Thursday, June 21, 2007

American discoveries - NPR

NPR is one of the more refreshing surprises in a country where politics, world affairs, religion, trade, foreign policy & such generate little conversation. Or, so has been my limited experience. To start with, my feeling was that, particularly in today's times, Americans will find most of these topics embarrassing, & they're just being guarded in my presence. My slow but increasing familiarity with the American people now make me think that they have no qualms about telling a good story, whether replete with or bereft of embarrassing nuances. In fact, unequivocally, Americans love to talk.

And so there is NPR. Personally, at a broad level, what I find really engaging about NPR is its complete lack of regionalism. Though American, & always covering what is happening in the US, the station does not miss out on anything of any significance on the world stage & generates ample quality discussions about even non-standard news content like science & technology. The quality of the moderators in all NPR discussions is exemplary, & the degree of its audience's engagement is usually intense.

NPR is my cup of morning tea. Sometimes, I wish my 10 minute commute to office was longer.

You can find your local NPR station here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

American discoveries - Microbrews

The world experienced through the World Wide Web is a place of diminishing wonders. Especially in the IT industry, there is no dearth of people who have experienced this country in many ways over varying degrees of time span & directness of experience. I've been to this country thrice before, & yet, it is this time, now that I've spent months living in this country, that I've discovered aspects of it that nobody ever told me about or I previously had no knowledge of.

I reckon we can safely say that Americans love beer. Whether in college, or in a corporate get-together, beer is consumed heartily. Microbrews, however, give a whole new meaning to the rather commonplace understanding that beer is a barley based alcoholic beverage which comes bottled from faraway places.

In the Microbreweries that I've been to, beer is a seasonal drink continuously in flux. There is the ale, & there is the lager. There are the stout beers, & there are the crisp & bright yellow of the weizen beers. Microbreweries are one of the most popular places to socialize, & of the many ways to spend a great evening with friends.

So the next time you're in the US, make sure that you visit your local microbrewery. And if your local brewery brews the Hefeweizen, take my word & place an order. A great place to drink the Hefeweizen in Washington DC is Gordon Biersch. If Nazi Germany had a misplaced sense of superiority, it might have sprung from the quality of their own Bavarian brew.