Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just a weekend in Honolulu..

Started our Hawaii vacation in Honolulu. As my previous post says, I had been in Hawaii for two weeks before Sapan got there. Sapan landed on a rainy Friday evening. It was too late by the time Sapan got there so, we just had some Pizza at the hotel and decided to call it a night..

On Saturday, we woke up really early and decided to go for a run along the beach. After couple miles of the run, we had breakfast at the Wailana Coffee House . A few hours later, we met up with Armando and Will and decided to go to the USS Arizona Memorial . While waiting for our Arizona tour, we decided also visit the USS Bowfin Submarine . Didn't realize how claustrophobic the submarine would be. As expected on a boat, everything is bolted down. Would love to tour one of the recent subs to see how much has changed. Arizona was a humbling experience. Before you board the boat to go to the memorial, you see a video describing the attack and all the loss the US Navy suffered. Made me want to learn more about WW-II. The ride to the memorial was about 10 minutes. We spent some 1/2 hour so at the memorial and took the next boat back. By the time we got back, it was lunch time. We had decided to go up the Diamond Head Crater , so we decided to have lunch somewhere in Waikiki. We had a hard time finding a place that all 4 of us liked. So, we split up. Sapan and I had lunch at Taco Bell and Armando and Will had lunch at Ono Hawaiian Foods . This is supposed to be a place to get the best Hawaiian food in town. But, Armando and Will didn't like it as much. They initially rated it at 6/10 and then a few hours later demoted it to 4/10. After lunch we headed over to the crater. We pulled out of a tunnel into the parking lot of the crater. At this point, you look around and realize that you are in the middle of the crater. Quite impressive. This photo of the crater that I had taken from the plane a few weeks before when I got to Honolulu. The activity in this place was to hike up one of the edges of the crater to see the spectacular views at the top. And, it was well worth it. Didn't take us too long. I definitely realized how horribly out of shape I was when I climbed up the 200 stairs to the top.. Spent some time at the top taking photos and then came back down and drove back to the hotel to drop off Armando and Will. Later in the afternoon, we drove up the west coast of Oahu. Most of it looked it industrial land. We stopped at a beach and watched few people boogie boarding. Sunset also looked quite pretty from this place. After sunset, we drove back to Waikiki and went to Cafe Maharani for dinner. This place is really good. The wait however was too long at an hour. By the time we were done with dinner, we were too exhausted to do anything else and decided to retire for the night.

On Sunday, we had a nice relaxing breakfast the hotel before our Atlantis Submarine Tour . The tour was nice but not worth the money they charged. Maybe because I had already seen a lot of the fish that we saw when I went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. It was however neat to be at the bottom of the ocean, some 100 ft. down. After the submarine tour, we headed up to the north shore to watch surfers at the bonzai pipeline. Always amazing to see high waves and people riding them. We then decided to keep driving the Kamehameha Highway along the coast. We stopped along to roadside to have lunch of the Indian leftovers. Saw lots of pretty sights, including a pregnant seal along the way. Later in the afternoon, we went to the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden saw some pretty flowers there and got eaten alive with mosquitoes. People who were in Hawaii with me the previous week will tell you how big those mosquito bites get (as big as a quarter) and I had 10 bites all over my arms and legs.. Yah, I counted.. After the mosquito bites, we decided we had had enough of the nature and decided to bid adieu to Honolulu and started heading back to the airport. We took Pali Highway. The road that I had taken every day for two weeks. It was hard not to feel sad as the reality of maybe never coming back and never seeing my Hawaii friends kinda sunk in. We did stop by the Pali lookout point to see the panaromic views of Kaneohe bay.

We finally got to the airport and got on our plane to Hilo (Big Island). Stay tuned for stories of our Hilo adventures.. The rest of our photos from Honolulu are posted here

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Working Hard? Hardly Working? In Hawaii....

The next few posts are going to be really LONG!!

