Havasu Falls was just a short walk from our campsite. Like walking from your hotel room to the pool but the hotel is the entire Grand Canyon, and the pool is the most amazing turquoise-blue waterfall with amazing vegetation and dramatic cliffs! 🙂Micah, the man smart and nice enough to make the reservation for everyone, getting ready to jump off a set of falls.
I wanted to stay another couple weeks at this beautiful falls, but no pass and running out of food. Will go for a week or three next time 🙂
Havasupai – Trek to the Falls
Starting the 10-mile trek from the top of the Grand Canyon, across the canyon floor, and into the Supai village A native driving horses out of the Canyon. There are no cars in the Canyon. It’s interesting to see people using horses for transportation and hauling, the same way they have for hundreds and thousands of years. Enormous rock formation on the way to the falls. The history of the Grand Canyon is that Chuck Norris jumped out of a helicopter and dropped a mean round-house kick on the Canyon – shearing the walls. Then he spit and formed the waterfalls – forever creating one of the most beautiful places on Earth! 😉 Rachel and Sarah on the way through the Canyon.. After about 4 or 5 hours of hiking, we came across beautiful Havasu falls – the first large waterfall of the trek. The beautiful turquoise water is due to the lime/travertine-heavy rocks, and make a beautiful pool to swim in 🙂
Thanks for bringing me along Sarah!! 🙂
Zoomie the Dinosaur was relocated from another location where the town didn’t think it fit in with the western vibe. How would a big sea foam green brontosaurus not fit in anywhere?!?
Raaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! We played a fun game called tickle the tassels. Someone sits in the golf cart while contestants try to skim the hanging tassels with a frisbee – and extra points for hitting the scorekeeper inside 🙂
Rachel preparing another classic game – hit the beer off the PVC pole with a frisbee. Nick was king! Rachel has some work to do 😉 Sister Sarah chillaxin on the Tassle Cart.
Preparing for Tickle the TassleBeautiful sunset over the motel on the evening before we headed out to Havasupai. We were drinking quite a bit this evening, which made an awesome 4:30AM start the next morning! 😉
Havasupai: On the Way – Dinosaurs, Supplies, Smile, Moose, & Middle of Nowhere
Ever read “The Things They Carried?” This trip was less metaphorical, but just as many things in the pack! My sister Sarah was nice enough to get food and other supplies so we were organized 🙂 We stopped at a roadside cafe on Route 66 for our last hot meal before heading to the hotel nearest the Supai land. The Moose was calling to us! Photographer Bryan, Sister Sarah, Sarah’s super hiker friend Rachel, and Frisbee extraordinnaire Nick.
Things got a little squirrelly at times hehehe Lifes not that bad, even when it’s shitty! Let alone when you’re on your way to one of the most beautiful places on Earth! There was another sign about smiling above the Checkin counter. Ironically, the woman at the front desk didn’t smile at all :-/
“Thank you for staying with us in the Middle of Nowhere. We appreciate it?” This may have been a communication issue, but still pretty funny hehe. The Grand Canyon Caverns Motel really is in the middle of nowhere. No cell service. No internet. This was my first time away form the Internet for several days since I quit my job for my furnished rental business, so got a little nervous! :-/
TriSarahTops! Much love! Our hotel came not only with a mini putt-putt golf course, but dinosaurs!! Raaaaaarrrrrrrrrr!!!!!
HANOI – Strangers, Food, Club, Balloons
Delicious Bun Cha and fried rolls. Chase it down with some Hanoi beer. You put all the basil, mint, garlic, leafy greens in the fish sauce and pork – then throw in some vermicelli noodles 🙂 yummmmy!
Jen and I ended up eating/drinking/working from his restaurant (mostly drinking hehe) for about 6 hours or so, and chatting to this lovely young Vietnamese woman, Amy.
