Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It is a peculiar feeling to be heading to the again for the 3rd time in a year. It is the first time in my life I had done so, spending 3 weeks in NYC and the surrounding regions in May (Summer)...

Family trips are always fun

another 2 weeks in NYC in Oct (autumn)..
Biz trip to the UN..hence the silly heels in the park

and now, 5 weeks in Portland, Oregon (Winter!). Up til about 5 days before I left, I was still pronouncing it ‘Or-re-gon(e)’, until someone casually mentioned “Ohhhh…!! Ore-gen! How wonderful!”

Maybe I got it mixed up with the spice….

Anyways, I was excited because (1) I was on a course to study a particular branch in psychology (Yay! Time to be a student again!) and (2) I got to wear my winter clothes I stocked up on my last NYC trip! I have come to conclude that apart from tweezers, boots are girl’s best friends.

Oh and yes, I must also (obligingly) point out that (3) I get to meet sis and Dan again after more than 6 months!!!

Travelling with them is a total treat because sis is a great planner (and knows all these places to go and discounts to get) and Dan is a great companion for stupid adventures. And chicken-eating.

Chicken whores at work

So the first 5 hours was non-stop yakking about what’s been happening for them, and what’s been happening at home. – like Mom scolding dad stupid for putting cucumbers into Asam curry. Sigh. What would I do without my family? We settled into the apartment that I got for my 1 month stay here. It was a cosy decent place that was quite aesthetically pleasing.

Living on the sofa and out of my luggage

Sis went ahead to book us all Beginner Snowboard classes and passes for Saturday at the ski resort about 1.5hrs drive from Portland – Mt Hood, that was part of the ..um…. Mt Hood National Forest. Yes. That is it’s name. I did not make it up just because I have occasional amnesia bouts in my Geographical knowledge.

The drive there was beautiful. We drove along the famous Columbia River highway that embraced us with spectacular views of the Mt Hood river (I didn’t make that up either) and up up up toward the top of the mountain where it started to get chilly. At the corner of my eye I noticed a snow-covered car whiz by, and it seemed so totally out of place amongst the green trees and bright skies. Well, 5 minutes later, snow started falling onto the windscreen. It is amazing how little bits of frozen water can thrill a fully grown adult. At least 2 of us in the car, not the other 2 who spent several weeks freezing their Chinese asses off in the cold. In fact, poor (why does he always get referred to as ‘poor’ in this blog??) Dan had to dig out his Alpaca sweater for me from the bottom of their perfectly packed knapsack, as they were not intending to head into snow anymore on this trip. Ah well. The price you have to pay to watch a pig on a snowboard.

Suited up and ready to roll...

Goat on board

We grabbed all our snowboard equipment in a hurry, and made our way out into the snow for our first snowboard lesson! We learnt how to strap up, glide down gentle slopes, turn left and rights and of course, brake. Then, it was up to the elementary slope 'Buttercup'!

Board meet snow. Snow meet board. Butt meet snow. Snow meet ass crack.

As you can tell, in a short span of 2 hours, I have now become an expert in ‘snowboards for beginners’, and if you don’t want to suffer more than you should in your first attempt to throw yourself off a mountain face, you might want to catch the next entry for some precious ‘snowy tips’.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Before arriving in Portland, I had no idea what there was to see and do in this Oregon city.

I only knew that I had 2 things to look forward to:

(1) Tax-Free Shopping

Oregon is one of 5 sales-tax exempt states in the USA (the others being Alaska, New Hampshire, Delaware and Montana.) Which can only mean one thing - GOOD SHOPPING!!!

And there IS some fabulous shopping indeed, just 20 minutes south of Portland at the Woodburn Company Stores outlet mall, which carries brands like Coach, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, GAP, etc. The best deal I got was a Banana Republic dress that cost US$16! Coming straight from California which has the highest sales tax in the country (9%), tax-free purchasing was a huge relief and kinder on our budget.


