Labor Day in Montana

Phew…writing this on Tuesday afternoon when returning to work after long and exciting 3 day weekend in Montana. Best highlights of the trip for those who don’t wan’t to read the novel I’m about to write goes like this: Billings downtown is crazy, people are amazing and extremely friendly, Yellowstone is absolutely gorgeous with tons of Bison, Thest Bison are extremely…bold & friendly and walk through middle of roads and even participate in mating season in front of park guests, & finally Boat tours and Whitewater rafting in Yellowstone is incredible.

Now, I’m going to try to break down the trip day by day in detail:

Friday(August 31st, 2012):

Left work around 3:30 to catch the 5:00 pm flight to Denver. As soon as landing in Denver, met up with Shivan in the United Club East. First experience in Airline club turned out to be exciting and downed 3 White Russians and a Blue Moon in about an hour. From there, got on flight from Denver to Billings, landing in Billings about 30 mins late around 10 pm. Got a rental car in Billings and went straight to Shivan’s hotel – Hilton garden Inn to put away bags and get ready to go out in Downtown Billings. Went to couple of brewery/bar deals in downtown which had cheap $2 beers and Casinos inside the bars. Me and Shivan chilled for a bit & downed a brew or three while Shivan gave a tour of the cool bars around. Around 11:30, left to pick up Aneesh from the airport and came straight back to the bars downtown. Moved around to a couple bars until we settled on one bar that Shivan recommended. Met a local at the bar who was really chill and bought all 3 of us shots while giving us advice for what to do in Yellowstone and how to avoid bears. Soon after, went outside in this bar to find a group of young kids dressed in Jabbawockeez masks with a boombox set up on the street dancing and asking for tips. Saw these random kids dance with some of the bar patrons joining in for about 30 mins until Aneesh almost got in a fight and then bounced to the next bar. Next, checked out a placed called Rainbow Bar(no homo) that actually sold mini liquor bottles behind the bar…genius idea. After Rainbow bar, we were pretty drunk so headed back to the hotel to pass out. Passed out pretty soon after getting back while watching Harold and Kumar Christmas and got ready for ‘rents to arrive next morning around 10 and head over to Yellowstone.

Saturday(September 1st, 2012):

Woke up around 10:30 when rents arrived to the Hotel. Went down and had an amazing breakfast in the Hilton while chatting with the rents then headed out to grab groceries and head to Yellowstone. Took a super scenic route to Yellowstone through Bear Tooth Pass where we went up 10,000 feet in elevation and had an amazing lookout. (Insert Pic here) Kumud Mami was literally shitting her pants at this point because she is super afraid of heights and driving on a narrow road without railings did not help the cause. After the awesome drive and stopping every 10 mins for pictures, we ended up pulling up to a lookout lower on the peak that had a river you could wade into. Naturally, started throwing around the pigskin by the river and as soon as the games started, the football was in the water minutes later. Me and Ketan had to set up a rescue mission the river where we cornered the ball from both sides before it floated off into the rapids and was lost forever. Lucklly, we were able to retrieve the ball and minor hiccup aside, we continued on towards Yellowstone to check out some more scenic lookouts. After getting into the park, we stopped at a couple of spots to take some pictures, the coolest of which being an awesome waterfall which we had to hike down (& up) 2 miles to get to see. INSERT FALLS PIC here. As soon as we came up from the falls, it started to pour rain and sleet so we all piled into the cars and headed for the Lake Lodge to check in. Upon arriving at the lodge, checked in right away and ran to the rooms to make some sandwiches since we had not eaten all day since breakfast. Chowed down on some sammies in the room and drank a couple brews then the bacchas headed for the lobby to grab some more drinks and check out the bar. By this time, we were all completely wiped out and the drink  prices were not exactly cheap, so me Aneesh and Ketan got a drink each and then headed back to the room right after. We were able to find out that BYOB was acceptable in the lobby so we were set on getting a bottle of liquor and lots of brews to the lobby when we returned the next night.

