Am I in Korea again?

January 12th, 2014

Las Vegas, NV

We spent a full day exploring Las Vegas. Our very healthy morning breakfast consisted of froyo (I put mostly healthy toppings on!) for me and a smoothie for Leah in addition to our usual coffees. We were both shocked at the vast number of Starbucks in the area, as well as the expensive prices of food and drink in general!

We set off through the MGM Grand first of all. For the record, this place smells AMAZING!! They surely must infuse their air with vanilla or something. We were impressed with the cool looking Rainforest Cafe, and Leah got a squished penny, which was pretty exciting.

We continued down the strip and were duly awed by the Bellagio (amazing blown glass and Chinese New Years garden, plus the fountains), and Caesars Palace, which is home to the Colosseum, where Celine Dion plays her shows here. The casinos are well decorated and quite clean, however, the smoking inside thing is really enough to make me not interested in spending any length of time in them.

By this time we were rather hungry, so we made our way over to Planet Hollywood, which has Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR in it. We waited for not too long and soon sat down for a well-deserved lunch. It took what felt like foreverrrrr for someone to come over to the table, and when it was it was some other guy, not our actual server. We choose pudding shakes (#4 and #5), which were AMAZING and so decadent as our drinks. When our waiter finally appeared he seemed not the friendliest of guys, to be honest, and we registered our order of Earth Burger (me) and Hell’s Kitchen (Leah). Burgers here run about $14-18 apiece NOT including sides of any sort. Leah was also keen on trying the sweet potato fries which had a delicious sounding sauce and seasonings. When our burgers finally arrived, they were good but I wouldn’t say anything to write home about. Somewhere along the line, our fries ended up getting missed, which turned out ok because we were both so full. Our waiter never checked in with us to see how things were, and so overall I was pretty unimpressed with BurGR. Go elsewhere, I’d say!

We took a quick rest break at the hotel after that, then headed out to the Celine show. It was AMAZING. Her voice is SO good still and she is quite the showman. Definitely worth every penny!

After the show, we watched the fountain/volcano explode at the Mirage, and explored the inside of the Venetian a bit. We thought about going up the Eiffel Tower, but it was $20! Couldn’t quite justify that one…

On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped in for a roadie. They have adorable mini bottles of wine, which seem to make the perfect mobile bevvy. As we walked down the street, a stranger said, “Be careful, it starts with the little bottle of wine!” Haha! Sadly(?) (Wisely?), we passed on clubbing for another little bottle of wine and some cheese with our poor blistered feet kicked up in the hotel.

Las Vegas can be summed up as follows: ostentatious, extravagant, often obnoxious, excessive, and glittery. It’s the land of plenty and the land of none. I can safely say I think I can live quite happily never returning to this place, although it was amusing while here.

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ColoWOWdo and BeUTAHful

Jan 8th, 2014

Denver, CO to Page, AZ

So by the time I write these, if Leah doesn’t start making notes in the car, I feel like I’ve forgotten everything we’ve done, all the funny, quirky things that happened, and the things we’ve seen in the day. Our days our so long, that this is really entirely possible! I’ll start from the boring beginning bits, to try and jog my memory.

We were aiming for an early departure from Denver since it is a 5hr drive (approx) from there to Arches in Utah. We set off from Liza’s around 0720, which is GREAT by our standards!! It was a beautiful morning in Denver, but through a few mountain passes and a tunnel, pretty soon we found ourselves in a slushy situation. Luckily, the roads weren’t too bad, and after a quick gas and coffee stop in Frisco, we continued through the mountains. We were excited to drive through Vail, and fangirled a bit over being in the same town as the lovely Trista and Ryan from the Bachelorette. I mean, who doesn’t love a happy ending, especially for such a sweet pair of people?!

We also found my hometown, Edwards, CO, which appears to be a small, mountain town. Perhaps I shall retire here….and become mayor! Colorado kept wowing us with the beautiful mountains, gorgeous colours, and excellent scenery (and 75km/h speed limit), so we gave it the nickname of ‘ColoWOWdo’, which reminds me of Kripke from Big Bang Theory (say Colorado with his speech impediment and tell me it doesn’t sound like Colowowdo!!). 

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When we finally crossed the border into Utah, it was like entering a whole new world. I’ve NEVER seen anything like it before, it was so stunning. The landscape and vegetation were completely unique and awe-inspiring, soon giving reason for us to call it, beUTAHful!

We made it easily to Arches and were automatically struck by the beauty, taking photo after photo within a minute of arriving. It is completely breathtaking and even Leah, who found the Sistine Chapel left something to be desired, was blown away by the natural wonder. My favourite formation was sheep rock and the windows.

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We struck up some dancer’s pose in front of the North Window. There was a couple sitting up in the window, and I could just hear, ‘Oh, look how acrobatic they are. Gee, I could never do that anymore.’ They were super cute and soon offered to take a picture for us.

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We departed from Arches for Canyonlands around 1520. The beautiful scenery continued into Moab, Utah, and I figure I would probably love to live there, what with the rafting, biking, room for horses, and other things to do. Leah seemed to think the various sceneries would become boring and old after a while, jaded young thing! We reached the turn-off for Canyonlands around 4:15. From the turn-off it is a further 50kms-ish into the entrance of Canyonlands. There is a lot of wildlife around, with cows openly grazing around the road in pasture, wild bunnies, foxes, and lots of deer to be avoided. We made an attempt to befriend some of the cows, but they seemed to be having none of it, even when we told them we had been to the town of Bovina just a few days earlier.

 

The first interesting thing we reached was Newspaper Rock, which we actually did not notice the first time we pulled in. We looked at this big, beautiful rock formation across the road and thought, nah, we don’t really see why they called it that, but it’s cool! We continued down the road, but made the executive decision to turn back, since we were losing light and I did not wish to murder any animals who had the poor judgement to fling themselves in front of Elva (we named the car). On our second pass, I said, ‘hey, let’s make sure there isn’t a trail or something we can walk along for a view here. Maybe we can climb Newspaper Rock.’ As we were looking, we noticed a rock to the side of the parking lot with lots of drawings on it. Bingo! We pulled in and realized newspaper rock was so named for the petroglyphs on rock, not the rock formation across the road. Apparently when the rest of the world isn’t there crowding around stuff, sometimes you (almost) miss it!

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Once we hit the highway again, we had a beautiful drive to Page. The sunset was UNREAL. Like, cannot believe I am seeing this, holy crap, this is amazing kind of sunset. We can only imagine what we will be treated to in the Grand Canyon!

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Leah became so bored on the last hundred kms of our drive that she began counting the number of lights she could see (that’s how dark and desert-y Arizona and Utah can be!). At the fewest, she counted 0, at most, maybe 8. It was an exciting game, as you can probably tell, especially if you are the Count from Sesame Street.

Other than that, we almost ran down a fox, finally solving the mystery of what does the fox say…for reference, it’s: Holy ****, don’t hit me!

Well, must call it a day at that. Lots more to do tomorrow….