Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Cincinnati Days

When myself and my wife reached Cincinnati on October 23, 2009 to be with Varsha - my younger daughter and Amit - my son-in-law, for the next three months, my immediate concern was as to how I will keep myself busy particularly during winter. But during our last week in Cincinnati, we felt how quickly the last three months have passed ! As we were bidding good bye to Varsha and Amit on January 31, 2010, at Dayton Airport for catching a flight to Richmond - our next destination, I felt nostalgic with flash back of events of these three months recapitulating in my mind like a slide show.

I remember our start of the 500 miles long car journey from Richmond with Vandana, Sudhir, Aayush and Anoushka in a sunny afternoon and a happy Varsha peeping through the glass window of the stair case of her first floor apartment, as we reached the apartment entrance .The next day morning , Amit took us for a long walk around the lake shores of Sharon Woods Park surrounded by beautiful fall colours trees. On that very evening, we had a gala time in celebrating Varsha's baby showers. I recall myself and my wife roaming almost entire day inside Cincinnati Zoo before Amit picking us up on his return journey from his office. The next afternoon we all were in downtown Cincinnati getting a spectacular view of the downtown from the Carew Tower and Mount Adam, walking on the Ohio river front and in the Eden Park.

On some days, I used to take a 2-3 rounds of brisk walk around Dewdrop Circle on the paved path observing a criss cross of aircrafts in the sky on clear days. During these walks, I witnessed the gradual transformation of beautiful fall colour trees into barren ones but looked equally beautiful during snowfalls. Most of the days, I was the only person taking a brisk walk on the pavement except a postman of US Postal Services who would make a number of rounds between his van parked in Dewdrop Circle and the apartment gates dropping the postal articles, packages and letters.

I remember my outings with Amit during week-ends to restaurants to try out the various cuisines - Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean and of course Indian. The way Amit explained nuances of various cuisines, made the lunch and dinner more interesting. In addition, we had 'mini food festivals' at home every other day in which all but me contributed. It was during this period that I came to know of Amit's culinary expertise. The mouth watering dishes of salmon and pizzas he made with variations of his own are still fresh in my mind. The family get together on a long X'mas week-end when my son Sandeep joined us along with Sudhir and Vandana during which we celebrated Arya's naming ceremony, re-enacted my wife's 60th birth day and had family dinner at Bucca Di Beppo, an Italian restaurant, was the hightlights of our Cincinnati days.

When I had nothing to do, I used to accompany Amit on his visits to Walmarts, Meijer, Sams Club, Jungle Jim, Patel Brothers, Bombay Groceries among others. Most of the time we ended up buying more stuffs that were not in the list than the listed ones. And the unlisted items very often included cheese cakes, pumpkin pies, pecan pies, doughnuts and honey peanuts.

I remember getting up early in the morning of December 7 to shoot the the season's first snow fall in Cincinnati and Amit cleaning the accumulated snow on his car in that freezing cold morning. The second spell of the snow fall in early January was the highest when I ventured out to take some pictures of the snow fall. It was a great experience to witness our first snowfall and get drenched in snow showers in Dewdrop Circle. Strange as it may sound, despite my many Himalayan treks, I have yet to see the snowfall in India.

We had a nice bonding with Nishant, Phillip, Pratima and Prachi, Amit's neighbours, who occasionally visited us to enquire about our well being and to play with Arya. And who will forget Pratima and Prachi having a taste of Thai dishes with chillies at level 10 during our dinner at Teak Thai restaurant on a windy cold night.

My most difficult time in Cincinnati was on November 11 when I was alone in the house for 20 odd hours with deafening silence all around ( as against the deafening noise which I was accustomed to in Mumbai) when Varsha accompanied by Amit and my wife was in the hospital for her first delivery. The silence was eventually broken by telephone ring for the most awaited news of the birth of Arya - the youngest of our five grand children.

My most cherishing memory of Cincinnati days was witnessing Arya growing up day by day, the transformation from her blank look at birth to a smiling one, her long drawn waking up programme in the morning, her crying stints during the bath, her aborted sneezing attempts - among many.

These are but few of my memories of Cincinnati days. Some of the pictures I shot during my stay in Cincinnati have been uploaded here with captions.

On way to Cincinnati. The drive from Richmond to Charlottesville with fall colours trees on rolling hills on both sides of I-64 was the most scenic of all my road journey in on this US trip.

A part of Dewdrop Circle where we were staying. It was nice to see a vast expanse of open space in around our apartment. My daily routine included three rounds of a brisk walk on this circle until the extreme cold weather prevented me from doing so.

An inter-section of Dewdrop Circle.

A walk in Sharon Woods Park - our first outing after arriving in Cincinnati.

A walk around the shores of Sharon Lake inside Sharon Woods with forest cover full of fall colours was an awesome experience. This was on the second day of our arrival in Cincinnati.

The Sharon Lake with its calm water occasionally disturbed by swimming geese with fall colour trees on its shores looked like a place from fairy tales.

The Gorge trail inside Sharon Woods. This 1-km trails through forest cover ends at a large meadow which is a picnic place with camping facilities.

A lake shore walk inside Winton Woods. This park has good camping sites, fitness trails and nature trails.

The Winton Lake in the evening. A brisk walk around the lake takes about 15 minutes.

The entrance to Cincinnati Zoo. The Zoo also has vast collection of trees, plants and shrubs. There are jungle trails inside the Zoo. We spent almost entire day roaming around animal and birds enclosures, jungle walk and taking a zoo round in a toy train.

