Snapshots: The Rosetta Stone & the British Museum

The most relaxing afternoon of my last trip to London was spent at the British Museum. After navigating pass the famed Rosetta Stone, the crowds thin and the building seems peaceful and quiet. With all the sculptures, arts, and exhibits, … Continue reading

7 Steps to an Epic Vegas Vacation

I spent the week of Memorial Day in sunny, beautiful Las Vegas. I’ve been planning this trip , on and off , for five years so when I finally touched down at McCarran International , I felt like I knew … Continue reading

5 Thoughts You’ll Only Have at the Grand Canyon

I spent Memorial Day weekend in Vegas ( more to come in a separate post) but the highlight of the week-long trip was the day spent at the Grand Canyon. After a long night of doing Vegas things, my friend and I took a shower and a nap before meeting our tour bus at 5 am. Even so , after a morning that included a quick walk around the Hoover Dam and an energetic bus driver who laughed like a hyena and threatened to sell  left behind items on eBay, I arrived at the canyon renewed and ready to explore.

A quick drive by the Grand Canyon | photo credit:thepinkexpat

A quick drive by the Hoover Dam | photo credit:thepinkexpat

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photo credit: the pinkexpat

And finally a successful travel selfie...this is four years in the making , guys

And finally a successful travel selfie…this is four years in the making , guys

When I walked to the edge of Mather’s Point and saw the valleys and peaks , the random greenery growing from steep ledges , and  the vibrant reds and oranges of the canyon’s interior I could only think Wow.  Here are a few more thoughts – and photos -from my visit to the Grand Canyon.

Thought #1: How does nature make so much beauty ?

The Grand Canyon |photo credit: @thepinkexpat

The Grand Canyon |photo credit: @thepinkexpat

All the different colors and textures of the canyon | photo credit @thepinkexpat

All the different colors and textures of the canyon | photo credit @thepinkexpat

Thought # 2: It must go on forever and ever and ever…

It's called grand for a reason |photo credit: thepinkexpat

It’s called grand for a reason |photo credit: thepinkexpat

photo credit @thepinkexpat

photo credit @thepinkexpat

Thought # 3: Do not fall…Do not fall

I was very brave and leaned over a rail for this photo |photo credit:thepinkexpat

I was very brave and leaned over a rail for this photo |photo credit:thepinkexpat

Do it for the photo! |photo credit: thepinkexpat.com

Do it for the photo! |photo credit: thepinkexpat.com

My fear is evident in this photo. I'm not afraid of heights, but I really,really didn't didn't want to go splat  |photocredit:thepinkexpat

My fear is evident in this photo. I’m not afraid of heights, but I really,really didn’t didn’t want to go splat |photocredit:thepinkexpat

Thought #4: I really hope those people don’t fall

But I wasn't nearly this brave | thepinkexpat.com

But I wasn’t nearly this brave | thepinkexpat.com

photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

Thought #5: If I do fall to my death ,it’ll be fine because I saw this with my own eyes.

photo credit : thepinkexpat

photo credit : thepinkexpat

My favorite photo of the bunch |photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

My favorite photo of the bunch |photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

 

Do you remember the first time you saw the Grand Canyon, either in person or through a photo? What was your first thought?

My Travel Reading List

My least favorite part of travel is always the “getting there” stage. whether by plane , train, or bus being stuck in a tiny seat and surrounded by strangers is never very comfortable. Luckily , I’ve found that another passion of mine – reading – is the perfect pastime. The hours seem to melt away and I can block everything and everyone out.

Here’s what I’ve been reading while  in transit .

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Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

A bi-racial detective discovers he can use magic  and must develop his skills as a demonic force causes the faces of London’s innocents to fall off.

I liked it so much that I already have the sequel , Moons Over Soho, packed in my bag for the next flight.

Half-Bad by Sally Green

A product of a good white witch and the most evil black witch , a boy has to fight through a childhood of  torture to figure out where he belongs.

This was gory and entertaining but I don’t know if I liked it enough to pick up the second book in the series.

The Hiding Place BY Corrie Ten Boom

The true story of Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who was sent to a concentration camp for hiding Jews in her home during the Nazi occupation of Holland.

I read this once in middle school but decided to have a reread after visiting the house in Amsterdam. I would recommend  reading this on a long overnight trip, when there’s plenty of time to think and the darkness will hide any tears.

 

What have you all been reading?

Best of China: Floating Around in the Venice of the East

If Suzhou sounds unfamiliar to you, it’s probably because you’re used to hearing one of its many nicknames. Also referred to as “Heaven on Earth” or “The Water Town”, it is best known as the “Venice of the East”. Although I haven’t seen the real Venice, if it’s half as beautiful as this tiny,traditional town , I can see what all the fuss is about.

