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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Quotes:

[In a Middle Eastern restaurant] I brought cards. [Me: Gambling is...] [Student 2: Haram]

This is a guy who, when I went to a poetry reading with him, he started moaning... 'Mmm'... What the fuck. (started)

I keep forgetting that you're from NUS... you look like you're from an overseas university.

It's such a guy thing. Useless trivia. It impresses the girls.

Do you know about airplanes and aircraft? I assume you do. You're like a walking encyclopedia.

[On Muslim eating] I don't care, as long as there's no pork. And if there is, don't tell me.

A lot of male toilets have no urinals... Like in hall. Don't ask me how I know this.

There was this movie about palm oil. [Me: Was it about deforestation?]... It had Charlie Sheen... There was one scene about the smell... Apocalypse Now.

How many tea packets did you put? [Me: Who puts more than one?] I'm Indian.

All the news about Russia is about energy... Is there anything other than oil in Russia? [Me: Gas.]

I played an instrument commonly known as the la3 ba1, but actually called suo3 na4. [Me: The funeral trumpet] For wedding. (weddings)

[On a Model United Nations Conference] Eh how are the JC girls nowadays?

[On being hit by my ponytail] I feel violated.

This guy is kinky. He reads porn. All of us watches porn. He reads porn. (watch)

I was always under the impression that you had a girlfriend.

I've been to Paris. [Me: All women want to go to Paris.] Yeah, that's true.

Bring a Dutch girl back. [Me: Dutch girls are ugly.] Yay. [Me: But Singaporean girls are worse.] Hey! Are you saying I'm ugly?

[Me on the rain: You're the only one without {an} umbrella ah?] She got tudung okay. Very powerful.

[Me: Apparently you're supposed to shave your armpit and pubic hair for hygiene reasons.] That's why I adopt that principle. [Someone: Okay. Thanks for letting us know that.] You guys were talking about it what.

[Me: Next time I want a job where you don't need to wear office attire.] Well, there's sanitation.
USP-Stanford Multiculturalism Forum
Day 18 (23/5) - Grand Canyon


We set out at 5am to catch the bus for our tour. As we were leaving the hostel, we saw one guy from my hostel room making out with a girl on a bench beside the basketball court. Apparently they didn't need to sleep and the cold wind of early morning didn't bother them because they were generating plenty of body heat themselves. As I kept telling the others: "When you're on holiday you're going to get screwed, one way or the other."


Stratosphere (pickup point)

Before we left on the tour proper, we were herded into a nondescript building to be briefed, pay and collect our "Continental Breakfast" (a bun and a packet of juice). I saw an A&W sign while enroute to the processing centre and got excited - it was the first I'd seen and I hadn't even seen the drink in stores yet.

The famous skywalk (the glass platform extending out over the canyon) is on the West Rim, but the best views are from the South Rim (which we went to) which also has the National Geographic Center. This is a very cunning trick to make you visit both the West and South rims. Hurr hurr.

I was very pissed off that they charged me a 5% fee for paying by credit card, which likely far exceeded the fee the credit card company charged them. Unfortunately, since not everyone had paid me back (actually some still haven't yet) I was short of cash and decided I had no choice, short of being plunged into penury (I now realise I could've gone to an ATM another day and be charged slightly less in fees).

After we set off we passed by Boulder City - which had an A&W! Unfortunately we didn't stop there.

Apparently Celine Dion owns a house near the Hoover Dam.

We then came up to the Hoover Dam. In about 2 years time a new road will be finished which will let traffic bypass the dam (thus obviating the need for security checks will travelling by there). Hopefully tours will still pass over the dam though, since it is a great engineering feat after all.


Part of the front of the Hoover Dam. Unfortunately I only realised we wouldn't stop for a proper view of the front (which is more impressive IMO than the back) after it was too late to get a proper shot of it.


View going over
The white area you see just above the water is not a photo/processing/upload error - that's the part usually covered by the water, but now it's too dry.


Arizona spillway. When the water level is too high in Lake Mead, they use this and its twin to pump water out of it. It's only been used twice since its construction, and once was during the dam's construction.








Our rest stop was very annoying. Not only was everything except Subway quite expensive, they charged 25 cents for a cup of ice (a small one to boot - a cup the size of the soda cups would cost as much as if filled with soda) and had a cologne spray in the toilet (also for a quarter). Adding insult to injury the manager kept shouting into a mic to tout to us. In disgust I refused to buy anything.

We then dropped off at the National Geographic Center (it's there because one of the society's founders was the first guy to totally explore the Grand Canyon) for lunch and the Imax (for those of us who had chosen to watch). Many of us had been psychoed at the processing centre in the morning to buy our Imax tickets from there for $12 - we'd been told that we wouldn't have time to buy them at the Imax theatre since the queue would be very long. Naturally, there was no queue when we reached there. Worse, at the rest stop I'd discovered coupons entitling the holder to a $6 discount on the Imax show. !@#$%^&*(). Also, at the gift shop the DVD of the Imax movie was selling for $30.95, so if at least 3 people wanted to watch it, it'd have been cheaper to buy the DVD.

