Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pursuing a PhD in USA

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Thanks to my Cousin Ramakrishna Tippireddy for sharing these details and his experience. He did his graduation and masters from India and is currently pursuing his PhD from the University of Southern California.


The Important First Step

Before you get started with the application process, it is important for you to be clear on why you want to do your PhD. Once you are clear start researching about your areas of interest and search for the Professors and research groups working in those fields. Contact the Professors with your CV and express your interest in their work. If they like your CV they may show special interest during the application process which makes a big difference to your application.


PhD Application process:

The PhD application process is similar to that of Masters (MS). At a high level these are the key areas which will be covered in detail in the sections below.

1) Decide on the area of research
2) Choose a University
3) Get in touch with the Academic Advisor and apply.


Application requirements:

1) Undergraduate/Masters GPA
 
You can apply for PhD with a Bachelors Degree. Having a Masters degree is not a requirement .While doing PhD, you can also get a masters degree simultaneously. In either case, GPA is an important criterion. The GPA from the last two years of college is the key.

2) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores

GRE is also very important and different universities give different weightage for GRE.GRE is mandatory.

3) TOEFL

TOEFL exam is required for international students whose native language is not English

4) Recommendation letters (3-5 depending on the university)

Recommendation letters play a crucial role in PhD admission process. The reputation of the faculty recommending in the area of research is key for your chances to get admission and funding. 

5) Personal statement

Personal statement describes you research interests and also demonstrates your writing skills. A well written personal statement is required.

6) Publications

If you have any journal publications and/or have attended any conferences it will have good weight.


The PhD process

Once, you get the admission for PhD, the PhD process can be generalized as follows.

1) Course Requirement

Depending on your research requirement, you will have to the course work. You will have to do 8-10 courses, if you have a master’s degree and 15-18 courses if you start after bachelors. Some of these courses will be counted for your Masters degree.

2) Screening/Qualifying exam

With in first 2-3 semesters, you have to pass a screening exam to continue in the PhD programs. This exam varies from university to university; it is either written, oral or combination of both. It is to test if you can continue in the PhD program.

3) Thesis Proposal (candidature)

In your PhD programs, you need to submit a new thesis which is novel and original research work. This is another exam in which you need to propose the problem you will be working on for your thesis. For this you need to form an advising committee
That consists of 5-6 faculty members. You have to convince the committee that your proposed thesis can be completed within the stipulated time of PhD program and is of quality research. Once you pass this exam, you will be PhD candidate.

4) Thesis Defense

After the proposal, the PhD candidate should continue his work towards finishing the goals set up during the proposal. When the work is finished he has written the thesis and defend in front of the defense committee consisting of a group of faculty members specialized in his field. After successful defense, he has to submit the thesis to the University to get his degree.

In the process of research work you will get to attend many conferences to present your work and publish your work in reputed journals. It is important to get your work published in reputed journals.


Pros and Cons of PhD

Pros:

1) If you like research, it is very exciting to invent/discover/find something new
2) You will have in depth knowledge about your research area,
3) Can try for academic positions (very stable, more freedom on your work)

Cons

1) Area of expertise is narrowed as you get specialized
2) Long time commitment (4-6 yrs)
3) Be prepared for frustrating times


My Experience

I did my bachelors and masters from India and came to US for my PhD. I didn't have any intentions of doing PhD during my bachelors. Only reason for doing masters was to get a good job. During my masters, I liked my research work that I did as a part of my ME thesis. My Professor encouraged me to go for higher studies. These two things motivated me to go for a PhD.

Before coming for PhD I worked for a couple of years in India. It is good experience to work in industry to understand the practical problems. I

In the application process, I searched for faculty working in my area of research and
Also got advise from my ME thesis advisor. I contacted many professors, and then applied to selected universities.                       
           
I am currently, in 5th year of PhD. During the PhD, I got to attend many conferences,
Meet experts in my field and also got an opportunity to work in a research lab. PhD duration is lot of fun if we make use of the time properly. Some times it can be frustrating when you can't produce convincing new results. These are all parts of PhD process.

I suggest you go for your PhD only if you are passionate for research. PhD for the sake of a degree is not worth doing. With this I would like to express my best wishes for every PhD aspirant.