Well, just one member of the family - my sister! We last met in May when the folks joined us in the US for a holiday. She guest-blogged about Six Flags in Montreal and artery-clogging American food.

Waiting at Portland airport bright and early at 7am

Two interesting things about the sis:

(i) She looks nothing like me. We would make good visual aids for teachers educating kids about Opposites.

- Dark-skinned
- Ruler-straight hair
- Large eyes
- Double eyelids
- Round face
- Most resembles: Malays, Thais, Indonesians and the hot favourite - Philippinas

- Fair-skinned
- Curly hair
- Small slanty eyes
- Single eyelids (but they recently doubled, somehow)
- Pointy-chinned
- Most resembles: Japanese

We do have 2 family traits in common though:
- The Nose
- eyebrows that end midway (they have no tail ends)

See for yourself:

With Popeye and Teng Ning, my sis' colleague. My sis and Dan have 1 thing in common - a love for all things chicken. Esp. if they come in buckets of 9 pieces and above.

Our names are rather similar too: Yi Lin, Li Lin. Which made it quite a nightmare in the pre-handphone era when our friends from school would call the house phone to speak to us about school stuff. Countless times, I've retrieved the phone from a parent informing that there's a call for me, and talked for 5 minutes to the girl on the other end of the line, only to find that I've been talking to my sister's classmate (all of 4 years my junior) all the while. The following is a template of a typical "wrong" conversation:

Caller: Hey, what do we have to bring for art class tomorrow?
Me: What art class? There's no art tomorrow.
Caller: Yes there is.
Me: No there isn't.

*repeat last 2 lines a few more times*

*pregnant pause*

Me: Hang on, did you want to speak to YI Lin or LI Lin?

Uh huh. Confusing.

(ii) She's a Life Coach and arguably the youngest in Asia to be professionally certified by the International Coaching Federation. Which means that she coaches people in making significant breakthroughs and achieving their dreams through powerful living.

And here's what the chicken-guzzler and maniac-driver-of-our-car looks like when at work (click here). Impressive career profile eh.

The girl was in town for a month-long training programme related to her coaching work. After helping her move her luggage into her apartment, we headed to Walmart, bought a blow-up air mattress and crashed in her cozy flat for 3 nights. I didn't mind sleeping on the uncomfortable mattress cos it meant that we could use her washing machine and dryer for free!

A lovely studio apartment in downtown Portland

Our very own loft

While the sis attended classes during the day, Dan and I explored downtown Portland on our own. Portland is reputed to be the most environmentally-friendly city in USA, with green initiatives such as an energy-efficient public transport system in the form of electric trams and buses, green buildings, widespread recycling measures and the most impressive on record - razing down a 6-lane highway running through the city centre and replacing it with a waterfront park.

This used to be a highway

Taking an afternoon stroll along the waterfront. Nice park. Hated the grey wet wintry weather.

Reflections of a pink sunset

Portland has a historical downtown filled with interesting buildings but unfortunately, the constant winter wetness was getting to us, so we stayed indoors most of the time. Our favourite place to hang out at was Powells - a massive book store, with the biggest new and used book collection in the world (more than 1 million books!), which took up an entire street block. Dan spent hours reading entire Star Wars books in the SciFi section, while I hung out with my sis and her friends at Metaphysics. Yeah, sounds incredibly intellectual I know, but I was reading mostly about astrology, horoscopes and what the psychics had to say about my future. They read the truly mind-jolting works by famous authors like Carl Jung and friends.

Queuing to sell our stash of used books. Only managed to sell 1 book, which earned us US$4.95 in store credit. Poooh.

I hear from my sis that the weather in Portland has improved tremendously over the past weeks with the approach of Spring. So look out for our guest blogger's upcoming posts about the fun side of Portland!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coasting California

Thinking Tall

I measure in at 1.6m. Just barely. If I stretch my neck a little longer, the top of my head may just scrape the 1.6m mark. More often than not, my official height rings in at 1.59m. And on some worrying occasions, 1.58m (but only on the lousy inaccurate height charts.... *ahem*)

Even with the assistance of two nice gentlemen called Charles and Keith, I can barely be seen peeping out from behind a podium. Which is why when making presentations for work, I remind myself to think tall... and to wear my highest heels.

Having returned from a visit to the California redwood forests, I now have a new imagery to help me think tall - I can pretend to tower over my audience like a redwood tree looming over a field of say... shrubs. Haha. Redwoods grow to nearly 112m in height! That's roughly as tall as a 45-storey block of flats at home. It would require 70 girls of my height standing on each others' heads to measure up to this tree.

And if all 70 girls were my age (a nicely rounded 3-o makes for easy calculation), our combined ages would just about match that of the tree. Yeah, a redwood can live to be 2,000 years old.

Cruising through the Avenue of the Giants

The Californian redwood is the tallest tree in the world. But when it comes to girth, it's cousin, the Giant Sequoia, also found in California, wins branches down. The bark of the giant sequoia alone is 80cm thick! The base - 12m in diameter. Age? An astounding 3,200 years at its oldest.

I'm already amazed that giant tortoises can live to be almost 200 years old. Wandering around in the presence of 2,000-year-old beings at the Redwood National Park was rather daunting. In the midst of these ancient giants, I felt seriously small and silly for feeling old at 30.

Both these giants sprout from seeds the size of an oat flake.

Trying to measure up to a redwood. Just slightly wider than Dan's height, this one is already considered skinny, given that redwoods can grow up to 7m in diameter.

Lunch = some kind of sandwich + a Star Wars novel

Reaching across the base of a toppled-over tree


The drive along the Northern Californian coast from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon took a few days. Along the way, we stopped at a small picturesque historical town called Eureka. The name reminded me of my teacher in Secondary 1 - an excitable but klutzy and plump, bespectacled spotty-skinned lady - who loved repeating the story of how Archimedes yelled "Eureka!" in the bath upon formulating his displacement theory. She was particularly enthusiastic about telling us how he ran naked through the streets of Greece. She repeated that part quite a few times. Thus, I now equate "Eureka" with a naked Greek man, and not some scientific discovery. It's not my fault.

As we were strolling along the quiet waterfront, a little old lady approached us. She seemed friendly enough, giving us tips on which beaches and restaurants to visit, but it soon came to light that her main purpose was to evangelize. She handed us pamphlets bearing the testimony of a former-Buddhist-now-Christian. Hmmm, okaaay, but just cos I'm Asian doesn't mean I'm a Buddhist. Sigh, stereotyping at work again. It didn't help that when we said that we were from Singapore, she brightly piped up (after a long can-hear-crickets-chirping pause), "I've been to Shanghai!" Ordinarily, I would have patiently explained that Singapore is not in China. But after ten months of saying the same old thing, I just couldn't find the enthusiasm to correct her. At least I politely answered the all-time-favourite question, "How come you speak such good English?"

Eureka waterfront

Eye-catching mural

We were particularly excited by the presence of a couple of two used-books stores in Eureka as we were hoping to sell or trade in our stash of read novels. Unfortunately, we only managed to sell one book at the first store and the staff at the second store took one look at what we had to offer - and rejected us, claiming that they wouldn't be able to sell our books. Heyyy, it's not like we read trash, you know. After all, Lovely Bones had been just made into a movie recently and Star War enjoys never-dying popularity through the ages right? Gee, picky picky, some people.


... but not too dejected to enjoy a yummy sandwich and good coffee in a cosy corner

I Felt The Earth Move Under My Feet

After leaving Eureka, we drove to Trinidad beach, just 10 minutes away.

The path down to the beach

Along the way, we passed a number of signs carrying tsunami warnings. Although earthquakes in California can be expected, given that the Pacific Ring of Fire hugs the entire Californian coastline, it was hard to believe that this peaceful beach could be a tsunami hazard area.

Mystical Magical

Far away from glamourous Hollywood, vibrant San Francisco and San Diego Seaworld, this is California's quieter, mysterious side.

A sheet of water covers the beach

A cold but beautiful day for the beach

California as you've never seen it

No bikini hotbods here, but beautiful nonetheless

We busied ourselves with photographing a persistent seagull tugging at the tough rubbery remains of an octopus that had washed up on shore. It honestly didn't look terribly appetising, not quite the likes of Ken Ken Cuttlefish. But it was fun to watch (when you're traveling on a tight budget for months at a stretch, your idea of fun changes alot...)

I think octopi taste better as tako pachi...

All of the sudden, the octopus carcass started swaying violently. And so did the bird. And so did the entire beach! I felt my wide-eyed gaze sweep across the sands to meet that of a local walking along the beach. He nodded gravely and mouthed the word I was dreading - earthquake. Another word flashed across my mind - tsunami....

We should have retreated to higher ground immediately. We should have run for our lives. Instead, we continued to quickly snap a few more shots of the dead octopus... WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?!?! Yeah, I kept a keen eye out for 30m-high walls of water speeding towards us at 80km/h.... but WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?!

Common sense (and paranoia) finally prevailed and we hurried (practically ran) up the bank, slammed the car doors after us and sped to safety along higher ground. Thankfully, we didn't see any images of giant waves bearing down on us in our rear-view mirror. We only learned later that the town of Eureka was badly hit by the 6.5-strong earthquake. No one was hurt but traffic lights collapsed, power was cut and items displayed for sale in stores were broken to bits. And to think that we had just left Eureka before the quake hit the town...

Stopping to stretch our legs and catch sunset after speeding away from the quake

Hanging out with the tallest trees in the world and wetting our feet on the eerily beautiful beaches made Northern California quite an unforgettable destination. I'm glad we made the trip up north. It was, literally, a moving experience.

Hmmm, that could be a signboard warning about tsunamis... time to get back into the car and move off!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Electric (Tour) Company

According to hundreds of reviews posted on TripAdvisor.com, touring San Francisco is best done on a Segway. Until recently, Segway tours offered by 2 different companies hogged the top 2 spots on the rankings of recommended activities in San Francisco. This month, a guided walking tour bumped the Segway guys down to 2nd and 3rd place.

Well these walkers probably had no clue what they lost out on in San Francisco by choosing to pump their legs instead of zipping around on a Segway, besides maybe a few hundred more burnt calories than us wheelies.

Not to say that tackling those infamously steep Frisco slopes isn't fun. It is - for one's first day in the city, when we went without a car in SF earlier this year. After that, we started noting which way the slopes rolled and planned our walking route around avoiding the uphill climbs. This time, on our second visit to SF, we wanted to see more of the city - on a set of wheels.

While the cost of renting a car within SF isn't expensive, parking in the city is a bi*ch. Multi-storey carparks (or garages, as they are called in the US) are few and far between. Curbside parking spaces are limited and leaving our car lurching at a 45-degree angle for hours at a stretch is rather worrisome. So is not having enough coins to feed the greedy metres which gobble up to US$1 for every 15 minutes.

Forking out US$70 each for a Segway tour isn't cheap either but the rave online reviews convinced us to give it a go. Traveling is all about discovering new experiences and given the limited authorised usage of Segways in Singapore, it would be our first time on one. I think you can now sample a ride on a Segway within the confines of a building in Singapore, but we're a long way from seeing tourists zipping around on these neat machines alongside vehicular traffic down Orchard Road.

Morning Rush

We woke up bright and chirpy, hopped onto the 'F'-line streetcar to Beach Street, only see a guide on a Segway trundle out of the tour office and down the road, with a lone tourist on her (w)heels. We had arrived 10 minutes too late and had missed the morning tour! Since the tour company only ran 1 daily tour in winter (as compared to 2 tours a day in summer), we had missed the boat for good.

