Travelogue (VII)

Hello my friends! It has been a while since my last post. Time flies… and snowflakes too at the moment. We are supposed to get over 5 inches of snow tonight, again. This winter is apparently in no hurry to depart. ūüė¶

As I mentioned before, the year 2012 was a bit complicated. I traveled to 8 countries (UK, Italy, Switzerland, China, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Belize) and spent 71 nights away from home. I saw quite a few wonders of the world, and some other amazing things. The number of trips to New York City was cut back significantly which helped to keep my weight in check.

  • Saw amazing snow geese migration in Middle Creek, PA. It was breath-taking to¬†watch and hear¬†thousands of¬†birds take off all at once and then land back on the water.
  • Saw¬†“El Castillo” (Pyramid of Kukulcan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Chichen Itza, Mexico. This was part of¬†a long relaxing weekend in Cancun, Mexico.
  • Saw many masterpieces and visited many cool places during the¬†wonderful trip to Italy and Switzerland in May. I was beyond excited to finally get to see so many things that I had known since childhood – Colosseum and Pantheon in Rome, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Ponte Vecchio and ‘David’ in Florence, ‘The Last Supper’ in Milan, and Jet d’Eau¬†in Geneva. I will definitely¬†write a separate post for this trip.
  • Saw Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, with a magnificent rainbow.
  • Saw (thru my plane window during taxiing) the space shuttle Enterprise attached to the NASA 747 at Washington Dulles Airport, awaiting clearance to depart for New York for delivery to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

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In addition to feeding my eyes with all these cool things, other interesting trips and experiences of the year include –

  • Caribbean Cruise in December – Hondurous, Belize, Mexico. I went snorkeling and scuba diving for the first time in my life. Even though my focus¬†turned out to be¬†more staying alive than admiring the underwater view, I enjoyed the new experiences.
  • During the Niagara Falls trip,¬†David and I¬†stopped by Toronto pretending to be ‘proud Canadians’ on their National Day. ūüôā

To wrap up this post of a busy travel year, let me mention that I also managed to go to London twice for work, Bloomington, IN for a business trip, and Beijing to visit my family. All in all, 2012 was a very productive and memoriable year!

Travelogue (II)

Check out¬†the blog’s ‘Travel’ page¬†that I created today.¬†I will update it whenever I have new places to add to the lists. This would help me keep a record of my whereabouts.

As you can see, other than China, I didn’t go anywhere outside¬†the United States until 2006. This was largely due to my visa status – it was a hassle to re-apply. Additionally, once the Green Card application started, it was a risk to leave the country¬†during the process, which took many years. Fortunately, there were many beautiful places in the US to keep me busy. ūüôā

1997 – Visited Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York City for the first time. Shenandoah National Park was only an hour’s drive away so it became a regular place to¬†explore over the years. From now on, I won’t count the dozens of trips to MD, WV, PA, NJ and NY.

1998 РWent to Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China during summer break; A road trip to Florida by way of VA, NC, SC and GA. I had a great time in Orlando, Miami and Key West.

1999 – Attended the Interface ’99 conference in Schaumburg, Illinois. This was my first ‘business trip’.¬†It was also the¬†first time that I gave a presentation and it went quite well. A friend¬†drove me to Chicago afterwards. Unfortunately it was raining so hard that I wasn’t able to do much.

2000 – Attended Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Indianapolis. JSM is the largest gathering of statisticians in North America, usually held in early August. Several¬†cities that I would visit in the years ahead were¬†hosts of¬†JSM. A road trip to Niagara Falls –¬†its sight and sound¬†took my breath away.

2001 – A 3000-mile road trip in western US – from Seattle to Portland to San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Salt Lake City to Boise, crossing Cascade Range (no fun in winter) and back to Seattle. Visited three National Parks this year – Mount Rainier, Grand Canyon, Zion. They were all marvelous in their own way.

2002 – A trip to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon – again. A trip to Niagara Falls – again. You see, my parents came to visit me so I showed them around. The time we spent together and those precious memories will stay with me the rest of my life.

Okay, time to take a break. My mom just sent me a message so I will go talk to her on video. Till next time…