Check the following link for further details:



Ramakrishna Tippireddy

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Vendor Concept For IT Consultants

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Understanding the layers of the vendor onion is a must for every IT consultant .Though you have the required skills and work permits you can not just work as a consultant directly for a company in the US. Corporations in the US hire consultants only through a preferred vendor. Preferred Vendor is nothing but a business term for a body shopping company. And this preferred vendor will in turn have his preferred vendors who employ you. This can be compared to the Computer Networks OSI Model where the  layers below provide services to the layer above. The only difference in our case is that we are the only layer that provides services to all the layers above.

Even when you get paid on a 80-20 percentage basis, depending on where you stand in the food chain you end up getting paid half or less than what the client pays the preferred vendor. So working directly for the preferred vendor or the client should be our goal as a consultant. Not all preferred vendors process our visas and green cards. And that is just one good reason why we should get your green card processed ASAP through the employer we work for. Having a green card or at least an EAD will help us switch to different vendors and work directly with the client or preferred vendor.

While we get busy doing our best at our new clients place we should also keep up  with the happenings in the technical as well as immigration spaces. And when you are ready do not hesitate to run your own company to skip one or all the layers in between. In the consulting business even a dollar an hour makes a big difference and running pay checks and handling taxes is no big deal.


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Saturday, December 3, 2011

5 Ways to Eradicate World Hunger In Our Day

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One US Dollar serves 8 meals
One Mouse click serves 1.1 cups of rice

When we see a skinny child deprived of food in a remote African/Indian village on TV we feel sympathetic and intend to help them. Let us take it to the next step of compassion by acting and making it a part of our life and we will eradicate hunger from this planet. One percent of the time and money we spend on celebrating a happy moment in our life, One percent of the time and money we spend on researching and buying electronics, One percent of the time and money we spend on our vacation is all that is needed.

Read more on hunger around the world by going to bread.org and http://www.wfp.org/. Here is how we can end hunger by making the steps below a part of our day - please remember and act.

1) What we and our family should do

Assess how much food is wasted in our household and find a way to reduce it. At every meal time remember those without enough to eat.Serve more meatless dinners a week using non animal sources of protein that require fewer of world’s resources to produce. For me the easiest way to give up eating any unhealthy food or eating just to satisfy the palate is to think about those I can serve.

Give one percent of our paycheck to the local schools or other places which serve food. Read my article on Providing Snacks to students during the study hours.
  
2) Serve at the Community Food Banks

Volunteer a local food bank or other program that server people who are hungry. Visit secondharvest.org to find local food banks or inquire locally.

3) Donate leftovers

Spur donations of good leftover food. Encourage restaurants, hotels, caters at work and even universities to donate usable food. In the US Bill Emerson Good Samaritan food donations act of 1996 protects donors from liability .Check secondharvest.org for more details. Many countries and cities have  toll free numbers we can call for our leftovers to be picked up. If not there is our opportunity to start one.

4) Work through Religious groups

Hunger doesn’t have a religion. I go to a temple which cooks and serves food to the community every Sunday. I help cutting the vegetables and cleaning the utensils. I am sure there will be similar events at your church, mosque or respective religious places. Suggest to your religious community to study hunger and your faith traditions response.

5) Use Technology To Serve

A)Click every day

Its free and it takes only a few seconds and we can do it every day .We click and the website advertisers contribute.
  1. Click by going to  thehungersite.com to help feed a child.The hungersite.com provides 1.1 cups of rice per click
  2. The literacysite.com provides books to children for every click.
  3. Serve rice while we play the Vocabulary game

Bookmark these URLs and click them every day.

B) Support by placing links to these programs on our blogs and websites 

Example:

Copy Paste the HTML from the link below on your blog or website to help Children with Autism.


What we do will have a positive ripple effect. For example by serving snacks during the evening study hours before the final exams the results were astonishing. Better education will result in better if not job opportunities which in turn will build a better family and society. 

Please act and share these with your family and friends.When we act as an individual we do something.When we act together we do everything to end hunger and poverty.



