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09/05/09

The Dutch Village, a few Indians went to, in America

Here are a few important pointers before you go ahead and scroll down, happily reading this post..

1. This is a very very very long post (45+ photographs, loads of text) so have a good amount of time on hand when you start reading it

2. This is dedicated to two very important parts of my life... Bindiya and Tushar who started new chapters in their lives in April and May respectively

3. This trip was a celebration of the "sincerely hoped for, unexpected" success of 30on30 initiative... and to share the joy, I would do a random draw of lots of all the people who comment on this post and will send them a print (which they can select from this post) if they are in India or US. If the comments are too less for a decent lot, I would randomly add some random comments from friends and include them !

Now that the conditions are laid out well, lets start....


I had started planning for a trip months back, even without knowing where I was going... All I knew was that I am going to rent a car and just get out of Milwaukee... the winters and the cold had enough of me and I had enough of them in the last 4-5 months !!! Plans were made and shelved, places identified and rejected before a colleague told me about the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan (yes, I did go to Holland, but I drove and it is the Holland in Michigan)

So it was finalized that I am going to Holland to see the Tulips... Gaurav agreed, Deepali agreed, Pritam, Lakhan, Golu, Sapna agreed, and Jyoti agreed ( she was visiting me that week on her way from the West Coast of the Amreeka to the East Coast of Amreeka)


By the time 1st May came, things had changed... Gaurav and Deepali could not go along as his Mausaji was coming over, Sapna and Lakhan opted out as Sapna was to shift apartments and Lakhan decided to stay back and help her out.... Pritam and Deepak dropped and came back on and dropped and back on a couple of times before they finally decided to come along and bring Sunil with them !!!

They left from Minneapolis early evening and I left Milwaukee around 1830 hrs... it was a long drive ahead and I was so looking forward to it... a fantastic car good music system and a nice weather was all that I could ask for... and I had some Samosa's and Kachauri's with me for the drive too :) what fun !!!!

As expected driving was a breeze through without any issues at all...Reached the Super 8 Motel around midnight and Pritam and the gang reached soon after ! We did not spend much time talking then, and called it a day with a promise to leave the motel by 0930 hrs the next morning !


We were on time for our estimated time of departure from the Motel for a long day ahead... managed to get ready in quick time and have breakfast, which had muffins (multiple helpings :P), some cereal, milk (like a good boy I had my cereal and milk there too).

Pritam was driving a JEEP and there was no way I would have let anyone else drive that now that I was around... He knew that, and asked Sunil to handover the keys to me before I created any fuss ! He like a gentleman took the navigator seat and Pritam, Jyoti and Golu happily acquired the passenger seats !!! Just about 20 minutes away was our first destination of the day...

The Veldheer's Tulip Garden....

I would be lying if I tell you that I was very excited to see what I saw... My bad! I was expecting miles of tulips of various colors and variety, but this turned out to be a relatively smaller than what I had painted in my head... It was not entirely my mistake actually, it was the advertising that got the better of me here ! But nevertheless it was a sight to see... I had never seen so many tulips together, so in a way this was a happy moment !

Enjoy the pictures below for a while, before getting back to reading more :)





Did I mention that for most of the time I was confused if I was in Holland or America or India? The proportion of Indians vs Foreigners was as good as India Gate in Delhi or some tourist spot near Pondicherry or Madras or Bangalore... This was the largest number of Indian public I have seen together outside India so far !!!












Just before getting out of the Tulips Garden, we decided to take a few pictures of each other :)


We then went to a small shop selling memorabilia (no points for guessing that)... This was a very nice place to roam around in... Beautiful small artifacts and at very very reasonable prices... what added to the charm of this shop was that the artists were also working in the shop only... unfortunately they were having their lunch when we went so I could not take a picture of them working, however did manage to click on the paint-desks (see below)... Really liked the wide array of paint brushes and colors on the desk...


Another very interesting thing about the Dutch is the Wooden Shoes... NO they are not just fancy looking show pieces... you can wear them like regular shoes, walk, run, attend a costume party, look cool and so on and so forth :)

There was a small factory inside the shop itself where the shoes were being made(below)...


We left the Tulip's garden and then moved towards downtown Holland (this is the place where there was a board with Holland written, and I posted in my previous post). We decided to skip the dutch village tour as no one was too keen on getting disappointed again, so we moved towards another tourist attraction called the Windmill Island Gardens.


