Sunday, March 15, 2009

Greetings from Paradise

Rohan's first vacation in the sunny Florida Keys. We planned our escape from the cold winter of Boston and were on our way. We actually had some trouble finding a spot for our car in the economy lot at Logan airport that wasn't full of snow. Just one more reason to get out of town for a week. We made it through security fine in this direction and Rohan made an uneventful first flight. He slept through most of it and then we relaxed for a day in Fort Lauderdale, taking in the sun and walking along the beach. The drive down to the Keys couldn't have been nicer and this was just a foreshadowing of the week to come (70F nights/80F days the whole week with no rain). Rohan loved the sun and more importantly what that meant for him, fewer clothes.

We tried him out on a swing and slide and he liked those, but he absolutely loved being in the pool. Rohan was kicking away furiously to try and propel himself around the pool. It's a good thing he has been practicing kicking for the past 15 months or so. He loved watching the showboat kids doing funny jumps into the pool for whatever audience would watch them. I guess their parents tired of this long ago. Rohan was also a hit with the major demographic in the area where we stayed: grandmothers. He suffered the cheek pinching and lavish praise well.

Most of our time in Florida was spent doing the normal touristy things like walking along the beach, swimming, visiting the dolphin research center, and just plain relaxing and enjoying the warmth. But for as long as I have known Chandreyee, she has had a penchant for the unusual. One of the scheduled activities was a trip to Key West to go to a pirate museum, an aquarium, and something a bit off the usual track. Chandreyee entered (and won) a conch shell blowing contest. Contestants were judged on length of the note, purity of tone, loudness, and novelty of the blow. Not having a conch of her own, she borrowed one from a guy dressed up as a pirate and this "good conch" was a key to her victory. The winning man blew a song from Frank Sinatra on his conch and the winning group ("the Conchestra" from Boca Chica FL) dressed up as flappers and other wild costumes and performed a rendition of Jimmy Buffet's classic "I don't know where I'm a gonna go when the hurricane blows". It has really been a while since I have seen something so odd. You can see Chandreyee's TV interview on the web if you are so inclined ( fast forward to about minute 20-21 or so to see Chandreyee, the entire conch blowing spot starts at 17'15" if you want more background).

As if that wasn't odd enough, we walked to the Key Colony Beach fair and looked at the baubles that people were selling and they also had a few games of chance including barracuda races where you bet on the winning fish. We were most excited about the funnel cake however. We split one and some arepas and a gyro for lunch. We definitely enjoyed the food while we were on vacation, especially dessert. In our week in Florida, the two of us were able to eat half a chocolate cake, half a pecan pie, 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, the funnel cake and two cones of frozen custard. I really need to start biking again to work off all the yummy food.

Another fun this that we did was to rent a fishing pole and try to catch dinner one night. Chandreyee caught her first fish on this trip and he was yummy. Chandreyee used the web browser on my phone to learn how to clean a fresh fish and then she fried up this little guy for an appetizer one night. Eventually we had to return to Boston and leave all the warmth and fun of south Florida behind. The last interesting thing that happened to us was when we went though security on the way back. We were prepared to have to answer questions about the big metal object in our carry on luggage (conch trophy), so it was with little surprise that when Chandreyee's bag went through the scanner, the lady shouted that she needed a "CIC". After waiting about 10 minutes, and holding up the entire security line for that time with a row of increasingly nervous and grouchy looking fliers, the bag was inspected and the offending article was not the huge trophy, but a bag of corn meal that we decided to take back with us. I guess CIC stands for "Corn meal Inspection Crew". Another good flight for Rohan and I was pleasantly surprised to find that our car was not covered with snow or ice when we got back to Boston.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time and next vacation we are thinking of expanding it to include other members of our family and renting a bigger place. Thanks for reading my long-winded tale of our Florida adventure.

Mike, Chandreyee, and Rohan

Monday, March 2, 2009

Little moments

Rohan has been "hoovering" oatmeal for a couple months now, but on February 15, he had his annaprashan, or rice-eating ceremony, at which he had his first taste of rice pudding, lentils, and even a little fish. Dimoni, Dadan, and Tinkumashi arrived days in advance to help prepare the feast for 30 people.

After the ceremonial spoonful of payesh (rice pudding) from his uncle Kaushik, Rohan chose the symbolic book (from among the coins, gold, crystal, earth, iPod, and pen). All the serious deliberation made Rohan hungry, and he proceeded to "hoover" the entire bowl of payesh, while friends and family showered him with countless and diverse blessings.

Rohan was lucky enough to receive the gift of "great knowledge of physics" (thanks, Will), and the gift of musical talent from future Broadway star, Amy. One memorable gift was from our friend, Li, who hoped Rohan would enjoy many "little moments."

After all, we'll never forget big days like Rohan's annaprashan, but here in this blog, we should take care to record Little Moments, such as

1. Rohan's first Rude Noise (see video),
2. Rohan's first fun bath (see photo), and
3. The Time Rohan Sneezed Yams All Over Daddy (yesterday).

"Nothing like a faceful of yams," sputtered Mike, as Rohan cracked a huge, orange, goopy, yammy grin. I know you're hoping there's a picture of that; however, we are currently trying to keep our camera Yam-Free.