Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Canyons - Day 2 - 16 June 2008

Breakfast at Kokopelli suites, Sadona, was a dissappointment. They were quickly out of bananas, milk was over too and we had to do the refill ourselves, the hotel staff couldn't care less, no tea bags in my room, Rusimama tried calling from Detroit at 7.00 am but couldn't get through - a luxury hotel where phones don't work is nothing short of a disaster in my books - the breakfast area wasn't well - maintained either.

Anyways, we were soon in our bus and driving through the Oak Creek Canyon where rock formations were different from what we saw earlier. Americans take their tourism very seriously and go to great lengths to make us feel comfortable. They can also be very creative when it comes to promoting tourism. For instance, they give names to rock formations in the Canyon area that resemble - albeit coincidentally. So rock formations in Oak Creek Canyon, for instance, resemble tea pot, coffee pot, submarine, snoopy dog (in Sedona), and many more! We were now passing through the magnificent Tundra region and the drive through the Alpine country side is magnificent.

We soon reached the Grand Canyon and the first stop there was a helicopter ride. This was my life's most amazing moment. It was my first time ever in a helicopter. At first it looked like a really tall roller-coaster ride, but I soon settled down. It took us around 15 minutes to reach the Canyon valley, but once there, it looked like heaven. It's whole different experience to view the Canyons from up above and looking straight down at the Canyon's base, as compared to watching it from the Rim. The ride lasted about 45 mins, but i felt it got over fast - mainly because I loved it so much - but also because we 'wasted' around 15 minutes reaching the valley and also on our way back spent some time over the forest area. We were asked to wear headphones where we can hear the pilot speak and we can also ask questions. Headphones are necessary to blank out the propeller's noise. AWESOME experience.

Then, along with my new friends Barbara Lyons and Mary O'brian, I watched an Imax movie on the Grand Canyon and its early explorers. The IMAX screen was much smaller than I had expected and unlike the Bombay's Wadala Imax, it didn't give me the feeling that I am 'out there'. Yet, it was a fitting close to a fantastic helicopter experience. There are few village bus shuttle services that takes us to the various parts of the Canyon village, so we boarded one such shuttle that took us inside the Grand Canyon Village. Fortunately, our hotel Maswik Lodge, was inside the village. If you want to enjoy any of these canyons, always opt for hotels that are inside the canyon village area - that's always where the crux of the action lie. I rounded my day taking a 2-mile walk to the sunset point and spent quality time watching and enjoying the sun-kissed canyon range. The grand canyon at sunset looks at least 10 times more beautiful during sunset than during the day-time. And the best way to explore the Canyons is by foot. Nothing compares to what you see when you go on a hiking trail.

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