Sunday(9/2/12):

Woke up around 10 and headed to the Cafeteria in the lobby to grab some breakfast. Had a big hearty breakfast and set out for a day of adventuring the park. First stop was a quick 1 mile hike which went by a beach and lots of forest. Stopped at the beach to have a full photoshoot with jumping pics etc. and tossed around the pigskin. INSERT BEACH PICTURE HERE. From there, walked around and lazily finished the hike while taking waaay too many pictures along the way. Got back to the car and decided we were going to go check out Old Faithful – aka biggest and oldest geyser in the whole park. Otw to Old Faithful, stopped off at some smaller mud flats and geysers we saw along the way that lay on top of ‘Thin Crust’ – which just made everyone hungrier since we had taken a long hike. After quick stop for geyser, we made another stop for Sandwiches lunch at a Picnic spot with next stop being Old Faith himself. Got to O.F. just in time for Geyser explosion and sat and watched the geyser bubble and shoot white hot steam and water all over everyone for a quick 5-10 mins. After this, had some time to kill so checked out Old Faithful Inn and hung out in there while grabbing some coffee and just exploring the gift shops and inn that were built in the 1800s. After chilling there for a bit, decided to head out to another awesome BlackSmith geyser that was on a list of ‘Top 10 things to Do in Yellowstone.’ This geyser was awesome because it allowed you to get right up to the steam and be able to put your hand (illegally) in the hot water while getting real close. After getting burnt out on geysers, we decided to head to a different lookout point for the falls from Saturday so Shivan could get his picture perfect moment. Over there, grabbed a lot more pics of the falls, with a couple of hilarious anomaly pictures mixed in. Oversaturated with nature and pictures in general, we then decided to head to back to the hotel and get changed real quick so we could come back and grab dinner in the cafeteria before it closer. Got some delicious grub in the Caf before heading out to the lobby with beer and liquor bottles we had found earlier equipped in hand, ready to do it BIG that night. Hung out with rents and played cards for an hour or two while they got buzzed and were ready to pass out, then the real fun started. As soon as the rents bounced, started taking swigs straight out of the Yellowstone Bourbon bottle we had found earlier and moved onto more fun card games like Fuck the Dealer. Got somewhat inebriated after a couple games of FTD so we decided to head out to the porch to smoke a few cigars(also picked up earlier at Old Faithful Inn). When I said, this is when the fun started earlier…the fun actually did not start till this point. Within minutes of hanging outside and smoking cigars, we were approached by Bison which apparently had no problems roaming around the lodge chock full of people. The bison got literally within 10 feet of us, and we even saw a Bison get on it’s hind legs and go full out Sandusky onto another Bison(as mentioned in the summary). As if this wasn’t crazy enough, while smoking the cigars we saw some lights flashing across Yellowstone lake where we knew there was no inhabitable, which we later found out was an SOS call that we completely ignored. Following this ridiculous run of events, we didn’t know what to do but to go pound more bourbon and knock out our initial goal of finishing the bottle before the end of the night. This did not take long and we were soon done with the bourbon and moving onto beers from the cooler. We stayed at the lodge till about 1:30 when we were kicked out by the Security guard who had to close up shop, but we weren’t done drinking yet so we headed back to the porch to continue the shenanigans. It was at this point that we found out that the lights across the lake was an SOS since we saw police lights flashing in the same point where we had seen the SOS literally 20 minutes later. This led to the night being sworn in secrecy and not shared with anyone. The night eventually ended with us hanging out on the porch shooting the shit and having general drunk convos until we got too cold and decided to go pass out. Got to our cabins and passed out right away, completing our goal of knocking out the bottle of bourbon with no problems.

Note: Omitted from Saturday -

  • Boat tour in the morning before the hike
  • Bison stampede before heading back to the lodge for dinner

Monday (9/3/12):

Woke up lazily after getting pretty hammered the night before,  but suprisingly not hungover at all. Went to the lodge in the morning because Shivan had lost his camera(surpise surprise) and to check out. Camera found, headed out to lookout point next to the hotel to have some PB&J breakfast sandwiches and check out the lodge hotel. Post hotel, went out to a trail we wanted to hike before heading out of Yellowstone. Trail was about 4 miles long and pretty amazing with lots of beautiful scenery, lakes and amazing lookouts over the canyon and waterfall(INSERT LOOKOUT PICTURE HERE). The hike finally ended at a stop called artist point where there was an amazing lookout of the famous waterfall where we hung out for a bit and took some more anomaly pics…Actually, took the best anomaly pic of them all (INSERT ANOMALY PIC HERE) before heading out on the road to get out to our whitewater rafting appointment. Before the whitewater tour, stopped real quick to grab some ice-cream and water refills, then headed out of yellowstone. Got to Montana Whitewater and quickly changed into swimming gear got a quick briefing before heading out onto the river and rapids. Rapids were pretty fun and whitewater tour overall was pretty awesome with a lot of level 3 & 4 rapids but nothing as intense or lifethreatening as rapids in Alaska. After 3 hour whitewater tour, got recommendations from tour guide about best restaurants around Whitewater shop and got recommendation for a cool place called LightHouse cafe. Food at lighthouse cafe was incredible with some great Steak, Lamb, and Buffalo burgers and was well deserved as first full meal that wasn’t sandwiches. After great feast that included amazing dessert as well, started the 3 hour drive back to Billings, with Aneesh driving the whole way. Drive was fun because we hooked up Donald Glover standup to AUX and set up tablet on dashboard of car so we had hater vision while driving. Post drive, the Dattas checked into their hotel and Pandes headed back to our hotel from Friday night and passed out soon after checking out some pictures. Woke up next morning to take early 6 am flight back to Dallas via Denver and that was the end of an amazing Montana weekend!

New York – Take 3 this year

AH…Monday’s, how I hate you so. This Monday is even worse than the usual thanks to the amazing 3-day weekend in NYC! Weekend started pretty much on Friday which was a half day of work, followed by a DodgeBall Tourney all afternoon at the Rec Center in Arlington. Me and a group of ADEPTs went out there and basically dominated the court and all the older folk. Next, headed straight to the airport to meet up with Shivan(who had been there for past 4 hours) to  head out to the concrete Jungle. We would’ve/should’ve gotten first class on the flight up but got distracted by a 50% off sale at BB and decided to buy some clothes for the upcoming weekend before flying out. Flight was completely empty so each of us got a row of seats to ourselves and had a chill flight. As soon as arriving in NY, we Taxi/Subway’ed our way to RobPob’s and…the shenanigans began. Started off by checking out Robert’s place and drinking some brews. Then headed out to an area of town called the MeatPacking district which was really cool and hip…demonstrated by how we got offered coke 3-4 times while walking around on the street there. Met up with Ernie while at a restraunt called Spice Market. Food there was amaazing and filled us up just the right amount to go tear up the town. Started off at a local place called The Biergarten, which turned out to be a place me and Shivan had visited while in NY 3 years ago. Slammed a tall boy beer there and headed next door to a hot joint called Brass Monkey. Within minutes of walking into the club, Ernie was no where to be found. Regardless, RobPob, Shivan, Me, and 2 chicks had a great time dancing and enjoying some $12 drinks. Chilled and enjoyed the club for a couple of hours, checking out the roof and middle floors…then headed back via Taxi to RobPob’s place. As soon as we got to his place, went upstairs and passed right out after long day of traveling and walking…only to be rudely awoken by an alarm at 6 am to check in for morning flight the next day(which did not work out at all…more on that later). Woke up lazily around 1 pm the next day and showered, got ready while deciding what to do during the day. Settled on going to grab some grub at Artichoke Pizza(amazing but heavy Alfredo pizza) then going on a Booze Cruize on the Hudson. Cruise started off awesome since it was overcast and nice weather, which gave us an amazing view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty but soon turned bad when it started pouring. They cut the cruise 45 mins short but luckily they did not charge us for the cruise at all, and gave us vouchers to use anytime were in NY again. Next, headed out to do some shopping at J.Crew and kill some time before dinner and the eventual RAGEfest at Karma. Luckily, Shivan happened to ask how the flight was looking for the next morning during this time…only to discover that it was oversold due to another flight outta NY getting cancelled the next day. Had to make quick modifications to the flights in order to get outta NY with Shivan flying United straight to Houston and I having to take a connection through Nashville…which ended up working out better in the long run since we got to stay in NYC till 4 pm the next day. Flight dilemma averted, we headed out to put our names down for a reservation at an upscale amazing restaraunt called the Spotted Pig. After putting our names down, went back to Bert’s place to shower up and change while jamming some sweet house to get pumped. If I hadn’t mentioned before, theme of the trip was to K.I.G(Keep it Gay) so we ended up wearing the following outfits: 

