I arrived at New Delhi. I was happy to be back to India.

The United State of America has been always influencing the people and the countries all over the world. Sometimes it attracts condemnation and ill feeling due to its foreign policy. The world has not forgotten dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by America during the World War II. After that during cold war it has been dabbling in the internal affairs of several developing and backward countries. Many times it resulted in debacles. In spite of several misadventures, America has remained a super power economically and militarily. America has many outstanding and respectable leaders as its president. But some of them have lowered their dignity in America as well as in other parts of the world. It is rightly said that either you love the president or hate the president of America but you cannot ignore him.  Among such all times respectable leaders are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  In recent times the charm of John F Kennedy has been pervasive. I was a great admirer of Kennedy. When he was assassinated. I felt I lost a hero. I read his books Profile in Courage, etc. I read voluminous inquiry report of Justice Earl Warren on assassination of John F Kennedy.  I tried to read all books and articles on John F Kennedy. I even wrote a letter to Edward Kennedy who replied and sent me signed photographs. I always wanted to visit America and see for myself the achievements of the country. America is an important academic destination, not necessarily for work. I got an opportunity to attend a course on Financial Institution for Private Enterprises Development at Harvard Institute of International Development, Harvard University.

After getting a Ford Foundation fellowship I travelled to USA. I took British Airways flight BA 142 on 07.06.2002 at 12.05 a.m. at Delhi and reached Heathrow London at 04.55 am. I made stop over to meet Dr. Shah Imtiaz at Cardiff for which I took National Express bus service and reached Cardiff. The same night I returned to London. I boarded flight BA 117 on 8th June at 08.45 a.m. at London Heathrow airport arriving on New York John F Kennedy airport at 11.25 am. There a relative Rasheed received me. The airport was under renovation. From the airport I reached house of my relative. In the evening I went to Manhattan area of New York.  I spent midnight at Time Square and other important spots. I saw NASDAQ display and several other advertisements on digital canvas.

On the 9th June 2000 I boarded a tourist bus of New York. I saw all the important tourist spots including buildings like World Trade Centre, which is now no more, Seers Tower, etc.

On the 10th June 2000 I went to Statue of Liberty and filmed panoramic view of the New York, Manhattan on sea shore. I also went on top of World Trade Centre and made film of New York City from its top floor.

On the 11th June I took an overnight bus from New York to Boston where I reached at the dawn break.

On 12th June I took a taxi and reached Royal Sonesta hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   Boston and Cambridge are twin cities divided by Charles River. After becoming fresh the organisers of the programme took us for a trip to Harvard University campus.

The programme director of FIPED was Dr Hatice P. Jenkins of Harvard Institute for International Development, 14 Story Street, Cambridge MA.  The other faculty members were from Harvard University also some guest faculty.

The Harvard Institute of International Development organised the course on Financial Institutions for Private Enterprises Development programme at two places firstly at Cambridge and then at a Resort in North Conway in New Hampshire. About 40 participants attended the programme from several countries including USA, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The participants were from various international organizations like the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, officers serving in government and also non-government organizations. Besides lectures by qualified faculties and guest speakers, the interaction among the participants was also very useful. Besides lectures and case studies and group works the Executive Programme on FIPED 2000 also took up the systems prevalent in developing countries. Roughly half of the period was spent at Cambridge and later at Resort Fox Ridge in North Conway.   During our stay at Cambridge we enjoyed ride on waterbus, which floats like a duck in the river. This gave us lovely view of Boston.

On the 13th June we were taken by bus to the Fox Ridge Resort in North Conway in New Hampshire about two hours’ drive away. North Conway is a picturesque recreation and conference destination near the White Mountains of New Hampshire. During our stay there we visited the top of the mountain, which rightly claims to have worst weather in the world.

On the 17th June we were taken to a Barbeque party at Great Glen Mt. Washington, North Hampshire. It was a wonderful party as the venue was surrounded by picturesque mountains and attended by participants of another programme on Investment Appraisal and Management. In this programme participants came from Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Egypt, Malaysia, Malawi, South Africa, Gautemala, Uganda, France, Lesotho, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Taiwan, Israel, Nigeria, Kenya. The faculty who attended the party included Dr.Glenn Jenkins, Dr. Hasan Ali Bicak, Mr. Ali Ozdemirag, Ms. Susan Leary, Ms. Leann Hymas, etc.

On the 30th June after the graduation ceremony was over I left North Conway with Ata Mallick, my relative for Canada.

