June 29, 2016

Las Vegas For The Weekend

If there’s something I’m good at doing, it’s flying from one coast to the other with zero rest and sleep. Having only 3 days means a jam-packed day full of Vegas activities. People always wonder why I do this to myself, but nobody said Vegas ain’t worth it. The flight from NYC to Vegas only takes 5 hours, and the time difference of 3 hours gives me more chance to explore.

It takes around 10-15 minutes to get from Las Vegas airport to The Strip via car/cab. In my opinion, renting a car is not necessary for a very short trip, especially when staying on The Strip. I also live in New York City, so I prefer and can get around by just walking anywhere or taking the cab. Exploring The Strip is fun, as you can just go from one hotel/casino to the other. There’s so much to see, but don’t let the distance deceive you! The hotels may look like they’re close to one another, but it takes a moment to get from one place to the other. Make sure to stay hydrated to survive the desert weather, and wearing comfortable shoes makes a whole lot of difference. IMG_7310IMG_7313IMG_7314IMG_7296IMG_5060

Las Vegas Tip: $40 can go a long way. Upon checking in at Caesars Palace, my friend sandwiched 40 bucks between her ID and credit card. Between smiles and a simple “I hope you are having a great day!!”, we got upgraded to the Octavius Emperor Suite (at least $800 per night!), with floor to ceiling glass windows and views of The Strip and the Bellagio Fountains. I didn’t know what to do with all the space! Caesars Palace SuiteIMG_7311

Vegas is known around the world to be a city full of casinos. Fortunately, I do not like gambling and have no interest in it. There are so many other things to do in Vegas besides winning and/or losing all that hard-earned cash.

Las Vegas is all about the many many many massive pools. During summer time, Las Vegas pools come alive with some of the most fun, craziest, wildest parties with beats by some of the world’s best and most popular DJs. From Diplo, Gareth Emery, Calvin Harris, Bingo Players, Dash Berlin, etc etc etc etc. The list of these celebrity DJs are endless, especially during and around the time of Electric Daisy Carnival. EDC is an annual 3-day electronic music event in Las Vegas that attracts some hundred thousand party-goers from all around the globe.

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What about those Vegas buffets though? If you’re down for some unlimited steak, pork chops, lamb chops, snow crab legs, sushi, desserts and everything else in between, then you should not miss this novelty. I had the fortune to try out the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, and the Buffet at Bellagio as well. But of course, a West Coast trip is not a West Coast trip unless you eat at In-N-Out Burger! IMG_7312 IMG_7315 IMG_7316

Yes, we all know that Las Vegas is insane. But there’s also more to it than just painful hangovers from all the day drinking that started at 10:30 AM. The shows in Las Vegas are unmatched by any in the world. There are many different kinds of entertainment for different kinds of people. But of course, I will never pass on a Cirque du Soleil show. I went to see KÀ first, and was completely, utterly mind-blown by the acts and the talents of the performers that I have to see another one. The following evening, right before catching a 12 midnight flight back to New York, I was able to sneak in one last Cirque du Soleil show. Mystère was ridiculously amazing and the performers were so incredibly gifted with their skills. I realized while watching the Cirque du Soleil shows, that if the world ends and you have to escape the people that want to kill their neighbors, and buildings will start collapsing and you have to jump from one roof to another, and the only chance of survival means hanging upside down on a thin line for 12 hours and such- then cirque performers are the ones at the top of the food chain and will live through any catastrophic situation.IMG_5146 IMG_5148 IMG_5154

“We’d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.”

-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


January 5, 2016

Arizona in Two Days: The Navajo Nation

Driving from Sedona to the northeastern Arizona town of Page is very smooth and easy because you stay on one major highway for most of the trip. Entering Page gave me the impression of a small-town vibe with most businesses already closed as early as 9:00 PM and cellphone service down to 3G. Despite Page being “out of the way”, millions of tourists from all across the globe make this a necessary stop because of one major attraction: the Antelope Canyons. The canyons are part of the Navajo Nation, a vast area of deserts, canyons, wilderness and high mountains belonging to the Navajos, the second largest Native American Indian tribe in the United States.IMG_9475IMG_9482IMG_9479

Prior to my trip, I contacted the Navajo-owned and operated Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours to make reservations. The check-in process is very disorganized, with two long lines and only one person to take care of the payments. Despite this one flaw, I like everything else about Dixie Ellis!! Because I made the reservation prior to the trip, I was immediately put with a tour group the moment I checked in. I think the best time to go is early in the morning. If you can do the very first trip, then that’s even better. I was able to get a 9:20 AM tour, and by 9:30 AM, we were already on our way to the canyons. They also accept credit cards, unlike the next-door neighbor that only accepts cash. The regular walking tour costs $28 per person, while the photography tour (only for those with SLRs/DLSRs) costs $50 per person. Home

There are two Antelope Canyons, the Upper and the Lower. I picked Lower Antelope Canyon over the Upper because it is less crowded, longer, the pathways are narrower and the fact that you have to go below the ground really appealed to me. After a 10 minute hike on red dust and sand, we arrived at the surface entrance of the Lower Antelope Canyon, where we were all instructed to climb down 5 flight of stairs towards the underground canyon. The moment I reached the bottom, I was immediately mesmerized by the walls and the sandstone formations.IMG_9461 FullSizeRender 11 FullSizeRender 4

It took millions of years and the forces of wind, water and extreme climates to create this natural beauty that has the power to hypnotize anybody that sets their eyes on its walls. As I slowly squeeze my way through the narrow passageway, I run my fingers against the cold canyon wall. The sun beams are peaking through the cracks overhead, shining on the walls to create a marvelous display of various colors, shapes, shadows and textures. It is no wonder that the Navajos consider the Antelope Canyons sacred and have a mystical bond to it- entering the red stone feels like walking into a cathedral, where the feeling of utmost respect for the environment and total serenity washes over you. Lower Antelope Canyon is ravishing beyond all means that it emits an ethereal sensation, so familiar to anybody who is fortunate enough to wander its path.IMG_9470 FullSizeRender 3 FullSizeRender 5 FullSizeRender FullSizeRender 13FullSizeRender 12FullSizeRender 9FullSizeRender 2IMG_9382IMG_9377FullSizeRender

A 10 minute drive from Lower Antelope Canyon will take you to another must-see destination in Page called Horseshoe Bend. It got its name from the iconic horseshoe-shaped bend of the Colorado river going around a red rock canyon and can be viewed from the edge of a cliff. I fell in love with Horseshoe Bend for its lack of railings and the high risk of falling over a 1,000 ft drop to your death if you are not careful enough, the literal manifestation of living on the edge. There is nothing else I would rather do than sit there the whole day, not talk to anybody, breathe in the Arizonian air and just marvel at the awe-inspiring landscape right ahead.IMG_9471IMG_9472IMG_9473IMG_9480

Some photos by @flyg1o (Instagram)’

Related posts: The Red Rocks of Sedona (Day 1)

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”

-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross