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  • Our final show in Vegas was to see David Copperfield and some close-up magic. I won't give the game away here - needless to say we left happily baffled!

    copperfield1 copperfield2 

  • Our last trip in the States was to see the Grand Canyon. Met by stretch limousine, we were taken to the local airport where we got on the helicopter for the 30 minute flight over Hoover Dam, and to the floor of the canyon for a short boat trip, before flying back up to the top and one of the look-out spots. The following pics are of the canyon itself, in some ways amazing, in others, just a pile of rocks!
  • First stop on our USA Holiday 2016 was Nashville, home of Country Music (and one of my favourite TV shows)!. Of course, no stay in Nashville is complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry House and the show that made Country Music famous!

    opry1 opry2 opry3 

  • The next trip was a very full day with an early pickup and drive out to Hoover Dam where we got in the water – you can see the dam in the background of the first few pics. For those who are interested, Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. Constructed in the 1930s by a six-company conglomerate, it was completed 2 years earlier than scheduled, but at a cost of more than 100 lives. The dam’s generators provide power for the states of Nevada, Arizona and California. It is also a major tourist attraction visited by almost one million people a year. From the dam it was a 7 hour Kayak down the river! I loved it – Shanhong tired early and didn’t enjoy the last few hours at all.


  • Knowing we would have a week after the cruise, we looked at multi-centre holidays in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas area. After much deliberation, we decided that could be too rushed and, copying my nephew, plumped for Las Vegas. Staying in the Trump Tower (who knew he would be elected president?), we used Vegas as a base for multiple full day trips, but also had time to walk up and down the strip and take in some shows. We settled for a single 1 dollar gamble (each) on the 1c machines! I lost almost everything, but Shanhong left $6 in profit – she’s obviously a better gambler than me! The following pics are all in and around Vegas.


  • Our first day trip while based in Las Vegas was to Los Angeles, stopping at Malibu Beach and in Hollywood before driving through Beverly Hills on the way back. A five hour drive each way – it is hard to say if it was worth it – especially when the van broke down on the way home and we had to wait three hours for a replacement! But, I did get to walk on Hollywood Boulevard, and I did get to play ‘Baywatch’ (anyone still remember that show?)


  • Our first show in Vegas was a Musical, the story of four famous singers and the night they all met together at Sun Studios... Million Dollar Quartet

    million1 million2 

  • So, the main holiday for 2016 was to be Summer in the US, mainly to attend a cruise with Michael W Smith that I had fancied for years. Given a few days each side of the cruise, there was opportunity to explore new places, and so we started in Nashville, Tennessee - home of Country Music!  You can read more in the USA 2016 reports elsewhere on the website - but the pics below show us out and about in the Nashville countryside.

  • The main part of the holiday was always intended to be the cruise, and so July 2nd saw us boarding 'Oasis of the Seas', our home for the week. Oasis of the Seas is one of the world's largest cruise liners, operated by Royal Caribbean International, and the first set of pics simply gives an idea of the ship's facilities. Apart from rooms for approximately 6000 passengers and over 2000 crew, the ship offers seven 'neighbourhoods' for guest enjoyment. These are: Central Park, with boutique shops and restaurants, a bar that can be raised or lowered over three decks, and a living park with over 12,000 plants and 56 trees; Pool and Sports Zone, with sloped-entry pools, hot-tubs, surf simulators, a mini-golf course, zip line, and table tennis facilities; Vitality at Sea, with a large spa and gym with over 150 cardio and resistance machines, as well as a jogging track around the full ship; Boardwalk, with a carousel, bars and restaurants, rock-climbing walls and a 750 outdoor AquaTheatre for diving shows; Royal Promenade, featuring shops and restaurants, bingo hall, and even a branch of Starbucks; Youth Zone providing science lab and computer gaming plus events and activities for youths of all ages; and Entertainment Place, featuring the main cinema, an ice-skating rink, nightclubs, casino and smaller venues for jazz and comedy performances.

    Shanhong took the following video just walking along ONE of the many decks, but it gives an idea of the size of the ship. Enjoy!
  • One of the port cruise days was in San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico. We spent the day exploring the forts and ambling through the town. It's a picturesque place, and was much enjoyed!
  • The next trip from Las Vegas was a sunset ride with barbecue. We were picked up at the hotel and driven out to Red Rock, the edge of the desert, where we mounted up and followed a trek through the scruffland as day turned to night. It ended with perhaps the best food of the whole trip – absolutely scrummy steak, potato and salad with beans etc – and huge portions too – this plate is after Shanhong stole half!. This was probably my favourite trip from Las Vegas. The last photos are from the company website.

  • When we started the planning for USA 2016, knowing we would have a few days either side of the cruise, I knew Nashville had to be on the list. Shanhong was happy to let me make the plans for the entire trip, and so I finally got to one of the cities that has been on my list of places to visit for years. For someone who doesn't know, Nashville is 'Music City'- home of Country and Western music, and of many famous music stars. The first few photos are taken in and around the city - visiting places such as Opryland resort, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium and others.