On 3rd July I accompanied Ata and his family from Toronto and reached Niagra falls. I was captivated by the beauty of Niagra fall. I made video film also. I spent much time there. After that we proceeded to catch flight from Buffalo airport to Washington. Ata Mallick is an expert in driving. But there was some confusion in taking the correct route. However, I could reach Buffalo airport only after the boarding was closed and the craft was about to taxi. However, the staff of the airlines accommodated me. This was a small aircraft of United airlines. I reached the Washington Dulles airport   of Washington in the evening. There, Mrs. and Mr. R.B. Lall who hails from Bhagalpur received me. He had resigned from the job of an engineer in government of Bihar in India and migrated to USA and set up an engineering consultancy firm at Washington. It was drizling in the night. I stayed at his house at 2428 Dew Meadow CT, Herndon, VA.

On the 4th July morning Lall drove me to the White House. This was America’s Independence Day. As I reached White House on time I was ahead in the long queue. The entry on the occasion was free. I saw all the rooms open to visitors. In its neighbourhood are located important buildings like the World Bank, IMF and Treasury, etc. I found one protestor sitting in front of the White House who was protesting against war. I also saw few Tibetan protestors shouting down with Work Bank slogan in front of the bank building.  I also witnessed Independence Day parade, which was mostly private participation unlike in Delhi (India) where it is government function organised by the armed forces. The processions of Vietnamese people and Hare Krishna group were also interesting. One thing was very visible in the show that where ever America sent its army the irony is that Americans proclaim as if their army went as saviour. After that I went to the Capitol, which houses the House of   Congress and the Senate. There I even attended the orchestra programme. From there I went to see the fireworks programme at Washington Memorial. It was certainly a spectacular display.  Before seeing the fireworks I visited Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery where I went up to the graveyard of J.F. Kennedy where eternal torch burns continuously. I also visited Memorial for American veterans of Vietnam War.  What I an irony that invaders were given respects. I also saw most of the government buildings located in a rectangle.

On the 5th July I took a Metro Jet flight number 2753 of US Airways at 7.15 a.m. from Washington Dulles and reached Orlando International airport in Florida at 9.25 am.. There my relation Dr. Abuzar Ghaffari received me. He showed me Disney land. Disney land has several sections. It certainly requires a week to see all of them. I chose one section. This park houses the typical buildings of different countries. They display their art, culture, food, song, music, dance and handicrafts. Without going to specific country one gets opportunity to see its life style. In evening we proceeded by car from Disney land and reached Tallahassee in the night.

In Tallahassee I stayed with my relative. Tallahassee is the capital of State of Florida. I went and saw the Assembly hall and Governor’s office, etc. After spending two days on the 6th July I took a Greyhound bus service number 6165   from Tallahassee at 12.45 p.m.  and reached Atlanta in the evening.

At Atlanta I stayed with my cousin and her husband Khalid Azam and their family. In the night we went on sightseeing tour of Atlanta.  It is the capital of state of Georgia.  I went to Martin Luther King   Memorial and CNN headquarters, etc. Next day I spent visiting different areas like Turner Olympic Stadium and mountain, which depicts place of treaty of three warring army generals at the end of civil war. The following day on the 7th July I took a flight number DL 823 of Delta airline from Atlanta at 8.05 pm and reached Houston International airport in the night.

At Houston my cousin Hajra and her husband Rashid Nayaz received me. We drove to their residence in Sugar Land located in suburb of Houston. I visited Houston and saw buildings of Enron, etc. The city is open and spread. The following day I went to NASA. There I saw the original returned module of Rockets launched in the space and the moon. I also saw training simulation centre for astronauts.  I met several Indians working in Houston. One of them was a Bihari Muslim emigrant who said that every morning he first opens the news portal on Bihar and India on his internet and acquaints himself with latest happenings.

Next day the 9th July I took a flight number DL 770 of Delta Airlines at 7.40 am from Houston to Atlanta. At Atlanta my relations again received me and we took a round of city. In the afternoon I took a British Airways flight number 2226 at 6.20 pm from Atlanta International airport and reached Gatwick London airport at 7.30 a.m.

In 2000 I undertook travel to USA to attend a course at Harvard University. In 2008 I went there again to attend an international conference.

It was 30th March, 2008 and the Air India flight AI 101 had started taxing at 1.30 a.m. The distance of New Delhi to NYC is 12,280 kms. That was to be covered in 13 hrs. 15 min.

