Just came back from my first proper holiday since I started work. Been almost 9 months and I can say it was very much needed. Also thoroughly enjoyed it. Don’t know how travel blogs work but I’ll just mention (some of) what we got to and where we stayed. Ecetera
- Never considered myself the outdoorsy type or person before this trip but it might have changed my mind.
- Out of 10 days, I only had to plan one day, the Grand Canyon leg of the trip and it was stressful for me. I still suck at planning trips but think I delivered, see below for details.
- Grand Canyon has such a fitting name. Words and pictures can’t described how grand it is
- Zion National Park is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever been so far. Thunderstorms ruined the plans a bit. Want to return for The Narrows
- Google pics sometimes catfish real location (see Horse Shoe Bend)
- Lol jk, if you’re looking for views, timing is very important tbh (E.g. Antelope Canyon). Also Vivid Filter on iPhone.
- Vegas has a ridiculous number of gigantic hotels. Feels bigger than New York
- Cirque Du Soleil MJ Show was lit. Wish they let you record.
- It’s amazing the sheer number of artistes there are performing every night in Vegas, so much choice.
- Don’t gamble kids, the house always wins.
Story Of The Trip
Can’t type the funniest trip out because reasons. But here is one I can tell.
So after Tiesto, we were going back and some of us stopped at a casino to play Roulette while I just watched. From the sidelines, I told them I could predict numbers and quite rightly so they ignored me. I kept saying it. On their very last bet, I told them with the utmost confidence to place a bet on 20 black and some stranger listened to me and place a $50 chip. Dealer spun the wheel and rolled the ball and where did it land? 20 Black. I was spot on an dude made what 35x back and cashed out immediately. He gave me that $50 chip and hugged me for me efforts. My friends who didn’t listen to me meanwhile lost all their money for the night. I rubbed it in a bit and they left me hahaha, that was the first time I got lost (also realised how much of a privilege it was for me to walk around semi drunk at like 5am with no fear of anything happening to me).
Anyways next day we got a roulette shot spinner and while we were testing it, a friend asked me to predict it and I got it wrong but where did it land? 20 Black. Coincidence? Wait for it. Testing it more, it landed on ,yup you guessed it, 20 Black like 20 times. There was obviously something wrong with it, it clearly wasn’t straight. Coincidence surely? Nahh. That evening a friend made lots betting on 20 Black as well. That last night, we all passed on seeing Diplo to go to the casino. 20 black finished us that night, now way we were not putting something on 20 Black so we basically lost big that night because of 20 Black. In the end Vegas always win, and you or your wallet lose. Would definitely go back still though.
PS: As I type this the full cost of the holiday has not been calculated and sent to me so all this sentiment might go away when I see it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, amirite?
Only read this if you really care because I can’t summarise and it’s super long. Or just look at the pictures
We stayed at The Wynn/Encore for the first two days. On the first night there we went out to Encore Beach Club. We thought Diplo would be performing but it was actually Duke Dumont, he was actually alright. Now this I think this was probably my favourite venue but least favourite night. It was raining and it’s like the people there that night knew my money was not their mates. I hide my face. The night ended with a promoter trying to get me to a strip club called Sapphire, I just wanted some Tacos at that point. Think Encore still has my favourite casino.
We had dinner at Allegro, which was alright. Portions deceptively large. Second day we went to The Buffet at Encore, which was a super colourful place with lots of fake flowers. Great value for money though. The next night we went on a tour of the Vegas strip, which is an essential. We saw a waterfall show at the Wynn, Palazzo, the Venetian and fake Venice up until Flamingo (which actually has Flamingos in it!) , the Mirage volcano explosion show. Caught a brief glimpse of the Belaggio water show before we had to go back in preparation for the road trip.
We had 2 drivers and 2 passengers for our 4 day 3 night hiking trip. We rented a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV from Alamo and set off around 8:30am on our 5 hour trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim, stopping once for a change of drivers.
Disappointing tbh *Insert Killmonger “Is this your da” meme*
Grand Canyon South Rim
We got there around 2:30 and checked in at the Yavapai Lodge, which was the best value for money and the least grand place to stay in the Grand Canyon Village. Also it was the only place available when we booked it. We did a bit of the Rim Trail in the afternoon when we got there, this is probably the easiest trail, superflat but you don’t get to go down the rim. Took a bus to the Train Depot stop and walked all the way to Hopi Point to watch the sunset, stopping at El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House, Kolb Studio, walked a bit down Bright Angel Trailhead. Shame we didn’t get to reach Pima Point, because that is apparently lovely as well but it’s impossible to do it all really. For Dinner, we had a super late one at best diner in the village, El Tovar hotel. It was actually pitch black navigating though.
