We danced non stop. I got so sweaty and tired after two hours. I didn't even remember to click a picture of Falguni!

We took a break and ate some food. By then I met Nutan and Sandhya who joined us. We continue dancing past midnight. I had picked up enough steps that at one point I was leading the group and teaching them steps :)

It was a total fun night and I'm looking forward to going for more dandiya nights next year.

Giants Game at Levis Stadium

I've never watched American football and don't have any clue how it is played. Yet, when Vishnu's company gave us tickets to watch the Giants game, I decided to go anyway. I just wanted to get the feel of watching a live game at a stadium.

We reached the stadium a little early fearing traffic. Since we had reserved parking, everything was a breeze. This was my first time visiting Levis stadium and I was so impressed how big it was. VMWare has a special suite so we went up there. It was so comfortable and the view from the top was wonderful.

We spent time clicking pictures and grabbing some high priced tasteless food from the food court.

The game began and I had a tough time following what was going on. Vishnu had to explain the rules and by half time I had some idea of the game. It didn't help that the Giants (the home team) were playing terribly. Most of the people left much before the game ended as it was pretty clear who the winner was going to be. We stayed until the end.

Bollywood Dance

I haven't danced since the final year of college. But I always wanted to learn how to dance. When I heard about Mona Khan Dance Company from my SIL, I was eager to give it a chance. I signed up right away.

It was a 8 week session with an hour long class each week. It being a performance quarter, we also had a technical rehearsal before the final performance. The first day I reached class, I was very excited as well as scared whether I'd be able to grasp the steps. The teacher, Shipali introduced herself as well as the assistant teacher, Dhanashri. She told us we were going to learn the choreography for two songs-Rock the party (I had never heard the song before) and High heels.

I was exhausted after the first class especially since I hadn't been doing any cardio for a while. The teacher recorded the last 5 mins of the class and sent over a detailed email on the steps that we learnt in class along with the video recording. This was super helpful in remembering the steps.

After the first few classes, all the students decided to meet on the weekend to practice. It was fun meeting at a different house each week and dancing. There was a lot of food and chit chat along with the practice. It was quite tough to get everyone to come at a common time but we tried.

On the last class, we had a dress rehearsal.

We then had the tech rehearsal at Chabot college in Hayward. It gave us the exact feel of the final performance day. It was useful to mark our positions on stage and to get over the stage fear a little.

On the final performance day, Vishnu, SIL and BIL all came to watch the show.

I was pumped and happy about my hair, makeup and overall look.

When our performance started, there was some difficulty with the stage curtain and we had to stop and restart. That was a little unsettling but we managed to give a superb performance. Everyone gave their best and I'm very happy with the final result. Our 8 weeks of hard work showed and I surprised myself with my performance.

I've signed up for the next session (non performance) and I'm looking forward to improving my skills and learning some fun steps.