I have learned a few things from my travels, especially to places colder and drier than Singapore. One: drink lots of water. It is easy to feel like you don't need to drink when you are in cooler climes. But after a few days of coming close to a throat infection, I started drinking lots of water. We had a six-pack of mineral water in our car which we drank liberally from.
Secondly, I learned to use body lotion and moisturizer. I have never been big on creams and stuff, being the manly man I was. But even a manly man will start using creams when the cold and dry air makes his legs itch and his face dry.
I applied my Aloe Soothing day cream on my face every morning before I set off and my Aloe Soothing night cream at night when I went to bed. I also used my sunblock a lot. And the fancy schmancy French body lotion I took from the fancy schmancy Beverly Hills hotel I stayed in for the first few nights. Eh, from Provence one leh, the body lotion.
Yes, I am very Auntie. If I see nice branded mini-bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion in my hotel room, I will take them with me.
Our time at the Grand Canyon in Arizona was very pleasant. We set off in the early morning to the Visitor Center so we could do a little hiking and filming. We expected to pay the US$25 fee per vehicle to get in but the Park Ranger said it was a free day. Yay for us. That meant we could use that money for lunch and even dinner later.
The Grand Canyon is as majestic as I remembered. I went there as a teenager, and it was nice to see it again. It has not changed much. You know how these grand canyons are: no mobile phone signals, spotty internet, and no rides or casinos. They really should look at modernizing the Grand Canyon like we do in Singapore. Look at how we liberally destroy our historical sites like Bukit Brown because we need a wider road! Such is progress!
I am kidding, of course.
We spent about two hours walking the "safe" trail. I have been to Finland three times, twice in winter, but I still get fascinated with snow. Living in an island state that is sunny all year round makes one look at snow like it's some magic thing. I wouldn't want to STAY in a cold snowy place, but just visit long enough to play with it and maybe ski on it, would be nice.
I could not resist sitting on this ancient rock: an Elves Chasm gneiss, the oldest rock found in the Grand Canyon.
Now I can say I have touched a rock that is 1840 million years old.
I only wish I had time to take the Grand Canyon train. I am such a sucker for trains.
After we left the Grand Canyon, we made our way back to the freeway for Las Vegas, Nevada. This is my second time going there this year, the first being in January for CES. I assure you I have no gambling business there.
Along the way, we decided to swing by Hoover Dam, in particular Lake Mead. It was a kind of last minute thing, the kind of decision you make when you are doing self-drive: "Hey look, the sign says Hoover Dam, we should just exit here!"
One of the perks of driving yourselves, I guess.
Lake Mead is lovely. I was hoping we'd see Megatron arise from its waters, bearing the All-Spark, but no luck.
By the time we reached Las Vegas, it was nightfall. Actually it was only 6pm but the sky was already dark. No matter. Las Vegas is a city that wakes up at night anyway. I heard Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez had a bout in Vegas. Not that I can afford to buy tickets for the match. And the cheapo motel I stayed in had no HBO anyways.
I have to say Vegas is a lot quieter than I remember. CES was a zoo, but there was no major convention going on this time. There were less people on the streets, buildings uncompleted and just less buzz. The Telegraph reported on this downturn recently. Nevada led the US in foreclosures and unemployment is high here.
I looked at the empty plot of land next to Circus Circus, and wondered, where are the hotels that used to stand here? Imploded, it seems. Kaboom. Like the economy.
And the odd thing? Singapore is poised to overtake Las Vegas in gambling revenue in 2012. Not sure if we are supposed to be proud of that or not.