Most of you already know that I was in Hawaii for work for a week in December and then for couple weeks in January.. The work involved experimenting with some new technology at the Marine Corp Base in Kaneohe, HI.. Hawaii as you might know is a collection of 6 or so islands. Kaneohe is on the island of Oahu.. The same island that Honolulu is on.. Some trivia about Hawaii.. Its the most remote set of islands in the world. The closest land mass is around 2500 miles away. The chain of islands is still growing due to an active volcano under the ocean.. More on that in the next few posts.

Hotel - My december (I've forgotten grammar.. Should the "d" in december be upper case?) trip was very short.. Got to Honolulu sunday afternoon .. Hawaii is 5 hours behind eastern time this time of year. So, it was already night time in Boston by the time I got there.. I had taken a VERY early (5 am) flight that morning so was pretty beat.. When I first got to my hotel, Hilton Hawaiian Village it felt like a big zoo.. The place is huge with multiple high rises on the property. The front desk is not in a building but, kind of in a courtyard between the buildings. One of my co-workers, Dan had insisted on staying here because there was some 24 hour coffee shop across the street from the hotel.. People from other companies that we were working with were also staying at the same place.. So, after standing in line for what seemed like eternity (it was only about 10 minutes and I didn't see that there was a separate line for Hilton Honors members, so I had to stand with the masses ;-) ), I was checked in and was in the Rainbow tower on the 17th floor.. The guy said that he had upgraded me to "partial ocean view" which I was excited about... Ofcourse when I got to the room, I realized that almost all the rooms of this hotel have some or the other view of the ocean.. Mine wasn't that bad.. I didn't get a chance to take a photo during the day but, this is what it looked it at night.. We had to reach our work by 7:30am, which meant that we had to leave our hotel at around 6:45am, which was before sunrise.. We used to leave our work around 5:00pm and it would already be dark by the time we got back to the hotel. The hotel complex also had some 5 or so restaurants and 2 or 3 swimming pools, hot tubs, a HUGE shopping area with designer stores.. In January, I stayed in the Tapa Tower on the 25th floor.. This was set little further back than the Rainbow tower, but I could easily see the Hilton Luau (which was on the rooftop of their parking garage) from my room. Every friday the hotel has fireworks.. Which are LOUD.. Almost made me jump out of my bed one friday..

Food - Breakfast at this hotel was a nice EXPENSIVE buffet.. I opted for that for most days of the 1st trip.. I used to get their awesomely (is that even a word?) sweet Papayas and acidic pineapples and their divine guava juice and toast with guava jam and strawberry yogurt with granola.. Sometimes I would get their macadamia and coconut pancakes with coconut syrup.. Yummmmmm!! This was way more food than what I have for breakfast everyday.. I did go to the 24 hour Wailana Coffee House once to try it out and see what Dan's fuss was all about.. Its just a generic diner that is open all 24 hours.. For lunch, we had our pick of Subway or Taco Bell and MCBH Officer's Club .. And then for dinner, we went to restaurants in waikiki like Singha Thai which used to feature tradtional thai dances, Yard House which I found out later is a chain, Todai which is an all you can eat sushi / sea food buffet.. On the last thursday of the second week, almost everyone got together and we had a very nice dinner together at a oceanside reastaurant called, House Without A Key .. Their drinks were yummy.. And for dessert, I had a panna-cotta... The vanilla custard layer and pomegranate jelly was good but, I didn't care much for the green tea layer that they had added to it.. I can't go too long without Indian food so, during my January trip after about a week or so, I started craving some Indian food.. Searched on yelp and found Maharani Indian Restaurant which had gotten pretty good reviews. Went there with the BBN gang.. The place it seemed was really popular. We had about a 45 minute wait. When we did finally sit down, order and eat, the wait was definitely worth it.. I had some Malai Kofta and Naan and Tomato rice.. All very very yummy!! The Malai Kofta had the right amount of sweetness to it.. The naan was very soft and tasty and this is the first time that I had tomato rice, loved it.. Would highly recommend it to people going to Honolulu.. They don't take reservations.. So, be prepared to wait..

