bhargavkesavan

Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…


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How I saved $400 on a 6 days stay in Vegas.


Recently my wife and I’ve travelled to Vegas. It was a week trip, we stayed in Las Vegas for five days with an additional day booking and in Grand Canyon for two days.

After booking flight and rental car the next point where majority of the budget is spent is for the stay. Since it’s one of the main tourist location and costs per night at hotels of all ranges were considerably high. Especially in Las Vegas, hotels near strip were approximately $85-$130 per night even in an average hotels.

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This is price as of today in other Hotels, It was more when I visited last month.

When it comes to hotel, we have very little control over the room that we’re going to stay and the reviews might not help sometimes as the review will be in general for the particular hotel in that location. For example Holiday Inn or Westin or Sheraton in a particular location has got 4.1 star review, there might be hundred rooms in that hotel and there are possibilities we might end up in a room that got one star.

When I made my flight ticket purchase through Expedia, I’ve also made hotel booking as Expedia listed a 15% discount or some discount. After I made my hotel reservation, I felt that we’ve spent more on the stay, that’s when I thought about Airbnb. I’ve already used Airbnb to stay in two different states. Once in Virginia and other time in New Hampshire. I’ve also promoted Airbnb in my blog when it was newly launched in India few years back.

I wondered why didn’t I thought about it at first and I went on to find a best home to stay in Vegas. It didn’t take me more than 15 mins to find a fantastic place which was very close to Vegas strip (the road with Casinos on both sides). And the best part was the price! I got a home for $25/night and the host had a great review and was a “super host”, a term in Airbnb for the hosts who has more 5 star reviews from the guests. I was super happy to see that and immediately made my booking with them for my day 1 and then again at the same home from day 4-day7.

I even booked an additional day with them as my flight back to New Jersey was very late at night. Since the checkout time was 11 AM and my flight was 11:50 PM, I didn’t want to keep my wife somewhere in vestibule the whole day till late night flight in that hot weather. So on whole I booked this home for 6 days (1+5) and my price was $177.77 with tax! It could have been even less if I’d a continues 6 days stay, as there was a break in my stay in Vegas, I’d to pay few breakage in both bills separately. This could have been easily $550-$580 with tax if I’d gone for even the lowest price hotel.

It was a villa with two rooms listed for guests. The host was at the ground floor and we’d our room upstairs. Quiet and cozy. Absolutely felt like Home away from Home! I went through the photos of the house before making the booking and went through the reviews, as the review here is particularly for the room that we’re going to stay. That’s the difference in reviews between hotel rooms and for the home listed in Airbnb.

And that’s how I saved $400 in my 6 days stay at Las Vegas! You can definitely save a good price if your destination is a prime spot or if you’re planning for different number of days. If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, get a $40 for your first booking when you make a trip for more than $75. Visit this link and create an account www.airbnb.com/c/bkesavan

Do send this link to your friend who is planning for a trip!

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Limited தண்ணீர், Water, Paani, Neeru, Neelu – brings Unlimited Joy!


A good day that I coincidentally happened to write this! World Water Day!

Imagine this – yes assume this happens and Imagine now…

You wake up tomorrow morning – going to brush, finishing up morning duties… when you open the tap there is no drop of water! You’re not prepared for this situation. You didn’t know this would happen when you went to bed the previous night. What do you do?

This happened to me in 2008. Not just to me, for a few lakhs people on a single morning.

When I was in Pune, Magarpatta City (Hadapsar) on a summer morning, a sunshine Saturday morning as I woke up early to get ready to go out, My room mate who got up before me had a strict face and his eyes have turned red!!! Only then we got to know there is not a drop of water! Only then I went down to check the notice board to know there is no water until further notice! Everyone rushed to office which is within the same township, it was a busy weekend day at office! (They managed to get tanker water at office) & for others at home, it was too difficult.

This continued for two months, We use to get water only one hour per day. within that time all 4 room mates will finish bathing and all duties and fill water in a water container and whatever vessels we’d. As a bachelor we didn’t had water pot or more buckets.

I was grown up in a time where we use to get water once in a week or once in 9 days. I use to stand in line with my parents with a small pot a size which I can carry as a 6 year old boy. I use to go with my parents to fetch water from a well in our street, if it’s too crowded we’ll go to the well in next street or few streets away from our home. We use to fill this water in few buckets, pots and a small drum. This itself will occupy half of our small house. But this is how it was for most of us in our street and is now for lakhs of people across our country.

There is general saying in Tamil which translates to – My grandfather has seen water in river, my father has seen water in well & I’m seeing water in Tap – Where will the future generation see water? In photos and videos!!! Definitely that day is not too far. You may already be aware that a city (Cape Town) in South Africa has completely ran out of drinking water! Imagine if that happens to us!!! Money cannot bring back nature’s treasure.

Nature gives us unlimited wealth like trees, air, water & much more. If we forget to treasure that and don’t respect the gift it’ll start to leave us. Water is one such wealth. Already air is highly polluted in many countries and I never expected our national capital to be seen like china, where people wear face mask to avoid air pollution.

