January 2017

West Coast Wonder teaser image
It has been a grueling semester, what with twenty credit hours, group assignments, internship-searches, soft-skill sessions, and a ton of other things occupying our minds. Therefore, I felt some much-needed relief when I handed in my case-study solution for the Operations final examination. Phew! Now, it would be a month of fun, frolic, and my favorite activity in the world: travelling. My itinerary had been set a month earlier. I would be visiting several cousins in different cities, visiting places, and doing a lot of catching up. I would start by spending a night in Dallas and then taking a flight to Portland. Then, my tour would include a week in San Jose, followed by a few days in Los Angeles and finally a few days in Dallas. Then, exhausted and yet rejuvenated, I would go back to a new semester in College Station.

I was super excited as I went to Dallas with my friend Tyler. We spoke all through the drive until he dropped me at a bar in Dallas where I would be meeting up with a cousin who stays there. It was a strange sight to see a hooded backpacker entering this cozy bar where a Christmas party was going on. However, I was able to deposit my bag easily and then, my vacation officially kicked off with a night of Margaritas. When you do not have your choice of beer, are bored of other drinks, or are just not sure in general, always go with Margaritas! It was a fun evening, followed by an early lunch with my cousin. We had a great chat, caught up on a lot of things, and then I walked around uptown Dallas for a couple of hours before heading to the airport for my flight to Portland, Oregon. The weather was chilly and it was perfect for walking around the beautiful city, soaking up the sights and sounds of the quaint uptown area, trying to forget the trauma of the difficult Operations case.

The flight to Portland took about four hours and it took another hour to reach my cousin’s house. She recently had a baby and I was super-excited to see my nephew. We had great dinner and ended up talking for several hours. I did not go out the next morning. I stayed at home on a snowy day, drinking coffee, relaxing, and reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Yes, this was the dream vacation that I had been planning. I stayed in Portland for a week, and travelled all over Downtown, China Town, Waterfront Park, Pioneer Square, Spirit Mountain Casino, and a ton of restaurants and bars. It was amazing. I was travelling alone as it was hard for cousin to travel with the baby. I spoke to different local people and absorbed the city vibes. I also met random travelers and we ended up having lunch, visiting Powell’s bookstore, and enjoying a fantastic time. Refreshed as I was in Portland, it was time to say goodbye. I was now going to San Jose to continue this wonderful trip.

The week in San Jose went by quite fast. My cousin, her husband, and their daughters were all on leave from work and school and we visited several places. I started with Apple Headquarters and ended up going everywhere, from Indian sweet stores to the Redwood State Park. There was also the seventeen-mile-drive where we saw scores of seals resting on rocks at the Pebble Beach. Moreover, the day in San Francisco was amazing with the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Cable Car Museum and of course, the amazing Ghirardelli Marketplace. Great days end with fabulous food and amazing drinks. In fact, one of the days was very interesting as I visited the two famous schools: Stanford and Berkley. The campuses were amazing, so were the people. I loved both these institutions and they were absolutely perfect. There was only one factor that was missing. None of these places had the Aggie Spirit. Gig’em Ags!

Both Portland and San Jose was great fun. I started this article while waiting for a flight from San Jose to Los Angeles. I am again staying with a cousin here. No guesses there, right? Anyway, it is night in LA now. I did not get to finish the article in the morning and then became busy in LA. You see, LA to me is like what a shrine is to a religious person. It is in the city of angels that my rock and roll idols became famous. I got into the city in the morning and took a cab to my cousin’s place on the Eastern part of town. I caught up for a while with my cousin and his girlfriend, and then the real fun started. We drove to Venice Beach and saw the skateboarders, the people working out at Muscle Beach, and a ton of other interesting people. Soon after, we drove through Santa Monica Boulevard into the Sunset Strip. I visited the Whisky-A-Go-Go, a place made famous by The Doors, followed by Guns n’ Roses and the entire entourage of eighties and nineties hair metal bands. It was truly an iconic moment for a rock fan. We also went to The Roxy, followed by Tequila shots at The Rainbow Room. Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead was a regular there. The place where he used to drink is known as Lemmy’s Lounge. It was the most surreal moment in all of the eighteen days that I have been travelling. Soon after, we moved out and visited several other classic places. It was a lot to do in one day and I am still stunned and kind of letting it all sink in.

It has been a great day. It is one o’ clock in the night now. I am sitting at an apartment in Los Angeles, sipping a Negroni cocktail and writing this blog. I am excited about the things that will come my way tomorrow. If you want to know more about it, check out my Instagram photos with #arjunctravels. Have a great 2017.

Arjun Chakrabarti | MBA

Arjun is an MBA student with an intense love for music, travel, scuba diving, tattoos and public speaking.

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