We were planning a Hawaii trip since long but somehow we were not able to finalize anything. But one fine day, out of nowhere along with our other friends, we decided to hop on to Hawaii for a week long vacation. Leaves got approved and even the air-fare was fitting in our budget. So now we had no reason to step back and we went ahead and finalized everything.

As you know Hawaii is made up of 8 islands. But due to time constraint, we covered two islands Big Island and Maui ..

I’m sharing my complete itinerary so that you can enjoy as much as I did and also one can get a fair idea about what to do, where to stay and how to enjoy in Hawaii.I would say that one’s real experience gives better idea than reading a book on Hawaii.

Big Island:

We flew on 3rd Sep (Saturday) from San Jose to Kailua-Kona (KOA) – BIG Island. We reached BIG Island at arnd 10 AM.

About Big Island:

Big island is less scenic. As such no activities there. BIG Island has only volcano national park as the main attraction. One can plan to cover the whole of the island in two day.

From airport, Volcano park is 3 hr drive. All luxurious resorts and hotels are near airport. so one needs to decide what is the priority:

  • 聽Luxurious stay then stay near airport but drive 3 hrs OR
  • Ordinary stay but no commute then stay near volcano park

Activities we did in BIG Island:

  • First day, in the evening we went to volcano national park to see glow show. After sunset, the smoke that comes out of crater looks golden. It surely was an amazing sight.
  • second day – we again went to volcano park and did some hiking which takes you to the ground where lava has dried up and you actually walk on dead l. Your hiking ends with lava tube (a tunnel kind of thing which has dead lava). The hiking was of arnd 6 Mile total and the most astonishing part bout it was, it was circular hence you dont come back to the point from where you have started the hike via the same route. You start at a different route and come back to thatstarting point via a different route. So no repetition of sights. That was amzing.
  • Also visited, black sand beach. Due to active Lava pouring into ocean few decades ago, the ash has turned the ocean sand into black color. Also we saw some huge turtles taking a sun-bath near the shore.

P.S: Volcano National Park has very good visitor center where some volunteers can appropriately guide you as per your timeline, schedule and interests.

Activities we did not do but recommended:

  • helicopter ride to volcano (Around $175 per person – a must thing that we did not do 馃槈 )
  • If you guys wanna do some real and tiring hike then green sand beach is the best beach out there.

Stay:

  • 1st night we stayed in La’i Aloha House which is near Volcano park to avoid commute..
  • 2nd night: After completing our volcano park activities, we drove 3 hrs and stayed in Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa

Other option for stay:

  • Aston Shores Waikoloa
  • Hilton waikoloa – The most gorgeous but expensive


PS: Big Island is definitely not the island to relax.

Maui:

Monday 5th September, we flew from Kailuia-Kona(Big Island) to Kahului(OGG), Maui. It was a 9 seater plane just like charter. Flight time was arnd 1 hour. Unfortunately, we had to pay some extra bucks for the luggage. We were not informed about it when we first booked our tickets. So be ready to shell out few pennies if you are doing island hopping by air.

About Maui:
Maui is a definite place to relax and enjoy.Good scenic beauty, good beaches, great waterfalls.

Activities we did in Maui:

  • Hana drive –聽 Scenic Drive with beaches, mountains, water falls. Many vista points to cover so before going there, plan which vista points to cover/stop on. A convertible car is a must to enjoy the scenic beauty and the sun of course. It will surely take one full day of your itinerary.
  • Snorkeling (fish/turtle watching)聽 – We chose pacific whale foundation as our snorkeling company and we had some awesome time with them. They took us to an island in the middle of the ocean called as Molokini Crater and guided us with all the Snorkeling equipments and procedures. My wifey who is hydro-phobic, they taught/trained her with so much of patience,concern and care that she even came with me deep down and enjoyed watching different colourful fish. That was the first time when she really swam in the water. She had the same kind of experience and feeling that Hritik had after his scuba diving in “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”. I’m really thankful to pacific whale foundation and its crew for making my wife less hydro-phobic.
  • Halaekala Mountain/National park: Here, we selected聽Haleakala Bike Company as our bike company. You have to wake up at 2 in the morning and report it to your bike company at around 3. They will take you to the crater which is like 10,000 feet above the sea-level. Then you see the mind boggling sunrise as you are standing above the clouds and as the sun is coming out, it highlights golden border of clouds. What an amazing sight that was .. It was chilling but then once the sun strted coming out, we all forgot about the cold and we were just enjoying the beautiful sight. After that you get on your cycles and come down from 6000 ft to ground. As it’s a downhill, you dont have to pedal anytime – just the brake and steering. Awesome fun. Midway, you find some restauarants fro breakfast. It was around 27 miles but it took us arnd 3 hours with breakfast break.
  • Apart from these activities, we just chilled out at beaches / pools of our resort.

