bhargavkesavan

Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…


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TheBlindList – My blind date with Earth!


As a child I’ve dreamt of places which I don’t know if exists in this world or not. I’ve imagined me going to forests and spending more time in nature, thought about camping (which I was not aware such thing existed and the very name “camping”) but it was my imagination that I’ll spend time in forest & mountains.

Then twenty years later came a time when I visited Havelock Island in Anadman Islands. the most beautiful place on earth. I spent few days with my friends wandering in the woods which was our first hiking experience which turned more adventurous when we heard elephants trumpeting at a distance! We cancelled one of our days plan to enjoy snorkeling, it was like a blind date with earth! I jumped on to the reef with just the snorkeling kit  & I was floating for half a day enjoying the most colorful fishes in the crystal clear waters. It became more wonderful when I saw a family of Nemo fishes just that the little nemo was not lost! And my first bucket-list was complete when I did a scuba diving at Chidiya Tapu in Anadaman through Lacadives.

Without any expectations we went to Andaman like going on a blind date just that this is a date with our planet! And of course I was not disappointed and still cherish my Snorkeling & Scuba memories at Andaman!

Four years later, which was this year. My wife & I made plans to visit Grand Canyon. We booked our tickets to Vegas and booked ticket to Antelope Canyon. We were very excited to explore the places we were about to visit and we were openminded about this exploration.

As soon as we landed we rented a car and filled up the trunk and back seat with necessary eatables and water for our 6 days trip. Since it’s most hottest place we have arranged the trunk such a way that food won’t get spoiled. We began our trip to Grand Canyon from Nevada via Route 66, it’s called as “Historic Route 66”. It’s the most deserted place in USA & a heaven to bikers and car enthusiasts who travel to explore & to those who go on exploring the world.

 

As soon as we landed we rented a car and filled up the trunk and back seat with necessary eatables and water for our 6 days trip. Since it’s most hottest place we have arranged the trunk such a way that food won’t get spoiled. We began our trip to Grand Canyon from Nevada via Route 66, it’s called as “Historic Route 66”. It’s the most deserted place in USA & a heaven to bikers and car enthusiasts who travel to explore & to those who go on exploring the world.

The reason this route is so famous is that it’s a straight road for hundreds of miles with absolutely nothing on left & ride sides of the road. There will be signs marked on the way that there are no gas stations (petrol bunks) for next 100 miles or so. You can easily see 10 miles ahead of you on a clear morning or evening when sun is not at peak. Try to keep your AC full, haha it won’t workout! It’s so hot that you will feel you’re in Chennai on a peak summer day or in Hyderabad or Delhi during peak summer and yet it’s more hot than that. You can easily fit one or two of our Indian states in this road as you can see the entire state is just empty area with deserts and rocks and mountains.

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Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

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Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

 

As soon as we landed we rented a car and filled up the trunk and back seat with necessary eatables and water for our 6 days trip. Since it’s most hottest place we have arranged the trunk such a way that food won’t get spoiled. We began our trip to Grand Canyon from Nevada via Route 66, it’s called as “Historic Route 66”. It’s the most deserted place in USA & a heaven to bikers and car enthusiasts who travel to explore & to those who go on exploring the world.

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Historic Rt 66, you can easily see 10 miles ahead of you! It’s a straight road for 100s of miles.

When we reached Grand Canyon we definitely didn’t think we are on earth, it was like diving in Mars. We went to Southern rim of Grand Canyon and we were on self exploration skipping the maps and finding our own trial to hike. To our surprise we saw four weathers on the same day at Grand Canyon. To our surprise we experienced Snow, never knew there is snowfall at GC, thought it’ll be just in December or January but a snowfall during April last week that too during our visit was unexpected! As we started to go back within just 3 miles, it was too sunny and hot! On coming cars looked at us so surprisingly and they had no clue they’re entering Snow land!

After a day we headed to Nevada back via Monument Valley, Utah. Every road is an exceptionally awesome and scary at the same time. Reason why it’s scary is that there is no town or mobile network for hundreds of miles. So you better keep your tank full or running for at least a few hundred miles or keep a hardcopy of maps. When you look from aerial view you will be in middle of no where! Scenes around me never changed as we drove! As we entered Zion national park after 250 miles from Antelope we saw few cars and trucks and felt like back to earth & that we got company or at least there are people to help if you honk! I was very glad when few cars stopped by to check if I’m good & need any help when we parked our car in shoulder.

