Smitha’s cousin Abhi lives in a town called Painted Post in NY, that’s only a 4 1/2 hour drive from Toronto, and for our Easter weekend, we drove over to his place. It was the first time I was driving into the States, and I was worried that border crossing and immigration check would be a hassle. But both of us were pleasantly surprised by the totally polite personnel who issued us our I-94s. After crossing into the US, the one thing that was a little difficult was to keep within the speed limits which were all in miles/hour. My car’s speedometer had both kmph and mph, but the mph readings were in smaller text. Eventually I managed by keeping up with (and sometimes a little ahead of) the rest of the traffic. We did get lost once, and had to get back to Buffalo to find directions, because the roads were pretty much empty, and exiting the highway just took us into even more lonely places. Couldn’t even find a restaurant in some of the exits we took.
On Friday, we went rafting (6 hours and 18 miles) at a place called Pine Creek in Wellsboro (Pennsylvania). It was an awesome experience. For one thing it was raining and the water was freezing cold. For another, there were occasional rapids when the raft went totally out of control, and we hit rocks on a few occasions. Once I got half thrown out and if Abhi had not pulled me in, I’d have been in a sorry state, and most likely would have had a few fractures. After a couple of hours, we got good at controlling the raft (there were four of us – me, Smitha, Abhi, and Abhi’s wife Binitha). We got home and played cards for a while – due to some horrible bad luck, I lost most of the time, which was rather annoying.
On Saturday, we visited a few nearby places – beautiful green sceneries with lakes, just like a frame from a Disney cartoon. It must be awesome for the people living there, though they may feel the opposite. We also checked out a winery, got a few wine tastings, and also bought some wine. One old lady was behind me in the payment counter, and she was totally sloshed. She said that was her 6th or 7th winery visit, and with the free tastings from each winery, she was pretty decently drunk. She told me that they all tasted the same after the 3rd winery – not surprising, the state she was in, she’d eat a lizard thinking it was licorice. We got home, had quite a good dosage of alcohol (to compliment the wine), played more cards and went to sleep. Very curiously, I lost most of the games again, and I bet it was due to my seat, which was positioned at a wrong angle and didn’t allow me to concentrate on the game. Oh btw, Binitha’s cooking was fantastic, so dinner was great too.
On Sunday, we visited Abhi’s friends, and their son (a 4 year old) was a car-crazy kid, with a few dozen car models that were exact replicas of popular cars in North America. I think that kid’s gonna ask for a Ferrari when he is 14 or 15 – and will probably get it too! We played Cards (again I lost – unbelievable) and Monopoly (Abhi and I had a very powerful partnership; we owned half the city, and bankrupted Binitha and Smitha in an hour or so). The drive back was uneventful, the reverse border crossing was smooth, and we reached home by about 8:30 PM. This was the first time since we came to Canada, that we had taken more than a day off, and the trip was awesome. The only mystery is how I kept losing all those damned card games, despite being the best player in the lot. Oh well, it was bad luck I tell you, sheer bad luck!