I did the 23.4 miles rim to rim day hike through Grand Canyon during the last week of November (Thanksgiving weekend) 2017. Unlike most hikes like Mt. Whitney, the hard part (ascent) comes later, and therefore, it is easy to get trapped. Be confident of your fitness level before you try this.
We started our journey with Templo Mayor, a 700-year-old Aztec temple, and took a guided tour of it. The ticket to the temple costs MXN 70 per person, and the guided tour in English was for MXN 300. It takes about 3-4 hours to explore the archeological remains and the museum. I would recommend this museum over other archeological museums in the Mexico city since this one had descriptions written in English.
The Island of Hawai’i, popularly known as the Big Island, is the biggest island in Hawai’i. Unlike other islands, this one is too big for driving around with mopeds. The island has two cities at the two corners, Kona and Hilo. If you are a coffee lover then you would note that Kona indeed is the source of Kona coffee.
Detroit used to symbolize the prowess of American manufacturing. Foreign delegates would drive or fly to Detroit to see this iconic city. San Francisco Bay area (Silicon Valley) was once called the Detroit of the west, and at that time, it meant admiration. The city has a tumultuous racial history. It’s the only city in the US to be taken over by the Federal army thrice to control riots. Before my visit, I had read the book “Detroit: An American Autopsy“, it’s a bit long but gives a thorough understanding of this once iconic city.
The city neighborhood looks in the state of somewhat despair, even though the suburbs like Dearborn, where Henry Ford was born, are in much better shape. The motor city is spread out, so don’t leave the airport without renting a car. Another thing that stands out is the sheer number of Arabs and the Arabic language as the second or the third language on the signboards.
We made this trip over three days in December; even then, Death Valley National Park was warm during the day and cold at night. Therefore, I would warn against going there in summer, where it could be unbearably hot.
The island of Oahu, which contains the capital city of Honolulu, is a fantastic combination of urban amenities, nature hikes, and beautiful beaches. If you are doing only one island out of the four major islands Of Hawai’i, then this is the one I would recommend. I did it during Thanksgiving, which is the last week of November. While this island is not as big as the “big island”, public infrastructure outside of the city of Honolulu is not good. Therefore, I would recommend taking a moped rental(30-40$ a day) for a solo trip. Roads are narrow, and the moped turns out to be a better choice than a car, both for driving and parking. The only time a moped gave me trouble was when it rained. Outside of the city of Honolulu, there is nothing much to do after the sunset. So, plan your trip accordingly. Do check out local food items, like Shave Ice cream and Banana bread from local markets. But don’t carry any of it for the return journey.
The country is roughly divided into inland and cayes. Inland has historic Mayan sites. Cayes (pronounced “keys”) have water sports.
Point Roberts is a weird place. 5 sq. Miles (12 sq. km) U.S. exclave connected to British Columbia, Canada. As a part of the Treaty of Oregon, 1846, the territory jointly controlled by the British and the U.S. was handed over to the U.S. It later became the Washington state. The area should have been part of British Columbia, but the dividing line was chosen incorrectly due to a geographical mistake.
We started our trips with Willis (Sears) Tower at 9AM, the 40$ on the spot ticket was worth it, the tower provides some really beautiful views of Chicago. We spent about two hours there.
From there, we continued our journey onto Art Institute of Chicago. At 23$ the price felt slightly steep but if you are into arts, I would recommend 1-2 hours here as well.
Post-lunch, we headed to the famous Blue Man (comedy) show, it is contemporary but still whacky. A must do.
We decided to check out the Millenium Park which has the Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”).
The last item of our day was Chicago Shakespeare Theater. It is on a Navy Pier, worth taking a stroll. We watched a Shakespearean show. If you are planning to attend, I would highly recommend reading the full story in advance. The language, the actions, and the speed are too difficult to follow if you don’t know the story. Mudit realized that I didn’t.
We started the day with Museum of Science & Industry. It’s huge and impressive. Do check out the live demos if you are there. We dissected a cow’s eye as a part of a medical experiment. We ended up spending about four hours there and had to cancel the next visit to Oriental Institute Musem.
Afterward, we headed to Magnificant mile, took another stroll around Millennium park and it was time for our respective flights by then.
- The city is extremely public transport friendly. Don’t worry about getting a rental car.
- Try out the Chicago deep-crust pizza.
We traveled there in the month of October and the weather was really nice and cool at that time.
At 10AM, we started with a 30-minute guided tour called Decisive day, it’s a nice introduction to the struggle of American colonies against the British rulers. More so for the foreigners like us. From there we continued onto another hour long tour called Freedom Trail: Meetings, Mobs & Martyrs which talks about how individuals took sides in the revolution. We were running out of time, so, we had to skip the other Freedom Trail tour but I would highly recommend doing both. All these tours are limited in capacity, therefore, show up well in advance to collect the free entry tickets.
Post-lunch, our tour continued with Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was a two-hour long show, we attended it primarily because it is highly rated on TripAdvisor but I would refrain from attending a similar show again.
At 4PM, it was raining when we headed to take a tour of MIT. A friend of ours who is doing a Ph.D. there provided a guided tour. Without an insider, I don’t think touring the campus would be as enjoyable.
We had some time to kill before the Improv show at 10PM and we spent that by walking around North End and New England Holocaust Memorial. Nothing special but if you are around the area, you might as well walk in this historic district.
At 10PM, The last thing for the day was an Improv show at Improv Asylum. Overall, it was a good show and I would recommend attending it.
At 10AM, we started our second day with USS Constitution. Highly recommended for history enthusiasts. Including a guided tour, we spent the next three hours there.
Post-lunch, we headed to Harvard and took a tour of the campus with a friend from HBS. Nothing spectacular, except John’s Harvard’s statue on which students urinate on and the visitors, gladly touch ಠ_ಠ
We were running short on time and had to skip the Black Heritage Trail. At 7PM, the last thing in our trip was a two-hour Shear Madness show. It was amazingly hilarious and I would strongly recommend it. It was the highlight of the trip.