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Our Weekend Road Trip to Carmel-by-the Sea

 

After our great road trip to the North of San Francisco up to Fort Bragg, Eureka and beyond, we decided to explore southwards on the Pacific Coast up to Carmel -on -the Sea covering a round trip of 300 miles. While the northern  trip was through wine country and redwood forests, the southern trip was through farm lands, pine forests and many tourist spots rich in history and scenic beauty. We had a very enjoyable weekend road trip for three days on 13-15 October. We selected California State Highway Route 1 which hugs the sea-coast for our onward journey via Pigeon Point – Santa Cruz – Monterey Bay to Carmel and on return took a diversion near Santa Cruz via Route 17 over to Route 101 for our return journey to San Francisco. The drive through Route 1 was memorable because of the number of small beaches on the Half Moon Bay, Historical Pigeon Point Light House where the Carrier Pigeon Cargo Ship wreck happened on 6 June 1853 and the beautiful Monterey Bay where we rode astride farm lands growing Artichoke, Lettuce, Pumpkins and strawberries.

The  Monterey Bay extends all the way south of Santa Cruz City till the Monterey peninsula and Carmel highlands. A very important area from a geological point, the Monterey Canyon, one of the largest underwater canyons in the world, begins off the coast of Moss’s Landing exactly at the center of the bay. Many species of marine mammals including sea otters, harbor seal and bottle nose dolphins are found in this area. It is also in the migratory path of gray and hump back whales. Several varieties of Kelp grow in the bay some of these as tall as trees. The California State University founded in 1994 at Monterey and uses the facilities donated by the military.

We chose Hofsas House in Carmel town, a quaint hotel with old world charm for our stay for two nights. While Carmel-by-the Sea is famous for its white beaches, the town with rolling hill sides has fairy tale cottages, art galleries and the historic Carmel Mission. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first sighted this place with beautiful beaches and pine forests 50 years after Columbus discovered America. Carmel is famous for its celebrities including Clint Eastwood, the well known movie star who was the Mayor of Carmel during 1986-88. More than 200 movies and TV Commercials were shot in this scenic place. Today, Carmel is one of the costliest real estate in the US. Carmel town has excellent restaurants for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and the waiting time is anything up to an hour. On a weekend, it is very difficult to get reservations for dinner. Mostly Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean and West Coast American food is available.

On the second day, we visited the Monterey Aquarium – one of the largest aquarium dedicated to the rich marine life obtaining in the Western Coast of US. The live Kelp Forest and a variety of Jelly Fish displayed was a great attraction. Thereafter, we drove through the Pacific Grove to the Point Pinos Light House and over to the beautiful 17 Mile Drive on the seashore amidst thick cypress forest on one side and the Pebble Beach on the other side. Pebble Beach has some of the finest golf courses where PGA tournaments are held, on the 17 Mile drive, there are 21 points of tourist interest, the Lone Cypress being the most photographed spot in the west coast.

We left Carmel on the third day and drove through mountain roads to Wood Side, on the Biker’s Routes and had a sumptuous lunch at the popular Alice’s Restaurant on the hill top. After lunch, we drove through the Silicon Valley crossing Mountain View- Google and Palo Alto where the well-known Garage Museum of HP is located. The visit to the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, the Mecca of IT with Stanford University, Apple, Oracle, Google, HP, Oracle and Facebook was a pilgrimage for me, having worked with the IT Industry for 20 years after my Army Service. Besides, it was my wish to visit the HQ of Google at Mountain View along with my wife and son Raghu who works for Google at San Francisco. We followed Route 101 back to San Francisco.

i Gen and Beyond – Profound Social Changes with Great Impact on Our Lives

Today, I was reading through a review of a recent book titled  ” i Gen ” authored by Jean.M .Twenge , in today’s Wall Street Journal [WSJ] . The author categorizes ” i Gen ” as people born between 1995 and 2012 , labeling this birth cohort [ generally known as Gen Z] as a group that doesn’t know a world without the internet and smartphones and is now 24% of the US population. The population of this group in India will be much more , I guess , with equally tech savvy especially on the smart phones  . India has more than 900 million mobile phones and counting with at least a third of it smart phones  . Recently , on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence , Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Group announced a package with a free smart phone and unlimited free calls and data for as low as Rs 159 [ less than $ 3 ] per month in his Jio Network for the first 20,000,000 subscribers ! I believe the pre -booking is almost done !