Related Articles

Indian Caste System : Know your history


One Village One India : Updates and Future Events


Inspiring Teachers : Importance of quality education


A Day To Remember- One Village One India!


Providing snacks to students during the study hours


Giving back to your school


From an NRI to an NRI : Unity and Clarity


One Village One India-Primary School Building and Facilities

Visit my new portal bharaththippireddy.net

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From Glasgow to Iona via Oban:Lost in his creation

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The journey Glasgow to Oban is a four hour mixed genre movie titled 'Scenic Beauty' watched from the window of the scottish rail. Off the train in to the Craignure ferry - water surrounded by islands or islands surrounded by water - its not time to decide but to just get lost in nature! The bus waits for the ferry to drive us on a single lane road with C-Sections:) for the oncoming vehicles to wait.As the top of the hills kiss the clouds tears of joy flow as tiny water falls.


Though we see Iona from the other side its no time to swim but to wait for an other ten minute ferry to the Island The courteous hotel cab driver(owner of a restaurant) was waiting to pick us up to the Ardoran House! The Sacred Land with a population of one hundred and thirty five is full of spirit and isolated beauty. Scotland-The Land of scenic brilliance! 

నాలుగు గంటలు స్కాటిష్ రైల్ కిటికీలోంచి చూసే సినిమాలో ఆ దేవుని స్రుష్టి లోని అందాని జుర్రేసుకుంటూ ఒబాన్ చేరుకున్నం.

వో గంట ఫెర్రీ - నీళ్ళతో చుట్టబడిన నేలా, నేలతో బందించబడిన నీరా అని నిర్దారించుకొనే సమయం కాదు అది.జస్ట్ అలా చూస్తూ వుండి పోవడమే...

ప్రియుడి కోసం ప్రేయసి ఎదురు చూస్తున్నట్టు ఫెర్రి కోసం బస్సు ఎదురు చూస్తోంది.సింగిల్ లైన్ రోడ్డు మా వింజమూరు రూటు గుర్తు చేస్తుంటే అక్కడక్కడా సి సెక్షన్లలో ఎదురువచ్చే బండులు ఆగాయి.కొండంచున మబ్బుల తియ్యటి మొదటి ముద్దుకి పులకరిస్తూ ఆనంద బాష్పాలు చిన్న్ని చిన్ని జల పాతాలై పారాయి.

పది నిమిషాల మరో ఫెర్రి దిగగానే మాకోసమే ఎదురుచూస్తున్న క్యాబ్ డ్రైవరు అయోనా లో మరో రెస్టారెంటుకు ఏకైక వోనరు.నూటముప్పై అయిదు జనబాతో పురాతన కట్టడాలతో నెండిపొయిన అయోనా ద్వీపంలో రూము కిటికీలోంచి అలలు అలా చూస్తూ...










Finally not disappointing the last mode of transportation we flew from Glasgow for one last stop in London.


రైలు ,బస్సు,ఫెర్రి తో పాటు ఫ్లైటును నిరాశ పరచకుండా లాస్ట్ స్టాప్ లండంకు తిరుగు టప్పా కట్టేసాం.



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Little Rock ,Arkansas


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Ocean City

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Edinburgh Scotland

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Handing over the five pound tip to the cab driver we kick started our awesome trip with the smile on his face. On our way to the Manchester Piccadilly station he enlightened us that it is Edinborrow and not Edinburgh as its spelled. It’s a four hour UK rail trip to the historic city.

We bought the tickets for a evening train to Glasgow at the Edinburgh station and Hopped on to the double-decker Hop on and Off buses after a China Buffet. We took multiple trips getting down at different places each time .As the guides went on explaining the historic significance of the various kings and buildings in the old yet beautiful city where Graham Bell invented the telephone and JK Rowling came up with Harry Potter.

As we climbed up the hill to the Castle we took a break for a Scottish not Whisky but Coffee :) .Right next to the castle is the Weaving Mill where we dressed up as the Scottish (Kilt, Bagpipe etc) and got our pictures taken.

That beautiful day faded out against the night lights of Glasgow as we had our dinner at the Ashoka Restaurant right next to the Etap Hotel where we crashed.




