The nice owner pointed us to another tour company offering a similar city tour on wheels. We practically ran over to the office and found the morning's participants already decked in safety vests and helmets and in the midst of the briefing. Argggh. Too late again! Thankfully, this second tour company offered afternoon tours and we promptly signed up for the 1pm ride.

So in the meantime....

A hot fudge sundae for lunch!

As with our first sundae experience at Ghirardelli Square last year, the ice-cream and chocolate samples were really good. One tip though: stick to the plain ol' sundae with milk chocolate fudge. I love dark chocolate but the fudge tasted strangely sour. And lay off the incredibly salty peanut butter. Sour and salty are not great flavours for a sundae.

Back at The Electric Tour Company, 1pm:

The Electric Tour Company offers electric bike tours over the Golden Gate Bridge as well as Segway tours in San Francisco and Sausalito. The name reminds me of this television series for children in the 1970s and 1980s - The Electric Company, which I loved watching after I got home from school. Some of you may remember it:

Participants have to attend a safety and introductory briefing before being allowed anywhere near the machines. After that, we are assigned our wheels and taught how to operate the controls, mount and dismount the Segway safely, how to accelerate, steer, brake and stop, etc. We putted across the parking lot at 'training speed' - 10mph (16km/h) - slaloming through tiny orange cones.

No training wheels - just training mode

So is the Segway a dangerous machine?

Well, as with any bicycle or motorised vehicle, the Segway on its own is probably less dangerous than a horse, given that it can't go anywhere by itself without a driver. But under conditions of misuse, horseplay or inconsiderate riding, yeah, somebody could get hurt pretty badly. The directional handle bar is highly sensitive to movement, so tilting it too far and too suddenly in either direction could send your Segway into a crazy whirring spin. And just like cycling or in-line skating, you cannot let the wheels of your machine touch that of another machine while in motion. One lady did just that. She sent her Segway tripping in 1001 different directions at once and fell right off it.

With our guide convinced that we all had our Segways under control, he took us out of training mode with a few jabs at our control panels and raised the maximum speed limit to 16mph. We filed up in pairs, forming a Segway convoy and hit the road alongside cars, trams and buses.

Each individual Segway is equipped with a walkie talkie. The guide speaks into his set and we get a wonderful introduction to San Francisco as we had never known it before - quirky stories about the residents of Little Italy, the woman whom Coit Tower was named after, the best restaurants and pubs in town and an overview of the architecture around us. The guide brought us to a swimming area at Fisherman's Wharf and showed us a crazy Irish man languidly doing the backstroke in the freezing water. We expertly navigated gentle slopes and pedestrian crossings, and avoided potholes like plague. One place we weren't allowed to go was Lombard Street - the crookedest street in the world. That is for the Advanced Segway Tour. Serious!

Terrorising the city on wheels is much more fun than on foot!

Stopping for a break at Washington Park

Being left to run amok up and down a pier at Fisherman's Wharf

We created quite a spectacle on the streets of SF. Tourists snapped photos of us. Cars slowed down for the people inside to gape at us. We waved and posed for photos and felt like mini-celebrities for the day!

This guy, however, was not impressed

I wish...

I wish we had Segway tours in Singapore! In SF, anybody can buy a Segway to ride about town. Anybody who has about US$30,000 to spare, that is. But seeing how I can't even blade down the designated cyclist/skater track along East Coast Park in SG without requesting that people keep to their lanes and yelling at walking mobs to move over to the pedestrian path instead of strolling four abreast in the face of bikes and skates, I'm not too excited at the thought of dodging errant Segways anywhere on this island. However, guided tours where users are briefed on how to operate these wheeled machines in a controlled environment would raise the bar for fun city tours in Singapore.

