Couple of years back I visited USA for office work. Managed to squeeze in a vacation as well. When you visit a new place this far from home, you would surely want to see the major attractions. US has plenty to offer: New York, LA, Vegas. My work schedule allowed me to visit two of the major tourist states during my first (& only) trip to the US. Arkansas & New Mexico! This is the difference between planning and squeezing a vacation.
It was the first time I was taking a flight for more than 5 hours. A direct jump to 30 hours alone! By the way, not a good idea to binge watch air crash investigations when you’re about to spend more than 24 hours in air, especially over the Pacific. Most turbulent route! Also, I tried my genius idea of not sleeping in the flight at all, to escape jet-lag. I was wide awake to feel every jitter, big or small. Nonetheless, I reached Bentonville, Arkansas..tired, battered, sleep deprived & a little terrified (thanks Pacific!)
When I reached one of the best hotels in Bentonville, I thought my troubles were over. Nop! Indian hotels have spoilt us! There was no bell boy & front desk guy was nowhere to be found for 15 minutes. After check-in, I was handed the smallest possible mineral water bottle and told that was the only thing I was getting apart from the room. On the bright side, this was the only ordeal I had to face as my vacation time was immensely enjoyable.
Here are the places I could “squeeze” in this trip:
Bentonville, Arkansas: This was a good relief from the hustle bustle of Delhi. I stayed here for two nights. Visited the Walmart museum in evening but it was already closed by then. The retro gift shop at the museum entrance carried some cute souvenirs. Disappointed to have missed the museum timings, I strolled around the Bentonville Town Square. There’s a confederate soldier monument surrounded by shops and the museum. For someone who was experiencing Fall season for the first time, looking at the surrounding flora was engaging enough. The Halloween décor was also admirable! On the same evening, I managed to visit the open shopping center, Pinnacle Hills Promenade in the nearby city of Rogers. Liked the open concept..the outlets were neat and well decorated. I had to practice high level of restraint to stay within luggage limit despite my proximity to plenty of pretty things.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: I reached Albuquerque in late evening. Visited “Frontier Restaurant” which is close to the airport and open after midnight. It was a busy but cozy restaurant with good service and yummy food. Discovered my new favorite, New Mexico’s must have “breakfast burrito”.
Albuquerque is famous for the popular Netflix show “Breaking Bad” & “Balloon fiesta”. Though I still need to find time for the first, I was lucky that my visit coincided with the later. I would advise to park your vehicle a little far and hike for a mile to avoid major traffic congestion. The view was breathtaking. Around 9 am, the whole sky was filled with all shapes, sizes, colors of hot air balloons. My favorite was the huge Zebra balloon with mischievous grin. There were a good number of food trucks to cater for breakfast, but, the taste was a little questionable.
The next afternoon I explored the local mall, Coronado center. This was an excuse to checkout Chipotle and Cheesecake factory before my trip was over! Not disappointed at all. They need to open these restaurants in India. We have a lot of people..no! a lot of hungry people here! On the drive back, I enjoyed a lovely sunset and moon-rise from the gorgeous North Domingo Baca park. I couldn’t explore the local museums, which showcase a good range of exhibits from Natural history, Culture and Nuclear science.
We will continue this journey in upcoming posts. Again, this post is based on my recollection, that’s why, not detailed. Will include more details and better pictures for any future trips 😊