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Monday, April 16, 2012

Arizona

Hey all,

It is Monday and 82 degrees outside. AWESOME. I spent forever uploading 90% of my Arizona album on to this blog post solely because my dear daddy is too lazy to get on facebook too check out my pictures. Lol. So this will be a short and simple picture post about my recent trip to Scottsdale and the Grand Canyon.



It took us about 5 hours to fly from the Northeast coast to the Southwest. The good part about it was that we got to save some time due to the 3 hours time differences. Our US Airways plane took off at 10am and we arrived at Phoenix, Arizona by 12pm (local time). 






We proceeded to rent a car and drove up the scenic route. Landscapes changed from the sandy deserts to the beautiful mountainous terrain. Sam and I were in awe with how different everything looked from the Northeast. I was super psyched when I saw that there were similar plants and house designs to Malaysia's. Reminded me of home :)


The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon village took about 4 hours. But it felt much less than that because there were so many things to see!




Mount Humphreys.
It stands at 13,992 ft. Highest peak in Arizona.


On the way, we past by a real life Flintstones Bedrock City!!
Unfortunately we were rushing to see the sunset so we didn't spent as much time.





Oh for the love of silly hats :)



Look at that super bright star!!!!
We got to the Grand Canyon Village around 5pm, sunset was around 6.50ish.
After checking in and getting ourselves situated, we drove out to look for a perfect sunset spot. Unfortunately, there was no parking at all!!!!
We ended up retreating to our room and started making plans for the next day and had a late dinner afterwards.



We managed to drag ourselves out of bed at 4.45am which was only 1.45am in NYC!!! Talk about jet-lag.
Signed up for the Sunrise tour and went with the super friendly tour guide for a 2 hour tour of Hopi Point at the South Rim of the Canyon.


We were at about 7000 feet above sea level. So much for thinking that we were at the deserts. We could see leftover snow at certain areas. It was freezing! Our tour guide Dick said that the Canyon was -34 degrees and covered with snow last year, that's a whoppin' -37 Celsius!! 



Finally, the sun peeked from the mountains at around 6.15am


Snap snap! :)


Watching the sun rise at the Grand Canyon was not about watching the sun. It was more about watch how the sun rays changed the colors of the Canyon. Seriously pictures could not do it justice at all. 
This picture was before sun rise.


See how much of a difference it is! The rocks reflects different colors as the sun rises. Every minute was different, and the horizons were deep blue-ish purple. It was extremely glorious.



The Grand Canyon almost look like it was fake. It was as though I was looking at a green screen of a picture. It was very still and quiet.




A panoramic view.

After the sunrise tour, we headed back to the village and had breakfast. Then we signed up for our next tour. The reason why we opted for a tour instead of self-exploration was because we only had a full day at the Grand Canyon Village and we wanted to see everything in the shortest time possible. 
I kinda wished we stayed more than 3 days just so we could enjoy the hiking parts of the Grand Canyon, mule rides, picnics while overlooking one of the most amazing wonders of God's creation, and just because...


We went on the Desert View tour. It was a 3 and 1/2 hour tour of the eastern part of the South Rim.




I can only imagine how amazing it is to wake up to such beautiful scenery everyday. 
It probably feels about the same as overlooking NYC's skyline and realizing that you are in one of the best parts of the world. Maybe a little different.



We visited the Desert View Tower designed by Mary Colter. She was a prominent architect in the Grand Canyon Village. The 70 foot tower was built in 1932. A woman architect at that time of the century?! I bet it was difficult for her to climb up the corporate ladder especially when it was an all-men's world then. Think about it. Her work was extremely respected because of how precise and creative she was about her designs.




This ruined sculpture was part of her design right next to the tower. Every stone was placed there on purpose.



Look! I am 70 ft tall :)




There are 4 high ceiling floors in the tower.


:)


View from the 3 floor of the tower


Standing in awe of God's wonderful creation.


:)


After the tour, we went back to the village for lunch and took a short nap.
By 2pm, we had already been outdoors walking around for 9 hours. We needed to reenergize!
At 4pm, we got up again and begin our hike.  


So beautiful.



We were hiking at 7500 ft above sea level. There were moments when Sam and I had to stop to catch our breath due to the thinness of the air.




Don't wanna fall off the cliff! 


Far far far away...



If you look closely on the right you can see the tiny Desert View Tower that we were just at before.


Our attempt of taking a picture of ourselves by using the self timer and placing the camera on the rocks.


Looks like a fake backdrop eh?


Hiking down the the Bright Angel Trail.
Hikers taking a breather in between. 
We didn't have the chance to hike all the way down due to time constrain. We wanted to see the sunset!





Hiding my Ice-cream bowl behind myself :)



Sun was setting. You can see how it illuminates the rocks. Gorgeous.


We were hiking on trails that were about only 3 feet wide. A long long way down to fall. I would be super nervous if I brought along a child with me. I might even have him/her on a leash!!!



An amazing trip.
We woke up at 7am the next morning, had breakfast and headed back to Scottsdale.




The ride back had a totally different view from driving towards the Canyon.
I would definitely go back again. 



We were welcomed with open arms by Sam's brother's family.
We spent the next 3 days enjoying each other's company, watching the kids play soccer, attending improv performances by the kids, and amazing tex-mex cuisine!



We hiked again. Superb! I would do it every week!



It was a completely different experience. 
The weather was great. It was super hot and sunny, yet it was dry. You don't sweat as much, or maybe you do and it evaporates before you even realize it.









It is common to see Cacti taller than houses. Never have I seen anything like it.


Being 2000 ft above ground! 
Overlooking the city of Phoenix :)



Taking a break.



This picture was taken right outside the house. Cacti taller than regular trees!

Scottsdale and Phoenix are relatively new cities. It was so weird because I went there thinking that I would see more colored people. On the contrary, everyone was white! I mean no offense, but the only Latinos that we were exposed to were those who were working at the back of the kitchen. And we have waiters asking us if we wanted pollo (accurately pronounced as po-yo in Spanish) in a completely wrong and 'white' pronunciation. Hilarious. It's Tex-Mex for crying out loud. Not that British game with the horse or that Ralph Lauren Tee.



Anyways, one of the few places that I loved during the trip was Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home also the main campus of Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture and Foundation. 







True believer.







Truth.



Panoramic view.



Besides the fact that his name sounded familiar, I had known nothing about FLW until I visited the foundation. It was a little embarrassing. He had so many famous designs around the US and even in certain parts of Asia! He designed the famous Guggenheim Museum in NYC, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and etc.
FLW loved Asian art. You could see it at many different parts of his house. I could tell that many of his famous designs were sought inspired by his love for Asian art. What seemed 'modern' was what we were used to seeing in old Chinese/Japanese movies. 




Student renderings 






Sculptures in the gradens



One of my favorites called FROM THE MIND OF GOD.


Of course we had to take more pictures of the awesome Cacti :)

We visited the Heard Museum and the Musical Instrument Museum.
I was never a fan of museums, but these places clearly opened up my mind about museums. Both museums were extremely unique in it's own way and I definitely learned a lot. I wish I had more time to spare!!!!



Picture with the Agave.



Can you imagine falling into one of these?


I'd die (-.-')







I didn't take as many pictures as I wished in Scottsdale. A shame. 
But it was definitely a Southwestern experience that I would never forget. 
Definitely would like to go back in 10 years and see how the city develops.










Till then, 
xoxo




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