A rush of panic swept over as I gazed at the near empty shelves in the supermarket. People were frantically trying to snatch up food, water and supplies. It had been raining heavily the past two days in Banff and now both exits out of town were blocked off due to serious flooding. Lakes were overflowing and houses were submerged. We had no way out of town and the road blockage meant that we were going to miss our flight. We were stuck.
Jetlagged and weary, I hauled myself out of bed. As I splashed water on my face, my eyes stung from the cool water and lack of sleep. Although exhausted, I wanted to explore the city of Chicago in the early morning light.
We begrudgingly clambered out of bed at 4:30am, splashed some cold water on our faces and drove out to the Grand Canyon National Park entrance, which was only a 15min drive from our hotel. Since it was so early, there were no park rangers at the boom gates so we go into the park for free.
We had read the night before that Mather Point was a good place to view the sunrise. As we pulled up into the car park, we saw a few scattered bodies walking in all different directions. It was dark and we couldn’t see any signs. We asked a few people where Mather Point was, but everyone seemed a bit preoccupied in finding their own vantage point for the sunrise. We followed the majority and set ourselves up with a good spot. We stared out into the darkness, eagerly awaiting the sun to show.
This is a photo I took exactly a year ago on January 1st, 2013 in New York City. After a night of drinking and dancing, we decided that we would have a low key day and visit the High Line. This is a quick snap I took of my friend whilst he had his back to me.
New York City is the coldest place I have ever been (more so than the snowy parts of Europe, including Norway). It was only about 1-2 degrees but the wind chill made it feel like -20 degrees. Or perhaps it’s because we walked around all day in the miserable cold. We all wore furry hats with ear flaps to keep our heads/ears warm. A man walked past us on the high line and made a snide comment about how he wore these hats before they became cool. We thought it was funny.
I once had a conversation with a friend that was planning to visit the USA and he brushed it off as nothing really exciting, but I thought quite the contrary. I have so many fond memories of the US and I consider it as one of the most diverse countries to photograph. As we visited state to state, the landscape and scenery changed dramatically.
In June 2013, we road tripped across Arizona and one of the places we visited was Monument Valley (close to the state line of Arizona and Utah). Monument Valley is popularly filmed in many country western movies and it is also the place where Forrest Gump is running and decides to head home.
We drove across Highway 163 and although we didn’t actually enter the park (we rented a small Mini Cooper and were worried that the unpaved and rocky road would damage the car) we were still able to see the gigantic sandstone buttes that were spread across the land.
The first monument we came across on Highway 163. It was really windy that day and as I tried to open the car door, it flung open violently. The wind was strong and the sand stung my skin. In the distance you can see a sandstorm brewing.
In early July 2013, we had a short visit to Toronto. We didn’t really have much of an itinerary, we just wanted to catch up with a good friend that lives in Toronto and perhaps see Niagara Falls. However, by this time we had just completed a whirlwind trip around Iceland and were sick of waterfalls – Iceland is the land of waterfalls.
We decided to give it a go anyway, seeing as it is such a popular attraction. We booked the The Maid of the Mist to spice it up and boy was it something! Maid of the mist is a boat service that drives you out, close to the base of the waterfalls. Before boarding, you are given plastic ponchos to waterproof your clothing. I think the biggest problem is getting your shoes/socks wet as the poncho doesn’t cover this area. It’s probably wise to opt for thongs.
The first waterfall that we encountered was the American Falls. It was quite pleasant, everyone was excited, we experienced some spray/mist and then we continued on. As we approached the Horseshoe Falls, the mist became heavier and heavier until it eventually became a downpour. It rained down so considerably that everything I saw in front of me was white and I could barely open my eyes without a flood of water blasting my eyeballs (note sunglasses is a good idea). The wind was turbulent and people were struggling to keep their ponchos from flying away. The downpour was torrential and although we’ve tied our ponchos tightly, we’re still getting wet. This is the full force of mother nature. Eventually, the captain turns the boat around and the madness ceases.
This is one of the boats riding out into the mist. Note the little figures on the boat in their blue ponchos.
When it comes to food, I like good hardy food that’s tasty and decently priced. I don’t really understand or appreciate fine dining – I much prefer eating street food or traditional food that’s made by someone’s grandmother.
When I travelled to New York City, I knew that I really had to research to make the most of my time there. I spent days mulling over review sites, food blogs and probing my friends about their food experiences. Below is a list I have complied of my favourite cheap/must eats in NYC. I hope I have saved you some time in your next food quest around New York City!
You really can’t get much cheaper than $1USD for 4 pork and chive dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling. I believe we paid $3 for this lot. It’s a real hole in the wall restaurant with little to no seating but they are efficient (they cook it fast in batches) and it’s dirt cheap. They are located at 46 Eldridge St New York City, in Chinatown.
In July 2013 we visited Yosemite National Park in California as part of our whirlwind tour of North America. It’s not exactly what I had in mind. It was really really crowded. I thought that we could get away from it all and reconnect with nature, but everyone else had the same idea as well.
I can’t blame them though – it is absolutely stunning. Below are photos I took during our two day stay at Yosemite National Park.
Our first stop was Tunnel View. From this viewpoint you can see Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall.