my thoughts.....

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My NY Trip - part 2

Two weeks back, I traveled to east coast of USA for the first time during my stay of eight years in the country. I have planned to write my encounters, experiences and perspectives from the tour in multiple episodes. This is the episode number two and from my visit to Niagara Falls

I started on a bus tour to go to Niagara Falls, from Chinatown in NYC. It was a Monday morning around 10 o'clock. My tour guide was a Chinese as it was a bilingual tour in Chinese and English. Majority of the tour group, as expected, was Chinese with few Indians as well. As I had a prejudice about the quality of English the tour guide 'd speak, I was quite indifferent to listen to him when he started speaking and giving an introduction to the tour. He later not only proved me wrong but amused me also by his commendable and entertaining bilingual skill.

Throughout the tour, He 'd first speak in English and immediately translate that in Chinese. Well, That is very normal of a bilingual tour guide. But the most amazing part - I later turned extremely attentive after the initial indifference - is that he translated not only the tour details but also his answers to every question from us, his quick wits, his greetings, his apologies, his passing comments, his requests and anything and everything he expressed in English every time in the same exact fashion. That was very remarkable of him. I was also amused at the purity of his Chinese language as even proper nouns like Niagara were chinesized in the language.

We stopped for our lunch at a chinese buffet in the middle of nowhere, after a long four-hour drive, by 2 o'clock. I hate chinese buffets because I am very allergic to the weird smell that the eye-popping mix of hundreds of meat varieties, umpteen number of fruits and jellies and the half-cooked potatoes create inside the restaurant. The restaurant also reminded me of the ones in India where Omnibuses that I used to go to Chennai from my native place by, 'd stop at midnight in the middle of nowhere for a quick refreshment. They 'd also look similarly unusually crowded, cheap and carry bad food in big quantities. It is obviously a deal between the bus driver and the restaurant owner in both the cases.

After another stretch of four more hours, we reached Niagara Falls by 6 o'clock in the evening. We first went to a place called American Falls where you get to see the top view of Niagara Falls. You are at the same level with the water before it starts dropping down as Niagara Falls. This view is like a compelling teaser of a big entertainer for two reasons. First, You can stretch and look over the fence by the water to get a partial view of the falls. Second, You get to see small but wide drops at the level where you stand. When you realize how beautiful the small drops themselves are and try to imagine what 'd be like to see Niagara itself in the next few moments, You feel totaly excited.

It was also such fun to watch the wind getting drenched in wetness every time it tried to blow past the water. You 'd be enjoying the view and 'd suddenly feel colder as the wind blows. At the blink of an eye, the entire space 'd be mystified and everything in it 'd get wildly drenched in wetness. It was pure fun.

We then walked to the place where the ferry ride to Niagara Falls, dubbed as "Maid of the Mist", starts. Each of us was given a blue-colored poncho before we boarded on. It was a twenty-minute ride. As soon as we were given a go to get in, I galloped and ran into the top deck and grabbed a place to stand by a corner at the front.


Snaps @ Niagara Falls as a YouTube video

As the ferry started, my excitement shifted to top gear. As I was eagerly turning my heads back and forth at both sides to get a glimpse of the falls, a beautiful rainbow on my left side was what my eyes caught first. As the ferry further cruised on, I started seeing the falls on my right hand side first. As few seconds passed by, I started feeling all my senses going numb as the ferry cruised past the falls on my other side too. As few more moments passed by, we were covered by water on all the three sides. During when the ferry had to trace the horse-shoe to come back in the opposite direction, all I could sense was only Niagara. All I could see was the water. All I could hear was the water. All I could feel on my body was the water. All I could breath was the water. I was completely buried under the blinding mists, piercing drizzles and deafening sound of the falls. What an experience it was! As the ferry turned back and when I get to see the rainbow again, I knew how it'd have got formed. Anything that goes near Niagara - be it wind or sunlight or anything earthly - gets shattered and mystified into particles by the sheer power of Niagara. That is how the sunlight should have turned into the rainbow too.

After I got off the ferry, I went and walked up a wooden staircase that took me very close to a corner where Niagara falls. As I took every step on the case and inched closer to the falls, the water falling torrentially like in a tropical storm pushed me back heavier and heavier. I stopped when I was completely soaked and started feeling difficult to breathe, and started walking back. The falls was still not close to me yet but I could not go any closer.

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