It has been a while since I’ve blogged. I arrived back in Delhi at the beginning of May. Most of my time went to working on 2 proposals – to get funding for programmes in India. I headed to Patna, Bihar for a few days for an inception meeting. Did not get to see anything other than the hotel and conference rooms, as days were long.
On the 15th, I left for my long awaited trip to the West side of USA. I flew from Delhi to Phoenix. I have to say here that I tried No Jet Lag, a herbal medicine that is supposed to eliminate the feeling of jet lag. I landed in Phoenix 26 hours later and i have to say that I did not feel any jet lag that day or in the days thereafter. I hadn’t even slept in the 26 hours! I got to spend some time in Scottsdale, drinking and eating as the late afternoon turned in evening. Went to Crudo for more eats and drinks, then ended up at Roxy lounge. Pizza, mozeralla sticks and salad, late night! Good food. Good drinks. Good company. The next day, Zahra, who flew in from Toronto, and I began our afternoon with some yummy cocktails at the Biltmore Fashion Mall, which we realized later was not the mall we really wanted to go to- Scottsdsle Fashion Mall.
We had a long journey ahead of us the following day, so we just hopped over to a restaurant next to our hotel for dinner. Very Jersey Shore. We ended up in Phoenix because the original plan was to hang with Natasha Kassam in Youngstown and then do the drive to Vegas. However, Youngstown seemed too far from all the action and Natasha’s work got in the way of our plans. Zahra and I headed to Sedona the next day, after having the best pancakes in old town. Thelma and Louise picked up their red convertible and set off on their journey. Of course, on the way we had to stop at an American Walmart and Best Buy to get Norah Jones’ new cd. Walmart was the best! We stocked up on goodies like red velvet ice cream, turkey and cheese! The drive was amazing as we saw lots of cacti and enjoyed the hot air, roof open. Sedona itself was beautiful. Spiritual. Earthy. We had a fantastic view of the sunset from the hotel terrace, which was near the airport.
The following day, we left for the Grand Canyon. We got to the south rim, walked around, took some pictures, and then hopped back in our sweet ride, as Vegas awaited us! I had the most wicked driving experience. I felt like I was in a game. At some point, I was in Fast and the Furious, racing with 3 other cars. Zahra was a real good sport about everything. We made it to Vegas in only 3 hours and 15 mins, rather than 4. The Cosmopolitan Hotel. This would be our home for the next 4 days. Great location, right on the strip. Beautiful hotel. Super packed. The other girls that we were meeting up with were already there and were eating dinner at STK restaurant in the hotel. It was Zahra Hemraj’s birthday. Shazeen had also come down with her friends to hang out for those 4 days. 15 girls in Vegas! I must say that I found Vegas too overwhelming at first. I had a small panic attack after leaving STK, leaving Zahra to calm me down on her own. Perhaps it was too much after being in India, in not such glitz and glamour. The dressing was obviously very different too! I felt a lot better after I molested the red velvet cupcake that was in our loot bag, left in our room by Raheema, the birthday girls’ sister. What a thoughtful and amazing idea! After our quick showers, Zahra and I met the other girls at Club Marquee, which was in our hotel. It was quite big with different rooms and a huge outdoor partying area near the pool. Cabanas, tons of people and good music led us through the night. It was a fun night, nothing too crazy.
The next morning, we walked along the strip and had some breakfast at the mall across the street. We wandered through the different hotels and malls, taking in all that Vegas had to offer. The partying continued that night at white oak and XS. Wow, what a night! The next day was spent wandering on the strip, seeing the other hotels, and window shopping. The final day was spent sunbathing by the pool. By this point, I had gotten used to Vegas and wanted to stay longer.
Next, San Francisco. Got to Rahim and Raheema’s in Santa Clara. Rahim had bbcued and dinner was great. My birthday was spent in Napa Valley. A limo ride and visits to the wineries had been organized by Raheema, who I must say was so awesome. The company was great and everyone made sure that I had an amazing time. Have I mentioned yet that I got a ton of cupcakes too?! We went out for dinner in San Fran. Zahra and I did the hop on and off bus and went to a painting party in the hood! She was so worried at first…but very quickly felt at ease. We met biggie small. San Fran was quaint. Cute.
The last stop, LA. Loved it! Stayed with Buck, who was a great host. Hung out with Hafeez, Kiran and Sonal. It was so nice to hang with them. Huntley was swanky and we danced the night away. More cupcakes and red velvet truffle! The beaches were insane. I felt like I was in a movie while at Venice Beach. Hermosa, not Mimosa beach had a street fair going on. Really nice. Rahim had flown down for the night to hang with us. We all had a great time. Went to Hollywood of course and Beverly Hills. The last day, went to a bbcue. Good food again. And then back to Delhi….another 26 hours! The trip overall was fabulous.
Being back in Delhi was a bit difficult the first day, as I missed my good friends. I really realized on this trip how much I miss them. It was nice to catch up with Shazeen and meet my new friend, Ayesha, aka Junglee bheli. Seeing Rahim was good as always. And I finally got to spend qt with Raheema. Zahra and I had great fun together and it was nice to be feeling and wanting to do the same things almost throughout the entire trip! We had a lot of McDonald’s and Starbucks during our drives. It was nice to see the other girls in Vegas after so long. Buck has not changed. I love California! Thank you.