Activities we did not do:

  • Submarine ride
  • Para sailing
  • Lahaina town, Luau(Hawaiian dance) – A must that we missed out 馃檨

Stay:
We stayed in Honua Kai Resort ( It was an awesome resort)

Other Options for stay:
Royal Lahaina Resort
Karappalli beach resort
There are hundreds of options to stay in Maui. So any resort with 4 start rating and a good deal would suffice your luxurious stay requirement.

PS: Maui is the place to relax and enjoy your vacation and some good company of your life partner 馃槈

After completing Maui, We came back to Bay Area while our other friends went to Kauai.

Kauai:

About Kauai:
Most scenic island of the three. Less commercialized yet.

Things to do in Kauai:

  • Dinner cruise to Napali coast which also included whale and聽dolphin watching.聽
  • Helicopter聽ride to Napali Coast.
  • There is a beautiful shiv temple you can visit.
  • Zip Lining – I can get you the details if you are planning for it.
  • There are many look out points,聽hiking trails, canyons on the way.
  • You can do mountain tubing, Kayaking if time permits.

 

It was a memorable trip for all of us. We enjoyed it thoroughly. I hope you guys too have enjoyed reading my experiences.

Soham

Welcome to my new blog !

Well, this is my first post on this blog and I could not express in words how thrilled and excited I’m to begin with !

I m hoping to be quite active with frequent updates 馃檪 ..

I am also planning to keep my old blog live for few months before I redirect traffic from old blog to here .. So you can still visit my old blog here : http://sohamwhispers.blogspot.com/

I have also imported all my old posts from blogger account so you can also visit my old posts from this blog only ..

This blog and its design is still under construction so you may notice frequent changes once I finalize everything.

Wish me luck for my new beginning – new start !

Soham

To explain what happened, I need to go back to my teen days in the year 2000 .. I just had appeared for my HSC(12th std exam) and when I went back home after my last exam, mom-dad gifted me a mobile .. Mobile was Nokia and the service was of CelSuvidha .. It was a prepaid card .. At that time, outgoing call used to cost RS while incoming calls RS 3 for that matter .. It was an expensive gadget to play with !!

Then I took admission in Engineering and I was the only one which cell phone in my entire class .. Sometimes I felt awkward too but I was enjoying it .. The service CelSuvidha which I was using has been now called as Hutch .. Using the same number, I talked to so many people who are now my close friends .. By using the same number, I first time talked to that special strange of my engineering class who later became my friend, then a good friend, then a very good friend .. And it then went on from close friends to best friends to girl-friend to fiancee and today my wife .. Those long nights of free-night calling of Hutch, those free 2000 SMS per month of Hutch etc are unforgettable memories .. I have had this unexpressed sentimental attachment with my number .. So being a mom a mom, she knew about my affection to this number, she even recharged and continued the same number when I went to US for higher studies .. Even though, no one was using it, mom made sure that number does not get deactivated .. Meanwhile all this happenings, Hutch had turned into VodaFone

When I returned from US for good and started my job in Mumbai, I still continued my Ahmedabad number .. So now I had two numbers – one from Ahmedabad and one from Mumbai .. Both from VodaFone as I really had no problem whatsoever till now ..

