Friday, August 17, 2007

Californian Summer

It's been two and a half years now, and finally, finally I have the mind and the words to write about it. The relavance being that this was my truly first international trip and resparked my travel desires! While the time for a detailed post has long gone by, I make an attempt to recapture the most important moments...

First Impressions...
I had finally set arrived on the promised land, but for some reason I couldnt seem to feel it - feel that I was in America! Belmont, the place where i spent 5 weeks is a quiet village at best, and seemed to be dominated largely by Oracle. And unless one was at the grocery store complex nearby, it was very difficult to see people. I think I missed seeing people around. 5 weeks in Belmont and I realised what a city girl i was!



San Francisco...
A city to fall in love with... and a total opposite to my initial impressions. Dfinitely a city with attitude. The first sight to greet me was a group of musicians performing to the public, kids on skateborads, graffitied walls, and people. The bay, North Beach, the tall buildings, and such different people! Finally, I seemed to have landed at a place which matched my definition of America.

Liberation...
San Francisco has one of the most beautiful bays - ever! The sight of the vast expanse with the sun setting behind the gloden gate ... heavenly! I have never felt more liberated than i did at that moment looking into the open ocean beyond. It is as if the golden gate bridge were indeed a gate which would open any minute to let you into te beckoning ocean - to cut all those chords that bind you, move beyond the sight of land and get lost amongst its soothing waves and spray.



Castro...
The gay area in the gay capital of the world ( or so i was told). Never have I felt more dissappointed to walk into a bar and see such cute guys - every one of them out of reach! For the first time i realised that the thought was more disconcerting than reality itself.

On four wheels...
Driven by a mixture of fear and challenge, I rented a car. And it was one of the most exciting things i did in that one month. Till the last week, i refused to acknowledge the presence of a blind spot. I jumped a red and got loads of honks ( possibly because of the ignorance on blind spots). Ironically i got a ticket for parking in a space meant for a truck!

The explorer...
The whole trip to the US seemed to be a quest to get the 'true feel' of the country and to do something different. Castro and Haight was to see the gay culture and the previously popular hippie destinantion. Big Basin Way, 17 mile drive, Rachos San Antonio were all trips to try out destinations different from those on brochures. I was at the wheel, and Tanu my navigator. It was like living some one else's life everytime we set out, lost our way, used our little knowledge to find our way back. One evening we went to find Big Basin Way and got lost and came upon this quaint diner 'Alice's' set truly 'out of the blue'! The happiness and the kick of having 'discovered' it!



Friends...
As seems to accompany any travel story, a lot of new relationships were struck, old ones tightened and some forgotten ones unearthed. And this was the best part. The trip seemed to set the stage for innumerable shopping trips, ladies nights, dinners, drives and even more trips. The friends friend i imposed myself upon who so kindly took me all around NY and to philly. The friend from my summer classes who housed me for a few days. And not forget long lost school friends and office collegues! For a long time i regretted not making any local fiends, but i think the rest made up for them!


The Lady with the Torch
as I love referring to the statue of liberty. A lady waiting with the book of god and torch to show the way to all those in search of the 'promised land'. I havent seen a monument more appropriate to celebrate a country built on immigrants. And they still continue to pour in, in search of a better world!

Niagara...
A great falls that I refused to be humbled by. I looked at the powerful gush of water surrounding me bliding me with its sheer force. I still remember thinking, "This is nature at its best. I want to be overwhelmed beyond words - but I couldnt!". I suspect that was probably because, Niagara was never the final destination.

Looking back, I think in a way I was afraid I would love the country more than I loved my own. Probably because I see so many of my countrymen who move to the US and actually look down upon the country where they come from. And I was afraid to change into one of them. But then again, every country has a share of people who work that way. And the choice to love and to remember is yours and the land cannot be blamed for that!

2 comments:

Sriram P said...

Good to see a post after such a long time.. Hope to see many more of new adventures

Me said...

Great trip eh? Looking good in pics.