Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3. American Homes

3. American Homes

Basically there are 5 types of homes.,'studio apartments', 'apartments', 'town house', 'condos' and 'independent houses'.

In studio apartments there is a large hall, a kitchen and a bathroom.

In ordinary apartments one or two bedrooms may be found. Normally there are about six houses in a floor with a common path.

Town houses have separate entrance for each house and a garage. There may be two floors

All the three types of houses are built by a company and let out for rent, about 500 over houses within a protected area. Rentals are from about $650 to $1250.

Those, who want to buy own homes must buy in 'condos' (condominiums, flat  houses)' like the advt."Arun Excello" in "Super Singer". a "$300.000 dream". But you own undivided land.

Bigger dreams are independent houses. The land belongs to you but you can't build compound walls!

In Florida, there are small ponds around independent houses. You also have a few crocodiles, snakes and tortoises in them. You don't disturb them and its mutual, they don't disturb you. Avoid going for a walk at night. Suppose they come out of the pond, accidentally?! There are "trainers" to put them back. What they is "They have been here for a long time" American equal rights?!!

You have to believe that all these houses are made of wood. Frame work for tall buildings are steel structures. Wood is abundant. Cheaper.. Damages are minimum during hurricanes and earthquakes for wooden houses. Carpenter is enough to build a house. Now you know why all the masons 'kothanaars' go to Singapore to work and not US! In fact in a super market called 'Home Depot" you can get all that is needed to build a house. They conduct classes for small children teaching them to make chairs etc.

Frying pappad…be careful. Smoke alarm will do its job and may invite others. There are water sprinklers all around inside the house and fire extinguishers too.

You are provided with fridge, aircon, heaters, dish washer and stoves, either gas or electrical. You have a free service if anything goes wrong. They attend within 24 hours of complaining through the apartment website. Switches, on if you off it!

Bathrooms… not a drop of water on the floor. No Indian closets. All are European WCs. Everything… inside the bathtub! Remember… it's all wood.  A lot of tissue paper is spent. Washing either in your own machines or in a common place inside the apartments compound.

Community amenities available are

Immediate repair services free of cost
Controlled Access Entry Gate
Laundry facilities 
Grilling Area(s)
Picnic Area(s)
Fully Equipped Fitness Center
Two Lighted Tennis Courts
Car Care Center
Recycling Area
Pet Friendly (rules apply)
Swimming Pool
Post boxes

Controlled Access Entry Gate: When you  go out from the compound, you would use a remote controlled gate and another one similar to that for entering back. For people on foot to go out there is a small gate. To come back you have to use an electronic 'access' key. When your friends come by car, they have to key in, in a small tower near the gate, a specific number allotted to you. Your phone will ring. When you press a number in your phone, the gate opens. Sesame!

Your neighbors, passers by, whatever complexion they are, or, you are, smile at you and say 'Hi' and  a few more words. It may take some time to understand the accent. By that time, your visa expires and you may be flying back!

Pls view my blog on examtechniques and post your requirements, comments

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2. HALLOW E'EN! (the evening before All Hallows Day)

HALLOW E'EN! (the evening before All Hallows Day)

Independence day, Veterans day, Christmas, New Years day, and Halloween fall on definite dates every year. All other holidays are combined with weekends. If holiday falls on Saturday, then Friday would be a holiday. If a holiday falls on Sunday then Monday would be a holiday.

Halloween falls on October 31st every year. Though it originates from Europe,it is believed to be celebrated for warding off evils and inviting good souls, and also to be welcoming the 'Fall' and the winter.

Scarecrows, paper skeletons, black cats, spider web made of threads, ghost images, bats, brooms and witches, pumpkins, and jack-o-lanterns are displayed in front of the houses.

The pulp inside the pumpkin is carved out. On the outer side two eyes a nose and few scary teeth are carved out with a knife. A candle is placed inside. This is known as jack-o-lantern.

Rolls, cakes and soups are made using pumpkin.

' Trick or Treat ' In the evening,The children aged 3 to12 dress up in different forms, mostly face painted like ghosts, wearing masks like presidents, dressed like pirates, avatars, skeletons. They start from their houses with one elderly person from each family, in the October 31st evening as a group and go around from house to house in the neighborhood, with open pumpkin plastic baskets collecting candies and chocolates.

In the shop houses in malls, an employee sits outside the the shop dressed in a scary manner or like one of the latest characters in cartoons and distribute candies. The whole children crowd will be there.

Look for a party organized by the leasing office of your apartment in the afternoon of Oct 31st at the clubhouse nearer to it.

A few people join together and create Halloween haunted houses artificially with a lot of automated electronic devices to scare off people. These houses are open normally from october 1st. They advertise the venue in newspapers. They normally charge like $10. Most of the time they are free. You can view an example at the following website.

In fact around the apartments we lived in there were so much of Indian children, still with some remnants of India, that the place seemed to be Little India! On Deepavali day the whole place was empty?! May be went to temple!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

1. Coffee in America

Starbucks, a snacks bar found everywhere in US mainly in most of the shopping complexes and petrol stations, "Food Exits" in highways, carries small medium and large coffee, which are referred to as tall, grande and venti and it depends on the type of coffee, but a regular coffee costs $1.40 for a tall 12 oz 355ml, $1.60 for a grande 16 oz 480ml and $1.70 for venti 20 oz. + taxes like 14 cents.

      There are about six types of coffee. Ask for REGULAR and SMALL. Most places you can ask for extra cup. Some places they charge 50 cents for an empty cup.Nothing wrong in asking! If you carry two plastic cups, you can share it!! As they give a cap you can drink it later also.  Regular coffee is super! Milk, Creamer,sugar n diabetic sweetener can be added according to your taste in a seperate table.

      Becareful of standing in a queue, many will stand quite away from the counter, so much so that you don't realise that they are actually in the queue.

      However in China towns you get a good coffee for a single buck, still 46 rupees!! Two can share it.
      Seattles coffee is also good.

      In fact all the three i have mentioned have greater aroma then Narasu's, in their own way.

      Professor Nyaanasambantham once quipped about the coffee in US in Pichappan Valliammai's Tampa (Florida) house that "In India we drink coffee when we are tired. But in US we get tired in drinking coffee!"