But then, before 7 months I came to US for a project assignment and got so busy in day-to-day life that I forgot to recharge my Ahmedabad number and it got deactivated .. Mom one day called and gave me the sad news.. I called VodaFone customer care and they said that as I ave not recharged my number, it got disconnected and it has been assigned to someone else .. So I cannot buy back that number .. I was saddened to hear that .. I tried calling that number but it still said “This number is temporarily deactivated” .. So I had little hope that it may still haven’t been given to any customer
So I googled the names and emails of the Nodal Officer of VodaFone of Gujarat/Ahmedabad circle and I emailed him my pain and agony of losing this number and my emotional attachment to it .. Companies in India re very well known for their anti-customer approach but I had this mysterious kind of hope in some place of my heart that I may get lucky here !!

And the magic happened .. Mom got a call from VodaFone executive and she told her that they have received an email from me and they are trying their best to locate the number .. And mom being so passionate about whatever she does, she just followed up with the executive for 2-3 days and as she was getting proper response from the executive, she became hopeful too .. One of my close friends Shridhar who was working for Idea cellular few years ago too helped me as he had many contacts in mobile arena .. Hence after 3 days, that executive called mom and asked her to go to any VodaFone store and asked her to recharge the card so that they can activate it again on my name .. VodaFone Nodal officer also replied to my email confirming the same .. After recharging it, mom called me from the same number and I was so happy to see that number flashing on my cell ..

A small email requesting to activate my number after I lost it completely had done the trick .. And it is not possible if we don’t have such customer-friendly, customer-caring people in VodaFone .. This is just unbelievable for me to even think of ..

I would like to express my gratitude and a big thanks from the bottom my heart to Ms. Maulika Chandramouli (Nodal Officer VodaFone) and Ms. Jigna Raghwani(Executive who called Mom) for their cooperation, help and support throughout .. Without you guys, my happiness would have not been possible .. You have brought a smile on someones face- may god bless you both !!

VodaFone Rocks !!

Soham

Hello all .. I’m back to my blog after almost 4 months .. I really had faded in oblivion .. Work and hence life is keeping me very busy and I’m also facing a huge writer’s block .. But I guess Krishna Bhagwan came to my help to subside my writer’s block ..

I’m not gonna write a whole new post but on this holy and pious evening, I would like to share one of my old posts which I wrote two years ago on the same day and almost at the same time ..

‘Shor mach gayare shor, Dekho aaya Makhanchor;

Nand Gher Anand Bhayo, Bolo Jai Kanaiya Lal ki’

Yeah, it’s time to celebrate Janmashtmi (Gokulashtimi) .. It’s 11:48 PM right now and at the stroke of midnight, our own Lord Krishna will take a birth this year once again .. Well, I am feeling so religious right now and I am so excited for the birth of Krishna Bhagwan .. Lord Krishna is one of the most prominent gods of Hinduism and he is worshipped all over world wherever there is a Hindu population .. For me, being a Vaishnav, Krishna Bhagwan plays a very important role in my daily life .. Every morning when I wake up or Every night before I hit the bed, it has become my common routine to say ‘Jai Shree Krishna’ (Long Live Lord Krishna) .. When I hang up the phone while talking to mom-dad or other relatives, last statement I say is ‘Jai Shree Krishna’ .. While welcoming guests at our home, we greet them saying ‘Jai Shree Krishna’ .. So my day starts, continues and ends with ‘Jai Shree Krishna’ ..

(It’s 11:58 PM and now I think I will head towards my temple to wish him Happy Birthday .. My mom at Ahmedabad will be putting new clothes on baby Krishna idol and must be giving him swings in his jhula to celebrate his birth .. I will be back in 5 min)

I am back .. Watching Krishna Janam(Birth) live from his birthplace Mathura on Sanskar Channel !! .. Enjoying it !! ..