It’s high time for us to cut the water usage to half. If were using shower for 15 mins, cut it to 5 mins. If we’re using two buckets to bath, cut it to one and if it’s one cut it to half. When we go to restaurant & if the waiter fills the water glass even when we’re done eating, it’s our responsibility to stop him from pouring and save the drinking water, so that it can be saved for others.

Every single drop of water that’s wasted cannot be brought back when you absolutely need it. Do cut the usage of water which we consume in a different ways it’ll definitely reward you with a smile. Remember? Everything given to us by nature is unlimited, if we consume it with limit.

I just signed the petition to create awareness for #CuttingPaani do check this and sign the petition and share it with your friends.

https://www.change.org/p/cuttingpaani?recruiter=28226229&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_message.nafta_milestone_share_ask_victory.control

Checkout the below video – an initiative by LivPure to save water.  Now is your time to initiate your own ways to save water.


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Got a call from (206) 922 0193?


Did you receive a call from (206) 922 0193 that reads Seattle, Washington & not sure if it’s a real or hoax call?

It’s legit & it’s the call from Amazon’s delivery people. Don’t panic, pick the call. They’re either at your door to drop your order or calling you to check if you want to pick the order immediately.

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Fun Snow Tubing at Camelback Mountains


Winter is here! So is the Snow and snow sports and games! My wife and I decided to visit Camelback mountains to enjoy the Snow Tubing. Since the weather was good over the weekend, we’d planned to go out. It takes about an hour from our home to Camelback mountains.

They’ve Snow Skiing, Snow Tubing, Mountain Roller Coaster, Zipline and other adventure sports. As soon as we reached the mountains, we’ve got a slot for 2 o clock. It was less than half an hour for our slot, so we have filled the contract forms – we need to acknowledge the form stating they’re in no way responsible if anything happens during the adventure sports.

We bought our tickets, it’s $35 per person, military personnel have $2 off. Each slot is for 3 hours, so our slot was from 2PM – 5PM. We stood in the line to enter the snow tube area. It was not crowded like our previous visit that was last year. There are two lines at the entrance of snow tubing – one is for single tube and the other one is for double tube. Single tubes can be attached to make it double, they allow up to four tubes to form a chain. So it’ll be fun if you go with friends or as group.

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There are 22 lanes in each of the two snow tube mountains. We collected our tube and climbed up the mountain – basically an escalator/lift that goes from down to the mountain top. There was a short line in each lanes, as each batch goes down, we get our turn. The fun part is to hold the tube until we’re allowed to slide down, their staffs ensures that until previous batch moves out from downhill, next batch doesn’t slide down, as there are high possibilities for accident.

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So we waited until we were asked to slide down. And our turn! We’d great time sliding for 9 times in three hours! It basically takes 20 mins for us to get one ride down, as it depends on the crowd! Last year we were able to go only for 5 times in three hours.

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Since the weather was not too cold, we wore ear muffs, gloves and normal jacket on us. The first two lanes are photography lanes, meaning their photographer staffs takes snaps of the people slides in first two lanes and gives a tag to collect the photo later from the store. It’s little expensive for the photos, $10 each photo and $40 if you want all pics of yours. It’s not guaranteed all your photos will be good, depends on the day weather lighting etc. It’s not mandatory to collect the photos, we can just see and say no if we don’t like it. Anyways we can always take selfie – but selfie stick is not allowed as it might fall during the slide and cause trouble to others. Just take it with hand and make sure you can balance the tube.

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My wife and I’ve spent a nice day and headed back home with fun memories. Here is the video I took during our Snow Tubing day before yesterday. 🙂 Do comment if you like it!

Do checkout more pics in my instagram page & my photography page in Facebook.

Grace-Ful ICE – Sea Life

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We all have been hearing “Winter is here” from Season 1 and finally in Season 7 winter arrived!!! That’s in series… so is in real! Winter is arrived in 2017! And so are the winter friendly events.

If you’re following my blog you may very well remember the Ice Sculpting event, I’ve been sharing the photos of this event for the past 3 years.

2016 – Grace-ful Ice: Safari
2015 – Dinosaurs – Graceful Ice 2015

2014 – Microcosmos – Ice Sculpture

After the past themes that are Microcosmos, Dinosaurs, Animal Safari… here is the Ice bergs that got the shape of Sea Life by the Okamoto Studio artists. If you are in NYC today, hurry up, you have another few hours to see these sculptures before it melts. If not don’t worry, check out Okamoto Studio in Facebook for their future schedules for this Winter.

Without further wait, here are the photos that I took during Sea Life – Grace-Ful ICE

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Checkout all the photos in this slideshow.

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Click on individual photo in the below thumbnail to see in full screen.

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My wife and I took a selfie with Thomas. He is a live performer at Okamoto Studio and they’ve been doing the Ice sculpting since past seven years.


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Watkins Glen State Park – Gorge Trail


My wife and I decided to visit Watkins Glen State Park. We decided to make it as a one day trip & started from Parsippany after having our favorite Bagel from Wawa for breakfast. We started around 9:30 AM and reached by 2:45 PM. It’s a 230 mile drive. We stopped twice in between, first stop to make call to our parents and next stop to have lunch.

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My wife had prepared lunch for our trip this way we can have lunch at our convenient location, we’d lunch in a beautiful spot, spent some time there and headed to the Watkins Glen, New York. Since it’s fall the trees and the mountains still had the majestic colors and it was very beautiful to witness the colors.

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My wife did research and identified the trail for our hiking. We reached our destination at 2:45 noon. We took a glimpse of the trail map & started hiking immediately. We entered from the southern entrance as the main entrance was closed for renovation. As we entered the bridge at the entrance to the trail, we could hear the sound of water gushing & a lot of people hiking the different trails. People looked very tiny as the bridge at the entrance was at the peak of the trail.

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We took the Gorge trail as the Indian trail almost covers the same path as the other trail. The gorge trail has 19 falls and several caves. As we moved on the we started exploring the beauty of the park. The fall color throughout trail & the slight drizzle made the place most beautiful. It was a great workout climbing the steps before entering the central cascade & later near the Jacob’s ladder. The rock steps were built in the year 1908!

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We enjoyed the rainbow falls and couldn’t move away from the pool at central cascade as it was so beautiful. We spent a lot of time near this spot and then proceeded with the trail. They even call a small water flowing rocks too as a water falls 😀

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One of the main agenda in this hiking is to take photos of the water falls. I’d ordered a 55mm ND filter in Amazon as a expedited delivery but amazon failed to deliver it in a day as promised even after charging a $6. I have called them on Friday night which is when it was supposed to get delivered but they didn’t had any info and told me that I might get it the next day. I was very disappointed and sad that I won’t be able to take the photos I’d imagined in my mind.

I’ve seen photos like these a lot & always wanted to take it by myself. Without having a ND filter I thought it’s not possible to take, I remembered reading a blog about taking long exposure at day time without filters and gave a try & yes, it worked out very well.

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We breathed heavily by the time we finished climbing Jacobs ladder a 180 stone steps which marked the end of the Gorge trail. Huff!!! It started raining heavily but we had the shuttle service luckily to head back to the southern entrance. It was 5:30 when we completed the trail and took the shuttle back to main entrance. The shuttle driver was very kind and explained a lot about Watkins Glen & the Finger Lakes. I was very surprised and amazed to know that the lake was 700 feet and extends to 38 miles. Wow!
He stopped near the Elk farm and we saw few Elks wandering in the park which is raised by Germans. He also said that the main entrance is being uplifted by a $6 million renovation.

By the time we reached the southern entrance the entire parking lot was almost empty! We had fun time playing swing & it was a relaxation after the hiking 😀

We sure will visit Watkins Glen State Park again to explore more.

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Islands of Adventures – An amazing experience! – The Beginning


Universal Studios – Islands of Adventures! I’d no idea I’ll ever visit this place. On June 2nd, I’d visited Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure park in Orlando, Florida with Anu and my friends (Prem, Priya). It’s high budget & extremely adventurous Ramoji Film City of USA.

Two days before our trip, My wife and I visited the official Universal’s website to get an idea and pick the rides. We checked the names of ride and watched the videos in Youtube. After watching close to 10 videos, we felt like completing a virtual tour!

Two days later we reached Orlando. On our day 1 we started to the Park in our rental car Dodge Grand Caravan from the villa we stayed with rest of our group. While the other group were getting ready to their Disney park, we started to Islands Of Adventure.

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Anu & Bhargav (me! me!)

Since the park opens at 9 AM, we left the villa at 8 AM, since its going to be an all day activity we took food for lunch with us. Before reaching the park, we’d our favorite bagel and hot chocolate drink for breakfast from Wawa. My friends had their wishlist for the day and we’d ours. On the way to the park we four decided from which activity to begin our day. Prem did ground work already by visiting undercover tourist website and took printout of the maps already. It made very easy to plan the activities. Anu made a list of todo rides & not to do (Dragon coaster) list as well 😀

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Getting ready to leave villa!

While I checked the parking for Islands of Adventure, its a common parking lot for both the parks Universal Studios and for Islands of Adventures. I read some blog about parking which helped in choosing the parking. Yes, there are two kind of parking, regular & prime parking. Prime parking is close to the park while the regular parking is slightly far. But there are lot of moving walkways to make our walk easy to enter the park.

We took the prime parking ticket for $30 and reached the parking lot. They made it easy to remember the parking lot number by prefixing the number to movies like E.T, Spider Man, Cat in the Hat etc… It took just 5 mins to walk through the walkways, there was a security check in between and it was a moving crowd. We entered the park at 10:15 AM!

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Few people were issuing American Express credit cards to by pass the regular queue and get to the Express Pass for free! So here is the thing, there are two lines for every ride, regular line & express line. Just like dharma darisanam and 30 Rupees queue in Thirupathi temple, except that there is no dharma rides in Universal Park!

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After scanning our tickets and thumb print (over hype!) we entered the Universal Studios – Islands Of Adventure Park!

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Our day just started for the excitement! (To be continued… The rides we experienced, interesting photos & a short video)

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Islands of Adventure