Cape Cod – Dune Bashing (or not)

Labor Day Weekend, 2015

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Homemade icecreams seem  to be the rage here in Cape Cod, and we end up eating some terrible icecreams before we set off for the Race Point Lighthouse

We raced towards race point lighthouse as the light started to fade. It was dark by the time we made the turn at the air station. It strikes us as a somewhat odd place to have an air station but we have a lighthouse to reach. We drive past the air station and reach a sign that instructs us to go left. “This is all sand. There is no road.” “The sign says go left, so just go. Look  tyre tracks”, I say. ” What if we get stuck?”, he counters. We turn around. When we get back to the air station, there are two cars there. We pull up beside them. The husband reluctantly approaches the closer car and asks how to get to the lighthouse. The kind old gent, gives him a long looks and responds with a question of his own,” Do you know how to let the air out of your tires?” To drive over the dunes, you need to reduce the air pressure in your tyres to 12 lbs per sq.inch, or you risk getting stuck in the sand. When you get back, you need to refill to road pressure. We look at each other and decide to find another way or another lighthouse.

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Cape Cod – A Whale of a Tale

Labor Day Weekend, 2015

Summer is hurtling to an end and we are scrambling to make last minute plans for the Labor Day weekend. We throw caution to the winds and decide to drive down to Cape Cod.  Post card beaches, glorious waters and the last weekend of summer – a four to five hour drive on a regular weekend can easily turn into a nightmare on the road. The prospect of driving through New York City to get across seems daunting but we set forth valiantly on Friday evening, only to turn tail and return before we even hit the city.

DSC_1073Wine turns into sweet dreams and sweet dreams turn into coffee; we hit the road at 5 a.m. on Saturday. We beat the crazy traffic, but  by no means  are the only souls on the roads. The first thing we do as we drive into Cape Cod is donate clothing. What a blessed start! Why we have donation clothes in the back of our car is a diversion we won’t make. As soon as we check into our hotel, we book a whale watching trip. This will be my third attempt and I am determined. I want to bike the Provincetown trail, but we are simply starving so we head straight to Commercial Street. What a gay place it is! (In both the traditional and modern sense of the word).

DSC_1103Post burgers, we walk around and down to the Pilgrim Monument. Rising like a stately chess piece, this granite tower stands atop a little hillock. The Pilgrim Monument was built to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in the New World in Provincetown. There was a time where people thought that Africa, Europe and Asia were the whole world, so when the Americas were discovered by these worldly people, they promptly termed them as the New World.  Towards the end of 1620, a boat called Mayflower brought ashore a group of people who are now collectively known as the Pilgrims. These Pilgrims actually called themselves Saints, and were Separatists who did not want to pledge allegiance to the Church of England, which they believed was nearly as corrupt and idolatrous as the Catholic Church it had replaced. The Pilgrims are commonly accepted as the founding fathers of America, but the truth couldn’t be further. Apart from the Native Americans, several white colonies had sprouted across the continent before the Pilgrims arrived. After spending all of five weeks in Provincetown, the Pilgrims decided it was not suitable for settlement and sailed on to land at Plymouth Rock.

DSC_1098The Pilgrims certainly didn’t spend those five weeks in Cape Cod building this 252 foot monument; this was built much later (in 1892) by the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association. A short climb took us to the foot of the tower, where we were informed that the only way to the top was to climb 116 steps and 60 ramps which would take only about ten minutes at a leisurely pace. Not wanting to risk our hearts, we pondered and concluded that we did not have the ten minutes. Turns out, we really did not have the ten minutes. We make it just about in time to our whale watching boat.

Love, Your friend, the Whale

Love,
Your friend, the Whale

This time I am taking no chances. I chew on this little miracle called Dramamine and find us seats at the back of the lower deck. As the boat cuts through the ocean, water behind it furls out like the fluke of a whale. I have never enjoyed the sea so much – the rise and fall of her ample bosom; the gentle swaying from side to side. A huge fountain erupts in the middle of the ocean and has people excitedly pointing. Another fountain erupts alongside the first. Each whale  is easily almost as long as the boat. Two of them can  easily take our boat down.Thankfully, that was not what these gentle giants have in mind. The whales are playful and curious. There is one that keeps sneaking up close to the boat, sending a spray of water through its blow hole and hiding.  Later,three of them swim straight at the side of the boat and under, sending everyone scrambling to the other side. They even give the boat an impish bump on its bottom. While I am fiddling around for the husband’s phone to take a selfie, I see something from the corner of my eye. I turn around just in time to see the most spectacular sight ever – a whale breaching.It doesn’t arch like Free Willy.  It  leaps straight up and for a second holds that pose, like Mount Meru emerging from the cosmic ocean, then it does a half flip and falls back.Our captain assures us, we saw three types of whales – humpbacks, finbacks and minkies, but all I can tell you is we saw around six to eight whales including a baby.

