A grand surprise

A grand surprise

Travel tales

A grand surprise

It was a day that I had always dreamt of and now it was coming true. I was finally going to see that natural wonder called Grand Canyon in the United States of America! I couldn’t hide my excitement. There was so much to explore!

We took a one month trip to the USA and travelled to Dallas. From Dallas, we went to Los Angeles. In LA, we saw tourist hotspots like Universal Studios, Disney World and a National Park. We signed up for a ten-day package tour and Grand Canyon was part of it.

We took a tour bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona. All along, the guide narrated to us the history of Grand Canyon, and all we had to do was sit back, relax and listen. Grand Canyon has four Rims — North, South, East and West — but we opted for the South Rim not only for its beautiful view, but also for the number of services and family-oriented activities it has to offer. Open all year round, South Rim is situated at 7,000 feet above sea level.

We reached the visitors’ centre of Grand Canyon National Park and the first thing we did was enter the IMAX to watch the award-winning film ‘Grand Canyon — The Hidden Secrets’. The movie gives one a clear picture of the history of Grand Canyon. It has been running for years and watching it on the big screen was the experience of a lifetime.

Grand Canyon also offered many family-oriented programmes such as a helicopter ride, river rafting and trekking. However, I didn’t take up any of it as I was not part of the package tour.

After watching the movie, we went to ‘Explorers Cafe’, a small cafe, to relish the food. We enjoyed the flavoursome Asian Rice Bowl with lots of chicken. After the nice meal, it was time for some shopping. We went to the National Geographic store, which sells Native American art and craft and were also given some free gifts, including the National Park Guide and Map. We bought many mementos that had the title — ‘The Grand Canyon’  — on them. 

We finally headed towards the viewpoint — something that we all were waiting for. The view of the Grand Canyon was simply spectacular and moved me into tears. It was like a beautiful painting on the walls of nature. We took a moment to remember Stephen Tync Mather, who laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its area shall be developed and conserved for future generations.

It was a very beautiful place but extremely hot as Nevada is a desert. However, I enjoyed my trip. While returning to Las Vegas, we stopped at Hoover Dam, which is also known as Boulder Dam, for about ten minutes. The Hoover Dam is constructed over Colorado River on the border of Arizona and Nevada and was built during The Great Depression of the 1930s. After this really refreshing stop, we returned to Las Vegas. It was an evening stop and I went to a casino.

I felt like a school girl who was being taken on a trip to a casino. I also saw a small fire show and entered a street where people were singing and dancing. Even now, I can’t help wonder how lucky I have been to have visited this marvellous place.
Shefali Seetharama Konaje
(The author can be reached at shefaliseetharam13@gmail.com)