The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, one of the seven engineering wonders of the world, is considered as the longest bridge-tunnel in the world. It consists of two bridges (each in three segments), two tunnels and four islands at the beginning and ending of each tunnel. The entire span of the bridge-tunnel is around twenty miles and the height of the bridges is around eighty-four feet above sea-level. The entire bridge-tunnel including the islands are man-made. The fours islands, two tunnels and the first bridge were built in 1964 (started in 1958). The second bridge was added in 1999 (started in 1995). The tunnels were necessary to allow the ships to reach two of the busiest ports in Virginia’s eastern shore. If you are wondering, what is so great about these tunnels, well these mile long tunnels are completely under water. If you see the first picture you can see the two islands and water in between. One of the tunnel is under the water between those two islands. It is truly amazing to go on it as well as see it from a distance. I feel bad, I could not take my parents to see the bridge. I am sure they would have appreciated it. However we have every intention of taking Praveen’s dad when he makes a trip to US. Being a Civil Engineer, he will definitely love it.
Praveen woke up early in the morning to get some good shots of the sunrise on the beach. Since it was around 5:30 in the morning, I did not bother to get up or wake up Ruchi. We woke up much later at around seven to go to the beach. We fed Ruchi, and then went to the breakfast inn in the hotel for some breakfast. We then walked into the beach. It was so cool to just walk to the back gate of the hotel and walk right onto the boardwalk. No hassle of packing for the day or finding a parking spot. If we wanted something we can walk back to the hotel to pick it up. It was past nine, by the time we went to the beach. The water was still cold, but the sun was very fierce. We had a nice time, but Ruchi was scared of the water. She was fine at first, but when Praveen let her feet touch the water, she did not like it. After that she started crying everytime we took her near to the water. Since it was too hot for her, we decided to come back in the evening. So we went back to our hotel room, took a shower, changed and hit the road. We decided to check out the Chesapeake bay bridge-tunnel. We were surprised to see that the toll for the bridge was $12 one-way, but if you returned the same day, then the return toll is only $5. Talking about the bridge tunnel, deserves a blog of its own. All I can say is that it is really an engineering marvel. On our return we stopped at a pier to check out the view of the bridge. It was beautiful. The break also served as a feeding break for Ruchi. After that we went back to the hotel. We changed into our beach clothes and set-off for a stroll on the boardwalk. There was a live concert going on, on one of the stages. We sat their for some time and then hit the beach. Ruchi was still not comfortable with the water but she loved sitting on the sand and playing. We spent some time there and then went back to our room. Since it was late, and we were in no mood to dress up, we decided to order pizza.
At last a family vacation, with the three of us. Praveen has been planning on taking me and Ruchi to the beach, ever since mother’s day, but his schedule was too hectic. Since he had no office trips planned this week, we decided to celebrate his birthday, by going to the beach. We were able to get a good deal on an oceanfront hotel. Praveen came home at around 2:30 p.m. and we set off at around four. We had to make one stop on our way, to feed Ruchi. It was a wonderful drive and Ruchi was very well-behaved for the entire time. It felt like as if she knew that we were going on a vacation, because she was very excited. Ever since her dad came home in the afternoon, till we reached VA beach she was laughing and shouting. At the hotel we got a room on the second floor. We had a nice view of the ocean, but the fact that it was on the second floor, made us aware of everything that was going on in the driveway below. But it was alright and the beach looked lovely. Since it was late, we decided to hit the beach tomorrow morning. We went to Olive Garden for dinner. We had a great meal. All the waitresses were very impressed by Ruchi’s behavior the entire time. She was happily sitting in her stroller, playing with her toy. She did not fuss at all. They all complimented on how pretty she looked and how lucky we were to have such a well-behaved child.
Looks like Ruchi is in a hurry to get all her teeth. Hardly have the previous two broken out of the skin completely, and the third one is ready. It is on the top jaw this time and the one left of the middle tooth. We are a little surprised, because we thought that the first two should come out fully (to its full size) before the next one starts showing itself. Anyway its cute and Praveen says that by her first birthday Ruchi might get all her teeth but still not be able to crawl.
Today is Praveen’s 31st birthday. Ruchi and I had a small private celebration planned for him. We bought him a chocolate cake, decorated the table with roses from our garden, and Ruchi invited her friends which consisted of the amazon jungle animals and her seven dwarfs. I bought him a card and a personalized refrigerator magnet, while Ruchi made a hand-made card and bought him a travel perfume set of Calvin Klein, which he desperately needed (when flying to Ireland, the airport security threw away his curve perfume, because the bottle was bigger than the three ounce limit). Praveen cut the cake, while Ruchi cheered on by clapping. The cake was delicious and Praveen was very happy with his gifts. Since Praveen had to go to work, we decided to save the rest of the celebration for evening.
In the morning when we checked our phones, we saw that we had a number of missed calls and messages from Praveen’s dad and my sister, Suja. Basically they were trying to reach us, but Praveen and I were so exhausted that we went to bed by 10:30. I had heard the phone ring in my sleep but I just could not open my eyes to go pick up the phone. But now I wish I had, because when we called India we found out that Uncle was very worried when we did not pick up the phone.