When we reached there, we realized that it was something very similar to what we had already seen and decided to not waste any time or money on it... I guess by this time, though we had not done much, we guys were not too keen doing any more touristy stuff ! or maybe just some more ! In one of the handouts, which disappeared mysteriously from the car, we had read about this sand-dune safari in the Saugatuck Dunes State Park...


None of us remembered the name Saugatuck, and we were very keen to see how sand dunes look next to a lake, and what could be the Sand Dunes Safari, so we decided to find out more... Me and Sunil went to a shop nearby and asked if they had the hand-out or the brochure for the "attractions" in Holland... the lady at the counter did not have any, but she knew exactly what we were talking about and gave us directions to the Dunes Safari place...



No one had eaten anything after the breakfast, infact none of us had a decent dinner the last night either... and were very hungry.... so we decided to first find a place to eat before going anywhere... after a few discussions while driving towards our next pit-stop we ended up having lunch at Papa Romano's... This was a very good decision as the Pizza's were really really good there!


It was a fun filled drive that we had on the Sand Dunes Safari... a 1970 oversized Dodge Truck, speeds more than 40 mph on sand, sudden turns and sharp curves, highs and lows, sand dunes, small lake, the huge Lake Michigan, funny driver guide, forest, trees, sand, and our spirit made that 35 minute drive worth it !



Seen below is the 1970 Dodge truck we went around for a drive in....


We were tired by now, and wanted to just rest the rest of the day off and decided to go to the beach and spend the day there... It was already around 4ish but because the days are much longer, it was another 4 hours before the sun was to set... We now went to the "Big Red" which is actually a "small" red light house located at the channel that connects the Lake Macatawa with the Lake Michican... We spent the rest of the day near the Big Red, partially south of the channel and the rest on the north of the channel... No we did not just walk up north, but drove all the way back to downtown Holland, crossed the nearest bridge and drive back to the beach :)



I really wanted to see the sun set, and really wanted to see it... so we waited... it was not the most comfortable evening as it was pretty chilly, but my dear friends decided to hang around till sunset and then move back....


Now was time to go back to the Motel and call it a day... Jyoti had left something at Papa Romano's in the afternoon so we decided to go back and see we could find it there... We could not and the guys decided to get themselves the infamous Smirnoff Vodka Mojito (will write about why its infamous separately) While Pritam, Golu and Jyoti were inside the Wine Shop, me and Sunil discussed the dinner options and realized that Indian Food was the best option... now at 2130 hrs, it was not going to be an easy task to first find an Indian Restaurant and that too an open one !!! but we tried... the GPS ( called Billo Rani by Pritam) helped and after about 5 unsuccessful attempts we found an Indian Restaurant called Bombay Cuisine in Grand Rapids about 20 miles away...


We had close to about 30 minutes left before the restaurant was closing for the day, so we decided to order over phone and let them know that we were about 20 miles away and counting... Reached the restaurant with about 10 minutes to spare and picked up our order for food... Indian Dinner !!! Wow !!! Though it was surprising that this restaurant did not have Dal Fry or Dal Makhni in their menu.. they had something called Dal Subzi which was essentially Dal Makhni with vegetables in it... It was still good, and the Gobi was lovely, and the brown naans were tasty too... The non-veggies also liked their Chicken something...

So after this loooooooooooooong touristy day and a heavy Indian dinner, we called it a day around midnight !!!!


The next day was now planned to be relaxing as we were in no mood to do any touristy stuff... Infact the only place on the agenda was a Winery on our way back home... We decided to go via the downtown and walked around in a small crafts fair before we said bye bye to Holland and drove towards the Winery... Enjoy the pictures from the fair....






About 30 minutes after leaving Holland, we reached the America that I love to see... Calm, and warm, with open skies, green trees, and with the voice of birds or a distant vehicle occasionally breaking the otherwise very comfortable silence...


It was a nice place to just sit and chat as well... I did not care much for the wines, and came out to just sit in the field and take pictures, while Pritam, Golu, and Jyoti were enjoying the wine tasting experience....



Sunil also decided to come out and relax for a while before he started the long drive back to Minneapolis...



We enjoyed some nice chit-chat with a bottle of wine at the Winery before we started the second but final leg of our journey.... The next pit-stop and the last one for this trip was to be taken at a eatery somewhere in between the Winery and Chicago...


