My Other Blog (with Mike!)
More Stuff from me
Stuff I blog about
Stuff People liked
Look up stuff
Look up other stuff
May is a great time for Vegas – the weather is warm without being too stuffy. Two girlfriends and I were there for four nights to celebrate Megan’s graduation (finally). What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas… except what goes on Facebook, and these seven deadly sins.
No, we did not hire any strippers with three boobs from the guys who hand out naked pictures on the streets… as much as my friends were eager to do so before we actually arrived. Instead, we watched the amazing Cirque show Zumanity. We expected artistic nudity, but it surprised us in its exploration of sensuality, fetishes, and pretty much ended in an all-out orgy on stage. The artistic side was present as well, in its typical Cirque fashion… a flawless, rehearsed performance with acts that amaze and defy gravity. My favourite was the aerial silk hula hoop girl (dressed in a tiny schoolgirl outfit, because it’s Zumanity) who twirled above our heads while hula hooping – one time even balancing at least 15 hula hoops on her body in the air.
And of course, there were these gentlemen. Look at me awkwardly touching that photo. Next to Cirque, the performance left much to be desired, but as entertainment? Great for laughs.
The real reason I keep coming back to Vegas? Shopping. It’s like all the best buyers are in Vegas – the selection is impeccable. I especially love that the sales racks are always full of my sizes, unlike Vancouver where apparently everyone is my size and I can never get what I want on sale. Vegas is also full of luxury brand names that are difficult to find in Vancouver (probably a good thing, or I’d be even poorer than I am now).
There were two items in particular that I would love to have (but not as much as keeping the money on the price tag). First, a pair of Alexander McQueen sunglasses (although unlike the photo, I liked the red pair) with a gorgeous cat eye shape and a classy side wave. Next, a pair of Valentinos that I have been craving ever since the first time I saw them in Holt Renfrew. This trip, I actually tried them on and know my size. So uh… if anyone wants to give me a really generous birthday present, just ask.
Now don’t get me wrong… I still spent a decent portion of savings on shopping (actually, I exceeded the claim maximum for crossing the border), and I’m proud of the awesome things I bought. My best spend? $100 on an Elie Tahari dress regularly priced at $400. It’s so beautiful!
Also, I bought shoes. Okay, not all of the above shoes were mine, but I did spend enough to have to check a bag on the flight home… luckily, I flew WestJet on the way home so the checked bag was free!
This Vegas trip was my first experience playing cards in a casino! Granted, Megan and I were so cheap that we went off the strip to find $5 Blackjack. Before sitting down, I told her I would stop if I reached $25 (after buying in at $20) but after we both won the first round, we just kept playing. Luckily for me, greed worked in my favour as I still cashed out with a $12.50 profit… didn’t work out as well for Megan. In short, we can safely say the casino was the real winner.
Feeling like a baller, I went on to have the most expensive meal of my life. The service at Bartolotta was beyond extraordinary, and the way the menu was presented was spectacular. I greatly enjoyed the appetizers – cringed only a little at the yummy loin of rabbit. There was plenty of seafood to go around. The restaurant specializes in cooking imported fish from Italy, which comes to their kitchen 5-6 times a week. Unfortunately, while the price reflects this, the taste of the main dish does not. Still, the fish is plated in front of the table, and the presentation is beautiful.
I’d probably go back… but instead of ordering a seriously overpriced fish (or at least have more people share a smaller fish), I would order more appetizers (including their smaller plates of pasta which were also delicious) and end with their “symphony of desserts”.
After pigging out, we felt the need to lie in the sun like piggies. While I’ve been to Vegas multiple times before, this is my first time during pool season, and I can’t imagine why I haven’t gone at this time of the year more often. The beds by the pool were indirectly under mist sprays that went off periodically to cool off a bit.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. And all I get to do now is blog about it… until next time!
Disclaimer: Photos in this post were taken by Megan and Lucy as I was too lazy to carry a camera.
One of the coolest things I did in Hong Kong this time around was see the special exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of History. As a side note, the permanent exhibit was also very entertaining and informative, and I would highly recommend it – especially on a Wednesday when admission is free. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, and right across from the Hong Kong Science Museum (which was also awesome, because Mike and I are so mature – it’s basically like Science World, but bigger, and has more to do).
The Museum of History was #7 on Tripadvisor during our trip, and has since moved up to #5… very likely due to their special exhibit: “The Majesty of All Under Heaven: The Eternal Realm of China’s First Emperor”, featuring the terracotta warriors.
The gallery is open July 25 – November 26, 2012, so we were lucky enough to see it! Definitely worth the $10 HKD (I wish museums here cost under $1.50 CDN)!
I thought this model showing how terracotta warriors were made was pretty neat. It looks like they were built from the bottom up.
The sculptures were made to be life-sized and each have a unique face. Mike and I amused ourselves by pointing out the generals (they had a bit more of a beer belly than the soldiers). Even though the weapons are no longer present, the sculptures look quite intimidating… it must have been so cool to be one of the first historians viewing them standing side by side in the original pits!
