The irregularity in my postings continues. I promise I will try to be a bit more regular with them from now on.
Getting back to the Grand Canyon - which was ages ago, and I pretty much have forgotten most of it. As I was saying I parked my car and caught the shuttle buses which run in loops at the Village to get to the various points on the Grand Canyon. This is the suggested approach, as you don’t have to drive around. I caught the sunset at Mohave Point which was not so exciting just because of the awesomeness of the Canyon. Once this was done I decided to head back to my car in the night. The shuttles (first the Red, then the blue) took me through the GC Village where looking at all the lodges, I thought that it may be really cool to spend a couple of nights here (maybe with the wife!!!). I reached Mather point and I had to wait for the bus running the Kaibab Route (Green) to take me back to my car, but looking at the maps I saw that there was no bus along this route after nightfall. This was the worst part – I had to walk the remaining 2 miles to my car on the Rim Walk, with just my iPhone lending me the light, and one wrong step would have pretty much pushed me over the rim of the canyon. Not at all suggested to anyone, especially when it is 40F out (damn you Rachel…wrong info!!!). I did reach my car finally, but I don’t think I would be doing that again.
Also, most of the GC in the night is unlighted, so I would suggest getting a flashlight especially for situations like this. Even the parking at Mather Point is dark!
The ride to Flagstaff was quite uneventful, except for my car not handling properly at all, which scared me no end. I ended up at the Dubeau Hostel at around 10pm. My stay here was quite short, but the hostel was pretty neat. The charge was very reasonable at 20 USD, and it has quite a few restaurants and bars around. I slept like a log that night after a quick bite.
The next day morning was a quick grab at breakfast before heading to Sedona. It is a brilliant drive with twisting highways on hills along the around 1 hour drive to Sedona. This is a sleepy little town, but has a beautiful view of the Red Rocks around. I would suggest at least 2 days here on a relaxing vacation just to get a feel of the vibrancy of Sedona. The only suggestion which I did and you have to is the ‘Pink Jeep Tour’. They are a bit expensive – around 80USD, but it is absolutely worth it. I did the Broken Arrow tour and it took us over the rocks on an off road trail. This was my first experience at sitting in one of these vehicles, and I was astounded (Thank you Ben and Rachel). I had looked at most of these rocks from Sedona and driving up to them was something else. Our guide was very informative and she clicked a couple of photos for all of us which were some of the best I have ever been in.
Also, we saw the Snoopy formation, and it was something else. Having my fill of Sedona I decided to head off back to Chandler, with a short stop at one of the Vortexes which is also something you need to see when in Sedona. I was not able to hike to them, but it seems they are like these oval formations in the rock, which are supposed to be spiritual.
I reached Chandler in the evening, and hung out with Rachel for a while. Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant which was the best Mexican I have eaten, and frankly I am not a big fan of this cuisine. Arizona being close to the Mexican border has a pretty authentic Mexican taste. I had to return my rental car at the Phoenix airport, and this took a pretty long time. The rental offices are not in the Phoenix airport, but quite a distance away. My advice to you, if you are returning the car here - map it to the exact office address and not the airport as this is a distance away.
Rachel was initially planning of taking me and two of her friends to Scottsdale, but we ended up at Mill Avenue in Tempe, which was pretty cool. It has the baseball stadium built in sort of a rock and the nightlife is nice. I enjoyed my night and pretty much drank a lot. I don’t think I have gulped down so many rum and cokes in such a short time.
We returned back and I was off to sleep in my bed. The next day was one of the best I have had in my life. It started off by going with Rachel and her parents to the movie - ‘The Perfect Getaway’, which surprisingly turned out to be a good movie. After this me and Rachel headed out to Old Town Scottsdale, where I had a look around, bought a dream catcher (a Mexican thing – look it up, it is sort of an handicraft with a meaning behind it), learnt about Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) from Rachel and it inspired me enough to get a small skull (who has been christened as Tequila and hangs on my desk at office!).
The only item which I wanted to buy was the poncho, but I thought against it as I had Mexico to visit in the near future anyway.
We headed back home where Rachel’s Dad had a Steak Barbeque going on.This was the best steak I have ever tasted, followed by bananas with chocolate filled in them also grilled on the same grill. This is an unbeatable dessert, and my mouth still waters thinking about it.
After this Rachel, her dad, me and Bean (her dog – a cute bugger) went off to feed ducks and grab a cup of coffee. Finally it was time to pack and head off to the airport. I bid my sad goodbyes to Rachel before making my way to the airport to scan my boarding pass on my mobile (I will keep repeating this, as this is one of the coolest technologies ever – mobile boarding passes!!!)
As my flight took off I contemplated on what has been an amazing amazing journey. More than that it was more about bonding with Rachel, who I never had spent a lot of time with although we did get along famously well. Also, the trouble she took to show me around, guide me was so awesome that whenever I think back to it – it will bring a smile to my face, and a tear to my eye that this trip did not last for ever.
Anyway I should be seeing her next year in Europe and I am looking forward to that. It’s a small world baby, and for me it’s getting even smaller!
Arizona – if you have a friend or not should be visited by everyone. The Grand Canyon without saying is a place you have to see before you die, but even Sedona, The Painted Desert (which I missed), or even the drive is what memories are made of.
Remember, don’t speed a lot on the interstates – the speed limits are high, but rather than cops there are a lot more cameras, so the speeding ticket comes directly home :)
I still have more to write, but I will break this post into another. Chao!!!