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Friday, July 11, 2008

Travelogue: Niagara trip and NYC

They say that we all need to separate ourselves from our comfort zone and go to new places and be open to influence, to change. It also helps us to see the world and the self in a different perspective. When I was leaving Boston and everything that I consider important to me, I was not aware that I'd see the trip in this light.

Four days filled with travel and fun - it was a kaleidoscope of activities which I can write a book on, if I mention just the highlights. I will try to shoehorn some snapshots here and I hope you feel a little of what and how I experienced.

Day 0, Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008; Destination New York City

My backpack was stuffed with random assortment of clothes- mostly casuals. It was a last minute confirmation from Sejuti that we were going to NYC this weekend for our Niagara trip. I would have chickened out thinking of the to-do list I had, but she got my tickets without arguing with me. (Good girl) When someone is so gung-ho about it, you tend to catch it too.

So, after my class in the evening, I met Sejuti and one of her friends at South Station, where we took the 9 pm bus to NYC. The journey was uneventful, except for a guy sitting right behind our seat, who kept singing through the whole journey and I suspect he had serious vocal problems and misconceptions about his singing skills. But then, we were quits. If you have sat next to three chirpy girls going out on a vacation- you'll know what I mean.

It was 1:30 am when we reached NYC and it took us a few minutes to reach RC's place at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. We chatted till 3:30 in the morning and when Seju said : 'I'm not sleeping, I need to close my eyes- they are burning.' we decided to call it a day.

Day 1 Thursday July 3rd, 2008; Corning Glass Museum and Maid of the Mist

At 6 am, three alarm clocks buzzed one after the other. And RC was right, I heard the most irritating alarm clock of my life where the radio starts automatically. By the time we got ready, the others joined in. I had met ADB before, Adak and Sayantan (nick:Gere) were new acquaintances. When RC took a fancy for his iPod and decided to upload some songs, we (the girls ) started whining about how we would miss the bus at 8 am.

RC had told us that it takes an hour to reach Canal Street from Battery Place- which was of course a lie- to get us ready early. ADB tried to pacify us by saying that it takes only 5-10 minutes. When we screamed about RC being a liar, ADB added: '...if you have to wait for the subway- it might take an hour.' Lesson#1 Never trust a guy. Lesson#2 Never trust a guy who vouches for another guy.

It took us a while to get to Canal Street anyways, we kept messing up the subway trains and the platforms. Finally, when we reached, Seju's friends from her undergrad days- Kinjal and Arun had reached from Brooklyn(which was further) before us.

We occupied the seats in the following order: ADB-RC, Sayantan-Adak, Sejuti-me, Arun-Kinjal. Not that it had any particular significance, now that everyone knows who put the sticker on Adak's hair before it ended up on RC's back. Unfortunately, when we were at Corning Glass Museum and I tried to put a sticker the tour guide had handed me- Seju freaked out thinking I was up to my nasty tricks again. :D



The Glass museum was beautiful for those who love work of art in.. well.. glass. At that moment, however, I was more interested in reaching Niagara. (Another of my faults- I think of the destination and forget to enjoy the journey)

But Niagara didn't disappoint me. The mist rising from the falling water could be seen from miles away. The still river suddenly gains momentum and runs like crazy. And you begin to feel the thrill in your veins, waiting to see how the plunge is. I don't know anything less than spectacular to describe what I saw.




We took the Maid of the Mist ferry ride to the falls, draped in Blue.


When we got back after our dinner at an Indian restaurant - the vision had changed. Niagara was an enigmatic woman by the night.



Day 2 Friday July 4th, 2008; Cave of the winds and 4th July Fireworks at NYC
From here, I can stop using words and make it a photo blog instead, but if Maid of the Mist allured my sense of sight the previous day, Cave of the Winds touched me. We splashed in the waterfall and were drenched from head to toe.


Soon, we started our journey back to NYC, just in time to catch the 4th July fireworks, celebrating American Independence.



Day 3 Saturday July 5th, 2008; Century 21 , Central Park, Angon and Tonic

Try cooking egg curry with paanch-phoron. These guys need help, lot of help. When I asked: 'What spices do you have?' RC promptly replied : 'Jeera (cumin)' and handed me Paanch phoron. His argument probably was that cumin is one of the five ingredients of Paanch phoron. However, he challenged my culinary skills by stating: Radhuni bhalo hole - ghore ja aache ta diye e ranna korte paare ( A skilled cook can concoct something with what is available in the house.)
Izzat ka sawal tha !

After lunch, and with a 'different' taste in mouth, we set out to shop at Forever 21. The only thing remarkable about it was the fitting room alley- they saved tons of money with curtains that don't cover you. I guess it was exactly when I decided to start gymming.

We roamed about in Central Park then, before dining at Angon. The food was good. I specially liked the traditional kurtas worn by the guys serving us.

I was tired and reluctant to head for Tonic by the time we got back. But a quick shower woke me up and Times Square was a visual treat at night. But the crowd was a bit pushy that night. Seju slapped a chap who was being obnoxious. When we were about to leave, someone tried to pick me so I told him: 'I'm sorry -I'm with my BF.' and hugged RC. You should have seen his face when he said : Oh I am sorry! I didn't know.' I have said weirder things actually. Once, on Seju's birthday in a pub it was: 'Sorry, my girlfriend wouldn't like it.' :D

At 6 in the morning, when we were sitting by the Hudson bay, Adak was almost on the verge of tears, pleading: Aebaar bari chol, bhishon ghum pacche. (Let's go home now, I am feeling very sleepy.)

Day 4 Sunday, July 6th, 2008; Back to Boston

Sunday went by in a blur. Seju cooked aloo-posto. And we waited in the longest queue ever to get our bus tickets to Boston. While we waited, I showed Adak my book and let him read a few side notes I had written for myself in the author's copy. RC tried to peep in, but I didn't let him- lest he should make fun. His victim was Adak then: 'Can he read English???' We laughed aloud and soon it was time to bid them goodbye.

I am bad at saying it so I never try. When we were about to board the bus, the guy at the door asked me what if there was a seat available only for one? I smiled: 'I couldn't leave her (looking at Seju) behind, so I guess I'd wait for the next bus.'

I knew I'd be glad to be home- but I'd miss NYC. Strange, eh?

14 comments:

Ann said...

Awesome photographs! Please keep up the good post!

passer by said...

seems the stuff at glass museum have not changed..

but the photographer is better..and that goes beyond being a good subject of photography..:)

ILA said...

Quite impressive pics. wht camera is that?

Aparna Kar said...

@ila
Both Sayantan and I have Canon PowerShot SX100IS 8MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom. I don't know about Arun's Camera though.

Aparna Kar said...

@passer by
Am I supposed to blush at that? :P

Aparna Kar said...

@Ann
Sayantan is a genius with a digital lens, you wouldn't believe some of the pictures he took.

Alok said...

Wow !! wonderful photographs, and what I see you had a blasting trip :)

Keep rocking

Pilot-Pooja said...

Hey Blogging Queen,

Amazing pics..seems you had real fun with ur frds..!

Cheers
`Pooja

saikat said...

amazing pics...nice post....seems u had a whale of a time...enjooooooooooooy :D

Munmun said...

Cool, yeah Niagara is good, just went there last month ...
By the way, I suppose it's "Niagara" ... :)

paromita said...

luvly pics...seems u hav enjoyed a lot :)...hav fun...tk cr...luv ya

dolby said...

Can i have the full resolution photo of the rainbow one? will be happy to receive it in my gmail.

Sam said...

nice clicks!! hope to visit those spots someday!!

Known Stranger said...

If the photos were taken by you - amazing.