Well, Krishna Bhagwan’s character has always fascinated me .. He is that kind of God with whom any human being can connect him/herself very closely .. I feel that all other gods are just too ideal and faultless .. You just worship them as gods but for Krishna, you feel worshiping him more as your friend, philosopher and guide rather than a God .. The stories of Krishna’s childhood and youth tell of his mischievous pranks as Makhan Chor (butter thief), his foiling of attempts to take his life, Raslilas with Gopis, teen-age crush on Radha and his role as a protector of the people of Vrindavana. So you feel that you are connected to his character very much and all these pranks you must have undergone once in your life time for sure ..

During the Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata, upon arriving at the battlefield, and seeing that the enemies he would soon fight against were people close to him prior to the battle, Arjun becomes doubtful and skeptical about fighting. Krishna then advises him about the battle, about the dharm-adharm, about relation and duties, with the conversation soon extending into a discourse which was later compiled as the Bhagwad Gita .. Bhagwad Gita depicts a perfect and optimal way to have prosperous, affluent, peaceful, healthy, wealthy, effective and efficient life .. I recommend you all to go through Bhagwad Gita once irrespective of your religion, region, cast, creed .. Rather than connecting Bhagwad Gita to Hinduism, basically it is considered related to life’s philosophy and a manner or method to live your life and to apply the best approach for the same .. It just shows and explains some phenomenal concepts which everyone must at least go thru ..

My SMS inbox is pouring with SMSes from my friends-relatives wishing me Happpy Janmashtimi so let me get back to them ..

So before we depart, let us chant loudly:

‘Haathi Ghoda Palkhi, Bolo Jai Kanaiya Lal Ki’

Happy Birthday Krishna Bagwan !!

Soham

So it’s 1st May again .. But this year 1st May has double importance .. Because in 2010, both Gujarat and Maharashtra are completing their 50 years of foundation .. A Swarnim (Golden) Jayanti (Jubilee) for both the progressive and highly successful states ..

It was the day when Gujarat and Maharashtra were separated from each other on the basis of language spoken in each region .. Majority of Gujarati people were granted a new state Gujarat while majority Marathi-speaking maharashtrians were given a new state Maharashtra .. But still many Gujarati stay in Maharashtra and many maharashtrians stay in Gujarat..These two communities have mixed together so well that it reminds of how sugar gets absorb in milk…

So I am feeling an immense pleasure in wishing Gujarat and Maharashtra a very happy birthday..

Narendra Modi – the CM of Gujarat – has planned several Swarnim Gujarat events to celebrate this auspicious day .. As usual, Congress has shown a red-face to these functions and they are celebrating Gujarat Day on its own .. Poor politics and poor congress who even does not have a single leader in Gujarat who can stand shoulder-to-shoulder when it comes to charisma and good governance of Mr. Modi ..

Our print & electronic media and pseudo-secularists have tried their level best to spoil the image of Gujarat and Gujarati after Godhra-riots .. Gujarat has silenced its critics by providing development, safety and a great infrastructure to education, industtry and agriculture areas .. Following facts are surely worth mentioning about Gujarat…

1. Gujarat is one of the most prosperous states of the country, having a per-capita GDP 3.2 times India鈥檚 average.

2. Gujarat holds many records in India for economic development: 20% of India 鈥檚 Industrial Output 路 9% of India 鈥檚 Mineral Production路 22% of India 鈥檚 exports路 24% of India 鈥檚 textile production路 35% of India 鈥檚 pharmaceutical products路 51% of India 鈥檚 petrochemical production

3. Gujarat is having the longest sea shore compared to any other Indian state

4. Gujarat is having the highest no. of operating airports in India (Total 12).

5. India 鈥檚 16% of Investment are from Gujarat .

6. Surat is the fastest growing city in the world.

7.
Gandhinagar is the Greenest Capital City in whole Asia .

8.
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is Asia鈥檚 1 st and world鈥檚 45th ranked management college located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat .

9. Gujarat is the safest state as the Crime rate of it is 8.2 which is the least in India even after considering 2002 communal riots, stated by India Today 2005 report.

10. Gujarat is having least crime against women among all Indian states (excluding Goa).

11.Ahmedabad which is the seventh largest city in India is the lowest in crime rate among all Tier-I and Tier-II cities of India as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.