On the behavior side, iGen , according to the author , is neither cynical as Gen X , nor as over confident as Gen Y , with a radical departure when it comes to their views on religion , free speech  and relationships . Technology  and social media is central to understanding this generation’s experience , with their social lives shifted decisively from in – person interaction to the virtual world .   . Worse , they are not happy with their ” on line ” life!. A major cause of worry, according to the author is the stunted development of adult skills which creates a generation that prefers the ’emotional safety ‘ of virtual relationships to the messy entanglements of real ones .

From a Social Science perspective , Veterans [ Silent Generation – Seniors ] to which I belong adhered to rules , are  conformists , had a hard time growing up , believes in family values and became prosperous by hard work . The Baby Boomers who came after World War 2 , believed in equal rights and opportunities , were optimists and team oriented . The developed and developing world flourished because of their commitment and dedication . Gen X [ 1960-80 ] grew up in diversity of culture , are independent , entrepreneurial , informal , pragmatic , techno literate and  think globally . The Millennials [ Gen Y ] of 1980-2000 are more confident , achievers , fun loving , sociable , street smart , tech savvy – a  global community .

Each such generation brought along certain distinct  behavior and social dimension , generally towards the progress of mankind.  Today , in my own nuclear family , I can say that both me and my wife have adapted to technology  , spending about 3 to 4 hours a day on our smart phone ,  i pad or laptop , buying things and paying bills on line and able to understand GPS . A far cry from the days of coal gas buses , 78 rpm discs , analog radios , box cameras ,  and  35 mm movies in a theater . My children are very tech savvy , achievers with a great goal orientation and cannot live without net connectivity. My grand children spend more than half of their waking hours with electronic devices , especially when they are on a vacation ! . One really has to pull them away from a device to which they are glued in – with Netflix , Facebook , Whats App etc.

Where do we go from here ? . Technology is already leap frogging as a leading indicator of future possibilities . Cloud platforms , I o T , Automation , Robotics , AI and Machine Learning are making manual work redundant in almost all areas of repetitive and predictive work . Do the new Generation following i Gen soon compete with Robots and the like? . Does the sci-fi Star Wars become a reality in our lifetime ?  Will human habitats transcend the earth and move to the galaxies up there ?  What will happen to physical relations ? How about human cloning ? .  It is both scary and appealing  paradoxically at the same time !  I think it is time we need another Alvin Toffler to write a book on  ” Future Shock Revisited ”  .

Ushering in a New Year !

A New Year brings in new hopes, new resolutions , and new plans to achieve your dreams and aspirations. It is also a time for a Reality Check and Audit as to what went right , what went wrong and what went short . Many people carry out a social and financial audit and plan new connections and investments.

One simple way to do a social audit is to balance the incoming greetings from friends and relatives with the number of greetings initiated from your end . If you have sent more than what you got [ not counting the responses after receiving a message] , you are proactive in your social dimension.

In these days of internet , Facebook etc , we have multiple medium to send or receive greetings . However, nothing can replace a personal phone call.

It is also a good practice to carry out a destruction board convened and executed by you to weed out old documents , papers and mementos collected during the year.

One bold resolution I made this year is NOT to buy books and instead use my Kindle [ a birthday present from my son] to satisfy my reading requirements. Another one relates to changing my eating habits to cut down my body weight .

The Year 2012 happens to be the last year in the Mayan Calender and 12/21/2012 is supposed to be the last day for the earth to exist as we know it now . Let us wait and see ! .

Working in the Cloud – Shape of things happening in the networked economy.

What is common with Paragon Footwear in India and the global financial giant J P Morgan in the year 2011 ? ,Or where do you think the family picnic photo you uploaded in Facebook  from Dubai yesterday reside in the internet space ? , or the latest Hollywood blockbuster you got streamed into your smartphone come from ?

The answer is CLOUD . Cloud computing is changing the way we work , live , entertain or keep our personal finances tracked . You have cloud computing solutions for ERP [ Enterprise Resource Planning] , for tracking precious cargo , streaming videos and now operating laptops [ Google Chrome Laptop] , Operating systems [ Microsoft Windows 365] tablet PC ‘s and smart phones and many more gadgets connected to the internet .

The days of large captive data storage devices are numbered and you may not even feel like storing anything even in a laptop or smart phone in future . In this exuberance of a promised ” Cloud 9 ” experience on the net , both users and facilitators are well advised to maintain the  interactive , fluid and immediacy features with adequate security and redundancy built into the hardware , applications and systems . If this is done with due care and caution , the software landscape in future will surely be on mobile and cloud platforms .