Recently I took a special vacation from teaching and running my school to visit my daughter and son in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas, respectively.
I worked out a way with my students to be open during Smith’s normal Golden Week holiday and then close during the last week of May and the first week of June.
This is an example of how flexible he Smith’s system is for school owners. Of course my students were also very gracious to allow me to move my golden week holiday. And for this I’m very thankful to them and the staff at the Smith’s head office for helping me to arrange this schedule shift.
The purpose of my trip was not for site-seeing or gambling or the like. It was just for a little R&R and to visit with my children and their respective families. I just relaxed, did some shopping, swam and ate out etc. It was a great trip and a great way to rest up for the coming hot summer in Japan.
In Pittsburgh I visited the Strip District which is a short walk from the downtown area. This area is historically known as morning market area where fresh vegetables and fruit were and still are sold . When I first heard that name, I have to admit I was picturing something different and a little more risque.
The picture here shows a butcher shop and a gallery for steel art. But there are also many popular restaurants that are filled with downtown workers at lunch time and there are many clubs frequented by young people during the nights. Pittsburgh has a large population of young educated people due to the many univerisities located in the city.
Recently Pittsburgh was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the cities in the US which has comeback strong from the recession and is adding population.
I visited my daughter and her husband in Pittsburgh. They are doing pretty well and I enjoyed eating out with them and the BBQ meat and slow cooked roast beef they cooked for me helped me to put on more pounds than I want to mention.
So if you get a chance to visit Pittsburgh, by all means do it. You will find some interesting things to do and see there.
After spending a few relaxing days in Pittsburgh I was off to visit Las Vegas. My son picked me up at the airport and we headed to his family’s house which is not far from the Las Vegas Strip and the airport.
Las Vegas is famous for casinos and gambling but also for great shows and some picturesque natural landscape that abounds around Las Vegas. Such spots are reachable in an hour or so by car.
If you go to Las Vegas be sure to visit some of the interesting natural sites. You will be happy you did and of course you can also take a trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
I was surprised how busy the Las Vegas airport is. To take my 7:00 a.m. flight back to Japan I arrived at airport a few minutes after 5:00 a.m. Mine was a domestic flight to Seattle but still the security line was very long.
I read later than Las Vegas will open a new International terminal later this month (June 2012) and this will add many international flights from Europe and Asia.
My son and his family live in Las Vegas. They enjoy camping and hiking and have found that Las Vegas provides many good spots for such activities. It gets very hot there of course. We escaped the heat one day by going to the pool and the day before I left we headed up to Mount Charleston to enjoy temperatures of about 26 degrees C when it was about 42 degrees C in Las Vegas. The temperature during the summer will get up to 46 or so so it is
still relatively cool! The humidity is often under 10%. We had a very nice picnic in the mountain sitting on a log next to a babbling brook through which the water from melted snow was running.
Check out Mt. Charleston and places such as Red Rock Canyon if you go to Las Vegas.
I highly recommend that you plan a trip to Las Vegas in the future.
Leaving Las Vegas on an early flight I took the following picture of Mt. Charleston out the window of an Alaska Airlines plane. Very beautiful!
Al, good to see you back! Let’s do some serious posting and commenting! This is a great report. Looks like you had a good time!
That sounds like a fantastic holiday, Al. Thanks for sharing it here and the information on Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. That picture taken from the airplane is really nice. What did you take it with, a smartphone camera or a regular camera?
Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi