Do you remember all those teetering rocks the wild coyote used to jump on from one to another in Road Runner cartoons?
Bryce Canyon seems to be the place the scenery was based upon.
Those rocks seemingly balancing impossibly atop each other are REAL.
When i grew up, i just figured it was make believe, just like the cartoon characters.
Confusion and excitement to see an old memory of a cartoon come to life before my eyes,
made me look around expectantly for a little wild coyote silently going hoppity jump from rock to rock.
The landscape changed so drastically from postcode to postcode, Bryce Canyon in southwestern Utah is where you wanna go if you wanna see THIS >
And this, just 10 minutes drive away, was the view from the garden of Radiance Retreat, an airbnb Yishyene found that was in Tropic, very close to Bryce Canyon.
It was surreal. I wish we had more time to just hang out there.
We stayed at different Airbnbs throughout our entire stay as it’s more personable than staying in hotels, and a LOT more interesting. I can’t tell you all the amazing spaces we lived in and people we met in just one blogpost, but this post will be a good measure of the vast difference one place can be from another! (It also happens to be where we stayed two nights in a row so my summer storytelling won’t run off my timeline.)
The owner and mother of a big family, Mindy, conveniently set the door lock codes temporarily to the digits of my phone number for our easy access.
Big garage to park our car.
It was so spacious! After sharing different rooms for almost a week, it was a welcome change for Y and i to spread our things out.
Radiance Retreat is a tastefully-done 6-bedroom home that’s perfect for a party. I did a tour on vid to send some friends and Tai Yong said it’s a dream guy pad. I think it’s a dream pad, period. My favourite feature has got to be these giant propellers they use as fans in the living room…
Today is Yishyene‘s birthday!! Happy birthday crazy!!
That’s us at Angel’s Landing. After our hike up there, we were gonna grab a late lunch and then drive North-East towards Bryce National Park.
We napped on the shuttle bus that took us from the start point of Angel’s Landing back to the entrance of Zion National Park,
and were more than dismayed to find that we’d lost our car. Or more like, we couldn’t find it.
When we’d parked earlier that day, there weren’t many cars in the parking lot yet and i was so sure of roughly where i’d parked it, but later in the day the spaces had filled up with hundreds of cars (and there aren’t any reference numbers for the spaces there)!
It was damn hot and we were suffering.
Y looked like she was going to faint and it didn’t make sense for two people to walk around so i got her to sit somewhere and i did the deed.
I cannot explain to you just how HOT it was.
My mind was just set on finding the car so we could GET OUT of the place (and get into air con).
I found it after 10-15 minutes, spent some more time driving around trying to find HER,
then drove out to find any restaurant that seemed decent for lunch.
Once we got into a restaurant, i went to the bathroom, washed my hands and sat back down at the table.
Suddenly it seemed like i snapped out of a daze.
I stared at Y and asked, “What were we just doing today..?”
And everything came back about the hike, and losing the car… it was so weird!
Like my brain decided to switch off cos my body couldn’t take the heat!
The last incident i can connect to something similar was when i ate too much chilli in Bangkok with Kanch and i lost my balance haha.
We shared a minute steak for lunch cos the portions there are so huge.
(I’m not surprised why so many people i see in that area are so overweight… i don’t think it’s normal to put such massive portions into one’s body thrice a day :p)
I did a little walk to the shops next door cos i wanted to stare at these wind sculptures i saw moving magically in the breeze
I’m so in love with how they move, and discovered that they’re created by long-time sculptor and kinetic artist Lyman Whitaker. Sometimes i wish i had all this money so i could just bring in all these awesome things i find on my travels into South East Asia! If you want to invest in a shop, invest in me! I’m your best global shopper XD
One of the stores was selling rows of baskets of various crystals baking in the hot sun outside, and i got to picking out those i *felt* wanted to go home with me. I was trying to be reasonable and not over shop… cos they ARE the heaviest particle i could possibly choose to lug across the two states, and then fly back to London before KL (again, why do i do this to myself? Haha) But then again, CAN I JUST SAY that there were so many crystals i saw in person i never got to hold in other places i traveled to, and they’re so much cheaper here than in Asia…
These are just but a few pix of the dozens of types of crystals available in that one store alone… Y came to join me from the restaurant and found some super pretty and alluring too and ended up buying a few despite not wanting to accumulate more ‘things’ and then blaming me for introducing her to it XD
Look at all these useful purposes for the stones! Money well spent *beams*
Saw another store next door which i’d noticed from our first day driving down the road, called Crystals & Creatures.
Opened by a German lady called Baerbel, it sold crystals stones of all kinds on countless shelves and jars and cases;
and other items like incense, pendulums, books… the shop had such an authentic vibe and i knew that was IT the moment i walked in.
