Our Holiday in California, Nevada and Arizona

December 22nd, 2008   •   6 comments   

My family and I have just returned from an “epic” two week holiday in the West Coast of the United States. Our trip took us across three states – golden California, silver Nevada and picturesque Arizona – and a journey across cities and counties like San Francisco, Gilroy, Fresno, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and Los Angeles. We travelled across thousands of miles of vast land – from scenic Pacific coastal drives to barren desert land – and had a taste of how post-crisis Christmas was like in the world’s largest economy.

The verdict? The United States is truly awesome and brims with opportunities. I must add though that some of the tourist spots are more hyped up than they truly are. We’ll definitely make plans to return here, perhaps touring the national parks next.

To kick off my series of posts (and I promise to inject some “marketing lessons” in my latter ones if time and energy permits), let me first bring you on our whirlwind photographic journey.
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At San Francisco, we caught a great view of the Golden Gate bridge…

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Enjoyed a Chrismassy stroll through Pier 39

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And tucked into seafood galore at Fisherman’s Wharf (the city’s not cheap though…)!

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Being Singaporeans, shopping took some priority as we ventured through factory outlets in Gilroy – the garlic capital of US…

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…and another near Las Vegas where my wife went wild over rock bottom prices for Coach bags!

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Along the scenic 17 Mile Drive, we took some time off to strike a pose with Seal Rock behind us.

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We also took a leisurely stroll through California’s first Fisherman’s Wharf near Monterey Bay.

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Next up was the free sampling of fresh fruits, dried fruits, chocs and candies galore at Casa De Fruta (no questions asked!).

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We also marvelled at two wonders of mankind in the search for alternative energy sources. By wind through these three-bladed wind turbines…

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…and water at the world famous Hoover Dam which generates Hydro-electric power.

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Of course, we mustn’t miss the original integrated resorts at Viva Las Vegas (in desert state Nevada), which presented an amazing larger than life spectacle both at night…

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…and during the day. We “travelled” the world through time and space, exploring Egypt (Luxor hotel above), medieval Europe (Excalibur), Venice (Venetian), New York (New York New York), and stayed under the Big Top at our hotel Circus Circus.

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To preserve those sweet memories, my son Ethan went on an aggressive souvenir coin collecting spree. He has close to 20 in all!

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Long and endless drives across endless stretches of farmlands, deserts, and nature was the order of the day.

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This included the historic Route 66, where we got our “kicks”.

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We were awed, inspired and captivated by the sheer scale and splendour of the Grand Canyon (in neighbouring Arizona) during the day…

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…and its gentle multi-coloured hues lit by the glow of a full moon.

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Along the way, we paid homage to a 158 year old bobcat preserved for posterity at the Grand Canyon Caverns.

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Up next were theme parks galore! Leading the pack must be the Christmas Fantasy Parade at the world famous Disneyland, which is still (in my opinion) the “happiest place on Earth”.

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We also had lots of thrills at neighbouring California Adventure, especially at the Hollywood Tower of Terror experiencing zero gravity as the ride plummets through the eerie depths.

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Not to be outdone is the multi-million dollar Water World show at Universal Studios

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…the world famous San Diego Sea World featuring Shamu the Killer Whale…

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…and the museum at the Getty Center featuring world renowned artists like Claude Monet, Rembrant, Paul Cezannae and Renoir. “Irises” by Vincent van Gogh (featured here) was once the world’s most expensive painting, fetching US$54 million at an auction in 1987 .

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Yearning for some stardust, we took a walk along Hollywood Boulevard beside the frequently red-carpeted Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and saw the imprints of celebrities like John Travolta, Michael Jackson, Stephen Spielberg and Asia’s own John Woo.

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We also took a drive along the glamorous Rodeo Drive (popularised in part by the movie “Pretty Woman”) and caught its pretty chandelier shaped street lamps.

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Naturally, Southern California is all about beaches. On our free days, we took a drive to Santa Monica beach…

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…and Laguna Beach – a beach town and artist community which is further down south.

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At the Discovery Science Center (a haven for kids) at Orange County, we had a feast for the eyes and nose with a display of gingerbread houses…

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All in all, a great catch and huge harvest for this trip! Here’s Ethan posing with a record-breaking sea bass at the charming Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.

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6 comments

  1. Susan
    posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 2:31 AM

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Susan

    http://www.car-insurance-choices.com

  2. posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 2:25 AM

    Hi Brudder Walter, wah…I am so jealous..I see u had a really wonderful trip there man..and the skies..soooo blue..I am loving it man.. 😉

    Really deserving R&R eh?

  3. posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 2:51 AM

    Wow Walter, looks like you had a great time holiday-ing!

  4. posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 3:05 AM

    Looks like a really fun trip. 🙂

  5. posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    Thanks for this post. My eyes were particularly attracted to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Irises”. I am thinking if I should visit California in the near future.

    Was the winter air bearable in California?

  6. Aaz
    posted on Dec 26, 2008 at 8:45 AM

    Looks awesome. Wish i had the time and money to go on a trip like this!

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