Hong Kong: The 34th Floor

Oh, the things I would do to wake up back at the Excelsior Hotel, Hong Kong.  
I know now that if one wants to maintain a blog about travel, one needs to photograph the hotel’s exterior and interior in order to create an effective visual for one’s readers, but… I didn’t do that and at this point, it is what it is.  2,500 pictures throughout my three-week Asian adventure was plenty and probably part of the reason my computer runs so slow nowadays.  I’m learning as I go, okay?
Just trust me when I say that it was wonderful inside and out, upstairs and down.  One night, the hotel staff even left us a handwritten note, some fruit and a bottle of champagne “just because.”
Our mornings would start off with a fantastic breakfast offering more Eastern and Western options than I knew how to handle and as we ate, we gazed out at this alluring harbor.  In addition, the basement was a charming little English pub, which offered some tasty reminders of home.  
The hotel was also a mere two-minute walk from the MTR (subway) and was ideally located among all of the action that Causeway Bay had to offer. 
Added Bonus:  just a few minutes away from a swanky little Pizza Hut… our starvation savior.
But my main reason for writing this is to emphasize how fantastic the 34th floor of the Excelsior was.  
A hidden gem, ToTT’s was one of the coolest places I have ever been.  And I realize now that we really should have spent more time there. 
They offered some fantastic drinks, literally anything we wanted, but the best part was…
this view.
The walls of the bar were windows to the most spectacular neon skyline.  
Although, I definitely wouldn’t recommend ToTT’s for those who suffer from acrophobia.  I swear you could feel the hotel rocking back and forth.
It was really funny though, because the first time we went up to the bar, it was horribly foggy and we did not even realize that there was a view to be seen.  It just seemed like a dimly lit place to eat and drink.  We had absolutely no idea as to what the fog was concealing until it mysteriously vanished and the gaudy panorama revealed itself.  It was in that moment that I almost experienced my first heart attack.
ToTT’s also offers patio dining.  We were never able to dine outside, but we definitely made an effort to sneak out there.  I’m pretty positive that I invaded some people’s personal space and disturbed some romantic dinners with my camera flashes and oohs and aahs, but I had to be sure that I had a photo from every angle, even if it meant climbing on/over/under strangers’ dinner tables.
On a side note, congratulations to Alexis, my roommate, on her engagement! 
If you ever get the chance to explore Hong Kong and find yourself in Causeway Bay, be sure to grab a drink or two on the 34th floor of the Excelsior.  You definitely won’t be sorry.  That is, unless you let those Singapore Slingers take advantage of you.

Brighton, Utah: Schwoop, Schwoop, Schwooping

I would have figured that by now my “wicked case of wanderlust” was simply common knowledge.  I mean, that is the catchphrase of this silly little blog…  “Tales of a wicked case of wanderlust.”  If anyone is down to jump on an airplane and fly somewhere (anywhere, really) it’s me.  As long as I can take pictures and write about it, I’m satisfied.
With that being said, you could imagine my dismay when I found out about my dad’s weekend plans to escape the 70-degree Texas weather for some frosty Utah ski-slopes.   Flustered and appalled, I began to pack my suitcase as I called him up to bitterly inform him that his pesky little daughter would be accompanying him on this icy adventure.
The next day, the view from my window looked a little something like this…
And I was on my way to Salt Lake City, Utah, home to “the greatest snow on earth.”
Upon arrival, a herd of 12 deer welcomed us back to SLC.
And my five little cousins provided me with a (much-needed) breath of fresh air and plenty of entertainment.  Sometimes I forget that there are little people outside of my small college bubble.
Tell me this is not the cutest photo you have ever seen.  Such a ham.
On Sunday, we finally headed up to Brighton Ski Resort, which is where most of the locals ski.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous to jump right back on the slopes.  The last time I skied in Utah I was about 12 years old and woke up on a stretcher being pulled behind a snow mobile.  I was in ski school (by myself) and passed out due to altitude sickness.  My sheepish little self was too nervous to tell the instructor that my snowy world was spinning, so the next thing I knew, I was breathing through an oxygen mask in the health center.   Lesson learned.
I don’t know if altitude sickness is something you can outgrow or not, but I must have because I was completely fine this time around.
The weather was perfect and the resort was relatively crowd-free.
We never had to wait longer than 10 minutes, if even, for a lift.
I only had one or two good face plants.  Unfortunately face planting underneath the lifts wasn’t the embarrassing part.  It’s the standing up that would get me.  I was like a fawn trying to walk for the first time.  I would get halfway up, and my legs would collapse again.  After I merely peed myself from laughing so hard, I was able to pull myself together and continue on my way.
We skied mostly greens and blues, but did encounter some unnerving moguls at one point.  I stood at the top of the mountain trying to find any alternate route.  But unfortunately, trees were to my left and my right, and the moguls were my only option.  I decided to go for it once a little boy, so small he didn’t even use poles yet, zoomed right past me and, excuse my language, made those moguls his bitch.  It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but if he could do it, so could I.  And slowly but surely, I made it.
 When we took a lunch break, I was immediately aware that I was going to be sore the next day and boy, was I was wrong.  I was sore for much more than just the next day, but it was obviously well-worth it all.