Jun 21, 2008

Day 22 - Flagstaff

Amazing day!

We didn't have a lot of sleep last night due to late arrival in Flagstaff, but it was nice to sleep in a proper bed and to wake up a bit later than we normally would.

We joined a Grand Canyon tour run by Detours. As soon as we were picked up from our hotel by Billy from Detours, I had a feeling that we made a right decision in choosing Detours, and we weren't wrong.

We met a group staying in Arizona shortly afterwards, and our guide Ty took us to the Grand Canyon. It's the first time Teruko has visited the Grand Canyon, so I wanted to do what she wanted to do. After I talked to her about the flight I took over Grand Canyon 11 years ago, she was up for a helicopter ride. We took a tour run by Detours' partner Maverick Helicopters, who has some groovy state of the art helicopters.

As much as I am so used to flights these days, I was not overly comfortable with helicopter taking off in the first place. But, what a fun ride we had! It was such a beautiful sunny day, and we could see the canyon clearly for miles and miles. It's great to be able to see the canyon at such close-up in the air! Time went so so quickly and, when our tour was finished, we couldn't believe that 30mins went so quickly.

After the helicopter ride, we rejoined others on the tour and headed to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. While we were on helicopter, Ty kindly collected a Japanese version of Grand Canyon guide leaflets for us from the rangers' office. Good guy, he is. Ty took us to three different view points (Mather Point, Grandview Point, and Desert View) all of which gave us some breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon. It was great to see Teruko, who has been telling me off for taking far too many photos every day, was so excited that she was taking so many photos herself!

I don't know whether they made it in-house or arranged with a sandwich shop, but the Italian sandwich that Detours organised for us was really tasty! Picnic on top of the Grand Canyon was fantastic! Beautiful weather, yummy yummy lunch, good company, and a spectacular view - we cannot ask for any more can we?

After leaving the canyon, Ty took us to shops on the roadside that Navajo people sell all sorts of souvenirs such as accessories, potteries, and so on. They had so many pretty items and they were reasonably priced, so it was difficult for us to pick one! I ended up buying a small pottery that has some interesting images curved around based on their story.

It was a fun tour so that time went really quick. We wanted to stay on top of the Grand Canyon!

Once we were dropped off at our hotel, we headed into the town of Flagstaff for a bit of sightseeing. We couldn't believe that there's no souvenir shop for tourists! At least the town is really pretty, safe, and easy to walk around. The whole town was buzzing because it's Friday, but we wanted to eat in a quiet setup. We decided to eat some Japanese/Asian fusion at the Monsoon restaurant. We weren't convinced that we could find fine sushi and Japanese/Asian food in the middle of a desert, but how wrong were we? We had some yummy food!

With little sleep after a long journey from Washington to Chicago and from Chicago to Flagstaff, we were really tired to be able to stay awake for any long. Can you believe it is before 10:00PM, and we are going to bed...

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