Work - With this awesome weather around me, I had almost forgotten that we were there for work.. Met some very nice people there.. Most of my work day involved either sitting in a windowless freezing conference room or sitting in a non-airconditioned disel fumed HMMWV(Humvee) or sitting in a nice SUV. Liked the SUV the most.. The people I worked with were super funny and we became really good friends towards the end of the trip and used to often get into mini competitions on who could type the fastest or speak on the radio the quickest.. Here are the photos..
Hawaii Work

Fun - As they say, All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, we are by no means dull.. So, we also took some time out to go sightseeing.. On the last day of the first week, we took the long way home and drove around the east side of the island.. Was great seeing the ocean against the moutains.. We also saw a few people body surfing some big waves... And, then during the second week, we learnt surfing and went snorkeling where we saw turtles and some very pretty fish and coral.. Most of the people in our group had also invited their wives and families to come to Hawaii.. It was great meeting them and hanging out with them..

OK.. I could go on and on and on.. but, I'll stop here for now.. Stay tuned for the Hawaii Vacation Posts(Sapan came to HI on the last day and then we stayed an extra week and vacationed on the different islands) ..

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend Update

Weekend started on Wednesday night on account of the Thanksgiving holiday.. We had pizza for dinner.. Hadn't had pizza in the longest time.. Was yummy..

Thursday - We went to Sital's place in Springfield for Hersh's 1st birthday celebration.. Hersh seemed to be enjoying the party.. Was running around everywhere, picking up everything that was on the floor. Sital tried to capture all this on video.. It was nice seeing Nehal after almost a year.. Am jealous of her "almost at the beach" apartment.. She was telling us how just last week, she was at the beach in her shorts and t-shirt.. Hmm.. That would be nice but, I'd miss the distinct seasons that we have here in the Northeast.. Also hung out with Deepa, Premal, Diya and Ami at the party..

Friday - Sapan had to go to work.. I had the day off.. So, I slept in.. When I did finally wake up, I did some cleaning around the house and then headed into Boston for lunch with Sapan.. I wanted to go to Chacarero but the location was closed (Something we should have checked ahead of time, before walking a mile in the rain...) so, we ended up going to Salvatore's near Sapan's office. It was a good decision.. The lunch was yummy!! I had Gnocci and Sapan had their Butternut Ravioli.. Stuffed from lunch, we were wondering how we'd be able to manage a heavy indian dinner.. We had plans to go to Pongal that evening.. At Pongal , I ordered their specialty Adai which came recommended by Arun. Sapan and the rest ordered NorthIndian food.. Both were good. I was able to finish half the Adai there and brought the rest home.

Saturday - This was yet another "lazy"ish day.. Woke up, watched some TV, heated up leftovers from the previous night for breakfast and then sat down to read a book. I had been reading Jhumpa Lahiri's latest book Unaccustomed Earth . As I finished the book, I realized that all her books are very morbid. They are quick to read, but, there really isn't much of a happy ending in them. Leaves me feeling depressed at times.. Oh well..Later in the afternoon we went out to get a Christmas tree for the house. Didn't end up buying a tree then, but, got the trimmings for it. Later in the evening, we had a nice satisfying dinner of bhel.

Sunday - Went out to finally get the Christmas tree. We got a small (3 ft) potted one. . Figured it was easier to deal with it rather than a cut one, where we'd have to get a stand, skirt, etc. Decorated it as soon as we got back home while Sapan was making me lunch! All we need now is presents! We spent the rest of the day watching football games. Am bummed that Texans couldn't beat Inday.. Felt bad for Dixon when he lost the Pittsburg game. We also saw a documentary about last year's terrorist attack on Mumbai. It was quite enlightening. It doesn't portray the Mumbai Police and the Indian Army in a very good light. Not sure if Indian authorities have actually seen it. Hope last year's tragedy has been a wake-up call for the authorities.

And, its back to the work week now.. Was nice having a 4 day holiday.. Need it more often!..

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Bandh Ho.. Aur Chabi Kho Jaye..

Ok.. Nothing that drastic.. But, this is the first weekend since we've gotten married that we didn't have any social engagements.. OK.. We had one on Saturday that we forgot.. And then the one that we had on Sunday got postponed.. So, we spent the weekend just the two of us.. It was great.. And suprisingly enough, other than having ice-cream on saturday evening and onion rings at the beach, we had all other meals at home..