Amy was so friendly and fantastic 🙂 She told us about life in Vietnam, dating, marriage, paying for government jobs… Shockingly, she has never traveled further than Halong Bay (a few hours by scooter from Hanoi). So I invited her out for a free stay in San Francisco hopefully she’ll make it! 🙂
This was after many beers and rice wine, just outside the restaurant. Delicious Bun Cha, flowing booze, awesome company! 🙂
Some street vendors I was chatting with for a while. The two young guys run a street stall in a busy alley packed with locals and tourists. They were helping me hunt down supplies on the street, so I hung out at the restaurant for a while, had some food and beers. These 2 were pretty funny. They love American stuff and western culture. Bleached blonde hair. English writing on clothes. The woman stopped for a drink after selling me an awesome Hanoi tshirt.
They were selling balloons in the back of the club for 30k dong, or about $1.25 USD. They were pumping these things out!!
View on the way up the stairs to the mezzanine.
Doesn’t look too different from a club in the US.. All American music too. Mostly rap/hip hop music.
On the way out to the airport, another car hit the back of my taxi at a slow speed. My driver got out, and after yelling at each other for a few minutes, the other driver gave him a small wad of cash, and we were on our way! No insurance. No authorities. Just cash.
What can fit on a scooter? You’d be surprised! Scooters are a way of life in Hanoi. The workhorses of transportation. And I was shocked what can fit on them! There are only 3 here, but have seen up to a family of 5 on a scooter! Young beautiful people also like to just cruise around at night. Vespa’s are the most prized possessions (as are IPhones and other more expensive imports) what else? About 40 dozen eggs!! There are racks on the back of many scooters, which fold down, to pile supplies on. Shot this from my own scooter, which was carrying… Only me!
About 300 pounds of concrete mix! Not even piled on the back. This guy is filling his partners lap wh bags of concrete. Fortunately, the ballast will keep him safe, rather than wearing a helmet 😉
This was one of the larger loads I saw strapped in.. Ropes, bungees, and a lot of luck! This was mostly filled with toys for the Mid-Autumn festival, which is a bright, loud, festive holiday – like a harvest festival.
Bia Ha Noi!!! 3 kegs is nothing! This is the most popular beer in Ha Noi. Something like their PBR or Budweiser. I like Bia Saigon, which is a little skunkier, like Heinekenn.
More Hanoi!This is the second story engineering for one building on a major road. The end of each stick has a notch in it to rest on the wood below, thus providing unsurpassed structural support. They just don’t build ’em like they used to! This is one of many examples of the tradeoff between cost, independence, and probably contributor to an overall lower life span in Hanoi. Among building issues, there are all kinds of “health and safety” issues in real estate and food that would make the nicest inspector in the US retire on the spot.
What’s a good tradeoff between safety and cost? How realistic is it to have locals maintain what standards of building to protect people from occasional catastrophes, while still allowing small, stall-type businesses where many Vietnamese make their money, survive? I don’t know. Everything is done on the sidewalks here. EVERYTHING! You’ll see more examples later. But businesses/people clean/cook/skin/raise/park/live on the sidewalk just outside each business. It is the restaurant, the café, the “water cooler,” the street corner, or wherever people in the world meet to get together, and more. Just outside our hotel/hostel in the old quarters, tomorrow’s dinner!The police/security smoking cigarettes on the right shut down the entrance of the street for packed nights leading up to the mid-Autumn festival. It’s busy down here right now! Lots of families getting noisy/blinky toys for their kids. Small flowers people pin to the top of their heads like Dr Seuss characters. Someone I met locally said it a Chinese “thing” that is supposed to be stylish, where people clip a flower to the middle of their head. Interesting! Burned my leg on the exhaust pipe of a scooter next to me when pulling up to park my scooter to get some Vietnamese coffee. Ouch!!! Yes, that’s a blister in the middle. Part of life! Everyone riding around on a scooter has burn marks on their legs, so guess I’ve been initiated!The Cong coffee shop has delicious coconut cold Vietnamese coffee, guerrilla-green uniforms with Che fighter hats, and Socialist dictator pics plastered around the shop. Delicious coffee!!Here is PART of a loaded scooter, ready to bring goods across town for the big festival. It’s amazing what people load up on bicycles or scooters – more than we could fit in most cars..
