I really don’t know where to start.
This post is just for all of you who have been asking me to blog about the trip. With seven travel stories planned, I don’t want to type the whole thing here. But it’s a trip I will cherish for a lifetime for the following reasons:
1. Did Chennai-Frankfurt-Los Angeles (Read: Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, ABC Studios – the home of Lost, Disneyland, Kodak Theatre)-New York (Did two Broadway musicals including Lion King back to back, thanks to Disney)-Pittsburgh (visiting my best friend Murugan)-New York (again for sightseeing, pub-hopping, thanks to Gita and Sheetal)-Frankfurt-Ibiza (Yes, to see the best sunrise in the world)-Paris (should I even say more?)-Amsterdam (Heard of The Flying Pig?)-cut to one missed train to Frankfurt and back to Chennai – all in 19 days! The first leg of the tour was official, on invitation from the Disney Group to get a taste of the Disney Difference first hand and everything from Pittsburgh was part of my personal holiday.
2. Got a Dharma Initiative tattoo done in Pittsburgh. Of course, it hurt like hell but thanks to Murugan and Roshni for having cameras around so that I couldn’t chicken out or show any signs of pain… 🙂 All my fellow Lost fans will be proud of me. I surprised myself because I never thought I would be the kind to pay to get my skin scalded. I guess I was super kicked after meeting Barry Jossen who was nominated for an Emmy for the Lost mobisodes along with the creators Lindeloff and Cuse. And also extra thanks to Murugan and Roshni for taking me for Burn After Reading on the day of the release. Too bad it was a little disappointing though Brad Pitt turned in an awesome extended cameo and Clooney rocked. But come on guys, this is a film the Coens couldve written in their sleep… An assembly-line Coen Brothers film that smacks of Deja Vu every other scene.
3. Sat on the monster rollercoaster California Screamin. Twice (since I held on to railing the first time thinking it is mandatory for security reasons… the second time around was great fun cuz it felt like a free fall) And did every single ride meant for grown ups at Disneyland including the Pirates ride, the Indiana Jones ride, the Finding Nemo submarine ride, the Maliboomer rocket ride that takes you up 1000 ft and drops down half the distance, the Space Mountain ride, the Jungle Cruise and the some kiddy rides too.
4. Smoked half a joint of hash in Amsterdam. Hated it!! Left a bad taste in my mouth and a hole in my pocket. Not literally. Just shopped for some 250 euros in the next half hour buying clothes with no clue about sizes… Instead of me having to choose the clothes… if I buy enough, friends can always choose what they want right? Had to buy a suitcase to put it in and then missed my train because the train left 40 minutes earlier than the time on my ticket because the Germans suck at building reservation systems. Took five trains in the middle of the night to get to Frankfurt to catch my flight back to India.
5. Saw one of the greatest sunsets in the world in Ibiza with 5000 to 10,000 other people (floating population) along the coast standing by Cafe Del Mar (no place to stand, let alone sit). People actually applauded after the sunset. I could see why it is the world’s biggest party island but I hated drunk Brits pissing in the middle of the street like they owned the place. Also, got conned by Torres Hostal on arrival around midnight (Famous words: “Yes you have a reservation with us. But we don’t have a room for you”) and found decent and much better accomodation next street in Cervantes.
6. Walked all around Paris by day and did the pub crawl at night, partied till 2.30 a.m and had a tough time getting a taxi back to the hostel. Mark Benzer, if you’re reading this… This is your wingman wishing you all the best for the rest of your tour! That was fun, brother!
7. Found out why New York City is everybody’s favourite city in the world. I had a blast there. Did the hop on hop off tour along with the cruise by Statue of Liberty, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and got a great view of the skyline and got a taste of the night life there, thanks to Gita. Times Square was all electric energy and when over a hundred Harley Davidson bikers rode on for a promotional rally, I just loved the city a little more. NYC was great except for an Indian cabbie who decided to give our race a bad name. When I asked him why he didn’t put the meter, he earnestly tells me (as the Vacant sign flashes at me): “They’ve introduced a new system, you just have to key in the zip code and it tells you the fare.” Manjeet Singh, shame on you for swiping my card and helping yourself to an unauthorised 25 per cent tip. Yes, I was conned by a Sardar! Okay, no more Sardar jokes from me!
8. Finally set foot into Hollywood as a journalist. I could see the Kodak Theatre from my studio suite in Renaissance. Yes, Disney took really good care of us, flying us business class and putting us up in some really cool boutique hotels – First The Grafton on Sunset (on Sunset Boulevard of course) and then at the Disney Grand Californian inside Disneyland, Anaheim, Renaissance and Hudson in Manhattan, New York! We met with Disney’s top bosses in Motion Pictures business, ABC (we were at the sets of the Brothers and Sisters TV show), Products, Imagineers at the theme park and even went backstage after the Lion King Broadway musical… Yes, I get paid to do things like this! Well, when work is this tough, what choice do you have but to lie back and enjoy it, huh? 😀
Watch out for my travel stories starting next week.
Post Script: Note to Kutti:
But it wasn’t complete, wasn’t nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete because I couldn’t share it with you. I couldn’t hear your voice or laugh about it with you. I missed my – I missed my girl…
I love you. You… complete me.