Friday, October 14, 2011

Trip to Banner Elk, NC

The Gang (Adults- Sibi, Suni, Grace, Albert & Me. Kids - Sanya, Hani & Alvin) - Who made the trip - in front of Cabin House, where we stayed.
It all started when my friend Albert asked if I want to join him, his wife Grace and their 2 lovely sons (Hani, Alvin) for a Trip to Banner Elk, NC to stay in cabin for 3 days and roam around the places nearby the cabin. I said 'yes' immediately as both of them have been my long time friends and invite me where ever they go :). We had been on many many trips together in US (most memorable being Orlando, Florida in 2007) and it has been always fun. So there was no second thoughts when question was put forth to me. We started on Oct 7 Friday morning 7AM from Atlanta. Albert's friend Sibi's family (his wife Suni and their lovely daughter Sanya) also joined us. It was 6 hrs drive from Atlanta to the Cabin located in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Cabin House was amidst a jungle and as it was fall time in US, the trees were beginning to show their 'true' colors. Wow Wonderful sight it was !!

One such view from behind the Cabin House --

Seeing that I got a (mokkai !?) thought. But anyways if I don't record it who will record it :-)

"When trees change color, world becomes beautiful
When people change color, world becomes miserable"

eppadi ok'va?? .. :-)

Colors on Trees and Hills were compensating the lack of colors on the road :-). It was a very beautiful scenic drive through hills to reach the cabin house. However as we were reaching the Cabin , we had to withstand 1.5 miles of dusty road (yes you read it right, DUSTY road in U.S for 1.5 miles !!!!). We reached around the Cabin 5PM EST. On reaching the house, all were tired (not sure why I was tired as I was just sitting and sleeping in the car, probably seeing others get tired I got it too :-)) so we decided to restrict ourselves to the cabin. And that laid the platform for a fun night with kids Alvin, Hani & Sanya. It started with cycling with Alvin, racing up and down the slope in his 'McQueen' cycle. Then as it got darker, the scene shifted to indoors, playing word games with Hani, Sanya where a person needs to guess a word based on the clues given by other person. Later it became a game between adults. Albert, Grace, Sibi, Suni were answering the question that I was asking :-). As the game ended, curtains came down on day 1 of the trip

Me playing games with Sanya, Alvin, Hani. Albert trying to master a 'Monopoly' game :-)
Day -2, the plan was to go to Mystery Hill & Grand Father Mountain (Biggest attraction of NC). Day-2 started for me with Alvin explaining in his malalai 'Tamil' his plans on what he is going to do that day. And how is going to travel to India (?!) with his friends (and his friends list included me too !!) and come back to Atlanta that day itself (Kids can do anything isn't it ??) . We were talking for about 20 mins. His malalai Tamil is something you can keep on hearing. 5000 yrs ago Tamil Scholar Thollkappiar had instituted the grammar for Tamil but without knowing to read, write Tamil Alvin has instituted a different grammar for Tamil through his malalai 'Tamil' which is sweeter than original Tamil. Good Job Alvin :-). And we had to end our conservation as we have to move onto Mystery Hill.

Onto Mystery Hill - Mystery Hill was just a house which was built in a way that gravity acts on us at 45 degrees. Again it was fun playing with Sanya & Hani inside the mystery hill. And I have to say I admire the marketing strategy of the Americans what seemingly simple things are being wrapped in attractive manner and presented in a way we enjoy it. Mystery Hill is also one such place where thought & marketing matters !!

Me & Sibi at Mystery Hill... (Sanya & Hani crawling not able to withstand Gravity :-))

Next stop was Grandfather Mountain. As we drove down, we couldn't take our eyes of the road. What beautiful houses, What beautiful locations OMG !!!. We had our cameras clicking and handycams running continuously till we reached Grand Father Mountain.

One such breath taking house ---- I wish I had one such house (Kanna!!, aasai irrukkalam paeraasai irrukka kudathu .. :-))

The highlight of Grandfather Mountain was the swinging bridge. Wow !! what a view it was from the bridge, which was 1 mile from sea level. I have never seen such a beautiful sight. Unfortunately, since we had our camera's & handycam's running continuously, by the time we reached the top, batteries ran out on all of them and we had to content with pictures from our cell phones. With that ended 'outside' trip time for day 2 and we headed back to Cabin for 'indoor' trip time which was the most enjoyable part :).

Grand Father Mountain View - Nature's Magic with Colors.. Nature is a Great Artist isn't it??
Again it was back to Hani, Sanya & Alvin. This night it was Question night, where I had to ask questions to Hani & Sanya. They were in 2nd grade and so I have stoop down to their level and ask questions. Believe it or not it was difficult to ask simple questions. But I think i managed it well, because both were excited in answering my questions (which they did very well answering almost 95% of questions that I asked) and were eager for more questions. I also got a compliment from Sanya saying I can be 'School teacher' :-), so I have a job if the software industry dumps me :). I also got a nick name from Sanya - 'Milk', probably she knows that I was as white as Milk in my heart and gave me that nick name and you know kids don't lie :-). With such good compliments ended Day -2 :-)

On Day-3, the plan was to go to blowing Rock and then head back to Atlanta. I still don't understand why they called it blowing rock probably another marketing technique by Americans, there was nothing 'blowing' in the rock :-). Again, the scenic view that we could see was Mind blowing.

View from Blowing rock - What a view !!... There is no limits to beauty of mother Nature
With that ended the trip and we headed back to Atlanta after having lunch in a 'HongKong Restaurant' where Frog legs was also part of the menu. Yuck !!!. Is there anything these Chinese guys don't eat....???

On the overall, I enjoyed the indoor part of the trip more than outdoor trip. Playing with kids was the only thing I had to do which I always love :-). I did try to get more task allocated to me. Knowing about my driving skills (though I have a DL), I didn't dare to ask Albert if I can help him in driving. But I did ask Grace if I can help her in kitchen, but she 'smartly' declined probably she knew about my cooking skill. But wait.. how come ?? she hasn't tasted (or suffered) my cooking yet. But somehow she judged it correctly and didn't want to take a chance. Fair Enough :-). So I was just doing primary task "Playing with kids" and the great thing was kids was also enjoying. Alvin and Hani, I have been playing with them for years so no surprises with them, but Sanya was a new kid whom I met in this trip and she was enjoying my company too, asking me for a question every time, even gave a nick name to me. At the end, it felt very good when her mother Suni said to me that "Sanya doesn't get attached to 'new guys' easily but she got attached to you" :-) (Ennamo irrukku machi unkitta :-)). It is always a pleasure to see and make kids smile :-).

To sum it up, it was yet another memorable & enjoyable trip with Albert, Grace & Co. Thanks to Albert & Grace for arranging and having me :-). And special thanks to kuttis Alvin, Hani & Sanya for keeping me entertained and occupied. Thanks to Sibi & Suni too for being accommodative, Hope we go on another such trip sooner :-)


  1. ennamo poda maadhava! [commented only by seeing the photos] ;)

  2. Fulla padi da... Mr. Loganathan..

  3. ahaa epdi iru thought Srini, about colors...its good and true too :-) nice posting about the trip.
    And regarding cooking there wasn't much work, me and Suni were there. unga samayal veetla try pannitta pochu :-) and kids were having very nice fun with you.. :-)
    and yes, its was such a memorable trip!

  4. Thanks Grace :).. vaanga vaanga to suffer in my cooking once heh..heh


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