Friday, December 19, 2008

Parents trip to America

Prelude:- The first time I left the soil of America in April 2004, I knew I would be back, not single but with my parents. Yes, that I knew for sure that the next time I come to US, I needed to get my parents. Well I came again and left within 5 months and then came again on the 14th May 2005. This trip my dear friend Sujata who also wanted to get her parents coaxed me into filing the papers (well coaxed me because I was on a short trip, and the dates for visas were after 4 months). After all the papers were send and I prepared my parents for the interview and the all the help from immihelp website and my sister they finally got their visas on Aug 29th(lucky day- my mom's bday). Summer was officially coming to an end but I did not know if I would get a chance again and so I coaxed them to fly. Their tickets were booked for the Sept 11th 2005.

Sept11th2005: I was all excited for their arrival and went to the JFK airport. Flight (Air India) usually arrives by 3pm, my idea was to take them back via train. I knew they would be very excited as it was thier first trip in a flight :) I entered the airport and looked at the arrivals. No mention of Air India. A flight could be delayed that I can understand but not to be listed was not something I thought I would have to handle.
A little while later an Air India flight attendant mentioned that the flight was bird struck at London and had to make an emergency landing and there was no ETA.
What I could do but wait. From evening 3 to 6 and still no news. Anxious monemnet passed by al the while talking to Gopi on the pay-phone and he reasuuring me. Finally at 8pm they announced that the flight was diverted to Chicago from London. Immigration check would happen at Chicago and then a domestic flight would bring them to JFK. Finally at 3 am the flight landed at JFK. My parents were happy to see me and I was relieved to see them. A note here-when the flight changed from London to Chicago they got to travel First Class as economy was full(first surprise). As it was late at night I knew I would not get any trains. It so happened there was another couple who wanted to travel to Hartford and there were lots of limo drivers, so we shared an actual limousine. So the first time my parents travelled from JFK to Stamford was in a limousine(second surprise).

The first thing I did was to buy a pre-paid cell phone. The first trip I organized with my ever reliable Chinatown bus tours was NewHaven,Rhode Island,NewPort,Boston. I was a good 2 day weekend trip. I also wanted to familiarize them with the China town buses as they would be travelling their future trips with them.
Their next trip was Niagara Falls. I dropped them at NY at the bus office and picked them back the next day. The next trip was to Philadelphia-Washington D.C. The got some Indian company and enjoyed it well. One of the weekends was also kept to visit our friends in Philly whom I regularly visit when I am in the east Coast.
One weekend we went to Yale University and Mohegan Sun.
Fall had started and Gopi came to vist them, we planned a trip of White Plains and New Jersey, while returning we stopped at Atlantic City. Dad wanted to play but as it was late we had to go back. We also went all the way to North Hampshire to see the fall leaves.
One weekend I decided to show them around New York, I had a couple of places in mind. As soon as we reaced Grand Central there was a whole lot of extra crowd and we could see that some sort of shooting was going on. I was not very keen as I was detaling the plan. Suddenly my mom exclaimed, look its Karan Johar and next to him Shah Rukh Khan and yes indeed. They were shooting for Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. We saw them at very close quarters and then went to see the Statue of Liberty. On return from there we saw Rani Mukherjee. After this star studded show we managed to go to Empire State Bldg, UN Bldg, wax Musuem,Times Square and then back home.

The long trip that I had planned for them was California. Mom,dad and me flew from here and Gopi joined us there. Our first stop was Universal Studios at LA, the next day was Sea World at San Diego. The third day we drove through Yosemite Park to SFO. The fourth day we spend time at Ghiradelly, Golden gate bridge, rose garden before flying back to Stamford.
Oct end they flew back to India.
I was very happy and thrilled with their visit and that I could manage to show them all these places.