I have forgotten to talk about Cooper, our dog. He’s a Jack Russell Terrier and we brought him along with us to Canada. My daughter took a picture of him while we were crossing the border. We were telling him that he does not have a passport and he may be detained. His face was so worried and when we were at the security gate, he went down my daughter’s lap and under her legs. It was his first time leaving the country, but he always tag along with us when we’re going on a long trip.
We left him at a kennel somewhere near Niagara. The place was great, each dog gets to sleep on a bed (like a little tyke’s car bed). Can’t wait to pick up Cooper after being away for so long. We still have some time to kill before we picked him up, and we went to see Niagara’s Park Butterfly Conservation. My kids went to see the butterfly while my wife and I went to stroll in the garden. She brought her lanzones (a Filipino fruit she bought last night in Toronto), she might as well eat those since she won’t be able to bring them across the border.
We met up with the kids and strolled the other side of the garden and took pictures as we strolled along. After that long walk, we then took late lunch and went to pick up Cooper, who for the first time did not want to leave the kennel. We guessed he liked to be with Canadian dogs and the kennel. Please click here for the pictures or just click the picture above.
After our free breakfast at the hotel we headed out to our 2nd day in Canada. We strolled by the nearby Buddhist temple to kill some time before our 2nd boat ride back to the mist. We took most pictures outside in the harsh sunlight since there are no videos or photos allowed inside the temple. My wife and I took a guided tour inside their temple and learned something about their religion while the kids just sat outside and waited for us.
Back at the falls, there were more people since weather was better than yesterday. Much warmer and the sun was out. I would suggest to take the day time ride to mist than at night. You get to enjoy the scenery better during the day. However, the queue was so long and it took forever.
After spending another day at the falls, we decided to drive to Toronto. The traffic was not bad and as usual parking was always the same when you go to the city. Though compared to Philadelphia or New York, Toronto was okay. I was surprised that the city was so different from the last time I visited. There were no more open spaces where you can stroll outside the CN tower. They were not able to go up the tower that time since the line was long and it was closing time. We just walked around and enjoyed the surroundings. We decided to take a cab to grab dinner, and guess what my wife decided to visit some Asian market for some fruits before we went to some shabu-shabu restaurant (hot pot). It was eat all you can and you get discount for paying American dollars.
Driving back to Niagara was a challenge after eating so much food, I felt like sleeping. But thanks be to God I did not and got back to our hotel safe and sound. Please click here for photos taken that day.
It was our first time to be back at Niagara Falls since 1998. The first time we went there our kids were still little and now they’re all grown up. How time flies. I missed those times when they were younger and if only they can stay younger, that means I will have to stay younger as well. Well the upside of them older is that you don’t have to watch over them constantly. Just tell them to meet up at a certain place at a certain time.
Last time we traveled we were with another family, we rented a huge van and checked in at HoJo in Toronto. That trip was cut short due to work and we had to go back after two nights and we just stopped by Niagara before we head back to the States. This time around we checked in at a hotel in Niagara which was a couple of miles away from the falls. We also had our dog, Cooper, with us on this trip. We had to drop him off at a Kennel somewhere near Niagara Falls.
When we arrived, we checked in and rested for a bit before we head to the falls. It was late in the afternoon and we just strolled along the falls and snap some obligatory pictures. Looking at the falls and how violent it was, you can’t help but just marvel at the sight. The picture above does not do justice, you have to see it for yourself and awe at its power. Click here or the picture above for the first day pictures.
That day my family decided to go to Slide Rock State Park, it was not that far from where we are staying. However, my in-laws did not join because they wanted to stay indoors due to my wife’s nephew who had a bad case of nose bleed.
It was packed at the state park and it was a good hike from the parking to the actual slide rock. I thought the reason why it’s called slide rock is because of the rock formation where water flows became so smooth that you can literally slide down with the flow of water. There was also a spot where water is deep and people jumped in from a good height of about 15 feet.
Though the weather was so hot, the water was surprisingly cool. After staying for a couple of hours, we headed back to our condo and grabbed lunch and rested for bit.
Later that afternoon, we headed out and drove to the town proper. We strolled and checked out local stores. Grabbed a drink at a bar with a nice scenic view. The red rock formation that surround the town looked even more amazing during sunset. Before we headed back to our condo for the night, we grabbed some dinner at Barking Frog. It’s a Mexican restaurant and it was better than the Mexican restaurants we have tried here in Jersey. However, I liked their Barking Frog beer more.
