What an incredible whirlwind of a week this has been! I can’t believe that only last weekend I was hot air ballooning Bristol and now I’m here in this beautiful country. Someone asked if any of our group had had a birthday this week or last week today and I had to be prompted…was that only last week?! But so much has happened!!
First and foremost GRAND SLAM!!!!!!! WOOOOO WALES! Oh to have been in Cardiff watching that match today. Instead I was in Arizona visiting the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Route 66…it’s a tough old life!
So I think I left you last in New York? Honestly my time there was pretty chilled out, so not many stories to tell. Kaytee and I visited the city a couple of times, went shopping, sunbathed in Central Park, drunk frothy tea (I know!!)
saw the lights of Time Square (not an actual square)
and even made it to the Top of the Rock to watch the sun set over the Big Apple. It was a spectacular sight.
On my last night in NYC the girls and I hit the town, visiting an old Speakeasy, The Raines Law Room. From the outside it looked like offices, but inside was a genuine tavern! Low lighting, comfy seats and REALLY strong cocktails! Just what you’d expect from a speakeasy really but I was impressed 🙂 I also tried alcohol infused whipped cream; Americans, they think of everything!!
I had a really early start the next morning, which was fun on a cocktail head but a few subways and a sky train later I was back at JFK and en route to California. America seemed cloudless for pretty much the entirety of my 6 hour flight giving me a magnificent birds eye view of lakes, deserts and the Colorado Mountains. The landscape seemed to offer something completely different every few minutes, I was transfixed! Which is lucky because the only available film was New Years Eve, which I’d rather pass on really.
The last few days I’ve been in Las Vegas, Nevada. Omelia arrived a few hours after me and after being up for pretty much an entire day went straight to sleep. Luckily we have two British exchange students in our dorm, studying in Colorado and hitting Vegas on Spring Break. A phone call later I was on a guest list for a party at Encore Hotel. There are no words for this place, it was simply fantastic. Ladies had free champagne for the first hour so that was me pretty much set. We met some RAF guys and danced the night away, even got to meet Calvin Harris who was DJing. Talk about a Vegas welcome!
Yesterday Omelia and I hit the Strip, catching the bus outside our hostel where we *think* we might have almost got into trouble. Meals pointed at a poster behind me but confused a woman sitting down who then seemed to think we were there to see her. She covertly tried to ask me if the pen knife (I think thats what it was) in her pocket was ‘for me’ and when I said no, pretty much ran away. Very very odd!! After this escapade we got very distracted by shops (apparently anything is possible in Vegas, unless you want a pair of black tights!) but eventually found ourselves visiting Treasure Island, Paris, Venice and of course Rome. Seeing world wonders all on the same street is pretty impressive when all is said and done but the Bellagio Fountains took my breath away, they’re just as beautiful as in the movies. Of course we visited a casino or two, Omelia even managed to…octify (??) her bet…ie turn $1 into $8, winner!!
By 5 o clock, on aching feet with an ice cold Big Gulp, we headed back to the hostel to put on new dresses and get ready for the evening’s entertainment, a Las Vegas show! We had tickets for Zumanity, a Cirque du Soleil show on at New York, New York. If you haven’t heard of it then you should Google it…the ticket lady sold it with the line ‘do you guys have an open mind?’ Haha! It was hilarious, so much fun. The compare was a drag queen who delighted in flirting with the audience between the acts, but beyond doubt the highlight of the show was Nita, an audience member from Dallas. At the end of the show Nita was hauled up on stage to enjoy the company of Angelo, who was wearing very small gold hot pants and a (clothed) orgy of other circus artists. Nita, it turned out, was there with her daughters, who I’m sure will never look at their mother in the same way again! It was an evening of comedy, figure envy and fun.
This morning we were up with the lark to catch our bus to the Canyon, a 3 hour drive with our driver and guide Nicholas who regaled us with tales of Geronimo, a Native American Indian, and also shared deeeeeelicious recipes and tips on how to enjoy the day. We had a chance to walk around the Hoover Dam (though there wasn’t enough time to touch the toes of the angelic statues which apparently grants you a full day of luck) and I was once again glued to the window, Dan Mangan in my ear, as a glorious country sped by me. But even the ever growing cliffs and desert like landscape didn’t prepare me for the Canyon. After the bumpiest road and rattliest bus ever, we were there. Wow. I’ve seen pictures, scenes from films and heard other people talk about it but you have to stand there, it’s so vast. You lose all sense of perspective, distance and time staring at this cavernous valley which appears to go on forever.
Our tour started with (drum roll please…) a helicopter ride! Arghhh!! Our pilot was called Ben, a really lovely, chatty guy from Maryland (admit it, you don’t know where that is… We didn’t!) who took us through the high security (a mesh gate and barbed wire fence to keep animals out) and then we were off! So exciting! Omelia and I were the only passengers so we got to sit up front, wearing huge headphones with a mic attached as we soared over the Sky Walk and down into the Canyon itself. There are no words for how huge this place is, I have never felt so small (which considering I’ve just been to New York is, in my opinion, saying something!). We stopped off at the bottom next to the Colorado river and had about half an hour to walk around, out of the wind, enjoying the sunshine and soaking up the atmosphere. It was over all too quickly, then we were back in the air for our return flight. What an adventure!
The west ridge of the Canyon is split into 4 areas, the main bus terminal, Eagle Point, Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch, each accessed by buses which continuously circle the site. We hopped on a bus to Eagle Point, thus named because the rocks in the middle of the Canyon have formed a magnificent eagle in the rocks. This place is meant to be sacred to the Indians who live on the reservation here, symbolising their ancestors who visit the place after passing on. I was very brave (and safe Rachel don’t worry!!) and went quite close to the edge for some photos. It was a LONG way down!
(you can just see the Eagle on the right. Got better pictures on my camera!)
After Eagle Point we went on to Guano Point, named after bat poo (oddly enough this nugget of information was in the book I’m reading today!) where after a slight climb I got the most amazing panoramic video of the Canyon. Can’t wait to upload that! We had our dinner there, grilled chicken, mash potato, green beens and corn, and then sadly it was time to head home.
And now, well it’s raining! In a state which boasts 5″‘s a year, on St Patricks Day when we have an RAF BBQ to attend! You couldn’t make it up. But honestly, how many people have seen rain in the desert? I feel kind of lucky 🙂 (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Katy, the great silver lining hunter!)
Till next time xx