Swan Lake inside Cincinnati Zoo. Every year during Thanks Giving Day to New Year, the Zoo organises Festival of Lights in which more than one million LED lights are used.

Swan Lake during Festival of Lights The highlight of the Light Festival is the 21 feet tall computer controlled tree with thousands of lights dancing to the tune of popular holiday songs.

White Lions - actually they have light brown colour.

Fountain Square is the heart of downtown Cincinnati's public life. The day we visited, the square was full of Cincinnati Bengasl fans watching the NFL match on a giant screen being played at Paul. Brown Stadium which is located about one km from this square. During winter, a part of the square is converted in to an ice rink.

Carew Tower is the tallest building in Cincinnati. We had a panoramic view of Cincinnati downtown from its terrace.
View of Paul Brown Stadium from Carew Tower. Paul Brown Stadium is the home of Cincinnati Bengals, the football team which participates in National Football League.

View of Roebling bridge from Carew Tower. The Roebling bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridge over Ohio river which was constructed in 1866 connecting Cincinnati downtown (Ohio) and Northern Kentucky.

The old brick water tower near Eden Garden. This water tower was used up to 1912. It was included in historical monument and presently the tower is being used as a communication facility for the city of Cincinnati.

A walk in Eden Park. The park is centrally located near the Ohio river shores and Mt Adams. The lake, the trails, a museum, a play house, a conservatory and the rock climbing make this park an all round place for various activities.

At the waterfront of Ohio river dividing Ohio and Kentucky states.

Ohio river. The other side of the river front is Newport in Kentucky State.

a zoom shot of Newport (Kentucky) from Ohio river front in Cincinnati side.

The Valet Circle at night in Newport on the Levee which is located on the Kentucky side of the Ohio river front. It is a place for dining, entertainment,fun, a walk on the river front and many more. There is an aquarium for children to enjoy.

Cincinnati downtown skylines in the night from Newport on the Levee.

The early morning scene of the first snow fall of the season on December 7th.

X'mas decorations amidst snow.

The snow on the concrete pavements and on the road melted earlier than the ones on the grassy patches making a snow design.

A sunny afternoon post snowfall.

An evening shot of snow covered pavement outside the Public Library.

The snowbound approach to our apartment gate.

Cars outside our apartment with thick blankets of snow

It is a white wash on Dewdrop Circle.

The taste of the snow fall in a wintry afternoon.

A wintry clear sky.

A foggy January morning.

We visited Cincinnati Zoo one more time on X'mas eve Festival of Lights.

Krohn Conservatory has more than 3500 species of plants belonging to rainforests and deserts. The four aluminium frame and glass wall houses - Palm, Tropical, Desert and Orchid have permanent exhibits of plants while there are special exhibits of different varieties through out the year.

An unnamed flower in Krohn Conservatory which I liked the most among many exotic flowers.

One of many orchids in Krohn Conservatory which I liked the most.

A seating place in the midst of plants and flowers in Krohn Conservatory. Clock-wise from left: Sudhir, Sandeep, Amit and me.

X' Mas tree decoration in the lobby of a five star hotel.

Downtown area on a cloudy X'mas afternoon.

On way to Roebling bridge - the oldest suspension bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky states. We were planning to walk down to the Kentucky side when rain showers increased the wind chill forcing us to take the shelter of a cafe and have a cup of hot coffee.

The bronze statue of a Japanese fisherman with a seabird in Eden Park. Sandeep, Amit and Sudhir replicating the action of the Japanese fisherman trying to take out a fish from a seabird. Seabirds were employed by Japanese fishermen to catch the fish. As soon as a seabird caught a fish, the fisherman will put pressure on the neck of the seabird to vomit the fish.

On a snow tubing mission at Perfect North Slopes, Indiana.

My trip to Mammoth Cave National Park was the first one outside Cincinnati.

The visit to US Air Force Museum, Dayton was our last trip from Cincinnati.

Brij Mohan was the best Indian restaurant in Cincinnati for fast food. Chole Bathure, all types of chats - Samosa, Papdi, Dahi - came very close to the tastes that we get in India.

Amit's dinner party at Teak Thai, Cincinnati downtown. Thai food we ordered was awesome though a wrong count of chillies made the dishes hot!!!

A wide variety of cheese from all over the world on display in Jungle Jim's International Market where one is sure to get grocery, vegetables, other food items and wines from all over the world.

An hanging auto is an indication of the Indian section of grocery and other items in Jungle Jim's. Some of the 'hard to find' vegetables like breadfruits and yams were available only in Jungle Jim's.



Manas Garg said...

Lovely photographs.

I and a couple of friends started a project to develop India Travel Guide (written in Wikipedia way). It's located at http://trailofview.com/trail/India_Travel_Guide. While compiling information on Jageshwar at (http://trailofview.com/trail/Jageshwar), I ran into your profile at IndiaMike.

I really liked the photographs that you have shot and wanted to include them in the guide. The guide itself is available for free (just like Wikipedia) and hence, if the photographs are added to the guide, they would also become available for free under creative commons license to everyone who wishes to use them. Recently, another IndiaMike user Ashwin Bahulkar donated his photographs and they were used in guide about Binsar (http://trailofview.com/trail/Binsar).

Please let me know if it's ok to use your photographs. My email address is manasgarg at gmail dot com.


KS said...

wow! this was a nice writeup. And the pictures too are awesome!! - KS