The pit-stop was at Fenneville somewhere between somewhere, where we enjoyed some Pizzas at a Pizza hut before saying the final good byes to each other, promising to meet again soon !!! Post that, Sunil drove a bit faster towards their destination and I enjoyed the music and the amazingly smooth Nissan Altima to Milwaukee....


All in all, this trip ended up with me having a nice big smile on my face, exactly like the road-map between Milwaukee and Holland :)


I am already looking forward to my next trip !!! Are you?

Oh and congratulations for reaching the end of this post :P

41 comments:

  1. Yeah!!! I am the first one to read this very long but interesting travelogue. Kitney majje kiye tum sab ne...but yeh post padhne ke baad aisa kyon lag raha ki main bhi thi wahan aur maine bhi sab ghooma, dekha, khaya aur full masti kari?? :D

    Awesome pictures.

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  2. awesome !!! awesome photographs...of a wonderful time :)))

    i just love the black n white of the tulips....surely it is a work of art....

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  3. poora padha maine :D

    1. loved your signature.wo wooden hedge per chai ki dukaan mast lag raha hai,as if tumne chalk se likaha ho.

    2.yummmm..kachoriiiii!! aur pizza bhi khaya :|
    3.i like the pic of 'bandi posing' aur wo 'desi aunty' bhi !http://www.chaikidukaan.com/2009/05/dutch-village-few-indians-went-to-in.html
    4.tulips wali pic jhakass hain...
    5. i know there is a ferry that goes from milwaukee along with your cars to Michigan. tumne search maara tha wo?

    aur badi khushi huyi ki aap ghoom ghaamker aaye ... ab to bhayeeee spring aaya gaya..yey!!!

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  4. lo ji, "I m back" wala post padhke n seeing pics of tulip garden i thought asli wala Holland( mane ki Europe wala) ghoom ke aaye:P!!! but this holland in america is also good to see..loved the pics and finally you basked in the sun after milwaukee's long winters...:)) keep enjoying...

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  5. PB ji. Mu-aafi chahni haan ki main tuhadi saari post padhan (read) to pehlan hi comment likh rahi haan. Oh is waate ke tussi Kaneda waasiyaan nu bilkul sautela bana ditta hai, Kaneda waasiyan nu tussi apne draw vich shaamil hi nahin kitta...assin taan bahut zyaada naraaz ho gaye haan. :(

    Kuch ghante-yan (hours) baad jaddon gussa thanda ho jayega taan tuhadi is shaandar post te tasveeran utte wadhiya jeha comment likhange! :P

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  6. mujhe ek photo chaiye ..p;ease de do.. Jyoti said you all got tulips ka idea from Iya so Iya deserves a pic na :P

    khi khi khi

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  7. :) marathon post hai ye to!
    Dal Subzi mmm m hearinf for first time...

    khikhi@ multiple helpings of muffins...

    nice post n pics...

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  8. beautiful pics........loved each of them and the description of trip was nice.......seems like a nice place.........keep travelling :)

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  9. You have so many travelogues on your blog, but this one is a lot like some of the initial ones... long, comfortable, and happy. Loved going through it!
    And the picturessss.. they're superbly yumm!!

    You had that big a smile in the end?! Quite an achievement. Isn't it? Treat yourself from my side for that smile. :)

    And like Deepak said, keep travelling! :)

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  10. This was one of the, nah the most beautiful post I've read/ seen!! Seriously, am sure your trip was good but the pictures you clicked made it alive for me. Each of them is so beautiful and they literally spoke to me. :)
    I am planning to re-do my room and there's a big wall which is bare. I cannot afford too many pictures but want to give the room a personal touch by putting my close family up there, will need your advise and how to make less look more, any sugesstions??

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  11. The 1st pic.
    A nice change from the desi doodh wali chai to the black tea, in the dess of the whites !!! :)
    A good read it is and nice pics. Maybe you too should have given a guest appearance in 1 of the pics.

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  12. Finally the most awaited post is out..detailed and nice..samjh mein aata hai,aap logon ne kitne maze kiye..

    Arre haan is baar no personal favourites like other previous times,they are all so different and nice, no comparisions..but haan, you were missed in the pictures!!

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  13. I will not comment on the pictures as they are always fabulous.

