Talk about Hype and hoopla or talk about US.
Everything here is the World's best, biggest and greatest. Coz the world is US and US is world.
Atleast that is what the people here believe. (don't believe me? check out some of their newspapers)
The world's biggest tree, the banner screamed. Come and see it in the Sequoia national park, it said.
So there we were, 10 gullible desi's, lunch packed and car rented, eager faces glowing with expectation, looking around, searching for the world's biggest tree.
But where was the tree? all the trees around us seemed to be huge but of almost the same size and we had seen ones larger than these.
Oh yes!!! there was a tree fenced all around...That must be the one!
So onward we marched to it, to find another placard. Yes!! this was the world's biggest tree, not in size but in Mass... well duh uh!! I am sure they measured the mass of every tree on God's Green earth. How about our Adyar "Alamaram" then?
I have seen photos of trees in the Amazon, through which they drive trucks... Is the mass of this tree greater even than those giants? Well so they say!!!
Lake Tahoe, our guide said, was one of the most beautiful lakes in the ...what else.. world. When u go on a cruise on the lake, be sure to look out for the island with the castle on top of it.
Being a hard core romantic, I had already built the castle in my imagination with turrets and dragons and princesses and knights and had my eyes peeled so as to not miss it.
It was twilight and the light was dimming, but hey we are talking of a castle... one does not miss a castle even in the dark right!!! When suddenly, "There it is" screamed the guide. I ran to his side to see what he was pointing at. Yeah there it was, a tiny island with a stone shed that looked like the tower on a castle...that was the castle they were so proud about. *Bang Bang Bang* (that was me hitting my head on the cruise railing!!! Sigh!!)
Another example was the drive through the world's most beautiful coast, the 17-mile drive of Monterey bay. Yes it was awesome pretty! but wait! had I not seen something just like this somewhere else?.. Pondicherry beach?!
While it can be irritating, exasperating and pretty much amusing to us, we have to give credit for the kind of marketing and hoopla they create about even the most mundane things.
We spoilt Indians who come from a land where almost every street has a significance and a history to speak of, take it all for granted. Here though, they create their own history and blow it up so much, that we almost expect to see a miracle at every corner.
If only we had the same mentality back home, I think we can stop all other industries and mint money on tourism alone :-).
PS: I was most irritated when on a Ghosts and Legends tour on the cruise liner RMS Queen Mary. I was all set to get frightened out of my wits and kept following the guide everywhere, until the ...exit, And did not even see a fake ghost... aargh!!!
PPS: It has been a horribly busy monht. But found time to write at last…