Related Articles


From Glasgow to Iona via Oban:Lost in his creation


Florida Part 2:Miami The Paradise


UK Visitor Visa for non US Citizens in USA


Hasinis Day Out


Florida Part 1:Six days in Orlando

Texas:Take 8


F.E.A.R:-Forget Everything And Ride!!


Niagara Falls With West Coast Gang


Little Rock ,Arkansas


Wild Wild West 2


Dance in Delaware


Austin Texas


First Ski


Kerala


Wild Wild West 1


Denver The Mile High City


Ocean City

Visit my new portal bharaththippireddy.net

Sunday, November 20, 2011

7 steps to go Onsite/Abroad on your job

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1) The 'WHY' is important?

Either quick money or exploring the planet, there is a reason why you want to travel abroad and it is important to develop clarity on this WHY. Knowing WHY will help you set your goals and also choose your path to go abroad. Here is my article on choosing your path.

2) Know the two types of companies

Companies like Tata Consultancy Services will assure onsite opportunities with in a certain time period. Ask them clearly during the interview about their onsite rotation schedule and how long it will take for you to get there.

The second kind of companies have good enough workforce employed abroad and their offshore base is mainly to get the work done for cheaper. These companies send you abroad on short trips which can range from a couple of weeks to six months.

If your goal is to go abroad on lengthy trips then you should choose the former.

3) Make your Onsite goal time constricted

Talk to you manager and understand how things work at your organization. Set up your goals and deadlines by which your company should start processing your visa. Read my article on life space analysis and goal setting.

4) Learn and Share Something New Everyday

Work on your technical and interpersonal skills that will help you once you are onsite and also your career long term. Even when you are onsite make this a habit. While it is easy to get lost in your daily work schedule, it is important to stay up to date with the happenings outside. Sharing what you have learnt will not only give you instant feedback but also helps improve your presentation skills.

This will help you create opportunities for yourself in the worse of market situations.

5) Follow up with your Manager

Talk to your manager on a regular basis. Choose a good time to talk .Start of the week and early mornings are good.Know the current context of his life and work to determine a good time. Give him a hint thorough your email subject on what you want to talk about (going onsite etc).Forget about the bossy image and talk to him like you talk to any other human :)

6) Embrace the change and it will never embrace you

The respect at work, the praise from your manager, the technologies you work on only matter as long as you have inner peace and they help meet your short and long term goals. If they can not keep their word you should move on. To a different team or to a different company which can meet your goals as you meet theirs. The relationship between you and your company is not beyond a fifteen day or a months notice. Remember they will do the same when they can’t keep you anymore for business reasons.

Never get frustrated and learn from your experience to improvise at your new work place.

7) Leave on a good note

This is a small world and your manager today can be your CEO tomorrow or your lead today might work for your startup later. Yes there are politics, yes they play games but no you should never play the blame game and always leave them on a good note. If not, just leave.

To end it on a philosophical note - Live this moment happily, keep doing all that you can with determination, help others and you will discover the real magic. Things will happen!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Use your EAD ASAP

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When your priority date becomes current and when you file your I-485, you can and should file for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).With an EAD you can switch to a different employer from who filed your GC after 180 days from when your I -485 was filed. Your GC process will continue and you will get your green card depending on the processing times. In the mean time the EAD allows you to work for any employer by filing an AC21 every time you switch jobs. It’s merely letting USCIS know that you are switching to a new employer and your job duties at the new employer are the same as your current or those mentioned in your green card labor application.

Advantages of using your EAD:

  1. More employment opportunities
  2. You can also apply for an EAD for your dependents who are then authorized to work
  3. Better Positions - I have seen companies offering senior positions for those on EAD.
  4. No H1B visa stamping hassle
Once you use your EAD you no longer hold your visa status. You should apply for an Advance Parole (AP) document to travel out and come back to the US. You should renew your EAD once every two years and Travel Document every year. You or your employer/attorney can renew them online by paying the appropriate fee and send in the supporting documents. You will receive the EAD and AP documents by mail.

Dump all the assumptions and the fears that come with them , talk to your lawyer if you are in doubt and use your EAD As Soon As Possible.