Like its sister over in Italy, the city of Suzhou is built over and around a series of canals and waterways. Shortly after arrival, my group headed to a private boat tour of the canals and a traditional village built on its banks.

A bridge view of Suzhou  ©thepinkepat

A bridge view of Suzhou
©thepinkepat

The trip down the canal was long and very scenic. Red lanterns and intricate stone carvings decorated either side. Most interesting ,however,was watching the people go about their daily lives. People sat on the steps of their houses and washed dishes, did laundry, and even bathed their pets.

Houses on the bank  ©thepinkexpat

Houses on the bank
©thepinkexpat

House on the bank ©thepinkexpat

House on the bank
©thepinkexpat

Dogs get to enjoy the water too!

Dogs get to enjoy the water too!

After turning down a particularly narrow street, our boat drifted towards a stone staircase. Hidden just beyond the stairs was the entrance to the village.

Inside , the village was a crowded maze of activity. Even though crowds quickly parted to stare at the foreigners, it was difficult to maneuver. If you weren’t careful, you could wander into the path of a biker or into a chicken coup ( seriously !).  The village was mainly a huge marketplace; a quick walk took us past displays of clothing and fresh and live food stands.

Live birds for sale ©thepinkexpat

Live birds for sale
©thepinkexpat

On the last afternoon in Suzhou, I had the opportunity to visit  The Master of the Nets Garden which also happens to be a  UNESCO World Heritage Site.  On the day I was here, it was nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit and people were more interested in finding a bit of shade than really exploring. It was lucky I took the time to snap a few pictures so I could at least reflect on the beauty later on in my air-conditioned apartment.

The courtyard of the garden. ©thepinkexpat

The courtyard of the garden.
©thepinkexpat

Entrance to the Garden  ©thepinkexpat

Entrance to the Garden
©thepinkexpat

Pretty but no idea what it means

Pretty but no idea what it means

If you’re ever exploring China and need a day to recharge, Suzhou would be the perfect place. Because it’s a smaller town, the attractions weren’t as overwhelming. There’s a lot of beautiful sites to soak in before heading off to the nearby, hustling Shanghai.

Top-Ten Tuesday: Forgotten Travel Moments

In an attempt to become a more active blogger, I’ve started a new series . Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting a top-ten list about something related to the travel/expat world.

I was looking through old travel photos and they brought back many memories and untold stories . I’ve decided to share.

                                                                        1. Granada , Spain 

An interesting statue in the gardens of the Alhambra. ( Granada, Spain)

An interesting statue in the gardens of the Alhambra. ( Granada, Spain)

                                                                                2. Orlando, Florida 

Just after feeding the gators.( Orlando, FL)

Just after feeding the gators.( Orlando, FL)

                                                                3. London, England

Snapping street signs to find our way back once we realized we were getting  lost.

Snapping street signs to find our way back once we realized we were getting lost. ( London, England)

                                                            4. Seoul, South Korea

Performers relaxing before a flag ceremony. (Seoul, South Korea)

Performers relaxing before a flag ceremony.
(Seoul, South Korea)

                                                         5. Dover , DE

Stumbled upon this thing at the Firefly Music Festival. (Dover, DE)

Stumbled upon this thing at the Firefly Music Festival. (Dover, DE)

                                                                                       6. London, England

One of many failed selfies with my bff and travel buddy. (London, England)

One of many failed selfies with my bff and travel buddy. (London, England)

                  7. Toledo , Spain

This breathtaking view on a tour bus in Toledo , Spain

This breathtaking view on a tour bus in Toledo , Spain

                                                                                       8. Morocco, Africa

Watching a rug "show" in Morocco. Before taking this , the shopkeeper pointed to me said I looked like I knew Arabic. He tried several times to start a convo with me in Arabic and seemed very annoyed when I couldn't respond.  (Morocco, Africa)

Watching a rug “show” in Morocco. Before taking this , the shopkeeper pointed to me said I looked like I knew Arabic. He tried several times to start a convo with me in Arabic and seemed very annoyed when I couldn’t respond.
(Morocco, Africa)

                                                                                     9. Beijing, China

Found this fun little guy at the Beijing Zoo.

Found this fun little guy at the Beijing Zoo.

                                                                                      10. Beijing, China

A children's camp followed us around the Forbidden City before finally asking for a picture. You can just make me out in the back.

A children’s camp followed us around the Forbidden City before finally asking for a picture. You can just make me out in the back.

 

I would love for this an interactive type of tag so I tag EVERY READER to contribute their own travel moment photos or a top-ten list.