Friday, March 15, 2013

The River, James River



14th March, 9 PM, waiting for Dinner

I am back after a break of 4 days! And man... these 4 days were hectic!
In India I generally wake up at 10 AM and go to office around 3 in the afternoon. But in Richmond, I am waking up at 6 in the morning, going to office at 7.15 and then after managing loads of projects return to hotel at 7.30 in the evening. But I am not writing this post to bore you with describing my work related update.
Today I am going to tell you the story of a river.
Before that, let me go back to Sunday, I had my breakfast and got ready for a whole day trip around Richmond. I asked for a taxi and the lady in the reception not only called the taxi, gave me tips for places to visit and where to eat lunch and so on. She is very friendly and whenever I see her in the lobby she gets into a discussion.
The taxi came pretty soon, the driver looked from sub continent and told me his name is Sabbir and he is from Kolkata, India! We were still talking in English, when he got a call from home and spoke in Bengali! And then what else! The rest of the journey to Belle isle passed quickly, we chatted about his family, his business, the scenario in US, the credit crunch… everything in Bengali! He is from Basirhat, living in US for last 17 years and yes, he gave me a $10 discount on the fare!!
Sabbir dropped me near James, the river, which is passing in between Richmond’s central district. On the river there is a foot bridge which takes one to the Belle isle, a 54 acre island in middle of the river. The walk on the footbridge above the river is one of my most memorable experiences on the trip, especially when the bridge was moving sidewise due to wind.

(Ok, my food is here… let me finish it and get back)
Belle Isle is a natural Island which is one of the biggest attractions in Richmond. Lots of people come here during the weekend, some with family, kids or with partners. I was alone, although I was given company by Shreya through whatsapp in my phone.
There were many people jogging, walking their dogs, rafting, cycling or even just plain relaxing under the Sun. the weather was good, it was sunny but nice wind was blowing and temperature must be there around 15-16 degree Celsius. I roam around, took pictures and enjoyed the walk around the island. It is a very nice place for lazy time pass around the river and I did exactly that.
After Belle Island, I visited the Richmond civil war centre and the war museum. They were like any other museums and nothing special. They played a movie in the war museum pretty much for me, again nothing special, just showed how those great American soldiers sacrificed their life and youth so  that their country can remain independent!
Remaining part of the day, I visited Richmond down town, walked on without any plan. Random stranger, drunk, old, black man asked for help (I refused!) Returned home in a taxi of an Iranian man, who said, “You are Indian?? I am from Iran, your neighbour!!”
This is the best part of my travel. Here I could meet with so many people from so many different countries, so many myths were broken, so many new things I learn. And yes, I realized there is no American taxi driver in Richmond. Till now, my daily taxi for office is driven by Shamim (Sabbir’s father) and I met taxi drivers from North Africa, Iran and Bangladesh (That man said, “I hate Pakistanis, I don’t even talk to them!”)
The trip to Richmond is going pretty good. It’s very cold though, most of the days when I woke up I found the temperature in the range of 0-2 degree Celsius and none of the days it goes beyond 15. I also talked to Swagatamda, in US on a business trip too and Arunimadi over the phone and hopefully will meet Arunimadi in Phoenix and listen to the 'Falling from the Auto' story once again.
The trip to Richmond is almost over. Just tomorrow and then Saturday afternoon I am leaving for Tigard. May be my next post will be from Tigard, where it is forecasted rain throughout the week with the expected maximum to be 11 degree C for all the days!

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