The flight was air bone at 1.53 a.m. That was a non-stop flight. The aircraft B-777 is the latest addition to fleet of Air India. The first class has sleeping beds while business class has unique seats.

During the flight I watched two films, Partner and Life in Metro.

Air India has introduced this most comfortable aircraft in February 2008. I saw later a big advertisement hoarding about this aircraft which was introduced on 18th February for direct New Delhi to New York flight. The advertisement was displayed at a prominent location in Times Square, New York, the most happening advertisement place in the world.

The flight was comfortable.  I did not experience any discomfort or ailment. The journey was completed in through the night. This flight took route over Scandinavian countries and over Canada unlike usual UK or Europe’s route.

The flight landed at 6.15 a.m. of 30th March at John F Kennedy International airport though schedule time of its arrival is 6.40 a.m.

This was the first time that I was visiting USA after 9/11 incident, earlier I visited the country in 2000. That time the JKF airport was being renovated. Now it is a large and modern airport.

At immigration counter I was expecting questioning. When I replied that I was to attend global conference of government innovators at Harvard University, the officer repeated ‘Harvard University’ and did not ask any question further. He stamped immigration stamp on my passport. The custom point was more on environment protection where I submitted a nil form. I was out of the airport routine quickly.

When I inquired at the airport about my New York to Boston flight by Delta Airlines I was informed that domestic flights are from another airport La Guardia, New York. There was no free shuttle service between JKF airport and La Guardia airport, like in India and in other places. I took airport bus at $ 13 and reached La Guardia airport. On the way I saw massive airport infrastructure of J F Kennedy airport.

I saw the driver of the bus fixing notice for tips on the windscreen, which said that tips to driver will be appreciated. When I got down at terminal of Delta airlines at La Guardia the driver virtually blocked my bag and asked for tips reminding me of the notice on windscreen. I paid him one dollar and got my bags. When I went inside the terminal I was informed that Delta has two check-in services at La Guardia airport. For flight to Boston I have to go to another building. There was no prior information given to me to this effect. Thus I took a free shuttle bus service of La Guardia airport and reached the check in counter of Delta airlines before 9 am for flight to Boston. The man, a black, at the counter told me that check in is possible within 6 hours of departure and my flight would depart at 4.30 p.m. only. I told him that I wanted to see New York City during the period. Ultimately, a lady of Delta airlines allowed me to store my bag. After that I took a bus from the airport and reached office of New York Port authority where I purchased sightseeing tour ticket at $ 40. This two hour tour covered down town of New York and places like Statue of Liberty, etc. I ended my tour at Times Square. I roamed around the area and tried to compare changes since 2000. This time I saw hundreds of LCD screens advertising various commercial products. As it was a Sunday, it was less crowded. I saw many small shops of Asians. The walk in the area was most enjoyable. I took Starbuck coffee.  Fortunately the weather was sunny and soothing.

After sightseeing I took a taxi, mostly run by Asians and took return journey. On the way I again saw Brooklyn bridge which had a ship, Peking, anchored there. I saw Asifamadarsa run by Bangladeshi people. I also saw the office of Muslims of North America. On the same street is located the United Nations building. While passing by I saw a group of about hundred young Tibetans chanting slogans against China’s crackdown in Lhasa. They were returning from UN building. I noticed that Tibetans have impressive record in expressing their anguish. In 2000 also when I was passing by the World Bank building in Washington on the 4th July, I remember five Tibetans shouting slogan in front of the building though it was a holiday.

On my return, I saw the Ground Zero which has been cordoned off and a small memorial set up. Some construction work was in its infancy. I reached the airport well in time. I took my boarding pass and proceeded for security check. When I presented my boarding pass it had four S printed on it. The security staff took my cabin bag and conducted forensic checking using cotton pieces rubbed at all places of the bag. These cotton pieces were put to test at the explosive detecting machine. Thankfully the security personnel were happy that there was no trace of any undesirable substance. After security clearance I boarded Delta airlines flight, which covered substantial journey over sea. The plane landed at the Logan airport of Boston at about 5.15 p.m. I took a taxi and reached Hotel Hyatt Regency at Memorial Drive of Cambridge. I unpacked my luggage took shower and took a long walk along river Charles and took JFK Street to reach Harvard Square where I had an Indian dinner, Dum Pukht and Basmati rice at Bombay Club. I went around the area till 10 p.m. I remembered my visit to this place in 2000. I took a taxi back to hotel. I went to bed relaxed.

