of $20 sandwich, taking a leap and southwest..
traveled to oregon, bay area and vegas on three different trips in the past 4-5 months. oregon was a road trip to crater lake through the pacific coast. vegas was more like a bachelor party of a friend and bay area was part business part recreational. both vegas and california were booked through southwest, which i was a bit hesitant on, since its so frequently the subject of russel peters' jokes. but southwest was awesome. i arrived at the airport 20 minutes prior to my california flight (i was thinking 50 minutes but misread the flight time by half an hour). they let me board the flight and even my luggage was boarded on the same flight (which they had no obligation for), instead of the next one. similar thing had happened on the return trip from vegas (a chain smoker friend is to be blamed). i was let through but wasn't lucky this time with my luggage. the people at their reception counters were polite and helpful and the crew in the flight to vegas was very candid and funny in a good way. the announcer lady was cracking jokes at every chance she got and the whole flight would burst in to laughter. i am officially a fan of southwest.
this was my third trip to vegas. a particular remarkable experience was the $20 sandwich which brought us a free upgrade to a suite in treasure island and complementary champagne. go read more about it. it works. i was very intrigued by the entire idea. everything was happening under the camera right on top of the head of the guy at the reception, so there was nothing sneaky about it. i guess vegas is just looking for a reason, no matter how small, to be more hospitable.
i really like the cosmopolitan hotel there, especially its chandelier bar. it might have something to do with the fact that it had just opened when i went to vegas for the second time and it all appeared so shiny and new. wanted to check out this restaurant é-by-josé-andrés there. celebrity chef, seating capacity of 8, no phone number and reservation by email only. sounded fancy but it was all booked. not sure if i would have reserved had it not been. my most expensive meal has been a dinner for two for $340 at altura, seattle. this was more like $680 for two.
saw the show mystere. cirque du soleil's domination of the strip is quite impressive. waiting for the 12/31 release of their movie: worlds away. and continue to be amazed by the success story of guy laliberte, his friendship with steve wynn which brought mystere to treasure island and his friendship with george harrison which led to conception and creation of beatles love show which plays at mirage. very interesting example (outside the internet industry) of like minded people working together and creating something great and magical. vegas to me is a place that epitomizes innovation, indulgence, hospitality and finesse.
san-francisco was beautiful. spanish influence everywhere on the city. took this night tour and many building including the city hall were glowing in orange lighting to support the san-francisco giants. they eventually won the world series. during the day tour, this popular tourist point of painted ladies was passing by and i felt reluctant to take picture of a victorian house. i live a mile or so from queen-anne and never admired its victorian architecture to the same level. felt that i have ignored seattle and never really truly explored it. i see a ride the ducks ride for me coming one of these weekends. and i am not kidding.
coming back to the spanish influence again, i have the perception of spanish as industrious, hardworking and resourceful people. and they have influenced the american history a lot. think of the conquistadors that conquered the inca empire. i was left asking myself the question as to why is spain a nobody when it comes to power in the modern world. the answers are very interesting and give insight in to how superpowers at different times have approached sustaining their status and structured the dynamics internally and with their colonies. lot of reading regarding the egyptian, greek and roman history resulted. very interesting to see how egypt would have these so called intermediate periods of chaos every few hundred years or so after stable dynasties. and how the east-european and mid-east world has been conquered and ruled by so many different forces over time. even though the world is more civilized now, there will continue be new superpowers in future. and i believe the biggest reason towards united states of america not being able to retain its status would be the republican ideology and the conservative politicians who can sometimes sound like the backward cousins of even the worst of indian politicians. anyways, among other things i know a lot more about cleopatra and elizabeth taylor now.
oregon road trip was fun as well. on our way back we did rafting in the white salmon river near portland. there were some class 5 rapids in the way and we had to walk around those and resume the rafting again on class 3 and 4 rapids. on one such walk, there was a point of 25 feet free fall jump in to the river and many people chose to do that instead of walking down. i don't swimming that well, but i chose to do it and take the leap. it was therapeutic. even though it hurt my ear (have some strange set-up of ear drums since birth), i am so glad i did it. i would have hated myself for not experiencing it. i guess jeff bezos' idea of regret minimization works. i wish they had my jump on camera as well.
of passion, personality, profession and glory..
profession, passion and personality need to be the same ideally. i guess it's not that simple. various competing ideologies are at play based on the social and economic fabric of your surroundings. the ones like work is worship (what do you do for fun? is a valid question in this world). and life is a race, keep running (how the millionaire mind works is a valid suggested reading material in this world). it's discipline and learning that are emphasized on in these ideologies. over self-exploration and expression. but without that there is no possibility of bringing the best out of you and no shot at glory. find avenues to explore and express yourself in the things that you really like. and you will be one step closer in knowing what's that one thing that you are best in the world at. no one can beat you at that. keep looking if you haven't found it yet. there is at least one such thing.