This post in from May 2012.
“Tum thik se reh loge na?” (“You will be able to manage, right?”) was my mother’s question ever since I reached home. And it ended when I finally got in Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). As I got in, that terminal air gave my independent+responsible feeling a blast of 10 points (random number) and an adrenaline injection 5 ml (again random). Given that I have changed from reserved kind of person to take-it-as-it-comes I had no worries at all. Some people actually asked me “Darr nahi lag raha hai?” (“Not nervous at all?”)!
Immigration had a nice scene. As I was ready to be queued up, a man started arguing with the immigration officer, with a total devil-may-care attitude. I was amazed as I was told that immigration is not something to be mess up with. Maybe that was US Immigration only. This says something about the difference. Although I’m not sure what.
Flight was amazing. Lufthansa is great, lots of ‘good’ stuff they give. Enough with the materialistic. Let’s discuss people-
People in USA believe you. They take your word for it (unless of course you did something stupid or suspicious). No questions at immigration or customs from me. And this thing wasn’t just at the airport, later in Seattle whenever I could observe, it was true. Now this kind of thing (trust on one another) does not come so easily: it is like a part of their culture now. For it, you need strict fines because if you get caught once you’re so super screwed that you’d literally think five times before playing around next time. But only that won’t do. This is a indirect portrayal that the US system (not government not the bureaucracy) is trustworthy.
The idea that 3 Idiots tried to put of letting everyone perform according to their own level got echoed in such a subtle yet amazing way. We were going in the car somewhere when on the radio in an ad some guy asks a kid what he wants to become and the answer – “Dental Assistant”. That is something you simply cannot hear in India. “You want to become a dental assistant, you dumb ass? Why not a Dentist? Rather you stupid piece of shit why not a proper Doctor?” and there goes a good resource down the drain who could have been a very good dental assistant.
They are disciplined. Five days of enough car drives in Washington and I did not see traffic rules getting broken more than ten times, from highway pullovers by cops to minor unnoticed stuff like not stopping at the STOP sign.
They are burning the Earth. Public transportation is not used. Every single person drives a car. 90% of the cars on the freeways have one person in them. After two days, if I saw someone waiting at the bus stop I totally judged that either something is wrong with this person’s car or he/she is poor. No basis in me judging after just two days but I did.
Seattle’s an amazing city. Great infrastructure, is a port as well. Though I feel it lacks diversity overall; most of the non-US citizens are IT junta, no cultural hotspot as such. Lot of music underground scenario apparently which got attention with Nirvana’s rise and that’s the end of it as well. It was Kurt Cobain rather than Nirvana.
Day 1. Visit to Alki Beach. Chilled and awesome with Tully’s coffee to warm me up. And then bowling at Evergreen Lanes, Everett which was pretty good.
Day 2. Went to the Space Needle. 360 degree view from 520 feet. Built in 1962 celebrating it’s Golden Jubilee (so much for a world fair). Went to Starbucks, Pike Place market. Got to see enough people after all who were not in either car, home or office. Kerry Park – sweet view, peaceful place.
Day 3. Chilling out at cousin’s place.
Day 4. EMP – Experience Music Project – INFINITELY AWESOME. Must visit if you set foot in Seattle. Funded by Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft). And with Nirvana and AC/DC, Avatar – oh yeah!
Day 5. Mt.Rainier was BEAUTIFUL. Snow at a low altitude due to this latitude. It is volcanic, last erupted in 1981.
Flights: Zero talk with Indian guy in BOM-FRA flight. Lots of talk with a Swiss born American grandfather 82 years old (he has a 23 year old granddaughter who did civil from UoW: I was 21 at the time. SO CLOSE! 😛 ) in FRA-SEA about so much stuff including World War II!! Hot chick (again 4-5 years older) in Seattle-Salt Lake City flight. I gave that bitch a Tic-Tac. Bitches loves Tic-Tac. Bitch slept the whole time, so could not interact with her.