In work environments where we have to fight superiors to avail our own annual leave, the concept of an annual international vacation is becoming rarer as we talk. Thankfully, by hook or by crook, we're still managing to see wonderful parts of the world. My week in US seemed like a long time to spend only in California when I booked tickets but I couldn't have been more wrong. The 6 days that we were there, no single day was wasted, every moment used to see something new, experience something we haven't before.
I think one of the most difficult parts of going back home is going to be getting used to houses that don't have huge driveways and backyards opening onto lakes! I could gush for hours about the houses we stayed in, the lovely gorgeous and yet homely spaces, but frankly with the hectic schedules, we barely got much time to just sit back and enjoy them. There was so much to do! N ofcourse believes that in North America, every house has to have atleast 2 dogs...every family member we have been staying with has had atleast a couple.
|My nephew training his horse|
It is a humbling experience living in the Silicon Valley. There is something intangibly exciting about driving through the lanes of Palo Alto or San Jose...addresses we've only seen on the HQ locations of iconic companies like Google, Yahoo, Apple, eBay etc. There is an energy in the place, of new things being done, the next big thing being cracked!
|Stanford - where I should have studied rather than go as a visitor!!|
We spent our first day in Sacramento, walking around the restored old town (which looks like something out of a wild wild west movie). The evening had a part of the gang from Morgan Hill driving in to spend the night ...though we all knew that it wasn't love for us that brought them..it was the promise of the world's most delectable Tandoori Chicken that one of my brothers grills up. The chicken was as mindblowing as promised and the nip in the air couldn't keep us indoors as we sat around the bonfire till late night, doing more tequilla shots than I remember doing in college! AND we all woke up early without a headache...what else can one ask for :)
|Winery in Napa|
You can't go to California and not go to Napa Valley. The vineyards stretching over undulating landscapes was a treat to the eyes but to be honest, it seemed to be more hyped than the experience itself. We did manage to do a wine tasting and then headed straight for an absolutely delicious lunch of burgers, pizzas and some appetizers that we couldn't get enough of. Burgers we had plenty of in our week there...and not so surprisingly, the best burger we had there was from a chain (not unlike McD) called In&Out. The crisp and fresh lettuce added a crunch that set it apart from all else. Must do if you are visiting the west coast.
|The Golden Gate itself|
The other awesome experience we had was when we drove up to Yosemite, home to the granite mountains. We expected it to be a little chilly but we did not expect to drive through snowfall, with snow flakes daintily floating down to earth all around us. The landscape was transformed into a winter wonderland, something out of a fairytale. Snow in October...in California!!! Who would have thought!
|Winter Dreamland at Yosemite|
Our 6 days in US flew by in the blink of an eye. But more than the things we did, I remember the warmth and love we received, how each person made an effort to make us feel special! My brother who has NEVER taken a single day off in the 6 years that he has been with Apple actually took 2 days off just for us! My bhabhis cooked delicious food for us....from Chole Bhature to Thai Curry, from Sticky Meatballs to Mutton Curry, we were spoilt for choice. And at the unearthly hour of 7am when we had to leave for the airport, we had everyone dropping in to say bye...enroute while dropping kids to school, while cycling to work or just out for a jog. BB, I know I probably wasn't as radical and exciting as you pictured me but you all were everything I hoped to find you to be...
A trip that was long overdue and one that will be cherished for a long time. The cold lands of Canada beckoned...but that's another travel diary. Over and out.
|Gold Rush in California|