I promised you details on my road trip to California and here they are complete with pictures.
This past weekend, we took off on a road trip to California; the occasion was a close friend’s nephew’s engagement. I wouldn’t do a 700 mile road trip (one way) over 3 days for anyone, but this friend she’s special She’s one of the soul sisters I mentioned here. And how could I give up the opportunity to see said nephew get engaged? This kid (he’s all of 27 and speaks like a 20 something) keeps giving us oldies grief about our marriages and so it was time to return all that love, many times over.
We left on Friday night (to escape the long weekend traffic that would clog the freeways between the hours of 4 and 7 PM). We made a quick stop to pick up some dinner. Taco Bell ke chalupa, zindabad (long live the Taco Bell chalupa). One hour into the trip, we realized, we’d forgotten the iPod back home. DH cribs about not having music to blast on the road trip and I plug my iPhone in with a smug expression. The half hour I spent earlier in the week downloading all my favorite music onto my phone paid off – DH is suitably impressed. Post dinner, I offer to drive, since DH has had a looong day and I’m feeling especially benevolent. So, with me at the helm, hamaari gaadi chal padi (our vehicle moved forward). DH does a lot of back seat driving but he must’ve been tired so he says I’m going to sit back here and close my eyes, let me know once we get close to Grants Pass and I can take over the driving, DD, by now has finished dinner and is fast asleep. She’d had an equally tiring day that included a trip to the Portland Art museum courtesy the summer camp she attends.
So, as twilight turns into night, I am driving. It’s quiet in the car except for the music that is suitably toned down in consideration of the 2 most important people in my life. In the 4 hours plus that I drove, I heard some gems that I had forgotten existed in my music collection – for instance, the following melody from Welcome to Sajjanpur.
It was an eerie feeling to drive the stretch between Salem and Grants Pass. For one, this was the first time we were making our way to California by road. To be totally honest, we’ve done a road trip to California before, but that was back in 2003, before DD came along and we took the scenic 101 highway back then. So DH did all the driving, while I went click happy with a Canon camera that I inherited from my dad. And that was a trip with a lot of stops just to admire the scenery. We had a week off then so we could afford to stop at quaint little shops and look at knick knacks. This trip, though was different. We had to be in Sacramento, CA by early afternoon on Saturday since the engagement was on Saturday evening and we’d need enough time to beautify ourselves.
The road was sufficiently windy with twists and turns and keeping me company were 18 wheeler and 25 wheeler trucks carrying essentials that a lot of us take for granted. These behemoths would stick to the right lane for the most part since they have a lower speed limit than cars but every once a while one of them would move to the left lane to overtake one of their fellow truckers who was slow, even by their standards. I needed to keep a careful eye on the road and adjust speed to accommodate the above. We finally made our way into Medford, OR (the kind soul that I am, I did not wake up DH at Grants Pass, and drove all the way to our first stop point) at about 12:30 AM on the strains of this song which I think is the perfect road trip song.
We reach the hotel and to our surprise find 4 people ahead of us waiting to check in. It took us a half hour to check in and it was 1:30 by the time we reached the room and had offloaded all our paraphernalia. A quick change and we all were in bed. The hotel room was nothing great and offered hardly any amenities for the outrageous price they were charging us. But the hotel’s at a location that makes it very convenient for campers and people like us driving long distances to stop for the night. So the parking lot was full and we had a hard time finding parking close to the room. We closed the drapes in the room and told each other we’d wake up early and get out so as to not worry our hosts unnecessarily. Well, the drapes at the hotel were great, since when we finally woke up the room was pitch dark although it was 9:30 AM. The sun was high in the sky and most of the other hotel guests had left. The parking lot was empty. We scrambled and I am happy to say we were out the hotel in a half hour. A quick stop at Starbucks for breakfast on the go and DH was ready to drive the 350 miles it would take to get us to Sacramento. More music, some conversation and some word games with DD and numerous are we there yets later, we reached Sacramento. Also, DH did his best to entertain. Listen to the following piece in his inimitable voice where he sings Incy Wincy Spider in Tip Tip barsa paani style.
Incy Wincy Spider
We checked into the Hilton in downtown Sacramento. Another shower (it was a 100 degrees in Sac- we needed another shower) and an hour of primping later, we coordinated with another friend staying at the same hotel and made it to the engagement venue that was a mere 2 miles from the hotel. The venue was superbly decorated and the guests even more so. This was our first experience with a Fijian engagement. It is surprisingly similar to an Indian wedding. In fact it was like a North Indian wedding on a smaller scale. What’s interesting is the girl and boy legally marry each other during the engagement but consider themselves engaged until the Hindu marriage is solemnized. This can take up to a year sometimes, as is the case with my friend’s nephew. Some of the Western (read American) rites have also been included such as the cake cutting and the first dance. But they danced to a Bollywood number. The couple looked beautiful. She was shy and nervous, he kept wiping the sweat off his brow which led to a lot of good-natured ribbing about abhi se yeh haal hai toh shaadi ke baad kya hoga (if you are sweating now, what’ll happen to you after the wedding)?
After dinner (all of which was home cooked for 300 plus guests and yummy to boot) we hit the dance floor to dance to the usual suspects – see links below and some Bihari numbers that I’ve never heard before.
The party wrapped up at 11:15 AM but we weren’t finished so we made our way to my friend’s brother’s house where the drinking and dancing continued till the wee hours of the morning.
We came back to the hotel suitably sloshed and exhausted and fell into bed.
This is just the first day folks, more to follow in the next installment (Pictures in the next one, I promise).