Mike and I tried the #1 restaurant in Hong Kong on Tripadvisor – and it was very easy to see why. It originates in Taiwan, but has branches all along the Pacific rim (maybe one will open in Vancouver?) It once ranked as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world by the New York Times, and the one we went to in Tsim Sha Tsui received one Michelin star when it first opened.
The food was quite good, but I was blown away by the service. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to being ignored in a Chinese restaurant, but the waitresses were very friendly from the start. Here are some examples of why I thought the service was so great:
This place was made famous by their xiao long bao. I won’t say it’s the best I’ve ever had, but it was pretty delish.
We went for a late lunch at 2pm so luckily there was no wait, as I hear there’s usually a long queue. We weren’t even that hungry at the time, but we finished everything. The price was quite affordable too! It was about $25 CDN for the two of us (comparable to Vancouver anyway… I still haven’t gotten over how cheap other food in Hong Kong is).
In short, if I ever find myself really hungry in Asia in a country where I can’t speak the language, I just have to find a Din Tai Fung branch and point to the pictures. At least I won’t starve!
Mike and I just got back yesterday from Hong Kong, so get ready for a set of posts about our trip! It was Mike’s first time there, so he got to meet the rest of my extended family, and try all the good eats the city has to offer. One of our first tourist trips was to Lantau Island. The metro system in Hong Kong (MTR) is super convenient. We got off at Tung Chung, which brought us right to the entrance for the cable cars to get to Ngong Ping (a super touristy village on Lantau Island).
We purchased tickets for the Crystal Cabin, which has a glass bottom so I could fully bask in my fear of heights. Another benefit of buying this ticket was that the lineup was almost non-existent, whereas there was a huge line for the standard cabin! Both lines moved very quickly, but it sure felt good jumping the queue.
The ticketsellers tried to upsell the guided tour package, but it was actually very easy to get around. If you go, I highly recommend seeing everything at your own pace. They said the bus lineup would take hours and that the bus trip (between Ngong Ping and Tai O) would be a half hour, but we didn’t wait any more than half an hour and the bus trip was more like 10 minutes. The bus schedule said one every half hour but they definitely had more buses running than that – then again, we did go on a holiday so maybe they just added a few.
The main attraction at Ngong Ping is the Big Buddha. It’s made of bronze, cost $60 million HKD (about $7.5 million CDN) and took 12 years to complete (erected 1993). It sits at the top of 268 steps (which, after Paris, was no big deal).
We were able to encircle the outside of the Big Buddha, but there was a separate fee to go inside. Afterward, we took the bus to Tai O, another part of Lantau Island, which was an old fishing village. We went on a boat tour to see the stilt houses – they say there are dolphins around the area too, but we didn’t see any.
I kept feeling like the boat was going to tip over, especially when we were out on the ocean waves, but the captain got us back to shore in one piece. We then walked around the village, where Mike found that his limit on eating at flies-crawling-all-over-it. We had a few bites from places where others were lining up (yay for high turnover!). We were lucky to have great weather during most of our trip. It rained once but we were mostly indoors that day, so it worked out. Anyway, Mike and I hope to go back to Hong Kong again soon.
If I could describe Paris in one word, it would be “stairs”. Mike and I had such a work-out, I’m sure his Grouse Grind buddies are going to be impressed next time they go. In short though, I did love the city – my favourite part was breakfast. I could eat pain au chocolat every day and never bore of them. How can one pastry be so soft and crunchy at the same time?! I am also proud to say that Mike and I got through more than one meal entirely in French – who knew those 6 years of classes in high school could be so useful? Okay, so there were a few times when I was asked a question and I looked utterly lost and stupid, but that’s what Mike is for! Since it was our honeymoon, I am going to spam this post with pictures of us making out. Here you go!
1. Taken when we first arrived in Paris, on one of the bridges going across the Seine. So glad to be off the plane!
2. At the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Beautiful location, but the washrooms were super gross. No seat covers! I just can’t handle no seat covers!
3. After walking up the mountain (and learning afterward there was an elevator) then another 300 steps to the dome at Sacre Coeur. Amazing view – the crypt is a total tourist trap though.
4. Another thing I love about Paris? Their metro lines go everywhere. You can’t walk two blocks on a major street without finding a metro entrance. We stayed near La Motte-Picquet which connected to three different lines, and got us anywhere we could possibly want to go.
5. Outside the Louvre, sitting at the fountains to give our poor feet a break. Beautiful venue, though I admit neither of us had any art history knowledge and could properly appreciate the wealth within the museum.
6. A quick stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens. We were lucky enough to have sunshine on our entire week (with a few showers while we were indoors, but didn’t affect us much). Lots of couples fondling each other there, so we fit right in.
7. Another photo while walking across the Seine, this time near the Eiffel Tower! We didn’t take a picture making out while we were at the top, unfortunately, but we did see the fantastic view (it was on my birthday!).
8. On our last evening in Paris, we took the Bateaux Mouche boat tour along the Seine while the sun was setting.
9. Perfect way to end our Paris trip… but the honeymoon is only beginning! =)