This all lasted just a while, as we entered Death Valley national park which is called as the most hottest place on planet! It’s 155 degree Fahrenheit / 69 degree Celsius on a peak summer day & it never gets a drizzle any time in a year. And it’s called as the darkest place on earth as well, an excellent place for astro photography. So many people do camping and go on to self exploration.

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It’s called Devil’s golf course!

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This is the lowest point in USA. This is how the ground looks & it’s salt.

Death Vally National Park is an area of 3.3 millions acres, you can imagine Goa, Delhi, Pondicherry together and still you will have hundreds of acres left to cover, it’s so huge that you need to travel for hours from one spot to another spot within the park. it has sand dunes, artistic palette, the lowest point in USA it’s called Bad Water Basin, you can literally see the ground with salt. Ground here doesn’t have sand, it has salt & so the ground is white in color. I burnt my finger when I didn’t realize it’s salt & I was scratching it like beach sand!

Generally hot weather is my first enemy on any time of the year, but I’m amazed how I didn’t feel irritated at all when I visited DVNP & I still want to explore it more. This place is definitely a travel inspiration to thousands of people across the world. We got to interact with a couple from Spain and another couple from Italy. If there is a place on earth which is hot and yet people love to visit, it’s definitely this place.

Here is a video that I took in Death Valley.

We’d an enriching experience in exploring a place on earth & yet feels like we’re on mars. We visited without any expectations and with blindlist to this spot on earth like a blind date & we absolutely fall in love with earth yet again! And we’ll never hesitate to go on a blind date with anytime!

Do you like to go on a date with earth & like to say #SayYesToTheWorld without knowing where you’re headed? Do checkout this URL & video below.

#TheBlindList


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How I saved $400 on a 6 days stay in Vegas.


Recently my wife and I’ve travelled to Vegas. It was a week trip, we stayed in Las Vegas for five days with an additional day booking and in Grand Canyon for two days.

After booking flight and rental car the next point where majority of the budget is spent is for the stay. Since it’s one of the main tourist location and costs per night at hotels of all ranges were considerably high. Especially in Las Vegas, hotels near strip were approximately $85-$130 per night even in an average hotels.

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This is price as of today in other Hotels, It was more when I visited last month.

When it comes to hotel, we have very little control over the room that we’re going to stay and the reviews might not help sometimes as the review will be in general for the particular hotel in that location. For example Holiday Inn or Westin or Sheraton in a particular location has got 4.1 star review, there might be hundred rooms in that hotel and there are possibilities we might end up in a room that got one star.

When I made my flight ticket purchase through Expedia, I’ve also made hotel booking as Expedia listed a 15% discount or some discount. After I made my hotel reservation, I felt that we’ve spent more on the stay, that’s when I thought about Airbnb. I’ve already used Airbnb to stay in two different states. Once in Virginia and other time in New Hampshire. I’ve also promoted Airbnb in my blog when it was newly launched in India few years back.

I wondered why didn’t I thought about it at first and I went on to find a best home to stay in Vegas. It didn’t take me more than 15 mins to find a fantastic place which was very close to Vegas strip (the road with Casinos on both sides). And the best part was the price! I got a home for $25/night and the host had a great review and was a “super host”, a term in Airbnb for the hosts who has more 5 star reviews from the guests. I was super happy to see that and immediately made my booking with them for my day 1 and then again at the same home from day 4-day7.

I even booked an additional day with them as my flight back to New Jersey was very late at night. Since the checkout time was 11 AM and my flight was 11:50 PM, I didn’t want to keep my wife somewhere in vestibule the whole day till late night flight in that hot weather. So on whole I booked this home for 6 days (1+5) and my price was $177.77 with tax! It could have been even less if I’d a continues 6 days stay, as there was a break in my stay in Vegas, I’d to pay few breakage in both bills separately. This could have been easily $550-$580 with tax if I’d gone for even the lowest price hotel.

It was a villa with two rooms listed for guests. The host was at the ground floor and we’d our room upstairs. Quiet and cozy. Absolutely felt like Home away from Home! I went through the photos of the house before making the booking and went through the reviews, as the review here is particularly for the room that we’re going to stay. That’s the difference in reviews between hotel rooms and for the home listed in Airbnb.

And that’s how I saved $400 in my 6 days stay at Las Vegas! You can definitely save a good price if your destination is a prime spot or if you’re planning for different number of days. If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, get a $40 for your first booking when you make a trip for more than $75. Visit this link and create an account www.airbnb.com/c/bkesavan

Do send this link to your friend who is planning for a trip!