If we do eventually get Segway tours in SG, just remember, for goodness sake, not to ride in the park (note somebody's sheepish look in the clip):

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sans Snow In San Francisco

The Last Few Days In Snow City

Every December, Flagstaff transforms into a vast white winter wonderland, perfect for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts to take to the snow bowl for some powder action. Fully aware that we were not well-equipped for a day on the icy slopes sans ski suits and waterproof gloves, we settled for a more relaxed afternoon at one of the designated snow parks just minutes from the city.

Unfortunately, we got off to a late start that day. It certainly didn't help that while queuing for what was intended to be a snappy lunch at the KFC next door to our motel, somebody decided to upgrade his 2-piece combo into a full blown chicken buffet. I don't blame him. That's just how American fast food chains sink their claws into you. US$5.95 for 2 body parts with 2 choices of sides which we don't particularly fancy (coleslaw - ugh; whip - ugh; corn on cob - gets stuck in teeth; biscuit - ugh; fries - coming outta my ears already). US$7.95 for all-you-can-eat-chicken.

Frolicking in snow vs eating unlimited fried chicken in a nice warm restaurant. It was obvious what the one-man Kentucky Fan Club wanted. Plus, even the heartless Tin Man from Oz wouldn't have been able to turn down those pitiful pleas of, "Please, please, baby, can I have the buffet? Please?"

The late afternoon buffet, coupled with a 4.30pm sunset literally looming on the horizon, meant that we wouldn't make it to the snow park before it closed for the day.

We improvised by swinging into the open field down the road from our motel and turning it into our playground. The snow was fresh, thick (knee-deep in some parts!), soft and untouched. Well, no longer!

We made snow angels...

Guess who made the incredibly neat angel, and whose angel has a dead plant crawling up its skirt.

You know how kids in those Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes cartoon strips build snowmen by trundling a snowball around the snow field until its as big as a person? Well cartoons lie!

We tried piling the snow up and shaping it into a ball to form our snowman's body. We couldn't get the snow to stick and stay in place. The powdery slopes just kept crumbling. Needless to say, we didn't even get round to creating a head for our snowman. The snow soaked through our woolen gloves, jeans and sneakers and numbed us from inside out. I was on the fast track to turning into a snowman instead of building one.

It's funny how frozen fingers can be stone-numb and yet feel unbelievably painful. In the end, we gave up and simply tossed handfuls of snow into Dan's buttoned-up jacket. We managed to get some semblance of a lumpy crooked torso.

The snow clung to us, creating a frozen layer over our clothes, which slowly melted and soaked us in cold water.

Project Snowman 2 wasn't much of a success. In fact, our snowman just looked like a bigger less-cute version of our baby snowhutt in Project Snowman 1, which we did last April in Yosemite.

Dan refused to acknowledge the two snow-things we created were the same. According to the man, our snowman-building skills have improved because now, we've added snow-aliens to our repertoire. Talk about skills upgrading.

(Note: I just learnt the secret of snowman-building from a friend a few days ago. You need to have a flask of hot water on hand and sprinkle the water over the snow as you shape it, to melt the icy crystals and set them in place. As Dan suggested, hot pee should work too, if you don't mind having yellow snow-chinaman.)

Blue Peter is up for grabs for the next Alien vs Predator movie.

The sun set not long after, turning fields of snow into fields of gold.

Bye bye snowy place

Fleeing Flagstaff...

And from the fields of gold, we headed back to Phoenix for our flight to the Golden State.

Enough of savouring the Golden State from a Tetra-Pak. We're off to California!


It was our second time in San Francisco on this trip. We loved it when we first arrived in the city in April. We found a new reason to love it more this time round - it doesn't snow here. We stayed at the Travelodge on Market Street again. At about US$30 per night for AA members, it was once again the best deal out there. Some of the rooms were under renovation in April last year and we were pleased to be assigned a newly refurbished room. We giggled when we saw the same crusty old man at the reception who roared my name out with gusto on our last visit, "Tan YYYYYEEEEEE Lin!" We snickered into our hands like before when he thundered, "Tan YYYYYEEEEEE Lin!" for the whole of America to hear when we checked in. He was alot nicer to us this time, alot less crusty. Which was nice.