As always you can click the picture above to see other pictures I took.
My cousin told me that the pictures in this set were already throwback, since it’s been more than a year since I took them. I have already forgotten why it has taken me this long to upload them. I am not going to make promises I cannot keep, however, I will try to at least post a couple each month from now on.
It may have been about 2 hour drive north from Sedona to Grand Canyon. I was excited to actually see the place and check for myself if it was just a glorified hole in the ground. I was mistaken, I was in awe when I saw the Grand Canyon and I could not even imagine the vastness of the place. There were areas that have fences and others were completely unprotected.
There were buses that takes you from various scenic spots along the canyon, however, you may choose to walk along the path. If you have time and if you like to walk, I highly recommend walking. If you are not pressed on time, stay a while like late in the afternoon before dusk (grab that camera and fire away). As you will later see in the pictures I took, most of them were in the harsh sunlight. I have to tweak the pictures a little to get a decent exposure, at least.
I was so afraid of heights and being there confirmed it. I could not even brought myself near the edge of the railing much more just on the edge. I was even afraid for my wife and daughter when they were posing near the edge. I knew there was this new structure they built where in there is a glass overhang that you can walk around, we did not go there since we were busy getting from one end to the other and forgot about that new structure (good for me). By the way, the other day our tour guide from Pink Jeep tour told us that a few months ago they found a crack on the glass overhang and had to replace it, that was not reassuring since no one knew how it cracked.
Anyway, you have to visit the Grand Canyon to experience natures wonder and see for yourself and not just hear from other people that it was just a hole in the ground. Click on the pictures to see the rest.
It was hot when we got there, what can you expect in the desert. Surprisingly better than the summer wether in Philadelphia, I would take the 100 + degrees in Nevada over 90 + degrees in Philadelphia. I guess it was all about humidity.
This was my second time to visit Nevada but my first time to this modern marvel, the Hoover Dam. I just cannot imagine the engineering accomplishment as well as people’s hardwork in building such a structure. I have to admit that being there was an experience.
Of course, this involved a lot of walking and drinking lots of fluids. I did not take a lot of pictures not because it was noon time but I just like the walk and appreciate this structure, not to mention that there were a lot of people, excuses excuses.
Overlooking Hoover Dam was the Mermorial Highway bridge as you can see from the picture. You need to do a hike to get to the bridge and oh boy it’s vibrating when you are walking on the bridge. Unfortunately, due to my fear of heights that I wan not able to take the best position for the perfect Hoover Dam shot. Click here to see the gallery.
However, what stood the most was the story about the “Dam Dog”. There was a dog that strayed at the work site and the workers adopted him. The dog accompanied them at work and went home with them as well. Each day on their way to work, the dog carried his own food in a brown bag. Unfortunately, the dog was run over by a truck. The dog was taking a rest under the truck for some shade and the driver did not notice. The dog was buried at the site and was given his own memorial at the Hoover Dam.
My second trip to Las Vegas. We were only supposed to go to Sedona, AZ, however, my wife squeezed the points left for this year for a three night stay at Polo Towers. This location was better than Acapulco Resort because this was in the strip (just behind Planet Hollywood).
We rented a Kia Sedona at the airport and drove to Goldilocks for a late lunch. I thought we ordered so much food for 6 people. I would recommend the “crispy dinuguan” whenever you get a chance to get to Las Vegas and eat at Goldilocks. After our huge lunch we drove to our condominium, it was two adjacent rooms good for 8 people and full kitchen. We were on the 10th floor but not a good view since our balcony was facing the parking lot.
We settled in our rooms to get some rest before we pounded the strip. Did not have have to drive the rented car since we are on the strip. We walked from Planet Hollywood up to the LINQ (of course the obligatory pictures along the way). They have an attraction near the LINQ called “The High Roller”. It is like the “Eye of London”. Being afraid of heights that I am, I still went to ride it ($32 per person) and you don’t feel it move but you can see that you are slowly going up and over. Other people can ride on cabin with open bar for $50, I think. The ride is about half an hour long.
Since my company are tired, we took the mono rail for $5 per head. We are about 3 stops away but need to still walk to get back to our condominium. We called it a night since we have an obligatory time share meeting the next day.
yellow flower macro
It has been months since I visited this website, funny thing, this is my website. I really thought that I would be able to put stuff up in here about photos I took and write up a little something, but it was easier said than done.
