Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pittsburgh trip

However much I deny, I have to admit I had a very adventurous but scary trip to HyperText 08 in Pittsburgh and my subsequent travel detour to Niagara Falls, NY! Some of the highlights are here.

I was staying in the nice dorm accommodation of the conference people at University of Pittsburgh campus. Everything was nice and cozy, with a perfect view of part of the downtown from my 16th floor room. But the one week before the conference was so busy for me that I didn't get a chance to sign up for the Internet access in the dorm. The result being, the day I got done with my presentations and wanted to leave for Niagara the morning after, I found out I don't have a print out of the directions. It was late and I was tired enough not to motivate me to go back to the conference hotel for the directions either! Hence I called this friend up and noted down the directions to Niagara.

But I have noticed, driving alone always gives me ideas to be adventurous. So while coming back, I took a detour somewhere in upstate NY off I-90 and drove into the countryside with vast vineyards. It was so pretty, and the lush green and the serene environment with people using big machine to maintain their lawns was amazing! The countryside of this country is so very different from India, but yeah I loved it!

Now the big task was how to get back on I-90 from those country roads! And given that I had a car with no GPS and neither written directions. The best bet was a gas station. But unknown city with lots of unfamiliar and unfriendly people. And then no one with me, topped with the fact that no one would possibly know if something would happen to me! But yeah, with all that I managed to reach Pittsburgh.

Also got this opportunity to drive in heavy rain - with about 10 feet of visibility. Yeah, it doesn't rain in Arizona, so I am not familiar with the rain-driving at all! And guess what happened as the final end of the trip! I got lost in Pitt downtown only to reach airport so late, that I missed my flight to Phoenix. Lucky me, the guy at the Continental counter was nice enough to book me on the next flight :)

All in all, the trip was quite an experience! I am pensive at the end, but I learned several things. First, get directions well enough. Second, be prepared for driving in any weather. And third, keep enough time buffer before driving to airport when boarding a flight!


Uday Kumar said...

haha Munmun...good you have the experience of driving in rain...also get an iphone soon...u wouldnt need GPS or nething [:P]

Known said...

Great way of description... made me run through the scene as if i was in it :)

Munmun said...

@ Uday
Man, short at finances ... you know how grad student life is ... :P iPhone is basically a luxury for me :))

Munmun said...

@ known
Thanks, I am glad you found it vivid!

Lancelot said...

somehow landed on your blog... have been in pittsburgh for over a year now, and the skyline has never had that kind of colour whenever I looked! thts a fantastic picture (even with the artistic modifications!)