 

 

 

After getting all douched up, headed back towards Spotted Pig area and grabbed some margs before at a restaraunt close by. Got into spotted Pig quickly after and got to enjoy what was possibly the best burger ever, with a nice Irish coffee and some fries. Tummy full and somewhat buzzed, me Shivan Ernie and RobPob caught a cab towards Karma. Shivan had talked to Sanjay earlier in the day who had mentioned he would be at Karma so we got right in and met up with him to get the free drinks/hookah’s flowing. Within minutes of getting in, we already had a back booth with a Double Apple Hookah and multiple drinks/shots. Started off pretty casually but the party escalated quickly when Shivan ordered a round of Irish Car Bombs:

Downed the carbombs and it was all down-hill from there. Ernie took the free drinks to a whole new level by constantly getting shots and drinks for the table. Then, we took turns getting up and trying to get the strongest shot to F the rest of the table over. Ended up getting pretty shitfaced with the mix of free drinks and hookah and decided to go fist pump through the roof in the basement. Somehow, this night at Karma was very….urban so Robert stuck out like a sore thumb and everyone was staring at us awkwardly while me Shivan and Recer raged outta control fistpumping around a bunch of chill black guys just trying to do their thing. Soon, since no one else downstairs joined us in raging…we headed back up to grab some more free dranks. Happened to meet up with Ernie right then who was balls deep in a 36 year old black chick. Started off seeing him blow smoke into her mouth which quickly escalated to them playing tonsil hockey at the bar…which was fully documented by Robert. After a while of high-fiving, taking videos and trying to troll Ernie, we had to pull him away because we had hardcore munchies and wanted to get some ice-cream. Headed next door to McDonalds and grabbed some cones and burgers before heading back towards RobPob’s place. During the walk, Ernie somehow found a way to eat shit into a pile of garbage while still holding up a McFlurry in his hand. Like the night before, we passed right out when we got to RobPob’s place and set alarms to wake up early the next day to have brunch with Tukur and Christian. Woke up for brunch around 10:30(still drunk) and headed out to the city to meet up with the very preggers Tukur and Christian at a restraunt called The Eatery. Waited about 30 mins for a table then got in and ordered some of the most delicious brunch food including stuffed french toast, 3 egg omelet and Grits. After brunch, Shivan and Robert headed towards Penn Station since Shivan’s flight was from Newark and I headed towards Astoria since I had some time to kill before a flight. Met up with Keertana in Astoria for 30 mins and caught up…made sure not to ditch her 3/3 times going to New York and hung out at her sisters place. From there, caught a cab to LGA to head to Nashville–>DFW. Then, faced possibly what was the most traumatic non-revving experience of my life since I thought I was going to get stuck in Nashville overnight…but somehow made it on the very last seat out of Nashville to get back to DFW by 9 pm. That pretty much wrapped up an incredible weekend and so far, New York has not dissapointed in the slightest the 3 times I have been out there this year.

 

Post again soon!

Cancún…how I love yoú

Aside

Oh man…Do I have a lot to write after this weekend. I’ll start of by saying that America has no idea how to party compared to International Cities.