Here is a good article on How to utilize AC21.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Insurances for your company

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As soon as you hire your first employee you must buy the workers compensation insurance that covers them if they are accidentally injured at work. Once you partner with another company or vendor you should buy the liability insurance which will cover your corporation from third party losses.

If it’s mandated by the state, employers must provide workers’ compensation (WC) coverage for all of their employees, including seasonal and part-time workers. States like Pennsylvania audit companies for Workers Comp coverage on a regular basis. Never delay buying one to avoid penalties. The one exception from buying WC insurance is working for your own company. You can request the state for exemption by filing a UC-8 exempt form. Workers Comp insurance premiums are calculated on the basis of the employee’s salary. They have a fixed rate per every hundred dollars you pay in wages.

Liability insurance offers protection against third party insurance claims, i.e., if one of your vendors or clients suffer losses because of your employees. Most of the vendors require the certification of this coverage to start doing business with you.Your liability insurance premiums vary depending on the industry you are in.

I use Hartford, one of the leading insurance providers. Check their website for details and quotes http://www.thehartford.com/business/ .Also get quotes from other insurance providers like state farm to compare and decide. To start with one employee the total insurance premiums for these two insurances will be less than eight hundred dollars per year. And remember that these premiums are tax deductible and to renew them each year.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Port Of Entry:Talking to the Immigration Officer Etc

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Spend the last one hour of your long and tiring flight journey to freshen up, double check the I-94, Customs Declaration forms you have filled.Along with the passport keep all the documents that you took to the visa interview handy.

There will be two lines at the port of entry. One for the US Citizens, Green card holders, and another for the Visa Holders. The Immigration officer looks at your passport, visa, and I-94 form,questions about the purpose of your visit, takes digital picture and digital finger prints, stamps your passport and provide a departure date on I-94.

In some cases you will be sent for a second interview. And if that happens do not panic.You are not alone and there are many visa holders who go through this process each day. Look at it as a double check on their part. As soon as you get in, the immigration officer will take your documents and will ask you to wait as they pull up your immigration information. No matter how long the wait is , stay focused and relaxed. And when it’s your turn, wish the officer with a smile.Answer to their questions slowly and confidently. Do not over talk, just answer to the point. All they want to know is how long you are going to stay in the US and why. No matter how many times and how many ways they ask you the same question reply patiently and provide the required documents/proof.

Despite your long stay in the US, anticipate and be prepared for this every time you fly out of the country and come back to the Port Of Entry on a Visa.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

One Village One India : Updates and Future Events

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I am glad to inform you that we have received the Pan Card required to setup a bank account for our non profit charity organization One Village One India. The next task we will be taking up is to extend our snacks during study hour program to four other schools in Vinjamur mandal. This will happen pre-exam season in March 2012.

Schools that are  covered currently:


Z.P. HIGH SCHOOL,Vinjamur


Total of one hundred and fifty students.

Schools that will be benefited in 2012 :


Z.P. HIGH SCHOOL (GIRLS),Vinjamur
Gundemadakala ZP High School
Katepalli ZP High School
Utukuru ZP High School

Total of one hundred and fifty students.

One time sponsorship for this event is five thousand rupees or hundred dollars per school. The permanent sponsorship for this costs one lakh rupees or two thousand dollars for these four schools. You can read more on the permanent solution by going to the following post .


Your contributions will help provide quality nutrition which in turn will improve the quality of education for hundreds of poor children.If you are interested in donating for this cause, please send me an email to - thippireddy.bharath@gmail.com

I will summarize the contributions made as blog posts to allow transparency.



Related Articles

Indian Caste System : Know your history


5 Ways to Eradicate World Hunger In Our Day


Inspiring Teachers : Importance of quality education


A Day To Remember- One Village One India!


Providing snacks to students during the study hours


Giving back to your school


From an NRI to an NRI : Unity and Clarity


One Village One India-Primary School Building and Facilities


Visit my new portal bharaththippireddy.net

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Employer agreements for Visas and Green Cards

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As we hop from one employer to another or from one consulting position to another we come across corporations whose values range from professional to unethical. The ethical ones do your H1b Visas/Transfers and green cards with out making you sign any agreements. While the second kind look at it as an opportunity to make you their slave. 

