M y first trip after arriving in the United States in 1961, was a memorable one. I traveled with my parents and my sisters in a second hand Dodge from Minneapolis, Minnesota to the Yellowstone National Park. What I remember well is seeing the bears that inhabit the region and also remember seeing the 'old faithful' erupt five times (each hour) as our car had blown it's top with a plume of it's own. Thankfully we got the car fixed and returned fully refreshed.

Our second major trip was even more memorable as we traveled from Minneapolis, MN through many states to Los Angeles, California. In those days, there were very few people in this country that looked like us. My mother wore a Saree and my sister and I tied our hair with bandanas to keep hair out of our eyes and wore salwar kameez. There was no Kayak or Travelocity to book rooms in those days. We stayed at motels when we got tired of driving. There was one little town somewhere in Utah or Nevada where we were desperate to get a room for the night and everywhere we went we were turned down. Although we were reaching out to motels with vacancies, the usual answer was that they just got booked. On the road the next day as we stopped at a cafe, we read in the local paper that there were gypsies traveling on highway X. We wondered if that was us. This is the only time we felt as outsiders. At some level it is funny, but it was not so funny at the time.

Veena Mandrekar
Minneapolis, MN
Photo Location
Minneapolis, MN
Yellowstone National Park

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