We are treated to a postcard sunset on the way back; complete with a little lighthouse glowing in the last rays of the sun. What a perfect way to end the day; yet not yet!

Bonus – whale watching video on our Instagram

More photos to follow on our FB page

2 little boys and LegoLand

6th Aug, 2015

“Akash, are sure you want to go on the big rollercoster?”

“Yes, but are you sure you want to go on it Chitti?”

DSC_1723We were at Legoland today – Tarun (Tannu, aka T), Akash, Meera, Mahesh (Bro), Chitra (S-I-L aka C) and me. The day was not going exactly as expected, but it was still great fun. For starters, Legoland is not a place to build super legos. It’s an amusement park like Disneyland.

DSC01322There is a witch of a store at the entry, and like the witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel was covered with all things nice to eat, the store windows were plastered with displays and posters of all kinds of things to build.  For Tannu, it was love at first site. He had his heart set on buying a Ninjago. He spent the whole day going disconsolately from ride to ride, waiting for the promised moment when the “fun” would end and we would go to the store. The lines were surprisingly long for a weekday.Afraid that we would spend all our time in lines, Bro dearest went and got us a fast track pass which promised to cut our wait time by half.

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hanging out at the park

Our first ride was the coastersaurus – a baby rollercoaster. The boys picked driving for their next ride. Dropping off C and the baby in play area, we proceeded to the driving arena.  Once they got their licenses, we put our heads together to pick the next ride – the kid power tower. This ride involves hauling yourself up a tower and the free sliding down the side.Since Akash was keen on doing the pedal ride, we stood in line for around 20 minutes and then agreed that everyone likes this ride so everybody wants to do it; we should go do some other ride that people don’t like as much.

The big brothers take their baby sister on a train ride

The big brothers take their baby sister on a train ride

We took our lunch at a pizza parlor all the way across the park. It was while scouting for lunch that Bro spotted the Lego Technic rollercoaster. He was thrilled and it all it took to get the little boys pumped was ” Who wants to go on the B-I-G rollercoaster?”  Thankfully, we could use our pass to reserve a spot on this one.I reason, how scary can a ride meant for 48″ minimum be, and get into the little car. Once strapped in, I give Akash my best advice for all rides – close your eyes and yell your lungs out! At the end of the ride, he steped out shaking his head “Bad!”, and then out jumped T shouting, “AWESOME!!!” Akash’s opinion of the ride suddenly changed to “BEST RIDE EVER!!” Talk about peer pressure!

DSC_1694Ice-creams and a few rides later we walk down to Skipper School. Bro decides the boys are tall enough to go by themselves. The boys are very excited by the prospect. Akash jumps into a boat and sets off. On his insistence, I follow in the next boat. Just as T steps forward, the guy who waves people by looks and says,” He can’t go by himself. He’s not tall enough.” “He went!”, the not tall enough T pointed indignantly to his cousin. The man is flabbergasted. All the same, Bro got into the boat with T. Akash struggled to man his boat. Since his foot didn’t reach the gas sitting, he valiantly stood on the peddle, amid shouts of  “Sit down! Sit!!”. He managed a little on his own, I butted and pushed a bit, and then a worker at the ride jumped in to help. When they reached the finish line the little man’s face was shining like a new penny.

Speaking of pennies, the Skipper School water was littered with coins. “People throw coins in thinking it’s good luck, but it’s not” intones Akash. “Why? Why is it not lucky?”, quizzes Tannu. Akash thinks for a moment and replies,” Because you’re losing money. It is not good luck to lose money. It’s bad luck to lose money.” I am stumped.

of stingrays and mantarays..

of stingrays and mantarays..

After Skipper School, T at long last got to go to the store, while Akash and I headed off to the Aquarium. Bro and Tannu caught up with us there. C and baby Meera had gone home much earlier. We spent the last bit of our day listening to the little boys chatter on about the characteristics of different fish as they spotted and identified them.

Flights of Fancy

Aug 29, 2015
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Surprising the husband is not very difficulty as he is usually quite oblivious to what I’m doing or saying. However, it can be very very taxing as he can be stubborn as a bull in not doing as directed unless he knows why and adamant on doing things at his own pace, sending your best laid plans for a toss. We almost didn’t make it in time for his early birthday surprise – a flying lesson with Essex Air.

IMG_0981Saam Dhaam Dand Bhed and Lady Luck got us to the airfield on time. I thought experience could have been much better. I understand that it is not possible to give a first time pilot full control of the airplane, after all the instructor’s life is at risk too but the instructor could have been more generous. I have heard of instructors who take you up and do a few tricks with you – barrel rolls, nose dives…. our’s didn’t do a thing – not even when I asked if killing the throttle completely would send the plane into a nose dive.

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On the whole, I was a tad disappointed but it is hard to disagree that it is one kickass birthday present!