    But I'd still like to add that I loved the photographs of the Nissan and Jeep logos, the wheels on that vintage looking car parked out side "Priority Health" and the 1970 Dodge. And that B/W photo of the tulips...and those Huskies..awww. And the work desk of the artists littered with paints brushes of all sorts (I'd like to be there...I haven't painted in more than a year now...)

    And yeah, even if you visited the Holland of Amreeka, we are still jealous. Now it has become clear to me how you were able to make a trip to Holland just for the weekend! :D

    You guys had such a great time. I wish I could have joined you guys on such a trip. Of late I have done nothing but work...

    And yeah, I am waiting for the next trip! :)

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  14. @ Swati
    congratulations !!!

    It was a fun trip for sure !!!

    thanks :)
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    @ Joy !

    thanks... I really like the B/W of Tulips too
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    @ Geet
    I am sure :) tera test lunga main kisi din :D

    thanks for your comments..

    I did find out about the Lake Express across the Michigan, but its too costly...close to about $100 return and almost the same time that it takes to drive down... did not really make sense...

    glad that you are happy too :)
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    @ Wishesgalore
    it was the asli wala holland only, just that this version of Holland is in the US :)

    yea, i really liked whatever sun we saw... it was still chilly but good enough for a t-shirt and a jacket at times !

    glad you liked the pictures !

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    @ Jas
    Muafi ki guzarish hai mohtarma... bande ne aapke baare mein socha thaa, lekin phir samajh nai paaya ke Kanedda tak ek tasveer kaise jayegi... yahan ke to kabootar bhi hamein nahin jaante jo tasveer lekar chale jayen !!! par aap chinta na kariyega... aapka naam aaya to tasveer aap tak zaroor pahunchegi :)

    hun te gusse nu shant karo hor chai ki dukaan ton aake cha piyo !

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    @ Shivi
    de di !!!

    bolo kaunsi !!!

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    @ Reeta
    yea, thats how I used to write my travel posts !
    lately thoda conservative ho gaya thaa wrt to the length of text..

    Dal Subzi means Dal and Broccali :D

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    @ Deepu
    thanks bro... I had fun doing some different than my style photography on this trip !!!

    will do :)

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    @ Richa
    :) thanks !!! you have seen so much here ! good that you are still around !!! thanks for that

    I liked the pictures good, glad I have company :)

    will treat myself ! thanks a bunch !

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    @ Sam
    really !!! wow !!! that makes all the effort that went into taking, processing and posting these pictures worth it !!!

    I have a wall thing that I did recently in my apartment... will share a picture and see if that is something that you'd like to do too...

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    @ Reema
    yea, I clicked that one because of the Motel logo on it... I am not too fond of black tea anyway, unless it has that hint of lemon in it, which is when it tastes yumm !

    These pictures were the ones that I clicked... I will have another post which will be with the pictures that I would be in :)

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    @ Vaishali
    :) thanks !!! you bet we guys at fun !!! that is what we went out for :)

    I shall post a few of my pictures too soon :)

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    @ Jas
    thanks Jas :) I liked the logos too...
    This time around, what I clicked was very different that what I usually do and that kind of challenged me and confused me too... but I have a good feeling about whatever I could manage in terms of photographs !

    I hope you can join sometime... kuch sochte hain is baare mein :)

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  15. Lol@ the "kabootar bhi nahin jaan-te".

    Wo jo bike waali photo Flickr pe post kari wo bhi is trip ke dauraan li thi kya? I tried crossprocessing on one of my photographs, I wasn't able to do it very well, but still the results were dramatic! Thanks for posting that tutorial link.

    Te hun gussa bilkul thanda ho gaya hai, le-aayo pher garama garam chai te pakore shakore! :)

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  16. Sure, I'll look forward to it. Thanks!! :)

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  17. haan i think i remember some old travelogues on your blog being long....i can't write short travelogues myself..either with full descriptions or none...
    anyway ab to likha na bada wala
    cheers!

    ***peeto-fies sir at brocc"a"li

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  18. @ Jas
    arre aapko mazaak lag raha hai mohtarma, yahan par kabootar na hone ki wajah se hamari chitthiyaan nahin ja pa rahi hain kahin... hindustan mein hamari saltanat mein to hum kitne hi kabootar paalte they !!!!

    aa jao idhar... barish bhi ho rahi hai aaj aur aise mein to chai aur pakode hi zindagi mein khushi laate hain !!!