The picture above and the pictures in the gallery link were taken last year at Longwood Garden. We took my mother-in-law and her grandson to this garden last year when they arrived from the Philippines. It was my first time in a long time that I held my Sony A900.
Aside from the camera, I brought with me a monopod, an off-camera flash, and wireless trigger (forgot that I only took the lens that was on my camera at that time – 100 mm f/2.8 macro lens). I took obligatory shots of people I was with at that time. However, I was on my own most of the time and was taking pictures of anything that interested me. I hoped that I had brought my tripod with me to get tack sharp macro pictures of flowers and plants.
I only hope that after a long time of my hiatus that I can still take good pictures. I also hope that I will pick up my camera more often and practice more. I have heard that to be good at something, you need to do it a lot (say invest 10,000 hours).
I miss going to Gloucester County Photography Club, the people there are awesome. One of these days, I will stop by and pay them a visit to get motivated and boost to pick up my gear and just shoot.
We went back to Williamsburg, VA again this year. The plan was to go to Massanutten Resort but I forgot to reserve. Apparently, I need 30 day notice to use my fixed time share. That policy was crap, when you have a fixed week that should be fixed whether you use it or not or traded it which should show up in their system. If it’s floating then that’s a different story. Sad to say I just forfeited our fixed week stay and my kids were looking forward to go back after more than five years.
It was a good thing that Diamond Resort, who was the new owner of Powhatan Plantation resort at Williamsburg, had an availability. I used up our points which was expiring this year for this vacation.
We have been to Williamsburg, Virginia several times in the past 10 years and stayed at the same resort. This resort to my opinion was situated in a perfect spot. It’s close to a church and it’s close to all the historical sites: Williamsburg; Jamestown; and Yorktown. If you want to go to the beach then Virginia beach is just an hour drive not considering traffic. Powhatan Plantation was also close to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.
After spending a few days visiting the historical sites, my wife and daughter wanted to go to Virginia beach. We visited Air and Space Museum at Hampton on our way to the beach but decided just to look in Hampton for beach instead of driving through traffic to Virginia Beach. We found one and it was very quiet and my wife and daughter swore that it was good, less crowd and the beach was awesome and it was close the parking.
Another common thing we always do in Williamsburg was to dine at “The Cheese Shop“. This is a nice store where you can order sandwiches and enjoy it inside the store or outside. I recommend this place. I tried different sandwiches every time we visited and sampled the local beer as well.
Click on the picture above to see the rest of my pictures I took.
fountain at the bellagio
We planned to drive to Hoover dam that day after our mandatory meeting with the Diamond Resort staff to brief us about our account.
Do you know Murphy? Well you should know him. If you think that nothing will go wrong, there will. That’s Murphy’s law. Well anyway, we got ourselves ready for breakfast and then one of the staff was assigned to us to talk about our account with Diamond Resort. We actually stated in the get go that we were not interested in buying more of what it was they were offering but it was a tough battle since it took us way past lunch time to get out of that meeting.
Our Hoover dam plan seemed to be not happening. My wife and I decided to eat at Goldilock’s (another one of the known food places in the Philippines). To our surprise they had a nice spread for lunch and we ordered the lunch package for 4 and yet we were able to almost finished the entire thing, actually hold that, we actually did. We also found out that they serve breakfast (buffet style).
My wife decided to buy some pastries at Goldilocks’ since they’re famous for that anyway. She also decided to buy more at a local Filipino bakery close to Jollibee. I decided to stay in the car and wait for her, wrong decision. She came back after a long while with a lot of plastic bags and it filled up the back seat of the Yaris. I got surprised and told her that how will those things fit in our hand carry, long story short we were not able to make to the Hoover dam because it was close to 5 PM and I did not want to drive there and did not want to chance getting stuck somewhere out there in the dark. However, we did buy a box to put all that she bought. We went back to the resort to pack up our stuff and I disagreed with her when she bought all those stuff.
At night, we decided to eat dinner somewhere at the strip. We parked our rental in the Bellagio parking and started to walk around. It was pretty crazy walking at night along the strip because there were a lot of people and traffic was crazy. We decided to try to eat at Paris and then went back to Bellagio to watch the fountain show, twice. Then just before midnight we drove back to our resort. Click the picture above or just click here to see other pictures.