Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tulip Town

Hope you had a fun time reading parts one, two and three about my trip to San Juan. I now present to you the fourth part. May I also add that it is the final part? Tsk, tsk, I thought you folks would have kept the volume of the sighs of relief a little less audible *sniff*! Anyways, based on my prior experience, I expect this post to be the longest of the lot. So, if you are planning to read it (and I really hope you do), please do sit comfortably and have snacks and drinks handy ;-).

That night, the allocation of sleeping spots was done. A and S got the spots on the bed near the heater. The rest of us plopped on mattresses on the floor. It was pretty warm and comfy when I went to sleep. How I had underestimated the chilly San Juan weather became apparent when I woke up shivering in the middle of the night. The heater for me, for all practical purposes, was non-existent. The thin blanket I had covered myself with was also almost non-existent along with the heater. I groped in the dark for my jacket and couldn't find it. Now what?

Well, misery loves company. So I shook C (who was sleeping next to me) awake and told her that I was feeling cold. C made some empathizing noises. Then she said, "You know what, you could ...." and paused. It is a sign of how tired I was that I actually hoped that C wouldn't finish her statement - so I could go back to sleep pronto. And it was a sign of how tired C was, that she never finished that statement and went back to sleep instead!

After that, other than C getting up sometime past midnight to don her gloves, socks, muffler and sweater before going back to sleep, nothing more of interest happened that night!

The next morning, all of us were ready in record time again (boy, we were getting good at this). Breakfast was provided by the hotel. The guys in our gang were already seated at the home-style dining room and were digging into the delicious home-made fare by the time we girls arrived. We stuffed ourselves very well with the coffee/tea/orange juice, cereals, fritatta/pancakes, fruit salad and rice pudding. Then it was time to park our car at the ferry dock.

Once that was done, we had free time till the ferry actually left. J and A went to church while the rest of us roamed around the San Juan downtown. Unfortunately, San Juan being a lazy, recreational spot and all, not too many stores were open that early. So we just wandered around browsing in the few shops that were open (we finally got to smell lavender at a store which specialized entirely in lavender-based products - including lavender cookies!). Then the group again split with R and C heading off to another church. The rest of us girls, with P in tow, went to many, many stores trying out accesories - poor P must have been bored out of his wits. But we girls had a very nice time :-)!

After some two hours, we had to get back to board the ferry. The one and half hour journey back to Anacortes was uneventful. Most of us slept well, charging up batteries for the rest of the day. After arriving at Anacortes, it was time for lunch (food, again? Oh well, now you know where our priorites lay ;-)). We had decent food, well, at least decent-portion-sized food at a Chinese restaurant and went onto Deception pass.

Deception pass, which J for some reason insisted on referring to as Desolation point (!?!), had extremely scenic views (but by now I had come to expect nothing less from this place!). We stopped at a couple of vista points and admired the spectacular scenery. The day was very fine - the sun shining merrily, the winds carrying a gentle breeze and the temperature just right. We also stopped over at the North Beach and did a small hike around the place. Some of the more adventurous folks among us climbed down the rocks there.

It was a lovely spot for simply hanging around!

But then we had to hurry on if we wanted to spend some time at the Tulip fields before I had to get back to Seattle to get my flight back home. Some of people in the group had already seen the tulip farms in the previous years and were not too keen on seeing it again. But of course, me, who has never seen it, did not so easily give up and threw a tantrum and nagged till everyone agreed to see it again ;-).

After a couple of phone calls for directions, we managed to find our way to Skagit where Tulip Town was located. Even as we parked our car, I could see a wonderful carpet of color in the distance. As we walked closer, I could make out the rows of tulips. It looked extremely beautiful. Remember the Anniyan song "kumari"? It was like being in the song! I went crazy and clicked picture after picture!

We also took plenty of pics of us with the flowers too :-D! After an hour of admiration, it was getting late and we started walking back to the car. The sun shone strongly behind us. That's when all of us tried our hand at making shadow animals on the ground! J had the brilliant idea of taking a pic of the shadows which you can see below. Can you guess what animals we were trying to depict?

All of us girls stopped in between to buy freshly cut tulips from the exhibhition there. It was around 5.15p then - I had to be in the airport ideally by 7.10p to make it for my 8.10p flight. S, A and C were coming to the airport to see me off. So I waved goodbye to P, J, R and D and then we were off.

Of course, in an ideal world with ideal traffic conditions, it would have taken us two hours to get to Seattle. But being in the real world, as soon as we exited the tulip farm, we got stuck in an enormous traffic jam and our car was simply crawling along. After 45 minutes, we had not even reached the major freeway which was supposed to take us to Seattle.

It looked as though we were going to be cutting it real close. C was hyperventilating on behalf of all of us and I was mentally running over all the options I had if I missed the flight. Mercifully, thanks to S's skillful driving, we manged to make up for the lost time once we hit the highway. And by 7.20p I was deposited outside the airport. After quick farewells, I checked in and managed to make it to my gate by 7.50p (darn, Seattle airport is kinda big - but for all its size I could only find an extremely leafy salad for dinner :-().

And then it was back home. And then back to mundane worklife on Monday. And all I had as tangible memories was the pretty bunch of tulips and the pile of dirty laundry that I had brought back!

I had an awesome time on the trip and enjoyed myself a lot. It was a wonderful change from the normal routine. I was charged up for the whole week after that (of course, the euphoric effects have begun wearing off now). And once again, I reiterate: Going on a fun-trip with friends is one of the pleasantest experiences ever! This trip too receives a five star rating from me :-)!


Photo credits: The first pic on this post, the group snap of all of us on the beach and the photo of the shadow-animals were taken by J. The picture of Mt. Rainier as seen from the freeway is by A. The rest are by yours truly!


Prasanna said...

Awesome pics archu! Very nicely written travelogue...wish u could go on some kind of a trip every week, so we get to read interesting post like this..:)

Saranya Kishore said...

OMG! The tulips look _amazing_!! :)
Dint know there was a 'tulip' town.
Nice and wonderful travelogue Arch.
May you go many more places and give us the pleasure of reading many more such posts :))

Floridora said...

Only one word for my reaction...extreme jealousy. OOOPS! that's two. Well, writing as good as yours deserves many more. We think the San Juan Chamber of Commerce owes you.

Prabhu said...

Wow! Nice pics again esp the close-up yellow flowers(tulips?) and Tulips @ ur home.
Me liked this post the best ( not because this was the final part :) since it made me smile more than the other ones.

And hoooo! the breakfast table really looks crowded (taaallll OJ jars!!). I can imagine what happened to the chinese buffet in the afternoon.
And I second Floridora :)

Archana said...

Prasanna, thank you so much :-)! I too wish I could go on a trip every weekend :-D!

Saranya - the tulips were really out of this world :-) - do try and visit them next year! Thank you and may your wish come true ;-)!

Floridora - well, you also did get to see giraffes outside your door :-)! Thanks a lot :-)!

Prabhu - yup, the closeup of the tulips is my favorite one too :-)! Our breakfast table had a whole collection of glasses and dishes for various drinks for food items! And no, lunch wasn't a buffet - a la carte but we still managed to eat a lot :-D! Thank you :-)!

Shilpa said...

Ahh the beautiful tulips !!!

Archu, I will plan on going there during the next season of Tulips...I must simply see it with my own eyes and enjoy the beauty !!

Prabhu said...

About guessing what animals you were trying to depict - Batman,dogs,birds
Is this right?

Archana said...

Shilpa - you should :-)!

Prabhu - birds, dog ellam okay - where did you get this idea of batman????

Archana Bahuguna said...

Great tulip garden pics! The first one with the orange, red, yellow rows is amazing! Good photography ... and nice travellogue ... great that you enjoyed so much!

Archana said...

Archana - thank you :-)!

Calm & Serene said...

Those tulips are on my want-to-see-definitely list, and now, I am more determined!

Looks like it was a fun vacation!

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