Toronto: Story Attempt Two...

This article was written 15 years ago in 2005 when I was just 20, so I ask you not to judge the writing too harshly! The text is as it was originally published.

Although I left the last entry hanging at 8pm (Canadian Time), it wasn't until 10pm that James, Alex, Matthew and myself actually left for food. However this left a significant gap in the adventures of me and my sidekick James, so here is the next part of the chronicle:

We spent the night cruising the Strip, and after our investigations, we headed back to the Golden Palm. By this time the heat was nice, although the walk home was fairly long - part of me wished the pool was still open (we had had a social gathering there earlier before we went out) but being closed we simply got back and went to sleep.

The next day we were allowed to 'lie in' although we made an appearance down pool-side at about 11am where we met with some of the others and made arrangements to meet for a shopping trip to a nearby mall. At the mall we grabbed a sub and then visited as many surf clothing shops a possible (a number of purchases were made) before making moves to go back the hotel. James, Pete & Charley (who by now were getting pretty friendly) and myself walked back onto the strip checking some more venues before eventually meeting everyone in the eyeing outside the fountains at Bellagio and watching two fantastic water shows.

As we all were hungry now we decided to go and get a buffet dinner as recommended by Joe. Despite what we initially thought, this type of dining isn't that cheap - no matter how far you walk, and we settled for some exclusive but overflowing meal at the Flamingo in true Vegas pomp. Was mightily impressed/filled.

After the last of the dessert was polished off we split again and spent the next few hours mopping up the sights and attractions, including the free shows down the unexplored part of the strip. We got up as far as Treasure Island, but were so bitterly disappointed that the 'Sirens of TI' show had been cancelled due to 'high winds' (a mere Zephyr) we headed back along the strip and saw the last of the big casinos with plenty of photo opportunities. Major attractions of the night included

The next morning we moved on once more (yet another early start) and I was able to reflect on my time in Vegas. Although initially unsure of what I would make of the place I was pleasantly surprised and will one day visit again (this time when I can bet myself). The place is not tacky. Tacky is when you attempt to do something pretty grand or glitzy on a budget and screw it up, Vegas may well be bright, neon and glitter-coated, but it has been done at expense. This sort of grandeur is open to the masses and I cannot think of another example since Roman times, where so much money has been spent on impressing the general population who can freely roam as they like.

Our next stop was the Grand Canyon. As predicted by Joe, we ended up getting caught in the micro-climate that surrounds this great natural monument, and were drenched on occasion. Our first stop after setting up camp was the heliport where we took 35 minute flights over the area, and it was truly stunning. The canyon has to be seen to be believed, and even then it was hard to grasp the size of the thing. Later that night Joe took us to a viewing point for photos, and after we had food at camp (utilising the cabbage I bought in the coleslaw; turns out that I can't tell the difference between a lettuce and a cabbage) before retiring.

The next day would be our earliest rise - 4.30am for sunrise over the canyon and a 2 hour hike. There is a rule of thumb that it takes twice as long to come up as go down, so when we darted back up faster than we had descended Joe was more than surprised, but I think the motivation had mainly been in the thick red mud and puddles that had occurred we got caught in a rain storm at the bottom of our descent which prompted our fast return.

We dried out in the canyon shop and warmed ourselves with soup. More travelling today meant it was back in the bus to travel to our next Arizona-based destination, Betty and Rusty's out in the desert, about 70 miles outside Phoenix.

Once again, I am going to terminate this blog entry for a while as something more important has arisen - season 3 of the OC starts here in about 5 minutes and I'm not missing it for the world... (how sad).

This post was first published on Fri Sep 09 2005

Andy Higgs
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My name is Andy Higgs and I am a business founder, design leader, occassional surfer and travel enthusiast based in the UK.

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