Tag Archives: Grand Canyon

It’s an American Thing

My favorite city in America is San Francisco with its Golden Gate Bridge. I can image myself living in one of the city’s terraces on a steep hill. A New York loft in Soho comes in a close second, just a short subway ride from Central Park.

And then there is Las Vegas, where you can see the whole world in one place, San Diego where you can see all the animals in the whole world in one place and Los Angeles where you can see all the stars in the whole world in one place.

One of my favorite trips in America was a Californian road trip along Route 66 and Big Sur- seeing the natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park and the Grand Canyon plus the man made mansion Hearst Castle along the way. California just has so much to offer. There are ghost towns in the desert, seals on the coast and redwoods in Yosemite.

My bestie is from the tiny town of Stuart, Nebraska- a four-hour drive through cornfields from Omaha. I was lucky enough to be included in their annual 4th July celebrations and it was really something special to be welcomed as one of the family.

Of course, my love affair with American culture started early on with Snow White and a trip to Disneyland. I always wondered what it would be like to go to a real American high school like in Buffy, or a real American college like in Beverly Hills 90210 or go to a football game with real American cheerleaders like in Hellcats.

Anne Rice and Twilight peaked my interest in visiting the Deep South and Washington State. The Vampire Diaries and The Originals have made me want to visit Georgia and New Orleans. Gilmore Girls makes me want to go to New England and let’s not forget Sex and the City for New York inspiration, cosmopolitan style.

Which brings me to shopping of course. You can get anything you want at ridiculously low prices compared to Australia, which probably explains why most of us shop online these days.

There is the tasty simplicity of the classic American diner, the best Mexican food and margarita’s outside of Mexico and buffalo ribs smoked the right way. If you have room for desert, there is jello pie, smores and Twizzlers.

The country is so varied, that I can see why you may never want to leave. If you want mountains, you can go to Colorado, if you want water parks, you go to Florida, if you want a history lesson, you go to Washington DC.

I would love to visit a plantation in Louisiana, party for a night in Miami and drift up the coast of Oregon. It would be great to stay in a Boston brownstone, a Chicago skyscraper or a Hampton’s mansion.

The people are friendly, welcoming and enthusiastic about their country. Yes, America has a bit of something for everyone, and I guess that’s what makes the country so great in the first place.

Related posts: It’s a Canadian Thing, San Francisco, 2007- Part 1: Falling in love again, Las Vegas, 2007, USA Road tip, 2007Disneyland, 2007, Los Angeles, 2007New York, 2005, Part 2: Sex and the City Style, TV replays and movie marathons, USA, 1990

The Grand Canyon, 2007

My main aim for being in Las Vegas was to get to the Grand Canyon this time. So my husband-to-be (HTB) and I boarded a bus that would take us 6 hours to travel to the Grand Canyon and back and spend a mere 40 minutes at this wonder of the world; but it was worth it.

We passed Lake Mead, stopped at Hoover Dam on the Arizona border and went to Seligman- a well preserved area of the old Route 66. The temperature outside was so cold that my camera fogged up, so all my photos of these places look obscured by mist.

Our bus drive/tour guide was a bit of a character, full of facts and jokes about Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Whenever we made a rest stop at a service station he would say in his American drawl:

“Ladies, ladies, ladies;

Please do not, I repeat, DO NOT go shopping.

We are only here for 5 minutes and we WILL leave you behind.

We WILL find a new wife for your husband, this is Vegas!”

In between his commentary, we watched National Lampoons Vacation to the Grand Canyon to get us in the mood.

Arriving at the Mather Point on the South Rim, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon. I was aghast. The bright blue sky contrasted with red canyon and the white snow that had fallen on the ground. It was the colours of the American flag and oh, so amazing.

I wished we had more time here or could afford the helicopter ride over the Canyon as I would have loved to explore more.

We walked the Rim Trail as this is the only path we really had time for before we had to leave. We saw the Temple and deer hiding in the snow laden trees. They were too fast, so I only go a picture of a white tailed bottom.

From Yavapai Observation Station we saw the Horseshoe and the Indian Garden and met back up with our tour guide at Bright Angel Lodge.

On the way back to Las Vegas we saw the sunset in desert which was a beautiful ending to an awe striking day.

Related posts: Las Vegas, 2007, USA Road trip, 2007, Disneyland, 2007, Los Angeles, 2007, USA, 1990

Canada, 2005

From New York, I flew to Toronto to continue my obsession with water falls with a trip to Niagara Falls.

But first it was off to the CN Tower with its disconcerting glass floor and birds eye view over Skydome and the rest of Toronto.

I saw Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto sculpture garden and the historic houses of Campbell House and Osgood Hall.

My favourite place was Casa Loma in the Dupont district. Inside the castle had marble walls and Victorian style furniture. I loved the church windowed conservatory and the intriguing secret passageways like the one in the study and the tunnel to stables. The view of the beautiful gardens and Toronto from the top was great.

I headed to the fashion district to seek out Le Chateau. Together with the Big Moose in downtown Toronto, it made me nostalgic for Vancouver.

The next day I headed out from the hostel on my pre booked tour to Niagara Falls. We stopped at a view point to see the enormous Niagara River that feeds the falls and in the lovely little town of Niagara on the Lake. One cute little blue house in particular caught my eye and I further fed my Vancouver nostalgia with a maple walnut ice cream.

Niagara Falls was blue and tall. The American side does not have the famous horseshoe falls, so I was glad to be on the Canadian side. At the lookout point for the rapids at top of horseshoe falls I shuddered to think of going over in a barrel. I went through a tunnel behind the falls to hear the roaring noise and get a few splashes, but thought better of taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist as I was still recovering from my Iguazu Falls cold.

I couldn’t help but compare the two sets of falls- one earthy coloured and natural, the other ice blue and commercial, but both beautiful in their own right.

A shot of ice wine on the obligatory stop at a local wine shop on the way back, helped to clear my head as well as my sinuses.

On my flight to Los Angeles on route back home, I got a clear view of Grand Canyon. Yes, I would have to return to this side of the world one day soon to see that.

Related posts: New York, 2005, Part 2: Sex and the City style!, New York, 2005, Part 1: Taking a bite, Argentina, 2005, Buenos Aires, 2005, Canada, 2002, Canada, 1997-1998, Canada, 1997, Canada, 1990