On the 31st March I got up in the morning. I got ready myself and took Harvard tour starting at 12.30 p.m. The group was taken to Au Baton building of JF Kennedy School of Government. The weather was bad as it was continuously drizzling. I had no umbrella. But the two youthful guides, students of the University, took around us ona round. We returned to the hotel. After some rest we sat in the hall to watch Mr. Fox, ex-President of Mexico deliver talk at JFK School of Government. The Director of Ash Institute, Dr. Syed Gowher Rizvi conducted the talk and question answer session.

I have been able to say my namaz at the hotel room. I offer namaz prayers even during foreign tours. I slept at 9 p.m. and got up at 5 a.m. At about 12 midnight I got calls from Mili in San Jose.

On the 1st April I got up at 5 a.m. but local sunrise time was around 6.30 a.m. I said prayer and started writing the diary.

That day many distinguished personalities gave talks. Former Governor of Iowa, USA spoke about innovations in American Government award winner. Fredrick Sumaye, the former prime minister of Tanzania spoke about drastic actions taken by him to contain corruption, including incident of dismissal of a democratically elected, but corrupt, city council of Dar es Salaam.

Fazle Abed of Bangladesh, founder of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC, spoke about micro finance he started to eradicate poverty. He received a standing ovation from the audience. Some delegates opined that he should get a Nobel Prize. Amartya Sen came to the conference to deliver his address. He recounted his long association with Bangladesh in eradication of poverty. He appreciated growing confidence in the people of Bangladesh. After his speech was over, he was mobbed by delegates. Amartya Sen was wearing trousers and tie with sports shoes perhaps a statement of simplicity. That day also the weather was inclement and cloudy. We had dinner at 7 p.m. After the dinner, the Director of Dubai School of Government Nabil Ali Alyousuf gave talk on Dubai development. I pointed out about certain drawback in development plan, particularly traumatic traffic jam on Sharjah – Dubai road, congestion of buildings on the highway, shortage of government run hospitals, neglect of many areas of Dubai and also about backwardness of two or three emirates of UAE.

On the 2nd April the conference started at 8.30 a.m. There was a panel of five representatives from different countries dealing with various issues of social justice.

CociliaKinuthia – Njenga from Uganda spoke about introduction of sanitary pads among girls and women. She also mentioned about campaign started to check spread of HIV/AIDs though education on sex is objected to by Catholic Church.

Rhoda Kadalie from South Africa spoke about high instances of HIV/AIDs. She told that there is no shortage of funds to control HIV/AID. But South African men are not bothered about unsafe sex. In general one man infects five women of HIV/AIDs. There is rampant prevalence of domestic violence. The prevalent attitude is that they would die anyway so why bother about consequence of unsafe sex.

Amy Besaw Medford of USA spoke about American Indian tribes, their distinct identity and their position in the society. She spoke about development of Indian tribal community in American society. Due to diversity of tribes of American Indian community, there is more effort to bring them in harmony. There is campaign to provide universal education.

On the subject of innovations in emergency management the three panelists were Arnold Howith of Harvard Kennedy School, James Schwartz, fire chief of Arlington County, Virginia, who served Incident Commander at Pentagon on 9/11 and became new Fire Chief of Arlington Country, Virginia and Lan Xue who is a professor and dean of School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The conference deliberated upon the future of innovation – 21st century models of governance. Elaine Kamarck worked in White House from 1993 to 1997, where she created and managed the Clinton Administration’s National Performance Review, also known as reinventing government. She spoke about how changes have come. Still there are areas where inability to handle situations in emergencies like attack of September Eleven (11/9) and Katrina hurricane.

Martyantonett Flumian spoke of the successful collaborative efforts of the Canadian sub national and national governments in citizen identification. She mentioned about lengthy and time-consuming process of registering a birth in the province of Ontario. The three application processes merged into one integrated online service.

Carlo Flamment of Italy spoke about the role of Bouni Esempi it (good practices in public administration). Its data bank of innovations in public administration was usefully shared by public authorities.

Lee Bowes spoke about shifting the paradigm of public policy delivery. She is Chief Executive Officer at America Works. In early 1980s, the welfare rolls were increasing very high. After suitable action plan Bill Clinton signed federal welfare reform legislation in 1996. After decade welfare roll decreased by 60%.

The conference was attended by representatives from about 35 countries. The delegates belonged to government, NGOs, academics, etc. Among Indian representatives were Dharendra Kumar, Executive Director of World Bank, B.P. Singh, former Director of World Bank and former home secretary, Kavita Khanna, barristerturned public health activist and wife of film actor turned politician Vinod Khanna. I met lot of persons from all over the world.

In the evening of 2nd April, there was a big reception held at the top floor, which is 16th floor of our hotel Hyatt Regency. It was a happening and memorable evening. The scene of evening with shining and setting sun over cities of Boston and Cambridge was lovely, the beauty enhanced by the river Charles separating the twin cities. After sunset also the delegates kept on talking to each other and being photographed in groups. Dr. Syed Gowher Rizvi, then Director of Institute of Democratic Governance was centre of attraction. That was due to him that such large number of delegates could attend the global network conference. Presently, he is advisor of international affairs to prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.

That day the weather of Cambridge and Boston was excellent which bolstered our spirit. The conference concluded on positive note.

The 3rd April was a bright sunshine day. I walked up to Boston crossing one of the several bridges. Just across in Boston University, I spent some time in the students’ union building and saw some important departments. A metallic work of art was put up on a pedestal as memorial of Martin Luther King who happened to be alumni of this university. I took a sub way, green line metro from Boston University central station. I met a teacher of law faculty who showed great courtesy to me. For dollar two I reached the government center of Boston. At a nearby building people were standing in queue to register themselves as electorate. I spent some time at Quincy Market and took lunch there at Bombay Club. I saw the long fishermen wharf. The entire area is spacious and grand. The seashore adds to the beauty of the area. Some families were roaming around with their little children. In bright winter sun the walk was more enjoying. I spotted a Halal meat shop at nearby Hay market. I went to a travel agency owned by a Moroccan. After roaming around in the area I took red line metro and reached Harvard Square. I went to John F. Kennedy School of Government, which comprises of four separate buildings located at one place. The campus looks beautiful due to adjacent John Fitzgerald Kennedy Park and river flowing adjacent to it. There wereseveral boat rowing teams of students sailing in the river.

At John F. Kennedy School of Government there is a centre named after Mosavar Rahmani, a philanthropist of Iran. At Ash Institute I met Dr. Syed Gowher Rizvi at his office chamber. The portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindra Nath Tagore, besides some pieces of art objects were prominently displayed in his room. I roamed around the Harvard University campus. Young boys and girls were enjoying their stay at Harvard University. It is good to see that people from all over the world, both as students and as teachers live here. The hegemony of white inhabitants has declined.

In the evening I went to Bombay Club restaurant, located prominently at Harvard Square and near to John F. Kennedy School of Government. When I visited Harvard in 2000, then also I used to frequent this restaurant. This time also I visited the restaurant the evening I landed at Cambridge. But that day it was for special reason. Kiran Soni Gupta, organized a painting exhibition at the Club. She and her husband Madhukar Gupta both in IAS and belong to Rajasthan government. They were there to attend the global network conference at Harvard University. Kiran is a good painter who organized painting exhibitions at several international places and also in India on her request. I inaugurated the exhibition, which was attended by several persons both of Indian origin and local. She has established herself as a good painter. After the inauguration ceremony, there was a dinner party for Indian community, which was attended by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. The owner of Bombay Club showed his hospitality in organizing dinner for all Indians at the ceremony. For me and another Muslim gentleman he organized dishes of Halal meat. I could snatch some time to visit famous Coop store of Harvard University where I purchased some souvenir items. One of the guests, Mr. Seth who works in Citizens Banks reached me to my hotel.

The evening will remain memorable for painting, discussion over importance of Indian languages vis-à-vis Hindi, handmade and handicraft heritage of India, emergence of India as a super power. There is melting of Indian culture with American culture, particularly among the Indian youth who were born in America. Most of the guests were of the opinion that to keep their children with Indian culture was becoming more difficult. They were also of the opinion that India should avail the opportunity of goodwill of America particularly in civil nuclear deal.

On the 4th April ‘08 I packed my luggage and checked out of the hotel at noontime and took a taxi for Logan International airport. The taxi driver, a black, told me that for lifting passengers from hotel to airport there is no charge by meter but a flat rate. It appears that by avoiding meter from hotel the taxi drivers are making some more money. I agreed to his policy and reached Logan airport and paid dollar 31. Here I checked in my luggage.  As there was enough time to board the plane I decided to go to Boston town to while away time. In the inclement weather I reached South Station, an important area of Boston from where many trains depart for suburb and other places. It reminded me of Charing Cross station of London. Due to continuous drizzle I could not roam around but remained inside the station building. Ultimately I took silver line bus and reached the airport. At the bus boarding stop I met Daniella who works at Ash Institute. Both of us spoke about Gowher Rizvi’s contribution to the Kennedy School and his further greater achievements. She came to the airport to receive her husband. Her story is unique in the sense that she is a Brazilian, her husband is a Polish, and both worked in Vienna. But they have not yet decided where they will ultimately settle. Her preference is to settle in Brazil.

I reached the airport much ahead of the departure of American Airlines flight AA 197 from Boston Logan airport to San Francisco airport. The schedule time of departure of flight at 6.40 p.m. was delayed and the expected time of departure was 7.37 p.m. So I decided to clear security check and relax. As my boarding pass has SSSS, like the one I got at La Guardia, New York for flight to Boston, I was prepared for special intensive check up at the airport. When I reached the security point I told the desk person to do special security check up. Accordingly, there was thorough security check up of my trolley bag and cameras. After security check up I relaxed. I also met a senior couple from Jordan who also attended the global network conference. Their boarding passes too had SSSS. They were also subjected to such special security check up.

It was 6 p.m. at Logan airport. The weather continued to be inclement. The drizzling rain and cold wind continued outside. I waited for departure of flight. I wanted to take some suitable meal earlier. When I chose fruit and walnut snack I could eat only fruit portion and left creamy yogurt. It was difficult to find food stuff suitable to my choice.

I reached San Francisco airport at about 11 p.m. night. Pallavi Priyadarshini, ‘Mili’ with her two children were there to pick me up. We drove for an hour and reached San Jose which is also called Silicon Valley because of vast hub of computer software activities.

For two nights I stayed at the house of Mili.

On 5th April (Saturday) Mili and her children accompanied me to Stanford University campus. The weather was fine and there was good sunshine. I saw the history department, the computer units set up by William Bill Gates, Hewlett and Packard. The architecture of the buildings is different from buildings of other universities. There were several sport activities going on the campus. I even visited modern art centers. The structure of Chapel is also unique. I found, as expected, students from all over the world. There is provision of hostels for both boys and girls.

In the evening we went to few local shopping malls.

San Jose is a non-congested city where one can do his routine without being in hurry.

On 6th April (Sunday) I took Cal Train at Lawrence Station and reached San Francisco. Exactly at 1.00 p.m. the pickup bus picked me up from the crossing of Townsend and 4th Street. Cal Train or California Train is a good link between San Francisco and neighbouring cities.

I reached the office of San Francisco city tour operators. The three hour guided tour took me to different areas of city including top end expensive areas. Before I reached Golden Gate the tour bus passed through Golden Gate Park which is green, sprawling, well laid out with various public utility facilities. As that was a Sunday lot of people were enjoying time in the park. Japanese Park was also unique which was attracting tourists. I reached famous Golden Gate. From hill top I appreciated view of San Francisco. There was big crowd at the gate of the Golden Gate Bridge. The tourists in groups and individuals were taking photos. The gate is painted in brick colour.

The city of Francisco reminded me of city of Montreal. Here people live in expensive houses and apartments but their daily life is laid back and relaxed. There are many spots where Hollywood films have been shot.

I reached the office of tour operators at 5 p.m. and did rounds of street shops. I was dropped at Cal Train Station where I took train   departing San Francisco at 8 p.m. Earlier I got down at 22nd Street Station at 7.10 p.m. and reached San Francisco Station just before departure of the train.

I reached Lawrence Station at 9.23 p.m. where Pallavi (Mili) picked me up. We reached her house in half an hour. I prepared for following day’s San Francisco to Los Angeles flight.

On 7th April at about 9 am Pallavi (Mili) drove me to San Francisco airport and reached there at 10 a.m. I took American Airlines flight departing at 12.05 p.m., which was a bit delayed. After about 1.30 hour flight I reached Los Angeles International Airport LAX.

There was chaos at the airport about shuttle bus service for hotels. As there was nobody to assist me to take one of the several free shuttle bus services going to hotels I took a taxi to reach my hotel, Westfield Inn in Inglewood, which is not far away from airport. Here the minimum fare of taxi is $ 15. In addition to that there is airport surcharge of $ 2.50 for taxi going out of the airport.