Today Praveen had to wake up early in the morning at 3:30 to attend an office launch call. Later at around eight he took off to the airport to pick up Sher and Vipula in their car. Since he was running late, he decided to ask Sher to drop him off at work on their way back. Ruchi and I spent the entire afternoon preparing for Praveen’s birthday tomorrow. First we wrapped his gifts and then got busy making his birthday card. Praveen already knew that he was getting a card from me and a perfume travel set. Last week I had to disclose that information because he had bought individual perfume bottles (travel size). I had to persuade him to return them, because I had already bought him a gift set as a birthday gift. His surprise gifts were going to be the photo refrigerator magnet I bought for him and Ruchi’s card. I wanted Ruchi’s card to be personal, so I made a card with her hand prints on it. It turned out to be the most pretty and beautiful of all the gifts and cards. I had a hard time getting the ink off Ruchi’s hands. Later in the evening, Usha came over to spend time with us. Charu and Ruchi played together for some time and then we went to the park. Later I had to go pick up Praveen at work.
Since it was Tuesday, I dropped off Praveen at work in the morning, so I could have the car with me for the day. Since Ruchi was very sleepy in her baby signs class, last week, I made sure that she was fed a little earlier and she had some good rest. The weather was great and we set off to the library at around 12:30. We reached there at exactly 1 p.m. I was surprised to see that the class room was empty and locked. I thought that I might be a little early, so I picked up some books and sat down with Ruchi. When I saw that there was no change in the situation even at five past one, I walked up to the front desk and asked about the class. I was told that the Baby signs class was only a preview class and that the library offered it only once. If we are interested in the class we must contact the instructor, to join her class. I can’t believe I missed that detail about the class schedule. I must have got it mixed up with the babygarten class, which lasts six weeks. So we ended up sitting and reading a couple of books. Pretty soon Ruchi lost interest in reading and she wanted to climb and stand on the couch. I let her play for a few more minutes, and then brought her home.
The long weekend is almost over and it is time for Bobby and Shanthi to leave. It was so wonderful having them over for the weekend. We had a great time but it feels like the time has just flown by. Shanthi was so sweet. She felt guilty that I have been staying home and cooking while they went sightseeing, so she offered to cook today. Since it was a Monday, I was not planning on cooking an elaborate meal. So I told her, that she can take care of the brinjal-peas curry while I make beerkai (chinese okra) chutney. Both the curry and chutney were yummy. After lunch we decided to show Shanthi and Anu the great falls. I decided to accompany the girls to the falls with Ruchi. Since Bobby had to stay home and work, and Chinnari said she wanted to rest due to her headache from yesterdayâ€™s heat, it worked out great. Unfortunately, many other people in our area wanted to check out the falls, the same time we did. The line of cars waiting to get through the gates was over a mile long. Since Shanthi and Anu have to leave by the evening train, we had to return without seeing the falls. We sat down and talked till it was time for Bobby and the girls to leave. I packed them lemon rice for dinner. After they left Ruchi slept for a couple of hours while I relaxed.
The holiday that marks the beginning of summer season is here at last. The weather was beautiful outside, and we could see our neighbors having a barbecue. In the afternoon dad took us to show us great falls but when we saw the mile long line to get through the gates, we made a u-turn and returned home. We spent the rest of the day lazing around, until it was time for dad to drop off Shanthi atta and Bobby babai.
Ever since dad took me to my Baby lapsit class, he has been singing my rhymes, his favorite being I’m a little teapot. So naturally when Chinnari atta was upset and pouting because she felt her parents wanted to talk to Bobby more than they wanted to talk to her, Dad came up with a rhyme, similar to his favorite one with mom helping him with the rhyming words. It is a very good one but mom and dad did not have the courage to put it up in the blog. Since atta & I are friends, I am sure she knows that I am doing this in good humor by sharing the rhyme with all of you.
I’m a little daughter, who was short and stout,
This is my frown, and this is my pout,
When I’m all steamy, you hear me shout,
Just pick me up and kick me out.
Happy Memorial Day Everyone – Love Ruchi
Today Praveen took the gang to show them the capital city, while Ruchi & I stayed home. Ruchi played for some time and then fell asleep. This gave me a chance to watch a movie I had recorded, In Her Shoes. It is definitely a chick-flick, but a wonderful movie. The gang came home at around seven-forty in the evening. Bobby has been proposing to take us to dinner, ever since he arrived. He asked me to choose the place. Since Praveen has to make two trips in the car, we decided to choose a restaurant which was close to home. The good ones that I know were an Indian restaurant, a Thai place and an Italian place. I know that neither Anu nor Shanti like pasta and since we eat Indian every day, we decided to go to Thai. When we proposed Thai, Shanti and Anu said that they had a very bad experience with Thai food. I could see that they were not very sure, if they wanted to give it a try again, but I really wanted them to try it, because I know they will like it. We went to a place called Sala Thai. Surprisingly, there was no one in the restaurant. We were the only customers that evening. Many dropped in to pick up a take-away order, but no one sat to eat. That was strange because all the other times we went there, it was always filled with people. Anyway it worked out great for us. We ordered Goong Pik King (Shrimp with French Beans), Pad Pik King (Chicken with French Beans), Ka Prow Chicken (Spicy Ginger Chicken) and Green Chicken curry (Chicken in Coconut Milk gravy). The food was very good and Anu & Shanti loved it. For the first time we cleaned up all the plates, without any leftovers. It was wonderful coming out to eat and spending some time with each other. All of them were exhausted after their DC trip, and this was a nice way to unwind.