Snow, Choppers, GC and ME!!!!!

"to go or not to go?"...a question that popped up late on friday a'noon...to those ignorant souls...the place in question is none other than the Grand Canyon...more importantly, it is the first place in US of A (other thn mundane Phoenix), where i would kick off my "Glimpses of USA" tour....
and...the DDay was to be Saturday, the Fifteenth day of January in 2005....

now...getting back to the question...an not-so-well-informed soul might well ask.."Why the hell do u have to think abt going to the GC????"...well let me point out, that the GC is the closest "tourist" place to my dear Phoenix...and most of the people have been there atleast a couple of times...
Anyway, after a lot of deliberation and anxious moments...etc..etc...we left at 7 am on Jan-15...picking up gloves at walmart...(it is going to be VERY cold, the stalwarts warned...).
We passed Flagstaff on the way...a little about Flagstaff...its the only ski-ing place in Arizona...thats it...
It had snowed on Tuesday, and the remnants of the snow-fall projected a christmas post-card like quality to the sleepy little town....it was the first time i was seeing snow in person (no one formally introduced us though :D)...with all the excitement of a new-born taking a first peek at the outside world, I watched it...its difficult to explain it, it should be felt...was an exhileration of sorts....a liberation from the sun n sand of phoenix...
and we moved on...
3 hrs and 240 miles later, we were there...well not exactly there...but at the I-Max, abt 10 miles from GC...after a couple of pizza's, we watched a 30-min documentary about the GC...brilliant even to my untrained eyes...

Next came the Helicopter ride...wow!!!!! the thrill of a helicopter ride, coupled with a beautiful lady pilot (do u call them "pilotess"?), was awesome...The first view of the Canyon...it was all sudden...one minute you are flying over some cheap landscape....and before u can blink your eyes, there is a sheer cliff...and the rock is in variuos hues...red, yellow, ochre...and the effect is dramatic...its like a huge fortress...as the chopped hurtles downward...its a feeling of nothingness...after a series of chamak maneouvres, its times to be back...and become an ordinary soul, and start using the asphalted road, instead of the sky...:D
Well, from there, we moved on to the GC National Park (GCNP)...its dotted with tiny trails...each of which leads you to different viewpoints...each more majestic than the other...they are named strangely too...the more famous one..(rather, the only one that I remember..) being Yawapai....
we kept taking the village bus to go from 1 viewpoint to another...and they seem to keep going in circles...the last one that we took, to get back to our cars, passed the same place twice...before getting to our cars...
The final viewpoint was a sunset point, and at this place, you can "Hit two birds with one stone"...i.e. on one side, you can see the colours of the cliff rocks changing as the sun moves...and on the other side you see the sun setting...:D
well, it was getting cold, the temperature was 42 (in Fahrenheit!!!!), and we decided to put our gloves to use...hmmm....there's no word that can describe the feeling of discovering, that the Gloves you had entrusted with the responsibility of keeping your hands warm turn traitors in sub-zero temperatures...written in fine-print, on them were the words "Sports Utility Gloves", which provided good ventilation for the hands, when u r cycling or playing b.ball.....:((((... so with frozen hands and a heavy heart, we trudged back to the warmth of our car...
Next stop was the I-Max again, for Coffee/Hot Chocolate...food, t was decided would be at a place which served something other than PIZZA's...:)) ...there is a National Geographic shop there....we decided to buy some souvenirs...but guess there idea of souvenirs, which is a framed tarantula, or a collection of dead wasps, grasshoppers, dint match ours...so we hastily retreated...
It was 7:30...and the dinner break was supposed to be at 8:30...with the confidence of taking the first Food Exit after 8:30, an arrogance that we paid dearly for, we set off...
the miles were flying, and Flagstaff looked even more beautiful in the night, with twinkling lights....and quaint houses....
and then it was 8:30!!!!!
we took a Food exit, which promised the sight of a Subway (a junk-food chain)...the Subway looked inviting...and the smell of food was intoxicating...we walked into the Subway with the same feeling that Christopher Columbus might have felt when he discovered some goddamn land (Arrogance and relief in that order)...and then cme the blow...like the same CC realizing that it was an illusion...no one was ready to give us food...it was closed....:(...
So hurt n hungry, we started off again...the converstion was subdued, there was food on everybody's mind...not often do you start talking about Idi Amin(Dictator of Uganda) and end up talking about Idiyappam...there were 5 sets of hungry eyes looking at every exit board that went by...and then there was one...Exit 296...our Saviour...it led to the Heavenly gates of Macdonalds...only when we took the exit...did we see the board asking us to take a right and go JUST 15 miles to reach MacD...%$^&*!$...now , we had an important decision to make...what if the MacD is closed...30 miles on a hungry stomach is no joke...so back to I40...and this time we were silent...till Exit 266, that is....a huge board...showing MacD, Subway, Burger King, etc,etc popped up...hungry, but a little cautious nevertheless, we took the exit...and then it was all a blur...the subway being open, the beautiful lady there preparing a "veggie delite", hogging it, all happened without any knowledge....
well...the situation had reversed now...we would start talking about Idiyappam and end up talking about Idi Amin...:DDD
Then on time just flew, me and the driver aiming to reach home by 11:45, while our opponents, warning us of tickets, cops, etc,etc....
Finally, we reached Phoenix at 12...and home at 12:30...

Well...thats it...an eventful day indeed, and my first visit to a "Wonder of the World"...my first Chopper ride...my first close encounter with Snow...
a Day of Firsts indeed...:D

1 comment:

Sachin said...

Lo, buy an apple and bite it ... numag yaako hing kachtya?