Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grand Canyon

Continuing our journey from the Hoover Dam, we went ahead on our way to the Grand Canyon which is about a couple of hours away from the Hoover Dam. On the way to the park, we first had a lunch buffet in the Quality Inn & Suites Canyon Plaza.


Right after lunch, we headed straight to Grand Canyon National Park which is just a few minutes away. Our visiting points will be in an area of the park known as the South Rim.


It was a clear and sunny day. The sun shining and the weather is perfect. It was a bit chilly on the top however.


Inside the park, we passed by Grand Canyon Railway, a historical railway which opened in 1901. Currently it runs between Williams, Arizona and the South Rim of Grand Canyon.


Our first stop was at the Bright Angel Lodge, a bed and breakfast built in 1935.


Squirrel in the park!


Yavapai Point is a short minute walk from the lodge and gives a spectacular perspective of the canyon.


The houses in the area looks like log cabins and vacation homes. Perfect for overnight campings!


Looking at the scene below us, you can see that there are a few campers, backpackers and hikers walking and following a trail. I would love to do this however my companions do not. It was chilly back then and you can still see traces of snow.


Free!


A few steps away is a marker for the Bright Angel Trail.


Horse Stable


We also went to another area called Mather Point. It has a different perspective of the Grand Canyon as compared to Yavapai but both are breathtaking!


Near Mather Point is the Canyon Park Visitor Center. In here you can find more information about the area, ask questions or have your passport stamped.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hoover Dam

Located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, Hoover Dam was an instant landmark when it was completed in 1935 because it was back then the world's largest concrete structure. Considered today as one of the world's largest hydroelectric producer, the dam is situated between Arizona and Nevada states and is just an hour or less away from Las Vegas.

On our way for a day trip to Grand Canyon in Arizona, we stopped over for a few minutes at the Hoover Dam.


Some pictures taken from the Hoover Dam


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

M&M's World in Las Vegas

During our first day walking spree around The Strip in Las Vegas last March 2008, we chanced upon M&M's World, a four-storey (or was it five?) outlet dedicated solely to M&M's items.


Entrance lobby


I love M&M's chocolates. I even bought rare color candies when I was in New York. By chance, I also collect M&M's dispensers which are given free when you a couple of big packs at Duty Free Philippines. In this tore however are lots colorful items, some are collectibles and accessories that are branded which I have never seen before.


M'M's, the chocolate of NASCAR Fans display.


Movie poster parodies, featuring who else but the M&M's as stars.


At the entrance


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Casinos in Las Vegas

Casinos, certainly, are the biggest attraction in Las Vegas. For sure people who flock in Vegas for holidays or on a short weekend get-away are not just after the shows and the beauty of the city. Dubbed as a "sin city", it really is a place where you can practice extravagance and lavisciousness, in terms of money and fame, not to mention the girls and boys that you can "hire for entertainment".

And it all starts the moment you arrive at the airport. I mentioned in my previous post that I was surprised (or I didn't expect) that you can gamble right in the airport when you arrive while waiting for your baggage. You can also catch a last minute gambling at the boarding gates while waiting for your plane on your departure!


One thing you will notice is that it is obvious that Casinos are also ranked or classified according to certain levels. There are casino houses you might say that are for "masses" like this one in Imperial Palace.


There are also ones for those who are looking for something a bit more classy and upscale like this one in Mandalay Bay.


Notice the difference? Obviously the former was more crowded and players are a bit more comfy and at home than the latter. There are also casino houses you'll pass by on the streets where you can just walk-in like this one.


Casinos each have their own gimmicks and themes. For this one they have "Dealertainers" who impersonate celebrities that lightens up the mood and ambience as you play.


At the end of the day, of course you should go to one that suit your needs and is targetted to your taste. It is not bad, actually it is encouraged, that you do casino-hopping and find the place that you can say is really your spot.


This is me taken inside Imperial Palace. I'm also amazed that casinos actually allows camera shooting. In some places like in Macau and Genting, they do not allow photography and videography of any sort inside. In the Philippines, casinos tape cellular phones with camera functionalities.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Las Vegas, Nevada

Our next (and last) destination in our US trip last March 2008 is in Las Vegas, Nevada.


I find it funny to see slots and casino machines located inside the airport. It is helpful though because we waited for our baggage to be loaded in the carousel for about 40-45 minutes. If we have known that it will take that long we would have taken our chance in the slots.


We stayed in Imperial Palace. Our room is quite basic as compared to our rooms we stayed in other cities in Marriott Courtyard chains but it is spacious and beds are big.


On our first day, we just walked around The Strip and walked into different hotels. These are some of the places we've been on our first day:

Flamingo


Paris Las Vegas


Bellagio


Planet Hollywood


Harley-Davidson Cafe


Monte Carlo


MGM Grand


Mandalay Bay


Tropicana


Las Vegas street (Tropicana Avenue)


Excalibur


New York New York


World of Coca-Cola


M&M's World


Arc de Triomphe in Paris Las Vegas


Bally's


Caesars Palace


Margaritaville


The Forum Shops


The Mirage


Treasure Island


The Venetian


The Palazzo


Imperial Palace (where we stayed)


We had a day trip to Arizona the next day to visit the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. I'll be posting more about the trip later. When we came back later that night, we bought tickets for Cirque du Soleil show called O. We booked for the show on our last night.


On our 3rd day, we just went around the Strip to look for something to do. We passed by a lot of places, including:

Wynn


Fashion Show Mall


Later that day, we proceeded to the Mandalay Bay to watch the fight of Juan Miguel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.


Our 4th day in the city was a sunday so we looked for a Catholic church to hear a mass. Luckily there is one just a couple or so blocks away from our hotel.


THEhotel and Luxor


We also went to Las Vegas Premium Outlets to shop for the rest of the day.


Last thing we did was to watch O. Early next morning, we left the city and headed back home.

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