US Trip ’07: Hoover Dam

June 6, 2007. Between the states of Nevada and Arizona, less than an hour away from Las Vegas, is Hoover Dam, which supplies electricity to Nevada, Arizona and parts of Southern California.

It was a beautiful dam in the middle of the desert, with a picturesque blue Lake Mead behind the dam. It’s blue-green waters looked great with the pale color of the desert and the bright and clear blue sky. Otherwise, I didn’t actually understand what was so special about the dam.

US Trip ’07: Arriving in Las Vegas

June 5, 2007. It was a Tuesday. A day after we visited Universal Studios, we drove to Las Vegas, Nevada. From Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area of Southern California, we were on the road for a couple of hours through the vast inland desert.

Halfway through, we dropped by an outlet store in what seemed like in the middle of nowhere in the town of Barstow. The place was semi-deserted, and it felt like there was a mild sand storm what with the strength of the wind that was blowing that time.

Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

We arrived in Las Vegas a little before 8 in the evening. We checked in at Paris Hotel then walked outside for a bit. We went to have dinner with my mom’s friend who lived in Las Vegas. We ate at Todai, a Japanese buffet restaurant in Mile High below Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.

Las Vegas, Nevada

When I think of Vegas, I think of strippers and gambling and all that so I didn’t feel quite comfortable being with my parents in Vegas.

US Trip ’07: Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood
June 4, 2007. The plan was to spend the day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Before proceeding to the infamous theme park, we dropped by a Catholic church (because my parents felt guilty that we didn’t attend mass the previous day), then, we picked my godmother up in Los Angeles, where she’s working as a caregiver. I actually missed her. It made me feel a little bad that she had to leave the Philippines and work as a caregiver two years ago.

Universal Studios City Walk
Now that I’ve come to think of it, Universal Studios relies much on a century of Hollywood entertainment hegemony for us to desire being there. The rides were okay but not exactly world-exceptional. The backlot tour was so-so. I haven’t seen some of the movies that supposedly used some of the sets we were shown, so it didn’t really feel surreal or special to me when they brought us there.

Universal Studios Hollywood Probably the best thing I enjoyed was the food passes we could use in any of the dining establishments in the park. Boy, it was pigging out galore. I loved it. We had all sorts of large servings of good fried American fast food.

Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Studios Hollywood All in all, Universal Studios Hollywood is a nice place to spend time with friends and family. It would probably feel more special and spectacular if you were a heavy consumer of American entertainment. Otherwise, you’d feel weird when people around you seem to be so amazed at some set or attraction you don’t recognize.

US Trip ’07: Sta. Monica beach, CA

Santa Monica Beach, California
June 3, 2007. This was a relatively lazy Sunday. We stayed home most of the morning. While my parents went to do the groceries for breakfast and lunch, my brother and I stayed and watched TV, amused of all those amazing HDTV features available at the apartment.

After having home-cooked lunch, we headed off to the commercial district of Sta. Monica for my parents’ shopping. While my parents were at Macy’s, I strolled down to the beach and took some photos. After quenching their commercial thirst, my family joined me at the beach a few blocks from the department store. We had some churros while strolling.

Santa Monica Beach, California
When we got home, my aunt asked my third cousin’s husband to accompany me to the Apple Store at the promenade on 3rd Street. And that was when we bought this wonderful Macbook I’m using right now. When we got home, I could barely sit down and eat the lamb chops we had for dinner, because I was too excited to play around with the Mac. I spent the entire night tinkering with this.