    @ Sam
    :)

    @ Reeta
    yea... thanks !!!

    ditto @ broccali in Dal :P

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  19. You know what Prashant what i like about your blogs, actually very especially your photography. Well all of them do have a distinct "Prashant" Style, yet are so different each time. They dont really get predictive, which is fun .... may the Pics never fade :

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  20. @ Reema...

    Thank you very much for your kind words !!! I am really glad that you feel that way !

    @ Richa
    :)

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  21. aapki pictures dekh kar har bar man khush ho jata hai. long post. i would have loved it to be longer if there were more pictures.

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  22. Ok u just super depressed me right now with all the beautiful photos.. why shud u hv all the fun :(

    sob sob .. i wanna click tulips too.. mumbai doesnt even have a decent park to click flowers at :((

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  23. @ Rahi
    thank you very much !!!

    There are a few more pictures on my flickr page which you might want to have a look at !

    @ Teekhi Mirchi
    oops ! I am sorry... but then on second thoughts I have fun because I chose to... AFter months of winters (6) and only snow and zero flowers, this trip had to be made !!!

    I think Bombay has a few places where you can click flowers ( and if nothing else, then the flower mandi itself)

    Given a choice, I'd rather be clicking streets in Bombay instead of Tulips in Holland !

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  24. This weekend the draw would be done !!!

    Anyone wants to bribe me?

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  25. Oh, and because I have been commenting too, Do I get a chance to participate in the draw? :P

    who knows its my name that comes out :D

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  26. PB ji, please allow me to be the first one to bribe you. Here is the offer, I shall fly you here to Alberta and take you through the Rocky mountains and the beautiful lakes into British Columbia where you can indulge in th emountains and photograph them to your heart's content!

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  27. Bhai mere... kaise comment karta... page poora load hi nehi ho raha tha! You know "broadband" is a broad term :P

    First... super watermark. More than any photos (most of which I liked), this is the best. I really liked the silhouettes. And the map helped :)

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  28. Heyyy... these monetary bribes cannot be in direct competition with what a gareeb student may want to offer. Pehle is point pe clarify karo. Phir ek strategic bribe offer karenge hum.

    Plus, you are not allowed to be part of the draw. You toh live in these photos!! Allowed nahi hai ji.
    Application status: Rejected.

    :P

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  29. PB:
    Well mumbai aaajao phir aur mujhe wahan bhej do :)

    Flower market doesnt have gardens of flowers where i can take my own sweet time clicking flowers as i want.. its damn good for street though as u must hv seen on my stream..

    but i so wanna click tulips.. my fav flower :(

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  30. India aajao, phir khoob sewa ki jaayegi..is the Post-future bribe enough to fetch me a fotu???

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  31. @ Jas...
    oh my Gawd... I am so tempted to put your name 5 times in the draw :D

    @ Subbu
    oh !!! bhai kuch change lao broadband mein please...

    watermark and editing all thanks to the online Piknik tool in Flickr.... worked very well !

    Map is amazing isn't it :)

    @ Richa
    hmm.... bribe is a bribe is a bribe... give me an offer i can't refuse :D

    i am not allowed? oops... why? achcha theek hai... :)

    @ TeekhiMirchi
    hehehe... zaroor zaroor...

    waise maine apne wahan aane ki baat ki thi :D aapke yahan aane ki nahin :D

    i hope you get to click tulips soon !!! amen !

    @ Vaishali
    hehehe...
    na na post future nahin... :D

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  32. awesome pics! Maza aa gaya. And Yeh new chai wala sign.. sahi.

    But I am sad. Im late & I am not going to get print :(

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  33. Ok! Here is the deal then: I will go to your place and give Raadha a kiss from your side.
    What say?

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  34. @ Paavani
    thanks !!!

    yea, you are a couple of days late in posting a comment ! next time maybe !!!

    @ Richa
    now THAT IS an offer I cannot refuse :)

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  35. To ek photo side se nikaal ke bhej do. Lot mein to nikala nahi mera naam! :-/

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  36. Itna upset hone ki kya baat hai re :) it was supposed to be fun!

    which picture do you want?

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  37. Nah.. I can be a grown-up about this. Meko koi ni chiye. :D

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  38. Awesome pics...... just made my day !! hope to visit this soon........

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  39. Those are some awesome pictures and one loooong post :)

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