    Nashville is perhaps most famous as being the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Anyone who has seen the US TV Series, Nashville (one of my favourite current series!), will know how important this stage is to stars of country. Legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Minnie Pearl performed on this stage and have been joined in more recent times by stars such as Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and the Dixie Chicks. Founded in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music radio programme, broadcast live, and the longest running radio show anywhere in the world. It holds such significance in Nashville that its name is included on the city boundary signs. They read, "Music City - Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County - Home of the Grand Ole Opry" .  We had the chance not only to be in the audience for a recording, but also have a backstage tour.


    Of course there is more to Nashville than just the music, and so we spent a day immersed in History. We started with a visit to Belle Meade, a historic plantation famous for horse-breeding and wine, and then went on to the home of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States. Oh... and we had some great food at Cracker Barrel!
  • The main part of the holiday was always intended to be the cruise, and so July 2nd saw us boarding 'Oasis of the Seas', our home for the week. Oasis of the Seas is one of the world's largest cruise liners, operated by Royal Caribbean International, and the first set of pics simply gives an idea of the ship's facilities. Apart from rooms for approximately 6000 passengers and over 2000 crew, the ship offers seven 'neighbourhoods' for guest enjoyment. These are: Central Park, with boutique shops and restaurants, a bar that can be raised or lowered over three decks, and a living park with over 12,000 plants and 56 trees; Pool and Sports Zone, with sloped-entry pools, hot-tubs, surf simulators, a mini-golf course, zip line, and table tennis facilities; Vitality at Sea, with a large spa and gym with over 150 cardio and resistance machines, as well as a jogging track around the full ship; Boardwalk, with a carousel, bars and restaurants, rock-climbing walls and a 750 outdoor AquaTheatre for diving shows; Royal Promenade, featuring shops and restaurants, bingo hall, and even a branch of Starbucks; Youth Zone providing science lab and computer gaming plus events and activities for youths of all ages; and Entertainment Place, featuring the main cinema, an ice-skating rink, nightclubs, casino and smaller venues for jazz and comedy performances. You'll already spot we went to the ice-skating show!


    Cruises are well known for their food, and this cruise was no exception - with three main dining rooms providing the dress-up 'high class' food, and at least seven other venues offering 24-7 free snacks such as hotdogs, cakes and ice-cream.  Personally, I was not so impressed by the food on this cruise as I was on our Norway cruise, but that may simply have been because it wasn't new. Certainly we had no problem finding plenty to eat, as the following gallery will demonstrate - it has to be remembered that this report only takes us one day into the cruise!


    The reason for this cruise, however, was for the concert. I have been a long time fan of Michael W Smith, and have been interested in joining one of his cruises for some time. What this effectively means is as well as all the normal cruise activities, every day there is also a concert with Michael W Smith or one of his friends. On this cruise, the line up was Michael as main concert singer and worship leader, Laura Story, best known for the worship song, "Indescribable", Pastor Jack Graham doing the preaching, Oliver North talking about leadership, and Mark Lowrie, singer and comedian best known for years will Bill Gaither. You'll see them in the pics below (on the stage of Cats!) and you'll see us meeting Michael W at a signing!.


    There you go - more from the cruise in the next few reports!
    Trevor, Shanhong and Teddy xx
  • The second day was also a sea day - so in the pics below you'll see some more of the shop, another concert with Michael W Smith, and more great food! There is certainly no time to get bored.


    Day three was a port day as we arrived at Saint Martin (French name) or Sint Maarten (Dutch name). The 87-square-kilometre island is divided roughly 60/40 between France and the Netherlands, but with almost equal populations. It is the smallest inhabited island divided between two nations. The division dates to 1648. The ship moored at Phillipsburg, the Capital of the Dutch section, but we had a shore excursion that took us over to Marigot by bus, and then returned by boat. The following pics were taken mainly in Phillipsburg.


    Back on board, there was time for a game of golf, another meeting (this time Laura Story and Oliver North), good food, and one of the ships headline shows, an acapella group called The Edge Effect. As I said earlier - no time to get bored on a cruise!


    Trevor, Shanhong and Teddy xx
  • Day 4 saw us docked at San Juan, capital city of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Whilst it is now a territory of the United States, it is still not recognised as a state, and while Puerto Ricans are natural born citizens of the US, the country has no vote in Congress.  Originially populated by the indigenous Taino people, the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It has survived invasion attempts by the French, Dutch and British, and it was in the forts that we spent most of the day, before a leisurely walk through the town and back to the ship.


    After a full day out, there was not that much time left in the evening, but, busy as always, we took in a concert with Michael W Smith, grabbed some food, and saw another of the ship's shows. Life is fun!


