Tag Archives: #Ca

Golden Bright Las Vegas 2020

The Entertainment state of Nevada

Las Vegas is my next stop going around the USA. The flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas took over an hour. I actually laughed when I noticed the slot machines in the airport. This is the only airport that I’ve ever traveled to that is actively promoting gambling, to say the least! The Cosmopolitan Hotel was my home during this trip. The view from the top floor is the fantastic Las Vegas strip and the beautiful Bellagio fountain. I can’t help but compare it to the fountains in the Dubai Mall which I’ve had the privilege of visiting last year. The Dubai Mall Fountain is the “world’s largest choreographed fountain system in the world so I might be a bit biased in choosing that as the best that I’ve seen. It is simply amazing!

Knowing Las Vegas

Officially known as the City of Las Vegas, the city is a wide 135 square miles sitting in a basin in the Mojave Desert. Typically, it has a subtropical climate – lots of hot summer sun and short winters.  It ranks 28th as the most populous city in the USA and is currently home to more than two million people. Las Vegas prides itself in being a leader in the hospitality industry with it being one of the world’s best tourist destinations.

The Las Vegas Strip

Hotels and casinos are, of course, the major stars in drawing people to Las Vegas. And you can get them all just walking along the famous Las Vegas Strip. The bright lights are still there even with the pandemic. The casinos, restaurants, and bars are open but with strict policies in place. Patrons are limited to 50% capacity only and face masks are mandatory everywhere. Social distancing is the new normal so no dancing for everyone and concerts are still not allowed. Fremont Street is famous as the home of most of the casinos in the downtown area. The Stratosphere or more commonly known now as The Strat, is the exception though, as it is located on Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s tower boasts of a gorgeous view of the Strip.
Stratosphere Observation Deck Ticket + VIP Access Las Vegas, USA - Klook UK
The view from The Strat
It is guaranteed that you can find a hotel here whatever budget or style or preference you want. I cannot wait to come back here when the world is back to normal! I’m planning to watch the shows especially Cirque du Soleil and to dance in clubs like XS nightclub at the Wynn hotel.

Food and Shopping

Restaurants are all around the Strip and you can find any kind of cuisine. We dined at several restaurants around and I can’t help but marvel at how cosmopolitan everything is. The Golden Steer Steakhouse is the most memorable in our food trip. I simply like their steak! Will definitely be back to eat at the famous Mon Ami Gabi, Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips, and Cucina by Wolfgang Puck someday. The Forum Shops at Caesars is a must-see to a shopaholic like me. I am a huge fan of high-end stores and The Forum does not disappoint. With it’s almost 700 thousand square foot space, everything that I can think of is housed in this elegant space. I read that it is the highest-grossing mall in the US in terms of sales per square foot. How’s that for good news? I can probably spend a couple of days exploring this and still feel like I haven’t bought anything. LOL!

Trip to The Hoover Dam

Since we’re already in Nevada, we took a side trip to a big destination – The Hoover Dam.  For movie fans like me, this dam is heavily featured in the 2007 movie The Transformers. Remember where they kept Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons? The dam is where the government kept him in “cryostasis suspension since 1935” according to the movie. I would have loved to go underneath and see for myself if somethings from the movie are still there! But seriously, the dam is a mighty power generator on its own. It is a hydroelectric power plant that generates more than 2,000 megawatts in its generators. Hooray for clean energy!
white and brown bridge over river

Other things to do

Like all the other places I’ve visited before, Las Vegas has activities outside of the casinos. There are hiking trails in the Valley of Fire State Park where you can go walking and picnic in the splendor of the great outdoors.  If you’re all about speed, Las Vegas has three unique ways to get your pedal to metal dream come true. There’s Exotics Racing, Speed Vegas, and Dream Racing which will get your heart a glorious workout. Can you imagine going around the track in the sports car of your dreams? You bet I’ll be trying this on next time!
That’s it for my Las Vegas trip this year. I am so looking forward to going around again without the Covid threat. I can’t wait to get the full Las Vegas experience next time!
Until then, keep safe everyone!

California love

San Francisco

After so many hours of travel, I finally reached San Francisco, California. I was so tired that I just have to sleep off the jetlag! But I got a wonderful treat when I finally got my body balanced on land again.

California is bustling with places to go. For my first stop, we went out to see the iconic and breathtaking San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Almost 2 miles in length, this suspension bridge connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County. The bridge is an enduring legacy that has stood for over eighty years. It is one of the most photographed sites in the world. So thrilled to finally see it! I mean, I’ve only seen it in movies and TV for so long. I can’t help but remember this unforgettable scene in X-men: The Last Stand from 2006, where Magneto magnificently displayed his awesome power by moving the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island. Wasn’t that fantastic?

Next to the Golden Gate, I had the most fun riding the awesome cable cars. These are open-air cars resembling a train wagon that tours around the city’s historic neighborhoods. With a little research, I found out that these cable cars have been part of San Francisco since 1873. Andrew Hallidie invented it after he witnessed a tragic accident when a horse-drawn carriage slipped on a steep incline after a rainy day. He sought ways to help navigate the hilly city safely to avoid any more accidents like that. These cable cars are now so intrinsically connected to what makes San Francisco unique.