Any agreement or offer letter you sign with your employer or vendor should not obligate you to work for them beyond a two week notice or a months notice in some cases. Read every line and in between them and make sure you understand every point. Talk to a lawyer if you are not sure and if your employer does not give you enough clarification. Try to add a clause which explicitly states your two week notice. 


Bare the application fees if you have to and do not sign any agreements that bond your to slavery.If you have already signed such agreement talk to a lawyer and see what it takes to break the bond. In most cases these agreements do not stand in court and your employer does not want the hassle of getting black listed either. What looks like a great opportunity to sign any kind of agreement today might soon be obsolete as the markets improve and you find better opportunities. Never sign an offer letter or contractual agreement that obligates your duration of employment in exchange for your green card or visa fee/sponsorship. 

No conditions apply.




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Monday, October 3, 2011

Florida Part 2:Miami The Paradise

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At the end of a beautiful key west day!


If there is place in the US that we would like to go back to, thats Miami/Key West. Not just because I love water/sea but it’s just a spiritual Nostalgia!


Blue are the skies ,Blue are the clear water beaches surrounding us for the four hour drive to Key West; It’s a drive in and to the paradise.


As we touch the southern most tip of US , Cuba was just ninety miles away.The street that never sleeps where anytime is party time!


Though the south beach reminds me of the Maipadu beach back home, it gets deeper as soon as we step in.


Weather reminds me of Bangalore as it rains every evening, but it only helped us drench further!. Dive in to the sea, off in to the swimming pool and then in to the hot water Jacuzzi right next to the pool.


Lying back on the south beach chair listening to the waves that never stop talking we discover answers to every question that life has in mind.


ఇక్కడ మేము ఎన్ని సార్లు అయినా ఎప్పుడైనా వెల్లిపోవడానికి రెడీ గా వుండే ప్రదేశం ఏదయినా వుంటే అది మయామీయే.

దారి పొడవున్న రోడ్డుక్కి అన్ని వైపులా క్లియర్ వాటర్ బీచ్లు చేరబొయే అందమయిన కీ వెస్టుని ప్రతి క్షనం గుర్తు చేస్తు వుంటే నాలుగు గంటల డ్రైవ్ అలా స్వర్గ లోకపు అంచుల దాకా సాగి పోతూనేవుంటే బావున్ను అనిపిస్తోంది.

మరో తొంబై మైల్లు అట్లాంటిక్ లో ఈదేస్తే కుబన్ సిగార్లు చవకగా వూదేయొచ్చంట.అదే అమెరికా కి సదరన్ మోస్టు పాయింటు.నిదురే ఎరుగని దువాల్ స్ట్రీట్ లో పార్టీలకు వేల పాల వుండదు.

మయమీ సౌత్ బీచ్ ఇసుకలో గొడుగు కింద కుర్చీ వేసుకొని పనుకొని అలుపెరుగని అట్లాంటిక్ అలలతో మాటలు వింటూ ఈ బిజీ లోకన్ని మరచి పొతే అందవా అన్ని ప్రస్నలకు సమాదానాలు?


సాయంకాలం అయ్యే సరికి వర్షం బెంగులూరు వాతావరనాన్ని గుర్తు చేస్తుంటే ముద్ద ముద్ద గా తడచి , మా సింహపురి మయిపాడు బీచ్ లో లా కాకుండా అడుగు పెట్టగనే పీకల లోతుకు మునిగిపోయి ,అటు నుంచి అటే హోటల్ వెనక పూల్ లో దుంకి,పక్కనే ఎదురు చూస్తున్న వేడి వేడి జకుజీ లో సేద తీర్చుకొని కాని రూంకి చేరలేదు.



Duval Street - Any time is party time!


Clear are the waters,Clear are the skies



Palm Trees Florida (TM)

Parasailing-Just the beginnings of the adventure!

South Beach Miami From our balcony
Naren-One of those best friends from college

Talking to the tides
Ferry around miami downtown


Expensive celebrity homes

Brad Pitt owns that one..


Lets start with some coastal american lunch

Followed by some Middle Eastern Fish Kabobs for two straight days


Served with pita bread and hummus
Nights make it look even more beautiful




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