The gift shop also sold a "dinosaur bone card" - a piece of rock attached to a card with information on the dinosaur. There was a line featuring the 'Brontosaurus'. What a disgrace - and from National Geographic, no less! There was also: "Hiking pole - this product is not a toy, and is not meant to be used as a sword, speak or baton"

Lunch was included - fortunately, for it was horrendously expensive. I had an Orange Chicken which tasted strange. As I kept telling the others: "When you're on holiday you're going to get screwed, one way or the other."

There's a 'Zoroaster Temple', 'Vishnu Temple', 'Buddha Temple', 'Brahma Temple' and 'Isis Temple' (names of geological formations) at the Grand Canyon. Tsk, Orientalism!

Despite paying $12 we were still subjected to an ad for a power bar. It was the famous 1984 movie, touted as the most popular Imax movie ever (and which I'd probably watched in Singapore before). It was also very irritating, with its romanticisation, anthropomorphising of the Grand Canyon and dished out lots of patronising guilt about the American Indians. The last was particularly ironic, given that their Indian re-enactments were presumptuous and so insulting to the Indians. All in all, we agreed that it'd be a better film if we turned off the narrator.

The temperature forecast fior the rim varied from 71 to 38 degrees. Wah. The floor was warmer.

There was a small exhibtion of stuff at the visitors' centre - one was 'Ancient Chewing Gum' - fiber Indians chewed to clean the teeth and sweeten the breath.

Later in the bus, it was revealed that the bus driver had the Imax video, which he'd screen for tours to other places. Gah.


View at Bright Angel Lodge




Lookout Studio



The rim trail was about 12.8km.









I think my photography skills have deproved since returning from Europe. Or maybe the camera is lousier, hurr hurr.


I wonder which poor guy lives there.


From Lookout Studio





From this distance, the background looked like a matte painting, not least because there a whitish filter seemed to have been applied on the real life view.

Christine popped up here, on a $82 tour. She said there was also a $50+ one.


Squirrel


All my condor pictures looked like they were of UFOs. This was the best.

One of the gift shops had compressed T-shirts which would expand on washing.



Mather Point

















There was a rock where people had thrown coins. There were many coins on the rocks below it - perhaps evidence of poor aim (or a process analogous to the transport of sediment down a river [I know there's a geographical term for it but I can't find or recall it]).


Coin throwing. blip.tv
I didn't think I'd find N!ieshi here, so I settled for throwing only one coin and coming back again (maybe in another 20 years). I also didn't want to throw three - when I tried that at the Trevi fountain I'd lost some of my Rome photos. However, Darren gave me another penny and Huishan wanted me to fall in love with an American Indian, so I humoured her by aiming for a further rock. It skipped once and then disappeared, perhaps plummeting down below. Hopefully no newspaper had, as a headline the next day, "Man killed by falling penny".













Deer. Darren: "They both know how to pose for pictures... They're used to being photographed so they know what angle to pose [at]"

There was a sign about not feeding ravens - they were crowding out the hawks. They should then encourage people to reduce the population of ravens one way or another (eg By shooting them!)

[MFM: sigh, all grand canyon photos look the same

my grand canyon photos, if you want to know how it is from the inside: http://wowbagger.multiply.com/photos/album/10]

On reflection we got a bad deal. Not only did we waste a lot of time in processing and lunch (with the silly Imax), we only spent 2 hours at the Grand Canyon, at only 2 points, and we didn't even get a short hike. This is what happens when people go for the cheapest tour (there was a small tour which'd have picked us up from the hostel, only costing $15 more and saving us much time).

When we got back to the hostel we wanted to explore the Strip a bit more, and see more night attractions (I wanted to look at the manmade Volcano at the Mirage) since we'd be flying off the next night. The Deuce was supposed to leave every 6 minutes, but from 10:22 to 11pm no buses came at all (perhaps they were on strike), so we gave up.

Jabir tried to break a $100 bill at a shop with a $0.99 purchase, but was rebuffed. Aww.

As we walked back to the hostel after exiting the shop, naturally enough, the Deuces all started coming.

Sign on a parking space in the carpark of a bar: "Reserved for Jessica. Drunk of the Month." (the name of the DOTM could be changed by changing the piece of paper pasted on the sign)

One guy accosted us asking for $1 for food. I gave him a 30 cent pack of cheese crackers I'd bought earlier. Later I told Darren that he should've given him the chocolate milk that he'd complained was too sweet so he'd have something to drink (though probably not the "drink" he had in mind).

In LA I'd picked up a tabloid-sized newspaper titled: "X... personals" - a directory of adult service providers masquerading as personals and classifieds. In Vegas, not only were these publications very clear about their purpose (with girls "delivered to your room for free in 30 minutes or less" and pictures in full-colour with black boxes covering strategic areas), there were also more of them than normal newspapers (at least in the tourist area, in which there were virtually no normal newspapers in the dispensers at the side of the street).

I saw an ad for "Lanafuchs.com". At first I thought it was another sex service, but it turns out to (only) be a silly lame joke.


Quotes:

[To Huishan] I shall waltz into the toilet and laugh at you.

Where're we going now? [Me: A place that starts with an M.] That's helpful. Are we going to Mcdonalds?

[Me: I forgot what this place is called.] Grand Canyon?
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