HANOI, VIETNAM – Last-minute Trip.
VIETNAM AFTER REAL ESTATE SUMMIT
So after getting done with my big Real Estate Summit in Oakland on 8/27 & 8/28, it was time to take a break. Either head to Burning Man – or visit Jen in Hanoi. This is a combo business trip (writing my business plan, having logo created, turning my real estate stuff into a true business) – and having some fun! Thanks to everyone who came out to the Summit! It kicked ass! I love real estate because I get to meet awesome people, and travel to beautiful places like this while growing my business 🙂
The restaurant above had about 20 different stalls of delicious Vietnamese street food to choose from. Since many tiny stalls on the street typically focus on and only make 1 dish, it’s a fantastic way to try everything 🙂 Beautiful view with lanterns and the street from the balcony of the second floor where we were eating.
There are a bunch of motorbike “taxis” and even Uberbikes to get around. This guy was driving like a madman while on his cell phone. But made it through! I figured, if this guy could get through without dying, so could I! (maybe 😉
Many women roam the street hawking fresh fruits & vegetables, dried meats, toys, etc. Bicycles and scooters are the workhorse of choice.
TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL
After hopping on the back of a stranger’s scooter when I first arrived in Hanoi, I knew I’d have to go rent one. There are petrol stations on the major loop around the city, and an attendant pumps for you and resets for each person. Probably a lot like many decades ago in the US. While most items are relatively inexpensive in Vietnam, I believe the gas was about $20K dong (VND) per liter.
With the exchange rate of $1USD = ~$22k VND, and almost 4 liters per gallon, it’s almost $4/gallon for gas. More than the US! (And probably one of the few things more expensive than the US). When I was in Amsterdam, I rented a bike to get around. In Vietnam, “land of 5 billion scooters,” it’s the only way to get down the clogged streets and alleys without sweating your ass off walking all day.. Traffic and 4-way intersections are a madhouse/free for all!!*WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE KEM!*
Guess what is just as delicious on a warm, muggy evening in Hanoi? Kem! aka Ice Cream 🙂 We rode the newly rented scooter around the lake, and took a quick ice cream break at these decorative dragon boats on the lake. Bats were flying everywhere!YUMMY
Rice noodles, basil (my fav!), egg, pork dumplings, tomato, lime, & fish sauce. More food to come! This is from the restaurant above..
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
Nothing goes unused or to waste in Vietnam. Street peddlers go around fixing and patching up old sandals. And when they get too worn or broken to wear on your feet, they may just become the brakes on your next bicycle!
Jen and I spinning around at the night market. An autumn festival is coming up, and they’re selling brightly colored noisy toys all over. Hard to tell, but there are tons of bubbles in the background also! 🙂
HOAN KIEM LAKE
This is the walkway up to the Temple of the Jade Mountain, which has a bridge going out to a small island in the middle of Hoan Kiem lake, in central Hanoi. We stayed not far from here, and is a beautiful spot – reminds me of beautiful Lake Merritt in Oakland! 🙂
Some foods are different in Vietnam. Some foods are VERY different in Vietnam. Don’t tell Old Yeller what they’re up to out here!! :-/ *I have not had any dog.. not sure if I can bring myself to it :-/
MASSAGE OF COURSE!