12. Ahmedabad is ranked 2nd in Real Estate – Ahead of Bangalore,Chennai, Hyderabad, Mmbai & Delhi. 3rd in Policy Initiatives – Ahead of Bangalore , Chennai, Kolkata , Mumbai & Delhi. 4th in Manpower – Ahead of Bangalore ,Chennai, Mumbai & Delhi.

13. Last but not the least, Gujarat has NARENDRA MODI as its chief-minister.

Once again a very happy birthday to Gujarat and Maharashtra..Nobody can stop you from growing and flourishing…God bless you ..

Proud to be a Gujju and a Mumbaikar !!

Soham

Well, the grand old party of India Congress has done it again which it does the best since independence – Misgovern and Mismanagement ..

It first divided us on religion basis when our highly qualified and quite sober PM Mr. Manmohan Singh calmly and tactfully said that ke minority of India has the first right on everything which belongs here (Yeah, yeah : as if we majority has done some kind of crime in this country which we proudly called as Hindustan !!) ..

Then it divided us on lingual/region basis when Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan passed the bill which stated that taxi permits should be given to only those who can read, write and speak fluent marathi .. (Yeah, yeah : how different are you know from MNS and Shivsena !! .. Hypo crates ..)

And then it touched the lowest bottom when the prices of vegetables, oil, fruits etc went way way way high that an aam aadmi (common man) cant even cope up with .. Cant even survive .. Cant even live .. But it does not affect them .. They are still more concerned about SRK and his film My Name is Khan ..

Just look at the chart below :

Price (in Rs.)

Daily Consumable

Year 2009

Year 2010

Increment (%)

Sugar

13

42

163%

Moong Daal

68

95

150%

Potato

10

25

150%

Onion

12

25

108%

Milk

22

50

127%

Eggs( / dz.)

30

50

67%

Green Peas

30

40

33%

Turmeric

80

110

125%

Chilly

90

140

56%

Paalak

5

15

200%

But no one is really concerned .. Not Congress .. Not opposition .. Not media .. Not Burkha Dutt or Not Rajdeep Sardesai ..

Pakistan is killing our army jawans on a daily basis .. It is bombing and firing at borders and violating cease farm since last two weeks .. It invades our home and kills people in hospitals, local trains, hotels, bars, railway stations .. But still we need them to play cricket here .. we need them to sing in our films .. We need them for ‘Aman ki Asha‘ ..

I still feel that where have our self-respect, Indian pride, patriotism vanished? .. we have not achieved anything by talks with Pakistan in last 60 years so now why we need Aman ki Asha? .. Seriously we are blind-folded and programmed by few so-called intellectual people and we are making huge huge mistakes ..

But we are Indians and we never learn from our mistakes .. So I’m neither shocked nor surprised ..

(P.S. : Just saw the NEWS that LPG is going be dearer by 100, kerosene by 45, petrol by 4 and diesel by 2 RS ..)

God help us !!

Soham

my favorite festival Makar-Sakranti (14th Jan) when whole of Gujarat go onto their terraces, fly kites and shout ‘Katta’ – ‘Lapettt’ etc etc with some loud music and delicious Undhiyu-Puri ..

Work has kept me busy this time .. But I may go to Ahmedabd on 15th to enjoy the second day as people of Gujarat do not find one day enough to celebrate kite flyin .. On 15th also, the festival is celebrated with the same zeal and joy ..

Let us see how it turns out .. But right now I’m in office and I can visualize all my friends flying kites and enjoying the terrific atmosphere ..

Do I envy them ? .. Oh yes, I sure do !!

Soham




People of India often take out their disgust and anger on Indian politicians and frankly most of them deserve this anguish .. But in Gujarat, there is a different trend altogether .. Here people just love, adore,admire and respect their CM – Mr. Narendra Modi ..

Yesterday Mr. Narendra Modi travelled in Bus Rapid Transit System(BRTS) – Janmarg local transport bus to reach GMDC ground where a get-to-gather with media persons was organized. After buying a ticket, he boarded the bus and started his journey towards the destination ..