After check in the hotel, a motel run by Gujaratis, I got a room at $ 50. Later I learnt that I could have been given better room at the same tariff at a star hotel. Anyway, room was not a priority. I found the Gujarati manager at the counter scared from hooligans.

I located Taj Mahal restaurant run by Bangladeshis. There I took dinner. There are not many Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi restaurants in San Francisco. At Taj Mahal, there is special Briyani dinner when most of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshis communities come for dinner and get together.

On the 8th April I took grand tour of VIP tour for sightseeing at $ 59. The guided tour showed places in Log Angeles, also Farmers Market. Then I reached Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset drive, Malibu. At Rodeo Drive there are show rooms of large number of top brands of the world. This is the place of Hollywood stars. They dine and play games here. There mini guided tours show homes of Hollywood stars. At Hollywood Boulevard are located Chinese theatre and Kodak Studio which is venue for various events of films and glamour world.

In the background is Hollywood Hill where rich and famous own luxurious houses.

I reached Universal Studio. I was under the impression that my VIP tour no.6 included visit inside the Universal Studio.I learnt that I should have taken another tour at $ 93, which included tour of the studio. Thus I decided to see Universal Studio anyway. I purchased $ 64 ticket for whole day visit of Universal Studio. It is located near famous Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures. I entered the Universal Studio and went around the place. The three important attractions are – (i) Jurassic Park; (ii) House of Horrors; (iii) Water World.

I took guided tour of universal studio. There I saw large number of stages for making films. There is large number of film shooting sets, model houses and lanes where famous Hollywood films were shot. I experienced and saw earthquake of 8.50 Richter scale while passing in a coach through a dark subway tunnel resulting in roof caving in. Then there were dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Then there were submarine attacks in the lakes. There was site of a plane crash. The guide informed that actually one plane was purchased and brought here and then broken into pieces to show actual impact of a plane crash. I even saw shooting of a film in progress at a lake with a huge set of ocean in the background. It was difficult to believe that the set was not a sea.

I even saw attack of the sharks. There were scenes of firing, fire in homes, rains, floods etc. After I got down from tram tour of Universal Studio, I went to see the studio named ‘Water Front’. Here I saw unique live demonstration of attacks of pirates in sea and town and rescue operation. It was highest level of stunt except the bullets were fake.

I have been trying to cover my entire visit on my handycam camera but when I was witnessing the spectacular scene of attack and defence operation in sea the cassette of 120 minutes came to an end. Hence I could not cover this live drama. The battery of my digital camera had also discharged. However, I enjoyed my visit immensely. Everybody who visits west coast of USA should visit Universal Studio.

On 9th April I met Mr. Norman at my hotel. He lives in Washington (Seattle).  On payment of $ 30 he took me to Hollywood Boulevard where I took photos of Chinese theatre and Kodak film studio. I drove through the areas of Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, etc. Mr. Norman is an American Indian. He told me as how the original American Indians could not hold back their land due to lack of documents of property rights. He is critical of all politicians whom he considered as corrupt. He told that Clintons are power hungry people. He appreciated a bit Barak Obama as next President of USA as he considered him intelligent and without any history of corruption charges.

After the tour Norman reached me at Tom Bradley Los Angeles International Airport. The scheduled time of departure of Los Angeles – Frankfurt – New Delhi Air India flight AI 136 was 7.10 p.m. Due to delayed arrival of the aircraft from New Delhi, the flight was rescheduled at 8 p.m. I took free bus service to down town seeing large area of Los Angeles and reached union railway station at 4.00 p.m. I took flyaway bus and reached LAX at 5 p.m. I boarded the flight and occupied seat in Executive class. The flight took off actually at 8.30 p.m.

On 10th April the flight AI 136 reached Frankfurt airport at 3.45 p.m. local time. Outside temperature was 8 degree Celsius. All passengers vacated the aircraft. The aircraft was cleaned, staff changed and passport and boarding passes were rechecked. After 5 p.m. local time the aircraft took off. Frankfurt to Delhi flight duration is of about 6 hours. The flight continued in darkness of night.

During flight I met a young Indian doctor working near Los Angeles, an Indian Sikh gentleman who had set up Truck Stop service near Los Angeles. He arranges for parking, cleaning and maintenance of trucks. We discussed about good and bad aspects of life in USA, Europe viz-z-viz India.

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