I am writing to you from where else… an airport! It is 4:00am and I am on yet another flight, this time heading to the Mayan Riviera to shoot my first destination wedding of the season. I have to apologise as I have not updated my blog in a while. After the expedition ended, I was scrambling to get organized as I arrived right in the midst of wedding season! I got so caught up in the chaos that I forgot to write about the final leg of the trip in the good ol US of A!
My 12 hour layover in Dubai wasn’t so bad as I had upgraded my seats to business class and was treated to their executive lounge. I had a shower, enjoyed complementary international cuisine and a bottomless glass of any drink I wanted. I was not in the mood to get wasted before a 17 hour flight, but the sweating bottle of Veuve Clicquot was just too tempting to pass up. I enjoyed a few glasses of bubbles before hitting what I think is the biggest Duty Free in the world. It makes the Toronto Eaton Centre look miniscule!
Boarding my Emirates flight, I was surprised to see that the business class cabin was almost completely empty which was bad for my chances in talking my way into an upgrade to executive first class. I was still treated to world class service, a great menu and an impressive wine list! The 17 hour flight seemed short and it was the only time I had ever sipped a nice glass of port while jetting over the ice flows of the North Pole.
Arriving at LAX on this day was an experience as Osama Bin Laden had been killed just the day before. You can imagine how intense the security was. I was greeted by my cousin Stan and the first thing we did was hit the gym. I was dying to get back into shape as over the last 4 months, I watched my body go from toned to tubby. I had put on 30 pounds eating the rich and exotic foods and I can’t help but think that most of it was from the feasts I was treated to in China.
We had planned an active day of hiking through the Hollywood Hills, a popular exercise spot for the rich and famous of LA. My cousin has seen many celebs taking this hike in the past. Unfortunately, we saw none that day but the views of the skyline were beautiful.
The day before we were to leave for Las Vegas, we got to witness Military Aircraft run through their practice maneuvers before the Chino Air show the following day, I managed to snap quite a few great shots of the jets flying overhead. When the F18 Super Hornet screamed overhead, I was in the shower. Everything shook uncontrollably! The shampoo bottle ended up on the floor and I thought I was in the midst of another Earthquake! I dried myself off and ran outside to see the amazing piece of machinery put its landing gear down and fly toward the air strip.
Next stop: Las Vegas! This was my fifteenth time visiting Sin City and I could go back a hundred more.
The minute we arrived, I dropped my bags off in our room and headed out to shoot the strip. We had a big night planned and I wanted to at least capture some frames before the partying started.
That night we headed for Marquee, the newest and hottest club on the strip located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Max Graham, a Canadian DJ was spinning Tech House that night and we literally danced until we passed out. 5 hours of dancing to hard house music, right in front of the DJ booth. This would seem like the pinnacle of the weekend to most people, but we were just getting started!
The next morning was obviously a rough one, but by 1:00pm we were en route to Wet Republic, the world renowned pool party located at the MGM Grand. It just happened to be F*** Me I’m Famous Sundays, but sadly David Guetta was not here until the following weekend. The day was sunny and hot, a perfect day for dancing and drinking in the sun. We had a booth right next to the DJ Booth because of our good friend Rami. Thanks Rami!
The last item on the list was to visit Hash House a Go Go at the Imperial Palace for their famous dish that you have probably seen on the Food Network show Man vs Food. It is called the Fried Chicken Benedict and the only words I can think of to describe it are ridiculous and obscene! It is a sage fried double chicken breast with peppers, scrambled eggs, griddled mozzarella on a bed of bacon, market tomato, spinach and a hot biscuit on top of griddled potatoes. The entire thing is smothered in delicious Chipotle gravy. The taste is out of this world, but it is too much to eat for even a glutton like me!
That was the proper way to finish off a 4.5 month trip around the world. A massive, heart stopping meal in the most fun city on earth!