Of course had to get a massage! Before I get a billion emails, no – this was just a REGULAR massage lol I plan on coming back to get a 2-4 person massage at once! Treat yo self! 😉
WHERE BIZ IS DONE
90% of business in Hanoi seems to be done on the streets or sidewalks. Your food is chopped/cleaned/slaughtered/purchased/eaten right on the sidewalk or street you walk down every day. Whether it be some local fruits, and entire pig, or a dog. Scooters are fixed on the street. Many women still wear the traditional Vietnamese hats you have seen in movies for years in the rice paddies. Some things here are a blast from the past. Old bicycles. Carrying heavy loads with a home-fashioned wooden yolk & baskets. I wonder if you would know the difference if you were dropped in this same market 50 years ago…?
Welding, grinding – no matter what work you’re doing, it all goes down on the street and sidewalks..
As I was driving through the middle of the desert, I saw a phenomenal beam of light rising from the desert floor. And there were a series of hundreds of beaming lights powering that super-beam. I thought that certainly this must be aliens.. And maybe it was! But it also looks like power! I believe these arrays of mirrors super-heat the big contraption in the middle, heating some kind of liquid that turns a turbine of some kind to generate electricity. For all the heat out there, I’m glad they’re doing something with itGhost Town! Calico is an abandoned mining town out in the desert. I was hoping it would just be desolate, abandoned buildings – but of course, it has been turned into a tourist attraction. They refurbished some of the buildings and have little lessons of the old days taught for the kids.. Not exactly what I was expecting. But interesting to seeMy trip came mostly to a wrap-up when I arrived in Nipomo, CA for an annual family/friend gathering called the BB&B (Beer, BBQ, & Baseball) each summer. We visited a neighbors’ party, and this is my Mom and Dad walking my little 1yo nephew down the driveway..Destruction derby! Every year before the BB&B, my family goes to the fairgrounds to watch destruction derby. If you’ve never seen it, cars driving around in circles slamming into each other, trying not to disable their car. The last car running wins! Ironically, this was probably the most seemingly-southern-inspired thing I did on my trip to the South, and not until I got back to my parents’ house in CA! lol
LAS VEGAS – STRIP, STRANGERS, & KISS TATTOESCruising down the strip in the convertible on a nice warm night was awesome 🙂 Haven’t been here since I last went sky-diving, as a late-night drunken decision lolMet some strangers at the bar. One thing I found on my trip is that military dudes know how to drink! Everyone Vet I met knows how to slam a beer or two 😉 We had some drinks, lost some money, then saw a lonely lady at the end of the bar.. Come on over!This woman was sitting alone at the end of the other side of the bar, so I asked her to come over and join us. She’s Eastern European and loves this particular bar because they play 70’s/80’s rock. Some further conversation leads to… KISS!!!…KISS!! The band that is!!! I can appreciate anyone who is passionate enough about something to tattoo it in large black figures across their body lol. Still not exactly sure what she is wearing her. But this whole experience was super fun!/funny!! 🙂
ROUTE 66 – Cadillac Ranch, Ukulele, & Get Your KCome on! Get your kicks! On Route 66!! Route 66 is a mix of interesting, sad, and adventure. But more on that later.. One of the more unusual gems on Route 66 is the Cadillac Ranch, or “Cadillac Stonehenge.” This started as an art project funded by an eccentric and wealthy gentleman in TX. It was originally arranged like Stonehenge, but then was moved. It’s officially on private property in the middle of a farm. But the gate is open, and they encourage you to bring paint cans to transform the monument while you are thSurprisingly nice paint on this building, for it being a closed-down gas station. Sad to see so many businesses closed down.. This is an abandoned hotel on Route 66. One of many abandoned hotels and businesses. The parking lot is empty and weeds growing rampant through the cracked blacktop. The lobby door is kicked in and swung open, with trash and squatter’s remains strewn about the still-intact building. The sign stands bold on the roof, but is no longer lit. This was probably a busy road-side hotel for families before they built the interstate system, leaving many of the businesses alongside Route 66 to die. Such beautiful scenery and rocks coming back in towards New Mexico. I stopped for a while to relax and play ukulele on the way back 🙂 Learned a few songs on the road!