Earlier this month, I took my parents to see the Niagara Falls
and they were overwhelmed by the experience. This was, of course, the desired effect, but at the same time it also posed the challenge of showing them something more overwhelming afterwards, something so massive that it would dwarf the Niagara Falls in comparison. There must be many such places in the United States, but I had been to only one of them. That is how we came to decide on a trip to the Grand Canyon.
A trip to the Grand Canyon is easier said than done. We started off by travelling to Philadelphia one afternoon with the intention of catching our flight to Las Vegas from there. The plane arrived on time, but then, the boarding process was stopped due to some technical safety problem. Our flight would not leave without fixing it.
Everyone was worried. Were the engines malfunctioning? Had the wings developed cracks? Was the cabin losing pressure? No, the crew explained. It was the megaphone that had stopped working, and we could not fly until that was fixed. Minutes turned to hours as we were informed that the airline had given up trying to fix the thing and was now trying to buy a new megaphone from another airline. Then we were informed that there were a lot of government paperwork involved in such a transaction and so there would be further delays. Finally, more than three hours after the scheduled time, our plane started on its westward journey. With the megaphone. So much for a thing that I never even knew existed on aeroplanes.
This was my fourth trip to Las Vegas in the last four years, and I will not write again about my second most familiar city in the US since I have written
about it before
. We did see some beautiful hotels all day the next day, but the fun part of our week-long trip started on the day after that. That was the day when I rented a car from the airport and drove 273 miles east and 5000 feet up to the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We reached nicely in time to check into the Yavapai Lodge inside the national park, have an early dinner and also go and see a sunset.
In the course of the next two days, we saw one more sunset and two sunrises. I have described
the Grand Canyon earlier too, and I will only reiterate what I said before: the sunrises and sunsets of the Grand Canyon are best enjoyed at a quiet spot. Also, the rim is highly convoluted, and therefore no two points offer the exact same view.
The evenings in the Grand Canyon National Park are quiet and dark, and a flashlight was essential for our walk back to the hotel. We encountered deer, but didn't see any elks like I did last time. There were a few more differences from the last time. This time the days were longer and hotter, and I slept in a hotel room instead of a tent. This time, I did not hike down into the canyon, but I did visit many more viewpoints on the rim. The nights were star-filled like the last time, although there were a few clouds on the second night that somewhat obscured the view. With erratic phone signal and 4G barely available at times, these two days we felt truly away from the rest of the world.
Of course, the biggest difference for me was the presence of my parents with me. I have wished for this day since I first visited the place in 2009, and finally it happened.
On the third day, we checked out of our lodge in the morning and after a four-and-half hour long drive through the desert, we were back in the middle of civilization again. This time we checked into another hotel and spent the next three days exploring Las Vegas. Three days later, we flew back to Philadelphia and then took four different trains back to my apartment in Newark.
This time, thankfully, the megaphone worked without a hitch.