    Trevor, Shanhong and Teddy xx
  • Day 5 was our last ‘docking’ – this time on the island of Haiti, but at a private RCI resort just for the cruise liner. It gave us the chance to try one of the longest ziplines in the world over water, and then a lazy sunbathe. Food was incredible, the local artisan market was interesting, and all said, it was a really nice lazy day on a perfect beach!



    We returned to the boat for another concert and more on-ship entertainment (such as Shanhong taking part in a demo of making animals from towels!). The final day was an ‘at sea’ day – so we went to see the final ship show – a performance of the musical “Cats” (with great seats) and a chance to have a photo taken on stage!


    For the final set of pics, let’s return to a recurring theme – Food! One of the things we enjoy is ‘dressing up’ and going for ‘posh’ food – it is not our normal evening routine – so it becomes a special part of the trip. So here we are, tucking in to an amazing selection – both waited on, and buffet style.


    Hope you have enjoyed the cruise reports, off to Vegas next! Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xxx

  • Knowing we would have a week after the cruise, we looked at multi-centre holidays in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas area. After much deliberation, we decided that could be too rushed and, copying my nephew, plumped for Las Vegas. Staying in the Trump Tower (who knew he would be elected president?), we used Vegas as a base for multiple full day trips, but also had time to walk up and down the strip and take in some shows. We settled for a single 1 dollar gamble (each) on the 1c machines! I lost almost everything, but Shanhong left $6 in profit – she’s obviously a better gambler than me! The following pics are all in and around Vegas.

    Our first day trip was to Los Angeles, stopping at Malibu Beach and in Hollywood before driving through Beverly Hills on the way back. A five hour drive each way – it is hard to say if it was worth it – especially when the van broke down on the way home and we had to wait three hours for a replacement! But, I did get to walk on Hollywood Boulevard, and I did get to play ‘Baywatch’ (anyone still remember that show?)



    So, there you have the first of the Vegas reports – hope you enjoyed it!  There are a few more photos on the website from the US tour – just head towww.mrhughes.net and choose reports, and then USA 2016 – or have a look at some of the travel and show blogs!

    All the best!   Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy  xxx


  • Two more daytrips in this report! The first was actually just an evening trip – a sunset ride with barbecue. We were picked up at the hotel and driven out to Red Rock, the edge of the desert, where we mounted up and followed a trek through the scruffland as day turned to night. It ended with perhaps the best food of the whole trip – absolutely scrummy steak, potato and salad with beans etc – and huge portions too – this plate is after Shanhong stole half!. This was probably my favourite trip from Las Vegas. The last photos are from the company website.

    The next trip was a very full day with an early pickup and drive out to Hoover Dam where we got in the water – you can see the dam in the background of the first few pics. For those who are interested, Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. Constructed in the 1930s by a six-company conglomerate, it was completed 2 years earlier than scheduled, but at a cost of more than 100 lives. The dam’s generators provide power for the states of Nevada, Arizona and California. It is also a major tourist attraction visited by almost one million people a year. From the dam it was a 7 hour Kayak down the river! I loved it – Shanhong tired early and didn’t enjoy the last few hours at all.

    Unfortunately, although we remembered sun cream for face/arms etc – I appear to have missed it on my legs. The result of 7 hours on water in 42 degrees sun was sunburn like I’ve never had it before – shivers, pain, and then the best blisters ever! You get an idea from these two photos. So kids, when mum says put suncream on, do it!!

    That’s it for this time – just one more USA report to go – we’re off to the Grand Canyon!   Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy

  • The final trip of USA 2016 was to the Grand Canyon, deliberately left to last, this was the expensive tour that saw us picked up in a stretch limo, and then flying from Vegas to the Canon by helicopter, passing over Hoover Dam where we started our Kayaking trip earlier in the week.

    The helicopter landed at the base of the canyon to give us a short boat ride in the river.

    I loved the day – the helicopter ride was special, not done that before! However, I must admit I was a bit disappointed by the Canyon itself – just a bunch of rocks!  I’ve seen nicer rocks elsewhere!

    So, that’s the last of the summer 2016 USA reports. Hope you enjoyed our travels. The next few holidays will be cheapies in UK and China, nothing else planned as yet!   All the best,   Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx

  • Vegas is full of shows - although the grand majority now appear to be the Cirque du Solei productions. We found this very traditional 'broadway' style blockbuster with 32 dancers and a 31 piece orchestra - and had a great night!

    showstoppers1 showstoppers2 showstoppers3 showstoppers4 


Thanks for checking out my blog! Please come back soon for more news and pics from our life.
I‘m Trevor
Let Me Tell You About Myself


I'm half a century old, and have been teaching for a quarter of a century! I have the most beautiful wife, and life is good!

I have been living in Singapore for over fifteen years, having also lived and worked in the UK, Europe, Middle East and other parts of Asia.

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