There are so many sites to see in San Francisco like Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Twin Peaks, the San Francisco City Hall, and Chinatown. I can’t wait to experience the annual festivals like the Chinese New Year parade, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the San Diego Comic-con, and the most epic, Coachella Music Festival.

The best time to visit San Francisco is from April to November as the weather is fantastic. From June to September is the peak season for tourists so be prepared for higher rates in hotels and flights.

Los Angeles

Hollywood sign on top of the hill flanked by trees

Los Angeles! The city of angels where one’s dream of seeing yourself on the silver screen is almost at your fingertips. The iconic Hollywood sign draws everyone who wants to be a star someday. Touring this fabulous city is really so memorable!

First, a little trivia about Los Angeles or more commonly known for its initials – LA. This wonderful city in California is the second-most populous city in the whole of the United States. The first one is, of course, New York. LA boasts of a great climate, a vibrant multi-cultural diversity, and an economy that can rival a lot of the countries in the world! Add on the very glamourous image due to the prevalence of both the film and television industries plus being the home of the Lakers basketball team and you’ll have an idea of how awesome this mega-city is!

A visit to Los Angeles won’t be complete if you don’t get to go around two of the most famous parks in the world – Disneyland and Universal Studios Theme Park Hollywood. Both of them are family-friendly and a total destination by itself. They are huge!

Disneyland has 34 hectares filled with rides and stores. Universal Studios sits on 415 acres of movie theme rides and activities as well. Even with all the ways to go around them, the area is not for the health-challenged.  It would really take you a weekend to fully get around! Book the hotels within the theme parks to get the most out of the experience. That goes double if you’re traveling with your kids or when you’re in a large group.

Around Hollywood

Around Hollywood, you can tour the Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard, and the Walk of Fame where you can take pictures of the bronze stars with the names of your favorite artists.  You should totally plan a whole weekend or more just to go around here.

Next to the Hollywood sign, what makes a girl’s heart thud happily? Shopping, of course! So off I go to one of the most famous shopping districts in the world — Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills! Do you remember that Julia Roberts’ movie “Pretty Woman“? There was a memorable scene there where she was walking around loaded with shopping bags in Rodeo Drive, right? Well, that was me for a day. I get to be Julia Roberts for a while and it was great!

Santa Monica Pier is another iconic California landmark. Blockbuster movies, such as the award-winning movie Forrest Gump from 1994, showed this famous pier. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant was established here after the movie’s release and they are serving food-related to all things Forrest Gump, of course.

Iron Man from 2008 had an unforgettable scene with the flyby on top of the Santa Monica Pier that Tony Stark did. It was the very first time that Iron Man tested the flying capabilities of the Mark II suit. He specifically zoomed in on the children eating ice cream while on the Ferris Wheel. Who knew Tony Stark lived in California?

Another movie that featured Santa Monica is so close to every girl’s heart: Father of the Bride from 1991. This heart-tugging romantic comedy movie featured the Trinity Church of Santa Monica on the wedding scene. George Banks’ internal monologue in that wedding ranks as one of the best scenes ever made. And that wonderful song, “The Way You Look Tonight” sang by Steve Tyrell is so memorable!  The movie makes me laugh and cry buckets of tears every time.

Here’s a bit of a souvenir. I love how picture-perfect my pose here is! That hand sign is just perfect, right.

Lady making the letters L and A with her fingers with the Santa Monica Pier in the background
Santa Monica Pier

Go to Los Angeles between March to May and between September and November. The temperature will be from the 50s to 80s and will make walking around the different attractions easier.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe view of the lake and trees
Lake Tahoe

Visiting Lake Tahoe was another fun trip for this newly-planted Californian. This lake is inarguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Just imagine the pristine crisp air and that gorgeous scenery! I can’t wait to experience all of them here!

Summer

Lake Tahoe is an outdoor destination place year-round. During the summer months, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting are some of the activities that everyone enjoys. There’s also water-skiing, para-sailing. boating, and rafting for all the water babies as well. Tour around the towns and enjoy the local culture when you want to relax. They have art festivals and theaters and even a golf course! You will never run out of things to do here.

June to August is the best time to visit Lake Tahoe to get your summer vacation fun. But be ready for the mass of people converging there as it really is one of California’s go-to spot for summer.

Winter

The cold paints a glorious picture in this magnificent place. The snow alone comes straight out of a greeting card and the whole place becomes a winter wonderland. Winter activities include Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and so many more! The different resorts offer lessons in everything here if you’re a beginner so no need to get worried if you’ve never skied before. The ski hills are also catering to everyone — from beginners to Olympian-level competitors.

Having lived most of my life in a tropical country, this would be a totally different experience for me. I can’t wait to experience my first ever winter in the US!

If you want to see Lake Tahoe in winter, come here at the end of November. The months of December to February is the height of winter. You can expect lots of tourists around this time as well. I was told that the snow will be packed nicely and the place will be perfect. I’ll be sure to blog about my experience soon.

My hope

Living in a new place is a major adjustment for anyone. But transferring to such a multi-cultural city such as California made it easier. I immediately felt at home seeing people of varied nationalities living nearby. It is true what they say – the world is getting smaller every day.

Here’s hoping that Covid-19 will get a vaccine soon so that the world will go back to normal. We’ll all get to enjoy not only group activities again but traveling to different parts of the world will be easier once again.

Stay safe and happy travels everyone!