One lady who looked quite well-off and educated asked for Modi’s autograph and also requested that he must write the date and time so that her family remembers can believe that she was with Modi in a bus ..

One gentleman asked Modi to talk to his wife on his mobile phone and Modi happily acknowledged his request ..

While returning Modi took the same bus .. This time he was not taht lucky as there was no vacant seat .. So he completed and enjoyed his journey by standing all the way through .. Of course people offered their seats to their heart-throb CM but he politely refused it .. Many school and college students asked for his autographs and he happily their wishes ..

I have not seen people taking autographs other than of film starts or of cricketers .. Truly remarkable and noteworthy ..

Incidentally, yesterday Modi completed 3000 days as Chief Minister of Gujarat. So the CM(Chief Minister) mingled with CM(Common man) ..

3000 days but still people love and respect him the same as they used to do when he sworn in as CM for the first time ..

3000 days but there is no single anti-incumbency factor against him or against his governance ..

And it’s worthless to mention about Gujarat’s progress under his dynamic and visionary leadership .. Statistics, awards and all the surveys tell the story themselves let alone people’s love and respect for Narendra Modi ..

Soham

… faded in oblivion. Everyday commuting and work keeping me busy like hell.

But even in that busy schedule, I watched two movies recently.

First one was ROCKET SIGH .. It was kind of OK but presented a very good message of honesty and business ethics .. Ranbir really rocked .. next superstar I guess !!

Second one was like a unimaginable unprecedented cinematic experience of life time .. Yeah, you have guessed it right .. It was AVATAR 3D .. It just took my mind away with the story, screenplay, photography and animations .. It too gave a good message of bonding between living entities like animals, humans and trees .. Just felt like I was in a different world .. Kaash I can go and stay in Pandora for a while !!

So Christmas is around the corner so let me wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year..

Soham

Sachin recently hit the tremendous 175 against Australia but his toiling efforts went in complete vain as our tail-handlers could not even score 19 runs .. As soon as Sachin was back in the pavallion, the rest of the batsmen fell like a pack of cards .. We lost the battle by a very very narrow margin .. I mean it’s nothing new .. It has happened so many times now that we are used to it now .. I was so dishearten and disappointed and so as millions of other Indians and cricket fans ..

Recently got a forwarded mail which states the reson why Sachin is hated everywhere and it truly reflects my thoughts and my mind ..

Following are the reasons why I hate Sachin:

1. He always plays a brilliant innings before my exam and hence doesn鈥檛 let me study.

2. Every time that I think of becoming an atheist, he gets into the nineties and I have no choice but to pray.

3. Every time I take a resolution not to bite my nails, he gets into the nineties and I am left with no choice but to chew on my nails.

4. He costs way too much on 鈥榮uper selector鈥 but since I have to pick him, the rest of my team gets weakened.

5. During a match, invariably when I want to go to the bathroom, he hits a boundary and hence I have no choice but to sit and watch the replay. Even my father/friends wont allow me to change the sit when Sachin is batting. No one cares about my agony.

6. As soon as I convince myself that God does not exist, he plays a straight drive and proves me wrong.

7. He brings the whole country to a standstill whenever he bats.

8. And the last and the biggest reason why I hate Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar 鈥

He is going to retire sometime in the future .. A slightest thought about his retirement brings tears in my eyes .. When he will retire, I feel that my life will come to a complete standstill .. How will I live without watching him on the field, without seeing him scoring tons and tons of runs, without hearing his baby voice .. Uffff , why Sachin why ?? .. Why were you born In India and why did you play cricket ?? .. We just love you so much that we cant see you going ..

As they say, commit all your crime when Sachin is batting, coz even GOD is watching his batting.

That he can feel more pain than the youngest team member and the oldest fan, is a fact that deserves a story by itself.

But for me, that is enough to forget my pain and stand in unreserved applause for the man who makes me feel more Indian than any other.

So true !! Hats off to the master !!

Soham


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