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This Friday evening the BME seniors had taken us to downtown to FRIDAYS AFTER 5..which means that there is a kind of open air fair ( a very small one!) with stalls selling knick-knacks and stuff..There were ppl playing the guitar at one corner and some guys were singing..basically as the Americans put it everybody does their own thing!!!

They were serving beer and pretty soon the whole place had an alcoholic smell to it..and then they had this big open air amphitheater…its kind of a like a bowl.. where the band plays in the deep end and ppl sit on the grass slopes on the side and drink beer and “just chill out”. I met another girl there from my own department ..An American called Linda aur usko bahut pakaaya. It was fun to talk with a “proper American” girl and she was telling me all about her brothers( she had two!) and her parents and hobbies ( it is swing dancing!…woh kya cheez hai bhai….its some east European dance !) and  it was fun! and then we discovered that she too wanted to study literature and then she started reciting a Robert Frost poem (Fire and Ice) and I continued and then we ended up reciting the whole thing together …Talk about international bonding!!

The next day was really nice that is Saturday…. we ( the band of desi at U.VA)ad  planned a picnic for the day…we went first to Natural bridge… As the name suggests it is a natural bridge made of limestone millions of years ago and being made too!! It is 515 feet high ( for those who are statistically inclined) and that is twice the height of the Niagara and it is AWESOME! Right at the top of it there is a natural etching which looks (or the Americans say it does) like a spread eagle…We strained our eyes trying to make out the shape and finally got it.!! Then there was a lost river there,,,jiska matlab we could hear it but no amount of digging and tracer studies could figure out its course…

This place was originally an American Indian place,,so as a tourist attraction they had some Indian tents and a few ppl dressed as Indians carving some stuff and making pottery! Animal skins decorated the place…Elks ,weasel ,skunk ,deer and they were so soft! The ( mock) Indians were really happy to see our group (the real Indians!!) or as they put it and they said “i really cannot use the word Indians in your presence cos you are the true Indians!!”

Sorry for the detour…now to move on we next went to the Blue Ridge mountains part of the Appalachian mountain ranges which extends upto Tennesse..and it is upto 3000 ft high ..The scene was beautiful..Virginia is supposed to be the most beautiful state in Us in terms of natural beauty and certainly the greenest..THe fall colors were not yet out ( it seems the leaves of each tree has a different shade ) but even now the leaves were in different hues so i could well imagine what a riot of color it would be in mid September ( we plan to go to another place to see the Fall colors then!) We stopped at a shady grassy spot to have our lunch :Sandwiches of ham and turkey with mayonnaise and peanut butter ,cool tomatoes(!) ,fresh butter and cheese and cola to wash it all with!!! ( just to give a touch of Enid Blyton to the whole thing!!!)

The view from the top was astounding…Mountains on one side ..and a valley on the other and the drive was full of hairpin curves it was almost like driving on the Lonavla ghats! Our next halt was the Sheranado lake …It was like those idyllic locations : a lake set in the middle of mountains..They had created an artificial beach out there…Unfortunately we didn’t know that earlier so none of us had got our swimming gear..The guys easily stripped to their undies and dived in and we were just watching the show(!) Vrushali had major enthu so she dived in with all her clothes but poor me was wearing white so couldn’t even do that !!

After which there was a long drive back home….and i spent the whole time actually entranced by the scenery …would you believe it i hardly spoke to Seejo!!

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