A 5th Anniversary Getaway To The USA
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and as usual, I was flipping through the channels aimlessly and that’s when my dear wifey floated her long-planned idea of a foreign getaway. Frankly, it was not a bad idea at all looking at the conditions at work, and I swiftly agreed. I have always been very intrigued by the United States, thanks to the overdose of Hollywood movies and series I have watched over the years. Our 5th marriage anniversary was around the corner and had a big fat bonus from work, so thought, what the heck!! Let’s get the ball rolling.
After researching a lot about the visa rules and application processes, ESTA online application was my top pick as it is so convenient and hassle-free. I was very wary of the visa processing because it generally involves a lot of mental and physical work to get the paperwork right, visa interview, et cetera. But I was really impressed by the ease of functioning of the USA e-visa program. It was fast, seamless and reliable.
All you have to do is visit e-visums.co.uk, complete the application, make the payment. Sit back and relax. You get your visa delivered within 24 hours, without fail. Too good to be true, right! So, that was that and before we knew it, we were walking through the jet way at JFK airport. Dreams do come true.
She had drawn up an elaborate travel plan, most of which comprised of cosy beaches, nights by fireplaces, romantic dinners and site seeing. Our first stop was Santa Barbara which is all about sexy beaches, shopping at the State Street, fine dining at the city restaurants. There are art museums too but I am not a sucker for museums, so let it slip.
Martha’s Vineyard is an island in Massachusetts that is meant for romantic travels. Lighthouses by the beaches, quiet romantic beaches with all the peace and privacy you need, local cuisines and alcohol, your better half with you, what else does a man need. If you love seafood like us, St. Augustine is your place. Antique shops, cobblestone-lined streets and the historic St. Augustine lighthouse. And then there are the beaches, again. We spent the next day wandering in Miami trying cigars and spending time with the locals.
If you are a fan of Matthew McConaughey, you must have watched his Oscar-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club and dreamt of visiting Dallas someday. Well, I did. Cowboy concept has always fascinated me and it was time to see for real in Texas. My wife hated the plan of stopping by Texas but I was too adamant to let it go. The cowboy getup, the hat, the river walks, the Lady Bird Lake hike, visiting the Ranch, JFK Assassination and museum tour and to top it all, National Space Agency’s space center sightseeing tour, I was not ready to lose these all. I loved every bit of the countryside.
Next stop was Silicon Valley, time for friends and family. It was a week full of attending invitations of relatives and friends staying in the US and working in the Silicon Valley, California. A college friend of mine took us to the race course, an NFL game and wait for it, a Floyd Mayweather match. That was another item ticked off from the bucket list. We visited the Steve Jobs auditorium and it is an engineering marvel. He took us for a spin on some luxury high-end cars in California and I was thrilled beyond imagination. It was one of those moments when you decide for a minute that you are going to lead rest of your life here in the states and then you are pulled back to reality.
Last two weekdays of that week was for my wife to fulfill her childhood dream. You guessed it right, Disneyland. Your California trip is incomplete without visiting Disneyland. Honestly, I was not very thrilled about the idea of Disneyland thinking it of being about cartoon characters only but I was equally amused when I found the science fiction section. There was Hulk, Thor, Batman, Spidey, Captain, everyone. Made my day.
You have committed a sin if you have visited the United States and have not been to the sin city itself. It was a Vegas weekend baby. We drove down to Vegas in a rented car on Friday night and it was better than how I imagined it would be. The weekend was all about booze and bets. We were running from one casino to another and it was exactly like the Hollywood movies I have grown up watching. The boat cruises were truly amazing. You have to experience it yourself to know the feeling, whatever I write here won’t do.
We were so wasted after a point. I don’t remember a thing. Even if I did, I could not tell you because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Next morning we went on a romantic road trip to the Hoover Dam, an arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River. It is in the Black Canyon Region and it was truly spectacular. Previously known as Boulder Dam. it has its own fair share of historical importance being named after an ex-US President. Our next and last stop on the trip was my childhood dream destination.
Grand Canyon was where I was completely sold. Boy oh boy, was I high!! The view was breathtakingly beautiful and the atmosphere was hauntingly surreal. I could just sit there and gaze at the endless sky all day long. We lay down hand in hand on those rocks for hours and decided to do nothing else that afternoon. It was a day I’ll cherish all my life.
Just like that, our romantic escape was over and our bags were packed again for the early morning flight to New Delhi, India via Paris. It was time to get back to the grind. I am writing this on another lazy Sunday afternoon after we went through all the photographs taken during the trip. It was long. costly and a little hectic but truly worth every bit of it.