Day 23: La Brea Tarpits & The Venice Canals

La Brea Tarpits is an interesting place to visit if you want to know more about prehistorical animals. Underneath this modernisation buries bones of ice age creatures which are still in process of excavation.

Getting from its name, Tarpits have tar flowing out from the Earth. Visitors can see paleontologists working on the excavation sites during summer (late June to early October) where the tar is at it’s most liquid state.

IMG_8030Statues Outside

Pit 91 Excavation

Pit 91 Excavation

The Page Museum, however, needs a new lift with their exhibits. A little too old and they doesn’t excite us at all.

Page Museum

Looks like Jurassic Park Office


We drove to The Venice Canals, where houses are built along the man-made canal of water. It is a quiet surrounding with beautiful houses, each has a little boat that they can park by the canal. You can take pictures as you take a stroll down the canal and bridges. Sometimes, you’ll see friendly neighbors who smile at you.

The Venice Canals

The Venice Canals

Day 21: Little Tokyo, Farmers Market & Rodeo Drive

We are back at Los Angeles for the last week.

Headed to a dentist in the morning for teeth whitening preparation. I will do a detail blog post about this another time.

Drive past 2 landmarks in Los Angeles: Walt Disney Concert Hall and Staples Center. Unless there is a performance or a match  else these places are really quiet.

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Staples Center

We visited LA’s Little Tokyo. There are some clothing boutiques, authentic restaurants, supermarket to stock up your Japanese supplies and a Japanese bakery. Shops here open quite late, from 11am onwards.

IMG_7919Little Tokyo
IMG_7932Japan Kitty
IMG_7911Japanese Bakery
So Cute

1 hr 30 minutes drive takes us to Farmers Market. It is open air, comprising food & beverage, grocery and shopping. Quite a unique place to go. You probably need half a day here.

Farmers Market
Fruit Stall
Heirloom Tomatoes
Very Berries
Homemade Peanut Butter
Stickers Shop
CBS Behind Farmers Market

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a place for expensive branded shopping and spotting for expensive cars. Can see cannot buy. Quite a boring place for me.

Blink Road Sign
Branded Shopping
Expensive Car

We last stop at Santa Monica. Too brief stop over, will have to revisit again.

Day 19: Post Wedding Day

We booked a morning slot to return to Chapel of the Flowers for wedding photos.

We are led to this media room, a separate office that take cares of all your photography viewing. Couples will sit in front of the tv and watch a video compilation of all the photos taken the day before. Yes, it is a VIDEO compilation.

Photo Gallery at Chapel of Flowers

When you have only that few minutes to recap your wedding day, the ‘sales’ person will pop the question, “Would you like to purchase the video, digital copies (colored, sepia, black & white) and printed copies?” I hesitated initially because this is another US$500. (-_-) And sepia, black & white are color treatments that I can do with a push of button in Photoshop.

But we really really love them! If that US$500 preserve our sweet memories, I guess there is no harm. After all, this is Vegas. Money makes the world goes around. Haha~

Kaching Kaching~
In Total We Have: ROM DVD, Photos in Digital & Print Outs, Video Compilation DVD

We are also given admission tickets to Stratosphere Tower. It is the highest observation tower in US and the tallest building in Las Vegas. You can also challenge yourself to some thrill rides at the tower.

Stratosphere Tower Admission Tickets
Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower
Stratosphere Tower
Sky Jump
Big Shot

We would also like to extend our gratitude to family and friends who wake up to catch us live at 5am, and send us gifts. Heartfelt thank you. Loves~~~

 Thank You for All Your Loves

Day 18: Our Big Day

4th January 2012 is our big day! We decided to tie a knot  after 7 years, moving on our relationship to the next phase.

We have been quite secretive about this. In fact, only our family and a few of our closeset friends are being told about this plan.

We prebooked our wedding date on our previous Vegas trip. Then, we liaise a time slot for the ceremony via email. We choose Vegas time 1pm but it is 5am back in Singapore. We are very happy and grateful that our family and friends are able to watch us through webcam.

We woke up as early as 7am in the morning, preparing ourselves. I took 3 hours plus to get my hair and makeup done while Lester just lazily watch tv and relax.

IMG_7631Washing Up
IMG_7632Rest and Relax

Breakfast is sushi bought last night. We have more butterflies in stomach than anything else. Eating is no longer our priority.

IMG_7633 Breakfast

You have to provide the chapel the hotel and room number you are staying, in order to arrange for limousine pickup. And tata~ We are ready to go!

IMG_7635 Ready to Go

Our limousine driver dresses up in suit, arrives promptly at hotel lobby. The air inside the limousine is filled with excitement and butterflies. It’s a little lonely, wish we have family or friends with us. Can’t remember what exactly happens. I only know the 15 to 20 minutes car ride seems exceptionally short and smooth.

