A memorable holiday

Travel tales

A memorable holiday

A plan on paper to enjoy a vacation in the United States of America finally materialised on September 9, 2015. It was family bonding for a month, as I spent quality time with my husband Prasanna and we stayed at our aunt’s place there.

I travelled to New Jersey, on the East Coast of the USA, with my mother and my 10-month-old baby Mayukh. We hadn’t told my aunt that we were coming and she was thrilled by our surprise visit. We kickstarted our trip by watching Serena Williams’s game at the US Open.

Watching a Grand Slam was always my dream as I am a tennis player. I was glad that this one is off my bucket-list. The massive stadium, high-octane energy, Serena’s pulsating game and the electric atmosphere made my day.

The next day, we went to Bushkill falls; a beautiful, scenic picnic spot. It was two hours away from my aunt’s house. We headed to a long branch beach to watch the sunrise and it was a beautiful drive.

My husband then joined us at New Jersey. We made our way through the New York skyline, The Arthur Ashe Stadium and passed through huge bridges and flyovers. Talk about infrastructure and US is the place. We saw mighty buildings standing tall in all their grandeur.

Times Square, Rockefeller Centre, Fifth Avenue, Central Library, Central Grand Station and St Patrick’s Cathedral are a few places that we visited. Each one had its own story to tell. We took an audio tour guide in and out of Central Library. The Central Grand Station is aesthetically designed in contrast to the Indian railway stations.

The next day, my husband and I boarded the flight to the West Coast and left my baby under the watchful eyes of mom and aunt. We made a three-day-trip to the Great Grand Canyon and fabulous Las Vegas in Nevada. We hired a rental car at the Las Vegas airport and headed straight to the Grand Canyon.

It was a 4-hour-drive and a very magical one. The Canyon is a natural wonder. The first glimpse was an unforgettable experience. We saw the Colorado river making its way through the magnificent Canyon. We spent the next five hours walking on the trail in the South Rim and viewing the Canyon from different spots marked for tourists.  There are also buses from one point to another.

We ended our trail at the sunset point and boarded the bus back. We stopped at a place called Flagstaff for the night and headed back to Vegas in our rental car.

We stopped by the famous Hoover dam. A gigantic man- made structure in the desert backdrop of Nevada state, it is a must stop for tourists. The view from atop the bridge constructed near the dam is mindblowing. After the brief stopover, we continued and reached the fabulous Las Vegas.

Apart from being blown away, the first thought that crossed my mind when I first caught a glimpse of the city was that how could something be so unreal and real at the same time. It is an epitome of the materialistic, man-made world. We first headed to the ‘pawn stars’ shop. It’s my favourite show in the History channel, though to my bemusement, we didn’t find the characters of the show at the shop. We had a good look at the antiques and headed to the Las Vegas strip.

This is the central tourist attraction. It is a fantasy world. The casinos, the lights, the glass walkways, the displays, the glitz and glam kept us going till 1 am in the night. We walked from one casino to another, trying our luck.

Each casino is built with a theme. For instance, there is an Egyptian theme with their building in pyramid shape and a Paris theme with the Eiffel Tower. Standing in front of Bellagio casino, holding hands, we exactly felt like George Clooney and Julia Roberts in the movie Oceans Eleven!

The next morning we headed back to New jersey and spent the next couple of days there. Then my husband left for India and I stayed back for another 10 days. My aunt and uncle took me to Long Wood Gardens in Pennsylvania. A botanical garden spread through acres of land, it has exotic flowers that are a visual treat.

We went in the bus to New York and then took the subway to hop from one place to another. We also hired cycles available at every station and went cycling in Central Park. My cousin also took me to the local restaurants of New York.

I enjoyed shopping, trying out different eateries and enjoyed quality family time with everyone. It was time to wrap up our month-long vacation. I returned to India with my baby and some good memories.

The author can be reached at shapranbhat@gmail.com

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