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Bug bite

Drafted on April 25th

Happy to report that we have been bitten by the travel bug since last Thursday. We drove down to NJ to spend time at our friends’ place soaking in the company of their twin babies, fondly nicknamed as bananas by their feisty big brother. What a thrill to see two bundles – same gender, same upbringing – growing up to be two different individuals purely based on their personalities. On Friday we took a flight to Salt Lake City to visit Sathya, Wini, and Shraddha (my twin and his family). It was a joy to tap dance to the the tune of my little niece, pamper her, and generally get drenched in the cuteness of her antics. On Sunday the four of us took a road trip to Zion National Park in Utah and then headed to the Grand Canyon. A long and tiring day but the sights that awaited us made every second well worth it. We visited the breathtaking canyons on Monday and headed back to Sathya’s place midnight that night where we chilled out for the next couple of days. We are flying back to NJ as I type this post. We will spend some time with the bananas and their big brother before heading home, sweet home, tomorrow.

While we enjoyed the places, it is the people part of the trip that is always an icing on the cake for us. I am glad we got an opportunity to visit our family and friends who are more like family to us. All the more special as Sathya and I celebrate our 36 years of siblingness on Monday.

A much needed rested, relaxing, and refreshing vacation. Now we are ready to take on the full steam ahead.

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Zion national park and Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon is approximately 8 hours from SLC, so it felt like a crime to not visit one of nature’s wonders when it is at arm’s reach. And it was all the more enticing when the 8-hour drive offered the potential to hit other tourist attractions. A perfect opportunity to break our trip into chunks and gather a range of experiences. We decided to hit the Zion national park on our onward journey and Lake Powell on our way back.

The Zion Canyon is formed by the Virgin river. It is a downsized version of the Grand Canyon. We hit the park just before sunset so the rustic canyon was extremely picturesque. We hopped on to the shuttle that took us on a scenic drive, and walked along one of the easier trails at the base of the canyon. On our way back, I overheard a fellow traveller comment, “Oh you should go to the Grand Canyon, you will stop breathing. Makes you realize that there is something or someone more powerful than humans.” Seemed like our plan was validated by someone’s first hand experience!

The drive from Zion to Grand Canyon was eventful. The canyon is in the middle of nowhere with no lights, no exits whatsoever. To add to that one of the highways was closed with no clear detour signs and we had to literally come to a screeching halt to take an about turn. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there were mice, bunnies and moose going about their nightly activities on, ahem, what was suppose to be a highway. Poor da, who was driving with a very sleepy and unhelpful navigator, yours truly. By hook or crook, we reached our hotel, tired and exhausted.

We checked out nice and early the following morning and headed to the canyon. The Grand Canyon is divided into north and south rim. The north rim is closed until May, so our visit was confined to the south rim.

The Grand Canyon is truly grand in every sense of the term. The vastness, the depth, the timelessness, the reddish tan…so surreal although it is as real as only reality can be. You stand there, tinier than the tiniest speck, humbled and in awe of the pyramid structure. There is only one way to be at the Grand Canyon – To. Just. Be. All of life’s quandaries melt away as you take in the sights and marvel at the delicate dance between the forces of nature that defined and continues to define the canyon. The canyon was formed over a span of several years, one flash flood at a time, by the Colorado river. Rocks that are several million years old being carved out and eroded by water, slowly but steadily. Imagine that!

As we stopped at several overlooks to get a different perspective of the canyon from different vantage points, I felt an immense sense of responsibility to do my bit to maintain the fragile balance in the environment and to treat it with care and sanctity.

The one thing that I wish we had done was check out the canyon at sunset and sunrise. The day was hot, so the sun stole some of the thunder from the canyon. A note for next time. As planned, we stopped for a few minutes at lake Powell and the Glen canyon which mesmerized at sunset with their breathtaking views. Even time stood still those few minutes.

All in all a memorable trip.

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Salt Lake City

Drafted on April 25th

Surrounded by snow capped mountains, the beauty of Salt Lake City simply stuns you. You don’t need to drive for hours together to experience what the city has to offer. Just step out of your doorstep, find a spot that is slightly elevated, and lo behold, you are seeing nature at her best. What tranquility! You can spend all day just staring at the mountains.

SLC is known for skiing. I am not a skier but I learnt that the powdery snow at SLC has very little water content, making it ideal for skiing. SLC in general seems to provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities. The roads are bicycle friendly and the public transportation system is the third best in the US.

We chose not to do a bunch of touristy stuff but visited the Olympics museum, which like any other good museum inspired us and left us with goosebumps. The 2002 Winter Olympics was held in Utah, and the museum gave us a glimpse into what goes into the making of an Olympics event. So much of local pride is baked into this global event. Made sense as to why although economically it is not lucrative to host the event, countries vie with each other to proudly own it. A golden opportunity to showcase what your nation can offer to the rest of the world. I loved the narration and captions that supported the pictures and anecdotes in the museum. Truly well written, such elegant prose.

The trip to the museum was the highlight of our vacation for Hari, who later went to the Olympics rink for some skating fun. I am sure there will be a lot of gloating once school reopens – and why not, it’s not everyday that you get to skate in the Olympics rink!

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Hari Katha, Little Moments

Why, of course!

As we were driving back home catching up on the day’s happenings, Hari touched upon the topic of food. He casually mentioned, “I like dhalia at Hayden the most.” By dhalia he meant the broken wheat upma that we make at home, and Hayden is his after school program. I blinked. What? What is this child blabbering? What is the connection between dhalia and Hayden? and how can the words like and dhalia be in the same sentence when it’s coming from Hari because his dislike for dhalia is legendary. So on and so forth wandered my silly mind seriously dissecting that statement for those 20 seconds. “What do you mean dhalia at Hayden?”, I asked scratching my head. “Gotcha! Happy April Fool’s day mommy!”, said the 9 year old prankster naughtiness glinting in his eyes. Foolish me! Totally loved falling for it.

On that note, Happy April Fool’s Day. I sincerely hope you got fooled today!

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