IMG_7636Inside Limousine
IMG_7639 Lester

Our ceremony package includes candid shots and 1-to-1 photo session with the photographer. The moment we steps out of the limo, the photographer starts to snap the whole walk-in, some administrative stuff we did at the counter and the actual ceremony to document the process.

[909327]-1007Me Exiting Limousine
[909327]-1009Lester Exiting Limousine

[909327]-1021Doing Paperwork

We have a brief moment in a room talking to the Justice of Peace (JP). He trys to understand our background and duration we have been together. Guess this helps him to piece his speech later.

Before we realise, the music has started and we are already walking into the chapel. If you missed the whole ceremony, you still can watch it here.

We took a series of posed photos with our photographer Joe. He guided us through the poses professionally and asks if we wanted anything else before he calls for a wrap. I remembered our JP also shares some insights about the phototaking: to request poses you want and make sure you leave the chapel without regrets. :) Indeed, very useful advice.

[909327]-1081 Posed Shot
[909327]-1126 Our Requested Shot

The whole process from arrival in the chapel to photo taking takes about 1 hour.

We are beat tired after returning from the chapel. Slept through the whole afternoon.

We caught Blue Man Group in the night. Since there is no photography allowed, (and I’m surprised everyone obeys diligently), these are what I can provide.

IMG_7657 Blue Man Group
IMG_7658Blue Man Group
IMG_7665Poncho Area In Front
IMG_7666Enjoy the Show

Now, I’m officially Mrs Chan, a married woman who will consider using Ms as her designation from now on. :O Love you~

Day 17: Las Vegas

Returning to Vegas to prepare for our wedding next day.

This time we choose a domestic flight JetBlue Airways. The flight takes about 1 hour to reach.

Boarding Information
Our Air Tickets
Walk A Short Distance To Plane

You are allowed  1 check-in luggage for free and carry-on 1 bag. Tickets include a snacks and drinks. Each passenger has their own in-flight entertainment and the seats have more leg space.

Inside The Plane
In-Flight Entertainment
More Leg Space

We checked-in to a luxurious hotel, Caesars Palace which is yet affordable through some online promotion. The room and furnishing is definitely better than Monte Carlo. Walking to any other hotels and shopping areas are nearer too!

We are given a room in their new tower. Security is pretty tight. At some point in the lobby, you’ll need to show your room card to the security before proceeding in.

Our room has a luxurious sofa area overseeing the swimming pool. A bathroom that is big enough to accomodate 2 sinks, 1 bathtub, separating the toilet and the shower area. Most importantly, there is a small TV inside. I can watch tv while putting on my make up tomorrow. Yeah!

Sofa Area
2 Sinks
Toilet & Bath Area

Day 16: Universal Studios

Universal Studios is the first theme park we have visited after so many days. We bought the tickets online. It entitles us to 1 day Universal Studios free on 2012 within 30 day from the first entry.

We printed our online purchase receipts, use the print out to gain entry directly. Remember to ask for a theme park map to begin with.

Entry to Universal Studio

We started with the longest queue: Studio Tour. Everyone is loaded into a tram, 4 in a row. The tram driver is an extremely well trained Universal Studios’ guide, he or she will explain the history, entertain us and bring us around the different studios. You can see your tram driver from the screen projection in each carriage.

TIPS: I find it better to sit on the left hand side of the tram, as most of the stuff happen on the left.

All visitors are to remain seated throughout the 45 minutes tour. You would not be allow to step out of the transport unless you sign up for the VIP Experience.

Studio Tour
Tram Visitors Are Taking
Interactive Screen In The Tram

Visitors get to see some street sets in Universal Studios. Scenes like City Hall, Cowboy’s town and Desperate Housewives’ houses. I am so tempted to jump out of the tram to camwhore. So pretty!

Street Scene
Street Scene
Houses from Desperate Housewives

We also experience “natural” disasters created within the studios: flood, earthquake and plane crash. Whoa~~~

From Dry
To Wet
Collapsed Underground Station
Plane Crash

The second part of our Universal Studio trip is all the rides play. There will be an indicator outside each themed ride notifying us the waiting time. On average, we waited for 15 to 25 minutes in each station. Not so bad.

All these rides are exciting but not terrifying. But they are not on the extreme roller coaster type of thrill. So not to worry.

I love Mummy The Ride and Jurassic Park the most. Mummy ride is in a complete pitch black while Jurassic Park plunges down into the water towards the end.

WARNING: Jurassic Park ride has a tenancy to get wet.

Simpsons Ride
Jurassic Park
Mummy The Ride
Shrek 4D

There are also shows performed at a specific showtime. Do check out their slots.