We love the motel's location on Market Street. The F-line streetcar which trundles down Market Street all the way to Fisherman's Wharf stops right outside the motel. It's also within walking distance to the shops on Market and the Orpheum Theatre. Which was absolutely fabulous because...

All happy and smug that the snow didn't follow him from Flagstaff to Frisco

...we were in town to catch a musical at the theatre - WICKED!

All exited to be finally watching Broadway's Biggest Blockbust...

The star character whom the show was named after

I've been wanting to watch Wicked since 2008, when I was in Melbourne on a work trip and chanced upon a theatre that was showing it. My CEO mentioned that it was a really good musical but I didn't get a chance to watch it then. Another chance passed us by in New York City in May - the tickets on Broadway were sold out for weeks.

I was pretty thrilled when I found a used copy of the book for US$3 at a bookstore in the Florida Keys a few weeks later, and made a mental note then to return to San Francisco to catch the song-and-dance version of the story before we flew home.

People were all dressed up for the theatre. Well, we wore the best we had.

Following the not-so-yellow carpeted road to the Land of Oz

Our verdict of the musical: Definitely worth catching. Funny, witty and an interesting narrative of how the Wicked Witch of the West got her title. The show doesn't follow the written version completely, which may be a good thing, given the traditional story's unhappy (unhappy for the witch, but not for Dorothy and her friends) ending. Unfortunately, the songs were immensely forgettable. I can only remember one key tune from the song "Defying Gravity" and that's only because the song title is printed on the back of Dan's souvenir t-shirt.

Sitting on the plush blood-red theatre seats, it was hard to believe that just a week before, we were roughing it out on a volcano in Central America and traipsing down the spine of the Andes a few months ago. And now there we were, treating ourselves to a Broadway musical.

I don't think I will ever stop counting our blessings.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mead Me There

This has to be one of the hardest entries to do.

Cos other than taking a few photos of a lovely sunset at Lake Mead - the largest reservoir in the United States, we pretty much didn't do anything else here. So it's kinda hard to write about nothing.

Since I'm failing miserably at entertaining our readers, I'll at least try to pass off some geeky facts about Lake Mead as a blog post.

Lake Mead was formed in 1936 as a result of the damming of the Colorado River by the great Hoover Dam. It stretches 180km behind the giant concrete wall and across 2 states - Nevada and Arizona.

With a surface area of 640 square kilometres, the reservoir is almost the size of Singapore (700 sq km.) Just imagine an entire city sitting within all that water with cars, trains and expressways running across its surface. If you're Singaporean, that imaginary picture makes the little red dot you're living on seem even more puny.

If you hail from a country which, when placed on a map, isn't entirely obliterated by a mere letter in its name, then the imagery won't get you very excited (see, we get a kick out of living on an itsy bitsy teeny weenie island!)

Since it really wasn't possible to visit all 35 cubic kilometres of Lake Mead, we just popped in for a visit along the Nevada end of the lake. With traffic heading towards the Hoover Dam at the pace of a sickly snail, it took what felt like forever to reach the shore. By then, the brilliant patch of blue we spotted from our car had turned into a pink pool under the 4.30pm sunset.

Blue for the early birds; pink for the slow coaches

Boats docked at the marina. Too dark and cold for a late afternoon sail at 4.30pm

No, I wasn't peeing into the long grass when taking this pic. Just for the records.

Clouds sweeping across the sky turn a darker pink

Kungfu Panda's not happy with the slacker sun who refuses to stay out beyond 5pm. Hiii-yah!

As for the Hoover Dam - nah, didn't visit it. We managed to sneak a peak while driving through the area. The preview of the grey monstrosity couldn't entice us to join the line of cars heading for the giant concrete slab.

And with that, it was back to Phoenix and on the flight to our next destination....

...SAN FRANCISCO! (again)

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