Friday, June 03, 2005

London Bridge is falling....

London-Bridge is falling…

As soon we came to know that Monday is holiday due to Memorial Day, our brains started working how to make use of this long weekend. I was wondering about going for a packaged tour. My colleagues Asis (who is my roommate also) and Samrat came up with this 3-trip plan to Grand Canyon-Las Vegas. Without any hesitations, the plan took off & we booked the tickets. I also went promptly & got a new digital camera which I always wanted to have!!


I woke up to see that the time is 6:20am & remembered that the bus starts at 7am!! So rushed in a taxi to the tourist agency from where the journey was about to begin. Made it in just in time. This travel agency is totally run by Chinese. From Hathoven Blvd here in Torrance we were taken in a mini van to Lincoln Avenue, Los Angeles. Lincoln Avenue is a mini china town. There the bus was waiting for us.

Got into the bus and soon we found that the whole bus is full of Chinese. It took a while to digest the language which we were hearing. Our first place of visit for the day was London Bridge. Wondering how come London Bridge is there in US? Even I got puzzled the first time I heard about it. I’ll tell you more on this.

So finally the bus left LA around 9am.Our tour guide was a Chinese lady whose name was Hel-o-yan, which we promptly renamed as “Halloween” :)She was speaking in a strange and pathetic English.After undergoing this ‘Chinese torture’ for 1.5 hours,we stopped at a shopping mall on the way. As my bladder was full, I desperately wanted to release my tension.So rushed to the rest room to find a huge queue.Then I realized there are at least some 3-4 buses which came at the same time.So waited patiently & finally got relieved :)

As I was hungry, I grabbed a veg-sandwitch & returned to bus. The bus started again to stop at a Chinese restaurant. Me & Asis decided to check the Chinese buffet(8$).I didn’t know any of the things there.Only few things I could recognize was veg salads,fruits,pappad,coke & groundnut with small fried chillies.I took them & was about eat the groundnuts when I saw the chillies were not similar.Then I realized they are not chillies but small dried fishes!! So groundnut was discarded.

After lunch (?), the journey continued. Meanwhile the bus has entered Arizona State. Major parts of this state are covered by barren desert. Our destination as I told you earlier was a place ‘London Bridge’.London Bridge is there in Lake Havasu city.

Now some interesting trivia why it is called ‘London Bridge’..

In 1962, it was discovered that the London Bridge was falling down, sinking into the Thames because it was not adequate for the increase in traffic. Robert McCulloch,an American business man,learned that the British Government was putting the bridge up for sale.

He submitted the winning bid for $2,460,000. How was this figure arrived at? The first question was how much it would cost London to cut the granite so it could be used again. The figure McCulloch and C.V. Wood (Master planner) came up with was $1,200,000 and they doubled that since McCulloch and Wood, thought someone else might figure the same way, they added $60,000. The reason for this figure was that Mr. McCulloch would be 60 years old when the bridge was dedicated. So, McCulloch and Wood added this amount, making the total $2,460,000!!

The bridge was dismantled. Each piece was marked with four numbers: the first indicated which span; the second noted which row of stones; and the last two indicated which position in that row.

The bridge was shipped by boat 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California. From there, it was trucked to Lake Havasu City where it was stored in seven-acre fenced storage compound.

Reconstructing the Bridge in Lake Havasu City was done in the same manner as the Egyptians built pyramids. Sand mounds beneath each arch were carefully formed to the profile of the original bridge arches, serving the same function as molds. When work was completed the sand was removed. A one-mile channel was dredged and water was diverted from the lake, under the Bridge, then back into the lake.

The Bridge was completed and dedicated on October 10, 1971.

Buying a bridge from some part of world, getting it dismantled, shipping & reconstructing it as it was earlier… Sounds crazy but it is true.

Back to journey…
It was 4pm when we reached the bridge. The bridge area was full of tourists in all shades & (good) shapes ;) There were visitors sitting and boozing heavily. Few after boozing went for a ride in the water. Took a walk along the water, everywhere I went there were ladies n gentlemen in their minimum basics and highly drunk. In middle of all these boozers & lusty babes, one man was sitting under the bridge and playing saxophone not bothered about anything in the world. I heard the man comes & plays the saxophone daily there. Don’t know whose memories bring him to the same place again & again….

After these picture some views, we took a walk on the bridge. Lake Havasu is actually a Colorado River reservoir created when the Parker Dam was built. There is a statue of Robert P. McCulloch and C.V. Wood, the master planner.

After having ‘rainbow’ ice-cream, it was time to return to bus.But me, Asis & Samrat were late by 7 minutes.As a punishment for coming late, we were asked to sing some Indian song.As we knew that nobody there in the bus knew Hindi, we sung “Choli ke peche kya” song! When someone asked what the meaning of the song is, we gave an answer which nobody could ever understand!!

So the journey continued for another 45 minutes before we stopped at a motel. That was our night-stay place. It was already 6:30pm when we reached there. We quickly had shower & went out to explore the area.We were looking for some good place to eat.I settled for Pizza Hut Veg Pizza (8$), while other two went to Chinese restaurant. We slept early at 12 as next day we were supposed to leave the place by morning 4:45!!!

Next morning we were going to Grand Canyon………

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