Monday, January 31, 2005

Cave Of The Winds & Seven Falls

Rest of the month went by nicely. One of the weekends, Seb’s friends arrived from Aspen and we drove with them to their Friend’s son’s Birthday party. Here, we met a lot of other Indian friends of them.

A drive to Denver became one of our favourite pass time. We watched films in the mall and then drove to Woodlands to have a good Indian dinner. Even though the idlys and dosas could not match in taste with that of India, it was an oasis in desert for us.

While we did not drive, we watched films at home. I think we watched every Hindi movie that was getting released. We also got to know about this newly opened Indian store called Saimart on Vikers. Owned by a Telugu software Engineer called Nagendra, this place offered us something we did not find in other stores – DVD for $1 instead of $3 outside. We had two more Indian Stores in COS – Taste of India and India Bazaar. Later was a little far. 

A very jovial and social Nagendra immediately became my friend and I would always spend time talking to him during my visit. He always had interesting stories to tell.

I had now got to know the Indians in office little better. Prasad, would share his business venture with 2 or 3 Dollar shop that he owns. Priya would make fun of me putting on weight and warn me that if I continued so, it would be hard to find a girl for me. Shivanand would stop by my cubical for a chat. KC and Sajil would meet us for dinner now and then. All together it was a great time.

On 22nd January, Seb, Jonah and I went did another road trip to nearby attractions – Cave of the winds and Seven Falls. It was my first trip to a cave and it was great.

 Drive – 18.2 miles, 28 mins

Jonah and I laughed at the guide who was narrating a story of the explorer who found this cave in a single breath. Between her stories she would take a deep breath before continuing. 

We also took a small hike downhill to enjoy the rocky canyons of Colorado.

Next, we visited the Seven Falls. 

 Drive - 9.7 miles, 19 mins

May be we expected seven different waterfalls but what we saw was a single waterfall that reaches ground after seven steps in the rocky hill. But what was more interesting is that the entire waterfall was frozen and that was a first again. 

One afternoon, I was driving to our manufacturing plant for a meeting. Our Plant is in Security, Colorado, which is an easy 25 minutes’ drive. That day, I had chosen to drive the road Powers down to plant. After getting off powers (a road) I took a road that is not very often taken by vehicles. It’s a back route to avoid a signal. The road was covered thickly by snow. This road intersects with another main road where I was supposed to take a left. I think I was at a higher speed for a drive on snow. While I approached the intersection, I was unable to slow. I hit the break but the car began to skid. It went straight across the median and came to a screaming halt just before hitting the curb at the other end of the road, facing an oncoming traffic. Luckily nobody was on the road and thus I was saved from any further hassle. I was shocked for a while and the if’s began to haunt me. 

Whenever I passed by that road again, I recalled the incident. Thus after giving it a lot of thought I decided to capture the incident in form of a story. I wrote a story called “snow” based on this event and it happens to be my first thriller. And most importantly, this did help me to forget the incident.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A New Year!

End of the year had arrived and I could not help noticing how eventful this year has been. On 31st, Seb and I decided to go to Denver while Jonah preferred going to Church. We left at around 12:30 PM. While approaching Denver we took a random exit and landed near a lake. The lake was not very neat but the mist and the weather made everything look pretty.

After a few pictures were clicked, we went to the 16th street. We found a parking slot close to the end of 16th street and began to walk around. The street was beautifully lit but was surprisingly deserted. It was here that being followed by a not so normally behaving African American freaked us out. 

After a small walk and disappointed by the emptiness of the place we decided to watch a movie called – Phantom of the opera. It was an interesting musical.

At 9:00PM, when we stepped out of the theatre, we were totally surprised to see the crowd on the 16th street. It was a very beautiful site. There was music and drums and singing all around. I was all excited and walking on the street was an awesome experience. 

Fighting my way through the crowd in a bar, I bought a pint of beer to blend myself with the surrounding. A bunch of musicians playing drums and the spectators began to dance (Mostly Hip-hop) for the same. The whole place was so lively. 

Later that night at 12:00, we watched the spectacular fireworks.

By the time we reached home it was 2:30AM and I was still in no mood to go to bed. The euphoria from the streets of Denver was still singing in my mind. I-25 was decently crowded even at this late hour and many people from COS were returning back home. I enjoyed my usual fun of lane changes and overtake and as I watched the side mirror, I noticed a fleet of cars do the same. Sight of cars switching lanes on an interstate is always a fascinating view for me.

So thus my first full car drive had ended with lot of excitement. I was already addicted to driving and I was sure there would be more exciting drives to come.

Drive - 65.9 miles, 1h, 07 mins

The next day, at around 10:30, all three of us left home to visit Bishop castle. This place was suggested by our new receptionist Carol, who thought this, would be a cool place to visit.

The drive was very interesting, especially the last stretch up the mountains as the roads where not in good condition due to snow. Driving so long in snow was a little too tiring but overall it was a great drive.

Drive - 102 miles, 1 Hour, 46 mins

Built by Jim Bishop who bought 2.5 acres of land as a boy for $15 several years ago, this castle now stands as a great work of art and creativity. I personally liked how it was constructed using the stones around the area and how creative it had got to be over the process with dragon like chimney, stained glasses and towers. We had a good time exploring this place. We climbed to the top but cold wind kept us from staying there for long. Seb and I had no jackets on either and other tourists were surprised to see us so in mid-winter season. I think it was the humid Mangalore and Kerala weather that had prepared us.

In the end, it was two days, well spent. And craze to drive was seeping into me!