We
were done with our 7th Std Half yearly Exams and our teacher was giving out the answer sheets and
calling out our marks. It was my favorite subject- Geography! I had scored
98/100 and quite kicked about it.  Went
home and showed it off to mom & dad. Now this is the part where I don’t
really remember specifics. All I know is that I had received a postcard of The
Grand Canyon courtesy my uncle who had recently visited the place. The next day
I took the postcard to school to show it to my classmates and Geography
teacher. Well, what do you know, she not only envied me for receiving one all
the way from across the globe, but also gave me extra 2 marks, thereby making
my total 100/100. Imagine my joy and happiness? Yep, I was over the moon.
And
that is when I started dreaming of the day I would get to visit The Grand
Canyon and walk around it… Little did I know it would happen a few decades
later and I would be there on my own, taking it all in. J
When
I began planning my USA trip, I was fighting quite a few battles in my head-
where all should I visit, what all should I do, what were the places I MUST
visit and what were the others that were ok to SKIP. The one place that sat
right on top of the list was…. no prizes for guessing- The Grand Canyon. Everything else could wait!
From
LA, I booked myself on a bus tour that would take me to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon,
Horseshoe bend and back to LA in 3days. 
Now even though Vegas wasn’t really on my list, I decided to just go
with the flow and enjoy it. The bus guide gave us two options with ref to The
Grand Canyon- we could go to the South rim [Entry fee of $30- 5hours from
Vegas; offered panoramic views, unending vistas and a chance to walk around as
much as we wanted] or West rim [entry fee- $90, 3hours from Vegas; no cameras
or phones allowed. Visitors could walk on the skywalk [those fiber glass
flooring where you can see below your feet @ $25 and collect photos clicked by
the staff at the spot @ $30 a piece]. I instantly picked the South rim and no
regrets! Infact, nearly 90% of the bus chose the West rim and the next day when
we exchanged notes, they weren’t too happy about the visit, yes the view was
beautiful, and it was a fun experience, but they felt the fee was too high and
it was over hyped.
On
the 2nd day morning, we left around 5.30am, and most of the way I
slept, except for the times when the bus stopped for breakfast run and pit stop.
We were about 10 of us in the van, from various corners of the globe. There was
a monk from Cambodia, a guy whose friends were sloshed and hung over in their
room with this guy out alone with us [from Thailand] and then there was a team
of 4 from UK & Europe. There was also a couple [slightly weird. I say weird
cos the girl was unwell and slept in the first seat while the guy sat next to the
driver and yapped away nonstop in Mandarin-to a point where I had to ask them
to shut it]
By
11ish we had reached the parking lot of The Grand Canyon and the driver told us
from here it was a short walk to the viewing spot and we could walk left &
right and beyond… Told us to be careful of monkeys and squirrels that would
come begging for food and slippery slopes. We got out of the bus and were
slapped by cold crazy winds…Oh yes, it was cold and windy alright and most of
us had on just one jacket. Who knew it was going to be this wild!
I
loved the chill and the wind, but had to walk slowly as it would otherwise blow
me off. Within half a km I spotted The Grand Canyon stretch in front of my
eyes. That is all I remember. Few hours later I had to drag myself away from
this natural beauty, back to the bus else I might get left behind.
Words
fail me whenever I try to explain what the place was like or how I felt.. It
was magical. Yes, I do agree it was just endless stretches of mountains with
the river flowing between it, but still it was WOW. I couldn’t believe I was
actually there. Here it is, The Grand Canyon in all its glory.