04 August, 2010

Raleigh - Impressions

Its been a week since I've landed in Raleigh, a townish-city in North
Carolina, USA. It a while before my college starts so I have had
plenty of time to explore and "form impressions".

The first car I saw when I landed in Raleigh was a Nissan. You can
easily catch sight of Ferraris and Fords and Volkswagons (the really
small cars). As Russel Peters says, if you see a Honda or a Toyota,
rest assured it belongs to an Asian. Cars here are just bloody
awesome. Almost no one has bikes and the ones who have them, have the
cool sport bikes. This is mostly because the speed limit is 60 mph =
90 kmph. Imagine driving an activa at that speed.

The traffic rules are very good. In India the whole traffic is in push
mode. We always try to push our vehicle before all others. Here, the
traffic is in Yeild mode. You almost always let others go. Pedestrians
are toh the king of the roads. If a pedestrian is crossing the road,
all the cars will stop to give them a passage (even on busy main
roads). Rarely does anyone break traffic rules. It kinda feels weird
at first. The first time I was crossing a road, I stopped at the
centre of the road to let a car pass by, he got pissed at me because I
wasn't moving and asked me to cross the road first.

Bus services are the most delightful. You can track buses online on
maps to see where they are. So, I leave the house only when the bus is
near enough so that I don't have to wait much. Only a couple of
minutes. The buses are free for students and the drivers are

The entire campus is wifi-connected and I have an iPod touch! yayyy! I
use it so much, I have to charge it everyday!

I went to the gymnasium today. Damn is mesmerising. There are 4 effing
weight rooms, 8 basketball courts, many many TT rooms and squash
courts. It is so huge, it took us 15 minutes to just walk through all
of it real quickly. And it is all FREE! and ofcourse, I am not going
to use any of it, but I can brag about it on blogs like this one!

And now we come to the library. Okay, the library has 21' macs
available for public use. NCSU is rich! The library is no less than a
5-star hotel! There's ample space and you can take macbooks from the
counter to use them all you want. Is there a need to mention that the
internet is blazing quick? And ofcourse, there are books too!

The people here are very friendly. They'll wish you left, right and
center ("Hey, how are you today?", "Good morning. So, where are you
headed to?", etc) and casually strike up conversations. They are very
patient and go out of their way to help you (eg. One batchmate was
asking for directions and the girl in a car was like "Ohh! you'll be
walking in such heat? Let me give you a drive" and drive she gave!).
Also, the people who work here are almost always enjoying their job.
They do it because they like it and you can feel it! It is a nice

There's so much stress on human-less work here. Anything that can be
automated is automated. ATMs accept money to deposit in your account,
vending machines for everything, self-checkout at malls, etc etc. It
is so automated that it'd take time for you to notice if all people of
the USA die tomorrow!!

I visited two beautiful places : Lake Raleigh and Lake Johnson. They
are just so so beautiful. I could become a monk and stay there in
meditation forever. There's a jungle trail which starts from Lake
Johnson. One of these weekends, I am going to explore it too.

You get used to walking around here. Everything is far away. Since
these guys have a LOT of real estate, they build complexes quite far
away. So each house has its own lawn, etc etc. But, it is a pain to
even walk down two houses away. I've never walked so much in my life
and yet it is not at all tiring.

Don't get me started on the females here. Since, it summer time, they
don't prefer to wear much, which works for me :-P.

The Indian seniors here at very very friendly. Its been only a week
here and yet I feel as if I've been living here for a year. We have
had late night cards sessions, went to Indian places for dinner,
watched serials together and cooked together! I have already made some
very awesome friends right here.

Over and all, I know I have missed a million points I had in mind and
didn't give fair treatment to many others but this is just a
brain-dump and a unavoidable subconscious comparison of US and India.
I like Raleigh, but I miss home too much! I hope the course doesn't
give me time to miss home :-)