Saturday, September 18, 2010

Art and Architecture Define Space at City Center Hotels and Resort, Las Vegas

Mastro's Ocean Club at Crystals Retail District

It's refreshing to see how the City Center Complex has transformed the Las Vegas skyline with its brash and dynamic architecture and its fine art collection thoughtfully displayed in public spaces. I love to walk around the complex and discover a Henry Moore in one of its courtyards or a Claes Oldenburg en plein air or stop and gape at the leaning Veer Towers and be mesmerized by the incredible and colorful works of Dale Chiluly in one of the galleries. Even at Crystals Retail District there are a number of  artworks like the Ocean Club Restaurant inside a treehouse that rises up three stories (picture above).  Here are more images to give you a bird's eye view of the new Complex.

Looking up at Aria Hotel from the outdoor fountains

Reclining Connected Forms by Henry Moore (1969-1974) 

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Tony Cragg's stainless steel sculptures

Veer Towers

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Images by Charie

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Zion National Park, Utah

The Watchman

Long before entering park grounds, we drove through a countryside of sandstone mesas and towering cliffs of incredible colors. I was thinking that we were inside Zion National Park until we passed through the south gate and parked our car at the Visitor Center. The soaring cliffs in the photo above was our welcome committee.

View from the Temple of Sinawava

It was late afternoon, the heat had dissipated and most of the tourists had left for the day. We took the shuttle that goes around the park and stops at several places along the way to drop off and pick up passengers. It takes about 80 minutes roundtrip from the Visitor Center to the Temple of Sinawava which is the last stop before it returns to point of origin. I got off at Sinawava to gape at towering monoliths and get a full view of the clifftops which is a stretch to see from the windows of the shuttle. It would be a great idea to have glass roofs for these shuttles to better see the corridor of sandstone cliffs along the way.

View from Big Bend

At Big Bend I was awed by the almost circular ampitheater of sandstone walls. Behind some of these red cliffs are white cliffs and some cliffs are favorite hang-outs of rock climbers (that is when they don't make it to the top before dark, they will hang from a hammock along the surface of the rock to rest until daylight).

Scaling the Wall

The Court of the Patriarchs is presided by (from left to right) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I was alone for all of 5 minutes enjoying the stillness and serenity of the Court and watching late afternoon light wash over the three prophets.  It was a magical if brief interlude.

Court of the Patriarchs

At the end of the day, we sat in the parking lot and ate our leftovers from lunch. We were again surrounded by this spectacular view of age old cliffs which were formed over millions of years and continues to evolve today. Zion National Park really lives up to its name which is a Hebrew word meaning "place of refuge".  You can't help but feel that this is God's country.

to the Pa'rus Trail

To see Zion properly, spend at least a couple of days and go on the trails. There are trails for varying skill levels. And there are Ranger led walks you can sign up for. 

For more information about Zion National Park, go to http://www.zionnational-park.com/ or www.nps.com/zion.

For directions to the park, see map below.


View My Saved Places in a larger map

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Images by Charie

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Aerial Views of the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead

The Grand Canyon

We had this unexpected treat to fly over the Grand Canyon from Atlanta to Las Vegas last week. And we were seated on the right side of the plane to boot! It was a challenge to take these images through double glass pane windows using a simple digital camera from 32,000 feet. I had to photoshop these photos for a sharper image. The results show the incredible topography of the Grand Canyon.


Notice the Colorado River cutting its way along Canyon walls. The walls are about a mile deep and 18 miles wide. To get a different perspective of the Grand Canyon, try cruising down the river in a pumpboat. There is a helicopter tour from the Western Rim that goes into the Canyon (an exhilirating ride to say the least) and drops off passengers by the water's edge where the pumpboat is waiting.  For more info go to the National Park Service website: www.nps.gov/grca/.

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is the reservoir that was created by the damming of the Colorado River. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area covers 1.5 million acres including a smaller lake, Lake Mohave. It is about 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas. For more information about the park, check out www.nps.gov/lake/.
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Images by Charie