Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam
  • Hoover Dam, comes enroute from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon.
  • At the crossover from Nevada to Arizona.
  • Should definitely take this short stopover to marvel at the huge impressive dam, built in 1931 and in 4 years !
  • And also to gaze at the mighty Colarado river.

  • Monday, May 25, 2009

    Las Vegas

    Las Vegas is about 4 hours drive from LA. And man ! what a drive it is ! The route is across semi-rocky, arid desert mountains. Not a green shrub in sight. And you can see the road ahead for 100s of miles. Awesome experience, this drive.

    Las Vegas is simply a Disneyland, for grownups. Things to do in LV:

  • Walk on the Las Vegas Strip. By day and definitely at night. With a millions lights around, and a hundred different things happening, you won't find a single fuzed bulb.
    Planet Hollywood Paris

  • Excelsior for the good food courts.
  • New York, New York
  • Luxor - pyramid
    Ecelsior New York, New York

  • Venetian. This is the Italian themed one with ceiling painted like the sky, a water canal and gandolas riding in there. And awesome Italian food too.

  • Belagio, with the water works in front of it. All in sync with music. I think that's what was featured in Oceans Eleven end sequence.
    Belagio Las Vegas Strip

  • And finally the magnificant view from Effiel tower top

  • Gamble ? Casino ? Ah, what's that ? Oh it's just an afterthought, for some who want to stay up all night. With so many sights & shows around, I didn't get a chance to gamble.
  • Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Universal Studios, LA

    No, I not a AK or KK or even SS fan, to feature this trailer here. It's just that it features LA Universal Studios so prominently here. And I saw it fresh after our visit to LA-US, that it just got me too exited.

    Check out the Waterworld show at 1:02 and 3:00. Now Waterworld movie may have sunk, but the show was awesome! Number of people who have seen this show must be much much more than the ones who saw the movie. If with TV actors, it was so great, I can't imagine how thrilling it would be to see Akki do that.

    And those cars flying at 2:28. I hate to break it, but they don't just fly. They have proper gadgets holding them from below, which throw them out in sync. They even perform a dance jig at the end. I doubt that would be featured in the movie.

    These cars and more were featured in the Studio tour. The actual place where shooting happens. I saw so thrilled to see the 'Desparate Housewives' set. There a lot more sets there - Phsyco's Bates Motel, War of the Worlds smashed neigbourhood. All to an interesting running commentry from the tour guide.

    Studio tour was by far my most fav tours, being a motion picure fan mself. But the rest of the shows were great too. What interested me the most were the ones connected to movie making - Special Effects and Backdraft. Terminator 2:3D - same as in Florida. Simpsons ride - too good, the best and back breaking one. And I got my photo clicked with Doc Brown, Shrek, Zoro, Marilyn Monroe and even the menancing guards of The Mummy !

    Overall, Universal Sudios LA was far far better than the one in Florida. Because of the real movie making stuff here.

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    City of Angels

    And to finish off March and welcome April, we did a trip to my bro at Los Angeles and visit the surrounding areas.

    LA Downtown

    I have been living in Minnesota for some months now. And I always wondered, where is that America which I have seen in Hollywood movies and TV serials ? Everthing is so neat & tidy, lawful, well-behaved and functional out here. So, what are the showing out there ? As soon as I landed in LA, everthing became clear. I saw littering, speeding, rash driving, homeless crowds, grafitti, police sirens and even helicopter police ! And I actually saw a cop handcuff someone by the road ! I swear I had never seen a cop outside his vehicle before !

    So this is where Hollywood gets its inspiration, ah ! Well after all, Hollywood is located here. It's like how Hindi films and serials are all Mumbai-centric in themes & lifestyle. They just don't know how people of Raipur or Tumkur live their lives ?

    And after visiting so many states I have to say. America is definitely United and one entity. But each state is different and unique in its own way. In terms of vegetation, soil, culture and more. Like for example, California locations and road names have South American influence, while Minnesota names are mainly derived from Native American words.

    Now about LA, a lot of places of visit:

    Hollywood Boulevard: which is strewn with star signs, Ripleys & Wax museums and loads of souvenier shops.

    And also The Kodak Theatre, which hosts Oscar ceremony every year

    Grauman's Chinese Theater. Outside it, the footwalk has cement imprints of famous personalities.

    Hollywood Sign:

    San Diego: Being short of time, we did with a hurried visit here. Port area is beautiful and night-time feels so peaceful here. I dont know the actual meaning of it, but I saw nearly 6-7 'Bail Bond' shop as soon as we entered the downtown. If I derive a meaning based on the word Bail, is the crime rate so much that there is so much business for these shops !!! I must be mistaken. The shops and restaurents were all posh. But every next street there were rows of homeless people sleeping in tents. Nevertheless, the downtown was very neat and well organised.

    Finally a lovely sunset at a beach near San Diego.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Space visit - NASA

    And finally on the last morning in Orlando, we visited the Kennedy Space Center.

    Bus tour takes us to 3 different locations in the area. Informational video playing in the bus tells us of so many different types of jobs involved in "Space work". I mean, by NASA we think of only Astronauts and Scientists. But we don't quickly think of the variety of science fields involved here - chemicals, metals, physics, ... The video featured actual people working here. And each one of them was proud of their work - even if it meant fixing a screw. Because they knew how important it was.

    Open space around the Kennedy Space Center

    An actual engine which was used nearly 6 times.

    Large wide tracks for the vehicle which carries the launch vehicle.

    An old launch vehicle on display. The entire thing which took up almost a plane hanger.

    Launch site

    The room which re-enacts the Apollo-11 launch. The room has the exact same computers which were used then. Displays show us all the footage, of scientists, common people, at the exact time of launch. And finally even windows shatter with the launch. Good experience.

    And we got to see a shuttle launch in the previous evening.

    Though not from inside the center. This was from a sea shore. Didn't get a good shot, because I was busy being bedazzaled by the whole thing. And I was not the only one. Look at the crowded jam on I50.

    And with this I wrap up my Orlando story.