Today my cousin Nickesh Kalyan was showing us around the sights. Getting up early was the difficult bit for all of us, the long flight and lack of sleep was affecting us all, we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed and head out for breakfast around the corner @ iHOP. The place was a classic American Pancake diner. Pancakes were good, lots of variety, but nothing fantastic.
Nickesh was at the hotel around 9:20 am, was really good to meet him again, last we met was in India in 2011, and that was only a short catch-up. Lucky they had a big car – Chevrolet Suburban with 9 seats!, worked out well for our group of 8.
First stop was the Golden Gate Bridge, unfortunately the weather was not too favourable, it was very foggy, and only lower part of the Golden gate was visible. Still amazing seeing this magnificent structure. Time for golden gate snaps.
And walking onto the bridge, this is one big structure
Next stop was the Palace of Fine Arts. Nickesh tells us this place is where lots of wedding and bollywood photoshoot takes place. Being not to be outdone, we had to do some impromptu Photo shots.
After imitating many bollywood poses, it was time to head off to Lombard St (the crooked street). Driving through it, kids could not believe how crooked the street was, lots of sharp turns! Place was very clean and well maintained, considering the number of people that go through this section of Lombard St!
It was now time to head out of city area and off to Berkeley. We had asked Nickesh to take us to a good lunch venue, it was to be Viks Chaat Place! How fitting, Vikash.
It was proving a bit difficult getting there with San Francisco traffic, well that is what I thought, however Nickesh tells me that it was normal for these traffic delays! Urrg I could not handle the traffic on a daily basis.
Going through the city centre, Nick pointed out the new ingenious method of setting up food stations via mobile vans! In this case it was a new Indian station, Curry Up Now, and the queue on that station was LONG!
Enroute to Lunch, we crossed the Bay Bridge, another amazing piece of engineering, connecting San Francisco to Oakland.
Finally arrived at our lunch venue, this place was good with a very good menu range of veg and non veg. For all future travellers, the fusion menu is only available on weekends. We ordered a bit of everything, had to try em all! Taste was fantastic.
Lunch done, now time for some desi-dessert. Meeta and I were onto Khulfi. Dian and Pooja had the Ghulub Jamun, and Vik had sorted out a range of sweets, all tasted perfect! Very good.
Next off to Roopam Saree shop. Awaiting for us there was Pushpa Kaki (Nickesh’s mum), she was there to assist Nita and Meeta in selecting the indian wear! Was wonderful to meet her after 29 years! Last time I met her was in 1986 she was and is as wonderful as ever!
Whilst the ladies were doing desi-shopping, Nickesh assisted me and Vik in organising SIM cards for our phones. We got a great plan, $40 USD for unlimited voice, sms and 2.5 gb of data. This would be more than enough for our 3 weeks stay.
Post shopping around 4:30pm, it was off to Nickesh’s home, tonight dinner was at their place. Pushpa kaki had called in all my foi’s to her place for dinner, allowing me to meet them all in the shortest time frame .
It was a great Nite, meeting lots family members and most importantly meeting Rajend & Bhupen kaka, Pushpa and Bharti kaki, Hinal, Nickesh and kids. The happy mood all around was also showing in the bar, we going through lots of alcohol !
Kaki had prepared BBQ chicken and mamna for Dinner, yumm.
Lots of eating, drinking and catching up! Neha was referring to Rajend kaka as “American Dada”, as to not confuse with her Dada from Brisbane, she had taken a massive liking to the entire US Kalyan family to the point she was very upset to be coming back to the hotel and kept nagging me to cancel my booking and move into the Kalyan family residence!
Pushpa kaki and Rajend kaka drove us back to hotel post midnight. It had been a wonderful day with Nickesh and an even more amazing nite with our US family. Thanks sooo much for making it so very special for us.