On Friday, we just hung out at home, had leftovers for dinner, watched Singh Is Kinng on On-Demand.

On Saturday, we went to Narragansett Beach . Had a blast in the water there.. It was getting to be high tide when we got to the beach. The weather was perfect.. About 85 degrees at the beach and the water temperature was close to 70 degrees. There were about 2-3ft waves which was just the icing on the cake.. The beach was quite crowded, but we managed to find space to plop down our beach towels and get some tan too.. We plan to go there couple more times while the weather is still good.. Then in the evening we had dinner at home and realized that over the past few weeks, we're gaining lots of weight. So, we went out for a nice relaxing walk in our neighborhood.. Since we had burnt lots of calories on this walk ;-) we decided to go out for ice cream. We met up with our friends Raju and Divya and went to Toscanini's in Cambridge. I had their "cake batter" ice cream. It was OK. I still prefer Cold Stone's Cake Batter though.

On sunday, we did our religious house hunting open housing activity. Saw houses in Lexington, Arlington, Brookline and Watertown. Haven't liked any just yet.. I've been told to be patient.. So, that is what we're being.. Then we got our weekly supply of fruits from Russo's. I'm begining to love this small farmstand.. They even have vegetables that used to be found only in indian stores, like dudhi, methi, chillies, okra.. As for fruits, we got grapes, oranges and lychees.. Looking forward to savoring them all.. And then we spent the rest of sunday lazying at home and watching the Red Sox beat the Orioles.. We had leftovers for dinner again..

And, now its monday and its back to the grind stone.. I am however looking forward to our spain trip now..

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kakdi Mag Ni Dal Nu Shaak (Cucumber and Moong Dal)

Couple weekends ago, we had gone to Costco to buy some grapes. We're trying to eat healthy food. While there, I also decided to buy some cucumbers and tomatoes. We're on a big sandwich kick these days so I figured we'd use them all.. Well, that didn't happen. So I needed to figure out what I was going to do with these cucumbers that I had. Growing up, my mom often made "Dudhi mag ni dal" (Bottle Gourd and Moong Dal). I figured that cucumbers and dudhi were in the sorta in the same family so, I could just substitute one with the other. I was mostly correct. What I learned though that cucumber isn't as tough as dudhi, so it cooks much faster. Something to remember for next time. Overall the dish tasted really nice. We ate it with the last of the theplas that we had gotten from India and some malaysian parathas.

Here is the Recipe


1 Chopped Cucumber
1/2 Cup Moong Dal
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Corriender Cummin Powder
1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 Tsp Hing
2 Tbsp Oil
1/2 Tsp Ginger
2 Tsp Chopped Cilantro
Salt to Taste
Sugar to Taste


1. Soak moong dal in water for 1/2 hour or so
2. Cook the moong dal and cucumber in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles
3. Let the pressure in the cooker drop naturally so that you can open the cover easily.
4. Once you've opened the cooker, if the dal was cooked directly in it then add some water to it so that its at the desired consistency. If the dal is cooked in cooker containers then transfer it to a pot and add water.
5. Add turmeric, cilantro and cumin power, red chilli power, ginger, salt and sugar to dal and cucumber and stir well.
6. Let this cook for a few minutes till it is simmering
7. Heat the oil for tempering and add hing when the oil is sufficiently hot
8. Once Hing has cooked (about 10 s or so) add it to the dal and stir well
9. Add Cilantro leaves and stir well.
10. Serve hot with roti or rice

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Two Dreams, Two Hearts, Joined Together in Friendship and Love.....

Here are the wedding photos...

May 26th, 2009 - Lagna Geet Na Hindola (Wedding Songs while pampering Tanvi)
This is a non-traditional event which was held at my aunt's home.. She decorated the swing that she has in her living room with flowers for me to sit on. And, then people sang songs for me and fed me sweets.

June 1st, 2009 - Tanvi's Mehendi (Bridal Henna)
This was at our home. Took 24 man hours (6hours * 4 people) for my henna to be done. And took 4 man hours (2 people * 2 hours) each for my mom's and Sapan's mom's henna to be done. The photos are from half way through the process.

