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Monday, February 28, 2011

The El Cheapo Travels Experiance

    It was a snowy day and the house was relatively quiet. Due to the extreme cold, I had been in my bed and really had no desire to get out to explore the outside world. Hunger pangs made me push my head from under the quilt and I saw that it had stopped snowing. Yet, one could feel another mighty blizzard building up outside waiting for it to barrel down towards the city and the biting winds to wind its way through the forests and shake the pine trees till all the snow on them had fallen down. The strong icy cold winds usually ended up shaking the house so hard that it felt like it might crumble any moment. Building a little courage, I managed to crawl out of the bed and walk up to the window to see what’s happening outside. The window offered a view of a clear winter day and the sun lit the snow covered city casting magical yellow light upon the land. The street and homes wore a deserted look even though it was just 11:00 AM.

    The few people who were seen on the sidewalks were rushing through the open spaces either trying to reach home after disembarking from the city bus or trying to clean out their driveway before they turned into a snowman. The snow plows with yellow flashing light were lazily plowing and salting the streets. The icy roads slowed down everyone’s journey and it was fun watching cars slip and slide as they drove by the house.

    The town had plunged into total darkness last night due to the heavy snowfall which had snapped the main power lines. With nothing better to do, I got up and had a bowl of cereal with a large helping of milk before it got spoiled and head off to town to wrap up some pending work instead of staying in a house which was turning into an ice cube. With stiffening hands and fingers, I hunted up the Happy Travels taxi service. HHI was pacing back and forth across the front door when the taxi arrived late. I was glad to see that it had actually arrived and didn’t bother to chew the driver out for making me wait in the freezing weather as it was my own choice to stand there in the first place. Looking back, I closed the door and briskly walked towards the waiting cab. Looking back, the warm yellow glow of the house beckoned me to come back yet I felt the urge to go and I turned around before I changed my mind.

    The streets and the shops wore a deserted look even though most of the shops were open waiting for the late evening weekend rush. The few people who were seen on the sidewalks were rushing through the open spaces either trying to catch a taxi or trying to figure out which pile of snow was theirs. The tow trucks were seen pulling the cars out of the ditches and the dead cars to the service centers. A few sirens were heard on the street and I guess someone needed some help. The snow plows were lazily plowing and salting the streets. The icy roads slowed down our journey and I was getting sick of the constant slipping and swaying of the taxi.

    The constant chatter of the taxi driver kept my mind away from the grim weather. Joey talked just about everything under the sun and I really seemed to enjoy the monologue which consisted of how awful the teams were, the food joints, who bashed whom last night at the bar and how his wife always gave him an ear full for coming home late. Pretty soon, the suffocating cluttered feeling turned into a comfortable one and I must have dozed off.

    The taxis horn and the jovial cheeky remarks woke me out of the slumber. The old post office loomed ahead and it seemed no different than the other building sitting next to it. Holding my hat firmly with the warm woolen gloves, I got out of the warm taxi and ran towards the steps. My body became stiff with the cold as soon as I stepped out. I was glad to see that the steps had been shoveled, salted and sanded. An old man cannot afford slipping on an ice patch no matter how young he feels inside.

    Off to one side, many panic stricken people could be seen trying to control their out of control vehicles while the policeman lurked behind a snow bank looking for someone to give a ticket to. Endless piles of snow stretched from one horizon to the next. I wondered how long it would take to cover this distance and what lies beyond. Someone opened a door as I heard the wind chimes twinkle and the sounds of little kids as they ran slipping and sliding down the sidewalk to help the people who were stuck in the snow and somewhere in the distance an old man was madly jingling the bells on his car so that someone could shovel him out of the snow drift he was stuck in.

    The remaining day was uneventful as I went window shopping and stopped by a fancy restaurant where I got to drive my own Dodge ‘em car and it was fun running into other cars and bouncing off walls. I arrived home many hours late yet I liked this experience the best. I had seen many new sights which are usually hidden from me and I absolutely loved this adventure.