Day 1: Anyways, took first international trip this weekend with the wolfpack(Saad and Edward) to Cancun. Got the All-Inclusive package at the Grand Oasis during the trip and it was definitely worth it. Trip started off by getting out of work early and getting Business class on the way to Cancun, which was incredible…great food, great service, good looking flight attendant. Upon landing, we were a little worried because it was pouring rain and weather channel showed rain projected for the whole weekend. Either way, we had planned too much for the trip so pushed ahead and headed through customs and get a cab to the Grand Oasis resort. Within minutes of walking into the resort, was amazed by the size and capacity of this resort and quickly checked to unload stuff in room. Room was decent with 2 queen beds and cool view of ocean out the window. After checking in, headed out to take full advantage of the All-Inclusive package and hit up the closest sports bar where we ordered about 5 burgers and 8 plates of chicken wings, while consuming a couple of Tequila Sunrises and Piña Colada’s. Then, just walked around to explore the resort and came across a club within the resort named Coyote Loco which also had all Inclusive drinks and girls walking around with bottles, pouring them into people’s mouths. Could definitely notice the culture gap at this club since there was a live band playing there that played some great current hits like Blink 182-All the Small things. Moved along from this club and went out to the beach since the rain had slowed down. The beach was incredible and beautiful and we took the chance to get our feet wet in the ocean while having some foot-races on the beach. We were planning on heading back to room after this but heard some actual top-40 American music being played at a club when walking back so headed in there to check it out. Club was pretty cool with good ratio and cheap…oh wait, FREE drinks, and awesome DJ. Club started off pretty chill and ended with people taking their shirts off on stage and dancing. Danced with some girl from Mexico City for couple minutes at the club, which reminded me that I really need to practice my Salsa and Ballroom moves, including getting down some basic Hip-Hop steps. Headed back to the room after the club pretty exhausted, but hungry, and ready to call it a night. Got back and ordered room service right away, even though there was an hour plus wait and passed out right after. Within 30 mins of knocking off, room service came knocking by with a couple of quesadillas and chicken breasts. Was too tired to get up and splurge on this but Edward and Saad did work on this first of many room service orders.

Day 2: Woke up early on Saturday morning to check into return flight and set up return cab ride to airport. Passed out until about 11 until gradually woke up and headed to lunch. Got some actual decent seafood at a restaurant called Cocoa and started knocking back some Rum and Coke’s to start off the morning. Then, headed down to the beach post lunch to chill and enjoy the best part of Cancun. On the beach, tossed around the football and swam in the most beautiful, cleanest water while making friends with a couple cool guys from Canada. After the beach, headed up to the pool in the resort, which had basketball hoops, volleyball net, and a swim-up BAR! Got into a couple of basketball games, knocked back a couple of shots and Piña Colada’s and watched some kind of booty shaking competition held by the DJ. Post pool, headed back to beach again to enjoy last couple hours of daylight and throw around the football again. Oh yeah, in between pool and beach, headed to a buffet to get some old nasty food…which we ate anyways to make sure and use up the All-Inclusive Deal. Post-beach, headed back to the room to watch some TV and get ready for the night ahead. At the room, had to go ahead and order room service of a couple of quesadillas with some chicken breast and Avacado again. After eating the room service, still felt hungry to ordered…guess what, another round of room service. While waiting for the room service, couldn’t control the hunger so headed out to another restaurant to grab some grub while waiting for some grub. Had some good sirloin beef and good meat at the restaurant and started to knock back some drinks and shots with Edward to get ready for the night. Got pretty buzzed at dinner only to come back to room service waiting for us again, which was hilarious and awesome. Took a couple bites of the room service and headed out for the night, which was planned to be Coco Bongo but headed down and found good coupons to go to Bulldog instead. Like i mentioned at the top of this post, America has no idea how to party like 3rd world countries…and this was proven by how insane this club was. Everyone who entered the club pretty much got free bottle service/open bar…which made sure everyone was completely hammered and having a great time. Then, there was a huge stage with a stripper pole and a bunch of girls in bikini’s dancing on it. Not to mention, there was also a jacuzzi to the side of the stage that had a bunch of girls that started off in bikini’s…which were soon discarded. Also, there were people dressed up as Spiderman & Batman just walking around the club partying with everyone which was epic. Confetti showers were also constantly happening to the screams and joy of all the hammered club-goers. After the epic time at the club, we finally had to head back to the hotel around 3 am. Got back and first order of business was to order room service one last time before heading out of Cancun. Before getting back, Edward almost got into a fight with a club promoter that was walking us out to the Bus because…well Edward was hammered and turned from Investment Jones to Break-yo-neck Jones. Luckily, me and Saad broke up the altercation and we were able to get back to the hotel in one piece. After ordering room service back at the hotel, we packed up all our stuff and headed for the lobby to check-out. Somehow, room service showed up with their fastest delivery yet and were waiting at our door as soon as we were about to head out. Since we were all full and hammered, we just took the food inside, put it on the table, and booked it outta the hotel. As soon as we got down, there was a cab already waiting for us(THANK GOD) and we just got on it and passed right out(at least I did). Got to the airport and printed out boarding passes and the formalities and headed up to wait by our gate about 2 hours early. At the gate, decided to get some souvenirs and were just falling around the souvenir store completely sloppy, playing the flutes and kicking around hacky-sacks, great times. Edward was especially drunk at this point and kept picking up hacky-sacks and trying to start a game…but no round lasted more than one kick so by the time we were done, there were about 20 hacky-sack’s littered around the store. From there, went straight to wait at the gate and passed out until we heard the announcement “Mr. Pande, please check in.” Got the ticket, business class of course, got on the plane and knocked off. Woke up briefly to get some breakfast and watch a little Community, only to pass right back out afterwards and put an end to an epic First International weekend! Now…am having serious withdrawals and feel weird every-time I have to go into a restaurant to actually have to pay and not walk out whenever you’re done eating.