Next morning we had breakfast at Yavapai Lodge, checked out and dumped our stuff in the car then took a bus to the South Kaibab trailhead and walked down to the ooh Aah Point, Cedar Ridge and the Skeleton Point. The lazy man in me is saying the extra 3 miles Skeleton Point added to the journey was not worth it because that uphill hike back was a deadly one. I do think I preferred the view from Cedar Ridge tbh but happy we went all the way. Going up takes more than twice the time to down. Glad we all made it back in one piece. After that we, went to the Maher Point near the visitor center, which also a nice easy one to see if you’re short of time. Then as we drove of to our next destination, around 3pm? We stopped at the Grandview Point and the Desert View watchtower. Think any of the view points along the Desert View drive is essential viewing tbh. Overall think we hit most of the boxes apart from Yavapai Point, Hermits trailhead and Tusayan Museum and Ruins. I believe we squeezed in as much as we could into 24 hours given time and physical constraints thought tough choices had to be made. Decided against the helicopter ride because no be Pounds and Dollars me and my guys dey take shower o.
Arrived at the Horse Shoe Bend at Page for around 6:30. I would be lying if I said every picture of this on the internet was not a catfish. However it was still a lovely view. At night we stayed at Best Western Plus Hotel. We debated whether to pay for a tour of the Antelope Canyons. After finding out it was illegal to go there without a guide we decided to bite the bullet. At night, we decided to check out the nightlife and we the down was dead apart from the local club Windy Mesa (read sarcastically), a Pizza Hut and the Bowling Place. We played Bowling and that was actually sick. I won without getting any strikes. Next morning we set off to the Lower Antelope Canyon for out tours by the Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. Great guys! Apparently it’s better in the Upper Antelope Canyon and peak time for beauty is around 10am but missed out on both because we were so impromptu. However, this was super super lovely place. Walking through it was incredible, the tour guide was super nice and friendly, even helped take some fire photos(Hint: set your iPhone Camera to the Vivid filter and see the magic happen). At this point we were meant to head to Zion but Thunderstorms meant we decided to explore more in Page so we headed to Glen Canyon and the Lake Powell Dam. Which was a great stop, not at grand as the Grand Canyon but this Dam definitely wins against the Hoover imo.
We drove through a lot of the park on our way in stopping to take pictures at certain points. Honestly, this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen with my bare eyes. Hands down the prettiest place on the whole trip. And this was just driving through and stopping. Still mad about the Thunderstorm messing the whole thing up. We stayed at Best Western Plus Hotel. The hotels here were fantastically designed with the themes matching the mountains and having a lovely views as well. The next morning we had breakfast then set out to do a quick tour to beat the rain. We decided on the Emerald Pool Trail which was amazing but such a basic hike in terms of energy compared to the one we did in Grand Canyon. We took the bus round and if not for time we would have done the Weeping Rock, Angels Landing and the Narrows. We went there only for the Narrows tbh but it was legit so much more than that. Amazing scenes. We had to be back in Vegas for the Airbnb we booked though + rain so we had to jet off in a jiffy
This time we stayed at the MGM, and the rest of the contingent, about 5 more people came. We did Vegas Vegas this time. This time around, the Vegas experience felt like the movies. Adult playground in Downtown Vegas was sick, Downtown Vegas in general was amazing, like 5 outdoor concerts were happening. Dunebuggy racing was incredible and I did that without my glasses or License, was sorta like Mad Max, Tiesto at Hakassan was probs my fave night, the people here were my mates haha. Still don’t know a Tiesto song though. Buffet at The Wicked Spoon, Driving range at Top Golf, Pool parties, David Guetta at XS was sick since I actually knew some of his song: Memories, Titanium, Like I Do, Sexy Bitch, Who’s That Chick etc but these EDM DJs are still a living sha. Man didn’t even rock headphones. For all I know that could have been a random ginger dude on stage and I would not have known. Travis Scott at Marquee was sooo sick, he brought out French Montana, this would have been my fave night of the trip if not for that my wallet got goosebumps everytime I remember how much we paid to get a table (never have and still don’t get tables tbh). Did the Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil thing which was sickk. I get why they don’t let people take pictures or vids but I wish they did because I remember the first Cirque Du Soleil I went for being sick but can barely remember a single thing they did. Did a proper tour of the strip (I did this walk about 4 times because I got lost on two nights). All the way from MGM to Encore this time around. Caesar’s Palace is like my fave tbh.