Y knew it too, “Uh oh…”
It’s The Ship is BACK this year and has just released their full lineup!
Asia’s largest festival at sea is set to sail for 4 days – from Singapore to the tropical paradise island of Langkawi, Malaysia, before returning to Singapore – on board the Royal Caribbean International’s “Mariner of The Seas”, one of the largest and most luxurious cruise liners in the world.
Expect to be spoilt with the Royal Caribbean’s famed 5-star service and their endless activities like a rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, mini golf course, basketball court, in-line skating tracks, 15 bars, clubs and lounges, their revitalised Vegas-style casino, and even a shopping promenade! Play and party all day – you won’t and CAN’T feel an ounce of boredom on board.
Tattoos haven’t been on top of my priority list for the past year and a half, despite my really wanting a care bear one (still) and a rainbow on my wrist somewhere. It just seemed too hard to fit it into schedule when i’m in KL!
I tried booking an appointment in Bali when i was there earlier this year to no avail.
Then tried a bit harder by emailing weeks in advance a tattoo artist i found online whose work i fancied, called Peter Aurisch.
His next available slot was when i’d already moved on to Barcelona, so that wasn’t meant to be either.
On my second last day in Porto, i suddenly thought of getting one there.
I had two days to myself to do whatever i pleased with my schedule, and thought why not.
I just felt like it was TIME to get one. A yearning, if you will.
I searched online,
found a studio called Nervo Tattoos whose style i liked,
scrapped the idea of walking there just to check it out,
and called them instead.
They had a slot if i was willing to go in at 11am the next morning, so i said okay.
I already thought about how i would get a swallow tattoo, as it’s a regular symbol in Porto and hey, when in Rome…
“The swallow tattoo was a symbol used historically by sailors to show off their sailing experience (…) According to one legend, a sailor tattooed with one swallow had travelled over 5,000 nautical miles (9,260 km); a sailor with two swallows had travelled 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 km). Travelling these great distances was extremely difficult and dangerous in the early days of sailing, so one or more swallow tattoos denoted a very experienced and valuable sailor.” [source]
That’s good enough for me! Considering i’ve traveled so much (albeit via more modern and safe modes haha).
But wait i also have a sailboat tattooed on my arm cos i love sailing…
“Another legend holds that since swallows return to the same location every year to mate and nest, the swallow will guarantee the sailor returns home safely. (…) The swallow also represents love, care and affection towards family and friends, showing the loyalty of the person always returning to them. The bird also represents freedom and hope.”
Nice what nice what all these meanings that resonate with me. (Ok except about that mating and nesting thing. Not sure about that.)
Bruno of Nervo Tattoo sketched out the swallow, and i pointed out references on the studio wall that skewed towards the use of ink colours i wanted- which was to be quite traditional. I like how they use bright primary colours in their work, but requested he only used blue and red with some black for shading (as my fairies and rose are predominantly shades of blue and red too, so they wouldn’t all clash so much).
Initially he was going to place the swallow facing the other way so people who view it with my arms down would see it the right way up to them, but i refused cos… who’s gonna be seeing the swallow most?
So it should face ME!
I don’t want to be saying hi to an upside down bird every day.
Angel’s Landing was one of the most amazing hikes i’ve ever done in my LIFE.
The view was nothing short of spectacular and we would have stayed up there a lot longer if the heat wasn’t killing us…
I’m not even joking about the heat. I don’t think we would have made it down if this boy scout leader didn’t give us some of his water :p
We stupidly didn’t carry enough water up based on our previous day’s hike- when we went to The Narrows, we each carried 1.5 litres of water which wasn’t thatttt necessary. I had to regularly remind myself to keep drinking water throughout it as it was pretty cooling what with all that river water around us. Angel’s Landing was to be a 3-hour hike compared to 6-7 hours at The Narrows, so based on my (lame) water calculation, i figured one small bottle water was enough if i drank lots before it. Just so i wouldn’t have to carry so much weight up. Y must have thought the same cos she also carried a small bottle of water. And oh! What a mistake we made with that… hiking uphill without water flowing around us, and then downhill in the searing sun is a LOT harsher despite being a shorter climb, and i was rationing my own water 1/4 into it. Felt so silly!
Y researched that we HAD to do Angel’s Landing in the early morning, cos the midday sun was described as torturous in forums. We can totally vouch for that. If you do go for this, go really early in the morning, or really late in the evening before sun sets. We *planned* to go at 8AM but all the partying/hiking/driving we were constantly doing was tiring us out, so we got a bit more rest and ended up starting the hike around 10-11AM.
The light for pictures is also a lot better if you go in the morning, it hits the rocks and makes them a gorgeous orangey red. A mere few hours later, the sun is too high and everything is a stark beige/blinding white.