Friday, November 23, 2007

Middle Eastern Potluck

It was so yummy! I cooked the lamb shanks "Mahiche" and Ali did the "Baghali polo" part. It was delicious! Also many people cooked lots of east Asian food.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Perhaps this would not be favored by many audiences but those who know how to listen to it would be stunned by its utmost hidden beauty.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How hard is it for an Iranian to get out of US?

If you are from "certain" countries and you have traveled within US, you know what I am talking about. This is a sign which can be seen on a boarding pass. I have not googled it yet, but I am guessing it means something like "Super Suspicious Security Sign" or "Suspicious^4". If your boarding pass carries such mark your security check in the airport would be a little bit different. All of your belongings would be searched for explosives and you might have ended up with a body check. I think they mainly check for electrical devices and if you are unlucky a bit like me, the system that detects the smell of explosive, might have a false positive alarm! If that happen, the rest is up to you and your luck. In my case, I was lucky, since they double checked my camera with another machine and they received a negative sign. They apologized for the inconvenience, but I think I began to hate this SSSS sign.

Special Registry
As I described in my previous post, entering to and departing from US is a bit tricky for people like me. When I entered from the Montreal border the registration took so long that I missed my flight. This time the outgoing registry also took a lot of time in Chicago airport. The US registry office is located in Terminal 5 (International Terminal) which is a bit far for people traveling to Canada since their flight are not counted as international and fly from internal terminals. Yes, I missed my 9:45 AM connection to Calgary and consequently my connection from Calgary to Edmonton. After running between United Airline and Air Canada, I was put in the waiting list for the flight to Edmonton on 7:55 PM. This means more than 10 hours... What should I do in between? Well they put another SSSS on my boarding card and that filled a bit of the time again! I got some food and desert and refreshed myself. Currently, the time is 2:25 PM and I am sitting near a young boy writing these lines. Fortunately, I could find a power plug to put some juice into my laptop.

Still in Chicago
You might not believe it if I tell you that I encountered the worst case scenario. The only hope to get inside my bed tonight and forget about the rough day was shattered a few hours ago as the flight had some fuel problems and they had to even cancel the flight of some of the confirmed passengers. Currently it is 11:15 PM here and my flight is going to be tomorrow at 9:25 AM. The nice person in the customer service made sure to secure the fun for me tomorrow as well. I have a new SSSS on my card again! This is the last time I am flying with United Airlines. They lack all kinds of concepts for taking good care of their customers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A simple complicated trip to US!

* 11:00 PM Edmonton
I convinced myself to not goof around with my computer as my flight was early in the morning at 6:30 AM. I set two alarms to 5:00 AM and went to bed around 11:15 PM.

* 4:30 AM Edmonton
I woke up suddenly! Something told me that I have to go to the airport now instead of setting out at 5:00 AM! I don't know what was it but I trusted the feeling.

* 2:20 PM Montreal
I was happy. The journey was so far so good. I finished going through Toronto and Montreal, had my checkin sorted and my passport was checked the only thing which was left was my "special security check". My flight to Boston was at 3:15 PM, so I thought that I have enough time...

* 3:10 PM Montreal.
I was still with an officer. He asked me all sort of questions like what am I doing in US, what is my exact plan in US, where do I stay, what is my credit card number, ... why my uncle changed his name after migrated to US, ... While being wondered about why I am going through this again as I did this last year, my puzzled face turned into an angry/sad face. "He missed his flight, so he should reschedule." said the other officer who entered the room.

* 4:10 PM Montreal..
I rescheduled my flight for 6:50 PM (boarding on 6:15 PM) as I had enough time, I ordered some food and rested a bit to forget what happened a few hours ago and continue my happy trip to US.

* 6:10 PM Montreal...
I felt an strange feeling, as I found the gate that I had to board empty! "Oh this flight has been postponed to gate 78", said the Air Canada staff at the gate. The strange look on the face of a young man gave me a little bit of hope that I am not alone on this. We rushed through the gate 78. Nobody was there! The staff on the neighbor gate told me: "Relax, the gate has not been opened yet." Well it is all good I can rest a bit more. Apparently the flight has been delayed a bit since she added that the time on the monitor is the boarding time. It showed 6:50 PM. I felt a bit relieved and started to look for a plug to do something with the remaining 40 minutes.

* 6:50 PM Montreal....
Founding the gate empty again, I screamed "Shiiiit!" in my chest. After talking to the old man there, he replied young man the flight went on 6:50 PM. People started boarding on 6:20. God knows how much I hated the earlier staff that I talked toat that moment... "Next flight 8:00 PM", he added while giving me the new boarding pass. Wasn't that big of a deal, until I remembered the last sentence of my conversation with the staff of the bed & breakfast in Boston:

- We will only be open till 9:00 PM, you are not going to arrive afterwards, are you?
- No I will be in town by 4:38 PM (you wish...)

* 7:00 PM Montreal.....
After calling the bed & breakfast and explaining the story he promised to put the keys in a password protected box! I took the plane on 8:10 PM.

* 9:10 PM Boston
I was only thinking of one thing. Get to my room ASAP. Got the first cab. Surprisingly the english of the driver was poor and I could barely communicate with him. He told me that he know the address. We wandered about 10 minutes around the address...

* 10:30 PM Boston / Now
I am finally home. They had a letter attached to the wall for me and the instruction was accurate, a bit like James Bond movies!

" Set the password to xxxx"
" Push down the light black trigger and the same time pull out the notch on the top"
" There are two keys there. Only pick the one with your names on it!"

Anyway, now I am so tired and I have lots of meetings tomorrow. If you actually reached this part of the story, you should have liked it and be tired of the reading at the same time so here is some tim bits:

* If you are Iranian, never enter US boarder in connection flights.
* Don't trust the word of every staff in the airport. Double check it at least with someone else.
* If you are a computer addicted person, bear with it for the last 30 minutes of your boarding time. Don't wonder around for a power plug. I know you can schedule time but just don't take the risk!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Binkan na Fuukei

Close your eyes, clear your mind and listen to this.

Awai nami ni saraware nagara
Sotto, sotto
Kiete mo kamawanai kedo

Mada nokoru kimochi ha dokoka he
Ah... iro wo otosu deshou

Ake no hoshi ga hikari wo miseta
Yowai, yowai
Kokoro ni furisosogu

Demo toki ha onaji omoi dake wo
Ah... egaki tsudukereba

Dare mo shirazu hi ga sasu made ni
Sotto, sotto
Yokan wo kanjiteta
Kokoro ga kanjiteta

As I was cleansed by the soft waves
Gently, gently
I don't mind fading away

The remaining emotions venture somewhere else
Ah... it loses its colors, right?

The dawn stars showed me the light
Softly, softly
They rain down upon my heart

But time just paints the same feelings
Ah... over and over again

Without anyone noticing, as far as the sun shines
Gently, gently
I felt a premonition
I felt your heart

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I am angry! >:(

You know the feeling of getting angry. Sometimes the cause is your friend, sometimes your family, sometimes your teacher, and sometimes your neighbors... but I am angry at myself who forced me to go out in this cold weather walk for 30 min to reach a talk which was scheduled for Tuesday not Thursday! >:(

Monday, November 05, 2007

Trip to US

12 Nov Edmonton -> Boston
14 Nov Boston -> Newark
17 Nov Newark -> Baltimore
19 Nov Baltimore -> Edmonton

Wish me luck! :)