Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Canyons - Day 1 - 15 June 2008

Today was the first day of my guided tour of the Grand Canyons and surrounding areas. Yesterday I had checked into Phoenix, Arizona where I met my tour guide Bruce and fellow Caranavers. We had a meeting late in the evening as we chalked out briefly the dos and the donts of the tour and some other discussions.

So after an early morning breakfast at Double-Tree suites, we set off in a large, air-conditioned coach. Very soon we passed by Camelback mountain - a mountain that resembles a camel that is lying down - and a beautiful town called Scottsdale. We didn't stop at Scottsdale, but we were given a bus tour through its various streets, its river-front - its actually a canal - and its various Art shops. If you are an Art aficionado, there are plenty of shops in Scottsdale that sells art. This region of Arizona is the only place where you also get a lot of Saguaro Cacti plant. Although the place is a dessert, much of it has a lot of greenery, even if the greenery means cacti plants and trees.

We had our first stop at Montezuma Castle. This is a fascinating cliff dwelling where a very ancient Indian tribe used to live. This dwelling is etched in tall mountains and is actually a settlement that spans over six floors! There is no settlement obviously there now as the tribe had fled centuries ago, but the site is now protected and preserved and is a major tourist spot.

Then, we made a brief stop at the Oak Creek village admiring the marvellous rock formations - something that I was to see in abondon over the next one week. Our final stop of the day was in the town of Sedona and we reached here at around 1.00 pm. Lunch was on our own, so I quickly devoured some good lasagna and a sumptuous portion of ice-cream and took a Trolley tour of this quaint little town. Sedona is one of the most beautiful towns I have seen. You'd say its a dessert town, but Sadona has a lot to offer. It's very peaceful here and the main street here gives it a very cultural and festive look, just like Old Town Alexandria in Virgina, but in a very different way. It's a very neat place to lead a retired life, especially if you like playing Golf. People are friendly, good sub-divisions, clean air, hot temperatures but doesn't get too cold in winters....

The Trolley tour took us to a beautiful Church that is etched in large rocks - as if it grew in rocks. There's a Vortex in the vicinity and several in Sedona. Vortexes are places where it is believed there's positive energy to be had and which if you inhale gives you peace and revitalises you. You need to be a believer to derive the so-called benefits of Vortexes. Later that day, we checked in our hotel, Kokopelli Suites in West Sedona.

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