Wednesday, 27 May 2015




As usual, I rise early at 4.45 AM, unable to sleep any longer, I leave the bed and drew the curtains aside. The veil of the darkness is slowly lifting with the approaching sunrise. Yasmin is sleeping and I don't want to disturb her sleep. So, I move on my toes. She wakes up at about 6 o'clock. I miss my tea and lemon water. There is a percolator with coffee sachets in the tray on the table. I think of making a cup of black coffee but coffee can not be a substitute for tea. So, I drop this idea of coffee. Besides, I have had the little water in the bottle. Here, drinking water is not free, like in India. People have to purchase mineral, nobody misuses or wastes water here. 'How much do we waste water in India', I just keep pondering over it for a few minutes.

We get ready, pack things and go to the ground floor for breakfast which is not complimentary in our tour package. I am not a foodie. So, I always get muddled when I am to choose from the menu card. I leave it to Yasmin to decide. She orders 'Egg start with fresh fruits' and tea for me. When asked to make a choice between brown bread or muffin, sunny side up egg or double sided egg, I prefer to have muffin with egg sunny side up. This is something new for me. I feel happy to learn the difference between sunny side up egg and double sided egg. We prepare these things but are not familiar with the terms/names.

Really travelling gives us an opportunity to learn numerous things. I remember Francis Bacon's view on Travelling- " TRAVEL, in the younger sort, is a part of education, in the elder, a part of experience...It is a strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen, but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land-travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation. Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use..." Remembering these lines by Bacon, I feel so happy that at least I am making the most of my travelling by recording my observations here in Pages from New Jersey.

Tea arrives first and a happy, contended smile spreads on my face. I pour the tea into the cup fondly and with each sip, the smile widens on my face. The breakfast is served. The waiter brings a basket of various kinds of jams. He asks Yasmin to pick any flavor. Before she decides, another waitress asks him to leave the whole basket saying that they want to have all the flavors. I like the people and their small gestures of understanding. I take out each one of them and spread it on the muffin. They are simply delicious. I notice two White Americans sitting on the breakfast table to my left. The man is busy telling about himself to the woman to which she is listening very attentively, speaking less, nodding her head sometimes. People speak very nicely with gestures and expressions to make themselves well understood. Moreover, they are attentive listeners too. The Chinese old couple, on my right side are eating silently. People don't speak loudly here unless required.

After the wholesome breakfast, we board the bus to leave for the Thousand Islands. We reach there in two hours. Joe gets tickets for us. Meanwhile I go to the rest room. There I find people standing in a queue, waiting for their turn to come. Nobody outstrips anyone.

I have never been on cruise ever. It's first of its kind for me. So, I am much excited about it. The cruise arrives and after the passengers alight, we board it. There is a man to collect our tickets. This time we prefer to be on the top to get a full view. We select a corner to stand. In the beginning, I thought that it is just for namesake 'Thousand Islands' but as the ship starts sail, I am astonished to see the beautiful castles, boat-houses with docks, gardens on those beautiful, scintillating islands. Would that I get a chance to spend a weekend on any of these islands some day...!

The fast current of wind, ruffling my hair, brings me down from the dreamworld. I can see ripples of waves dancing on the rocks trapped underneath at the bottom. The ship leaves behind a
trail of foams, bubbles, froths in the water. There are other
private jetties too with a couple or some people who wave at us while passing by and we wave back in return. We have to pull back
our hair or sweep them behind from our face because they keep blocking the view of picturesque islands. Still I feel nice with the fast wind playing wild with my hair. There are wild innate
feelings that keep surfacing up in some very wistful moments...

The man behind the mike keeps us warning to stand away from
the rail. But who pays attention when you are too engrossed in living the rare moments knowing that they are short lived but are to remain etched out in memory forever?

I am lost in the beauty of this unreal world of fairies and castles.

The man informs us that there are one thousand eight hundred
or some small and large islands. There are beautiful resorts,
hotels, houses with gardens, lawns dockyards built on them
for the tourists. Hmmm...It is all a matter of money, honey,
for such recreation and fun in life! For a while, even my
self-contended nature wishes for the little Elf to appear
before me asking me to make three wishes and I ask for
abundance of wealth to stay here...but who knows!

The ship keeps on moving steadily and looking down at the
waves parting for the ship to move, I remember the lines by
S T Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner-

"The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."

For me, the reality, the practicalities of life is the silent sea.

I know that it is a far cry for me to hire any of these islands for a summer recreation. Nevertheless, I feel quite happy even to get this chance to visit these far off lands and waters, seeing and writing about them, thus, getting enriched in the experiences of life.

There are sea gulls and migratory birds flying over our heads, making different kinds of sounds. They keep fluttering their large wings.
They are not the Albatrosses waiting for us to offer food to them. They have plenty to eat here and rest when they get tired flying for days. I just wonder at the dark side of the Mariner, "What prompted him to shoot the bird!"

I take a look at Yasmin. She seems lost too, in the beauty of the
islands.There seems the same kind of wistful look in her eyes.
May her dreams come true!

A light house comes in view. We are approaching the dockyard now. Soon the dreams are to ground there, to be anchored and harbored there waiting for an opportune moment to arrive...

Joe and Jason are waiting for the passengers to come back and board the bus for return journey that will take some four-five hours.
Joe is quite pleased with our punctuality and expresses in words, "I am so happy with my people. They are good fellows. They always arrive in time and I don't have to keep waiting for them. We are ahead of other buses."

She asks Jason to drive fast. She says that she is starving and want to have a sumptuous Chinese buffet at a Chinese restaurant on way back. Jason is happy too. The journey is nearing its end and he would be able to have rest. He is a very quite, adorable little man with decent ways. They talk in a very friendly way. It is actually Joe, doing most of the talking and he, occasionally, giving his opinion or remarks. So, when Joe asks for passengers' opinion for buffet at a Chinese eat out, he says lovingly, "Where there's a Joe, there's a will."

It is later on, when Joe asks us to give good rating to her, that we come to know that Joe is doing her part-time job as a tourist's guide to pay her tuition fee of her higher studies. I feel overwhelmed.

The food at Chinese restaurant is really a treat for me. I enjoy all sorts of fruits, donuts, momos, noodles, chicken cooked in different kinds of sauces. Never had I eaten such a variety of Chinese food in my life before! No doubt, Chinese look so healthy! The food makes me feel drowsy when I get on the bus. I sleep all the way.

The Bus reached The Hong-Kong Super Market at about 7.45 PM. Yasmin books a cab on her cell phone but the cab arrives late. We sit there waiting. It comes at 8.20. This time it is the cab owner. He has now become quite familiar with Yasmin. Even in the cab, I keep dozing off. We reach home at 9.30 AM.

Adieu Niagara Falls and Thousand Islands till we meet again!

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