Terminator 2 3D
Special Effects Stage
Motion Tracking Suit

We only get to meet Scooby Doo on its parade walk. The rest, neh~~~

Scooby Doo

Day 14: Big Bear Lake

We drive up to Big Bear Lake hoping to experience snow. It is a 2 hours journey up the winding mountains with exceptionally clean air and blue sky. You might want to wind down your windows while driving up.

We stop over at the Big Bear Lake to see the frozen lake, take some pictures. Can’t really play with snow as they are already melting.

Big Bear Lake

The Frozen Lake
Frozen But Not Advisable To Walk On It


We drive back to a ski resort nearby. Step into the little woods where children are playing with snow. Attempt to write New Year greeting, have our snow balls fight and sculpt our ugly snowman.

Ski Resort, Admission Fee Required.

Writing With Sticks

Happy New Year To All
Lester Throwing Snow Ball
Fluffy Cold Ice
Sculpting Our Snowman
Our Snowman

Day 13: Hollywood

Skipped day 12 as we only spend our day in the car, driving back to Los Angeles.

Next day, we visited Hollywood. It is a tourist attraction with nothing much to see. The 2 ends of Hollywood are pretty rundown, you wouldn’t want to be there. Only the theater area is packed with tourists taking photos and buskers disguising as famous movie characters. If you want to take a picture with them, remember to tip.

Welcome to Hollywood
Faraway Hollywood Sign
The Walk of Fame
Grauman’s Chinese Theater

We take about 1 hour to finish Hollywood. Went to catch a movie in the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. You can basically sit anywhere you like since the theater is big.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
Grauman’s Chinese Theater Interior

Grauman’s Chinese Theater with 2 Level of Seats

Day 11: Grand Canyon

We book our Grand Canyon day trip online. Our US $140 package include:

  1. Breakfast: Light snacks + drinks
  2. Lunch at Grand Canyon
  3. Transportation pick up from hotel lobby
  4. Tickets to Grand Canyon Skywalk
  5. Visiting: Grand Canyon West, Eagle Rock, Hoover Dam

We wait for our transportation pick-up at 6:30am. A mini bus goes around different hotels, picking passengers who signed up for this day trip to the assembly area. In the assembly area, we will be assigned to a coach, given 1 drink and 1 light snack for breakfast. Then we embark on a 4 hour coach ride to Grand Canyon.

Pick Up at Hotel Lobby
Breakfast Include Snacks & Drinks
Grand Canyon Tour Stickers
Transfer to Big Coach
Catch Some Sleep

Grand Canyon is in the state of Arizona and it’s time is 1 hour behind Las Vegas. It is managed by Hualapai Tribal Nation. We are dropped at the “interchange”  where 2 other bus services bring us to: (i) Guano Point and Eagle Point and (ii) Hualapai Ranch. From there, you are free to plan your time and meet back again to return to Vegas.

I suggest to go for the Skywalk first. Skywalk usually comes with a queue. It will be a pity if you missed it because you need to rush back to catch your coach.

Collect Skywalk & Lunch Tickets
Wristband for Skywalk
Grand Canyon West
Starting Point
Bus Service to Skywalk

You are not allow to bring in any video recording gadgets like cameras, mobile phones, food and drinks to the Skywalk. Complimentary lockers are provided. Long objects like tripod can be passed to the helper if they do not fit the locker.

Pictures will be taken by the Grand Canyon photographers. If you have the intention to buy these photos in printed and digital copies, you should take as many pictures as possible. The digital package cost around USD $100, if I never remember wrongly.

The queue is break into smaller groups. Legs are wrapped with a nylon shoe wrap to prevent scratches and dirt from shoes on the glass of Skywalk.

No Cameras to the Skywalk. Lockers Provided.
Start of Skywalk Queue
Magnificant View
Strike a Pose

We spend some time taking picture in front of the Canyon. But the cliff is not fenced up, whatever you do is at your own risk.

IMG_4041Sitting by the Rock
The Furtherest Lester Dares to Stand

We headed to Hualapai Ranch for outdoor lunch. There are only 2 meal options: chicken or beef. Drinks are free flow. Pretty decent food. I’m curious how often do they reorder their food supplies and drive all the way to the Canyon? Hmm…

Lunch Area
Lunch – Chicken Option
Lunch – Beef Option

There are Grand Canyon North, South, East, West rim. If you are driving, you might want to do some read up like this.

After lunch, we walk about 10 to 15 minutes to Guano Point. It is a quiet spot where you can see the winding Colorado river.  

Grand Canyon West
Colorado River at Guano Point

We are back on the coach by 3:30pm Vegas time. 5 hours at Grand Canyon doesn’t seem adequate.

We pass by Hoover Dam on our way back. It looks magnificient but we can only stay in the coach. :(

Night Starts to Fall
Hoover Dam