June 2nd, 2009 - Raas Garba (Dance Party)
This was in the evening couple days before the wedding. We all danced the night away.. Started with a few choreographed dances and then the dance floor was open to everyone. We had the traditional "Raas", stick dancing for a while and then switched to popular bollywood dancing.
Raas Garba

June 4th, 2009 Morning - Grah Shanti (Pre-Wedding Ceremony)
This started at 7:00am with a small ceremony of my leaving "home" to get married. The rest of the ceremonies to pacify the "planets" for the day were held at the wedding hall.

June 4th, 2009 Afternoon - Wedding
The wedding went on for four hours or so. The ceremony was both based on what our family does and what his family does. Key events include, me garlanding Sapan at the entrance of the wedding hall, us holding our hands for the first time, us going around the fire, us making seven vows with rice, us garland each other again, sapan giving me the traditional necklace, sapan putting vermilion in my hair.


June 4th, 2009 Early Evening - GharBharavni (Home Welcoming Ceremony)
This was done at Sapan's home after the wedding. They formally welcomed me into their home during this ceremony.
Wedding Ghar Bharavani

June 4th, 2009 Late Evening - Reception
This is basically a receiving line where we greet the guests and take pictures with them.


June 6th, 2009 Afternoon + Evening - Ankleshwar Reception
This was in Ankleshwar, Gujarat at my Dad's factory. We had an afternoon lunch reception for the factory workers in our factory lawns. The evening reception was for the Ankleshwar friends at Hotel Shalimar.
Reception at Ankelshwar

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Back .....

I'm back after this long hiatus.. Hope you all haven't given up on me.. I promise to do better..

So, lets see.. Here is what has been going on in my life..

Wedding - Its only 69 days to our wedding now. There is so much still left to be done and most of it won't even start till I get to India.. Hope I can get everything done in month.. Can't beleive that in 69 days, ther'll be someone whom I'm refer to as "My Husband".. Also, everytime I sign my name, I'm reminded that its going to change now.. Sapan has said that he doesn't care if I change my name or not, but I'm a traditional kinda girl.. So, I'm going to change my name to Tanvi Akkad Devimane..

Move - I also have to move out of my apartment and into Sapan's condo.. I'm going to miss my place.. It was a nice home for me for the past couple years.. But I'm now looking forward to starting my new life with Sapan..

Work - I've been traveling back and forth to San Clemente Island (an island off the coast of San Diego). Now, when I first started working on this project, I was loving the idea of going to an island. Little did I know what I was getting into.. This place has NOTHING.. It has one dining facility which makes the dining halls at UMass
seem like good restaurants. It has one bar which serves mainly grease and beers. The work is challenging, but, being stuck here just makes it NOT fun.. Yesterday however we had lost an asset and had to go looking for it with an underwater camera.. So, that was fun.. I also learned kinda how to drive a boat..

Flu - I've been battling this cold / flu for the past couple weeks.. I hope I haven't gotten anyone here on the island sick..

Bachelorette Party - Rina is planning my bachlerotte party for April 4th.. My friends and family are coming into town for that. Shivani will be here.. Sujal and Gargi are coming from Chicago.. Rhythm is here all the way from India.. Saya is coming from Philly, Angela is coming from North Hampton. Sital and Deepa are coming.. Payal, Nisha and Yogita are probably coming as well.. I feel so humbled and loved when I see who all is coming.. Thanks Rina for organizing this..

In-Laws - Sapan's parents are here.. So, I've been hanging out with them a bit and getting to know them.. Its been fun..
His sister Shruti had her baby couple months ago and we went to her cradling ceremony couple weeks ago.. It was great being called "mami".. Sapan also loves being called "masa" .. We're both very excited to be a part of each other's families..

Food - Since I've been traveling a lot, I haven't been cooking much.. I did however cook this stuffed red pepper with risotto with tomato cream sauce.. It came out wonderfully the first time around, the second time that I cooked it, we used light cream instead of heavy cream and also went a little light on the cheese, and it didn't taste that good .. Oh well, I now know the secret to good tasting food.. Unhealty things!

Well... Thats about it from my side.. I'll try and do a better job of updating the blog now..