New York Trippin’

Took a trip out to New York this weekend with my Mom to surprise a family friend at a baby shower. The look on the face of the mother-to-be made the trip all worth it. After slamming beers all day while the women carried out the baby shower traditions, most would’ve thought it was time to call it a night. But, that was just the beginning of the night for me and Rutvik, who headed out to the city on the 12:26 Long Island Railroad. Met up with some of Rutvik’s friends and continued the getting shitfaced Saturday, this time taking it to a new level. Headed back to Queens around 2:30 on the Long Island Railroad. The way back was absolutely hilarious with a bunch of shitfaced people singing out loud and just being generally drunk and hilarious. After this came the best moment of the night that was being anticipated all trip, and that was a trip to the legendary Dani’s Pizza. This is definitely the best pizza I have ever had in my life. Not to mention, eating it completely shitfaced at 4 am also has it’s benefits. They really need to open a Dani’s location down South.

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After gaining immense satisfaction with Dani’s in stomach, passed right out at Mansi and Christian’s couch. Woke up next morning and headed to the airport and this is when all the craziness started. Starting off with our driver thinking me and my mom were flying out of JFK when we meant to go to LaGuardia, the whole airport trip was a clusterfuck. After the detour through JFK and getting to the airport last minute, we thought it was all smooth sailing after getting two standby seats in the exit row. But boy were we wrong. Not to rag on my favorite airline and current employer too much but here’s a summary of what all went wrong on the flight back:

-First flight about to push back, until maintenance comes on last minute and cancels flight

-Replacement plane ordered for 1st flight and scheduled to depart 2 hours later(not too bad)

-Replacement plane delayed 30 mins. while bags transferred over from previous plane(annoying)

-Replacement plane delayed another hour while pilot waiting to get information from tower(horrible)

-A/C being cut off on plane this whole time due to the APU being down(Turrible)

All these annoyances aside, we still made it back around 6:30 and the pilot was extremely apologetic, doing everything to make up delayed time. After, there was a little nerveracking situation waiting to see if my mom would make it back to Houston on the last flight out or have to take a Greyhound. Luckily, got one of the last 2 seats(theme of the tirip) and made it home safely. Overall, it was an amazing trip and was glad to be able to go and spend time with Mom and some very close family friends.