Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Maine experience

The Start

We decided to go to Maine for the President's Day weekend. So on Friday after work, we bundled up everyone in two SUVs and off we went for a long 12 hrs drive. By the time we entered Maine, we knew we made the right choice....there was so much snow everywhere! Even in the wee hours in the morning with temperature below 0 degree Fahrenheit, our spirits were soaring high.

Upon our arrival at Rangeley, we finally found the cabin that we had booked after a long search. When we entered the cabin, our excitement level went up. Not only was it better than in pictures it was cosy and clean, kept like a home with the kitchen fully stocked. By then the sun had already risen and we were awarded by the amazing view from the back door....we had a beautiful frozen lake as the back yard!

Day 1

After a good rest of few hours, we headed to the nearby Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort where we headed towards the beginners slope. But the moment we put on the skis, we realized this was going to be way tougher than our last experience. Maybe it was the good quality of the skis, or maybe the skis here were waxed better - maybe because the snow here was natural and not machine blown, or maybe the slope was indeed steeper than in Pennsylvania where we had skied last, but none of us were able to ski here at all! The moment we put on the skis, we were sliding down without any control. Man! That was scary. I finally gave up. The worst part was that there were kids, as young as 3yrs old or even younger, who were zipping and zooming past us!

In the evening we went to a cozy restaurant called The Gingerbread House in a nearby town of Oquossoc. We enjoyed scrumptious food while a couple of deers grazed outside. Back in the cabin we set up a crackling fire in the fireplace and we headed out of the backdoor towards the lake. But the fiendish minds of few of my friends stopped us in a few minutes as they attacked us with snow balls. We were all soon involved in a heavy snow fight until everyone was out of breath.

Day 2

The next day was bright and sunny and much warmer. We headed towards a town called Stratton where we had rented snowmobiles. The guide lead us to a lake nearby which was completely frozen. The snow was soft and fluffy. Initially V drove the snowmobile and it took a little while to get the hang of it. Soon we were zooming across the lake. We were amazed at the size of the lake. On the map the it looks pretty small but when we were there we realized how huge it really was. It felt endless! After a while I wanted to try my hands at it. Having never ridden a bike before, I was initially apprehensive. But soon enough I overcame my anxiety and we were racing against each other. It was so much fun! The ride was fast and bumpy...specially when I was sitting behind V, I could feel the bumpiness of the ride - half the time I was in the air!

Whenever I was sitting behind V, I was taking pictures and videos. We went over big bumps and few times I almost fell down. Many times V scolded me to be careful, put away the camera and to hold on tight. One time as he was scolding me again, a HUGE bump emerged in front of us out of nowhere and we had to fly over it. Later on my friends related how it was almost a perfect stunt from some action flick. As we went over the mound of snow, I felt myself flying in the air and as we came down, instead of landing on the sled, my leg hung out. I felt my leg being dragged and I panicked worried that my leg will go under the wheels. I frantically gestured for V to stop. After examining my leg, we were both relieved to see nothing happened. Having learnt my lesson, I kept away the camera for good and we continued at a much slower space.

Once we got stuck while climbing over a mound of snow. I had to get down so the V can pull out the sled. The snow was deep, it came up till my thighs and a little bit of snow went inside my boots. It was then that I realized that I might have been hurt more than I had thought. Even a slight movement and my ankle hurt. After a while it was time for us to return. By then it was getting dark and we headed back to the cabin where I was pampered by everyone. While some massaged and bandaged my leg, some friends made an awesome feast of fish fry and chicken biryani. Yumm!! We had a nice lazy evening and the next day it was time to head back home. All through the journey I had to lie down. Though by the time we reached home the swelling had reduced, it was still painful to walk, so I had to take the next day off from work. My leg's much better but though its been over 2 weeks since the incident, I am still limping a bit.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Family time

I recently came across this new networking site, and I am hooked!

What's so special about this site is that unlike other networking sites with focuses on friends or colleagues, this one focuses on family.

You can create your family tree and invite your family members who can help expand the tree. It is 'n' dimensional and can really grow! But even though the tree can grow humongously, it is so wonderfully maintained that you will not be overwhelmed by it.

Its not even been a week since I started my family tree and already it has over 300 members. Through the tree I now can easily remember my cousin's wife's name or remember their kids birthdays! Not only that, I got back in touch with a distant cousin whom I knew when I was a kid. Another good use me and V got out of it is that it is now easier to understand each other's family and the new relationships that we will both be getting into.

Well, like I said, I am hooked. Why don't you try it out too?