Thursday, July 31, 2014

I am an Amazing Race Fanatic!

Yes, you heard it, I am a SUPER FAN of the TV reality show “The Amazing Race”. I’ve watched all the episodes of all the 24 Seasons and it never failed to make me excited and entertained. Season 25 started filming in May 31, 2014 in Times Square in New York City and ended in June 22 and it will hit TV screens in September 26, 2014 on CBS for the 2014–15 television season, moving to Friday nights at 8 pm.

I can clearly see myself with a travel buddy to be part of the show racing with 10 other pairs. I am not even joking:-). Seriously! I’m passionate about traveling and exploring the world and experiencing different cultures. Many times, I just thought of going on a 1 or 2 -  year break and travel the world but the lack of finances hinders me from pursuing this dream. And hopefully “The Amazing Race” could make this dream a reality!

The Amazing Race is an American reality game show in which typically eleven teams of two race around the world. The race is split into roughly twelve legs interspersed with physical and mental challenges, and require teams to deduce clues, navigate themselves in foreign areas, interact with locals, perform physical and mental challenges, and vie for airplane, boat, taxi, and other public transportation options on a limited budget provided by the show. Teams are progressively eliminated at the end of most legs; with the final leg's grand prize of US$1 million. As the original version of the Amazing Race franchise, the CBS program has been running since 2001. Numerous international versions have been developed following the same core structure, while the U.S. version is also broadcast to several other markets.

The show was created by Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster, who, along with Jonathan Littman, serve as executive producers. The show is produced by Earthview Inc. (headed by Doganieri and van Munster), Bruckheimer Television for CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios (a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company). The series has been hosted by veteran New Zealand television personality Phil Keoghan since its inception.

Since the inception of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition 
Program in 2003, The Amazing Race has won it nine out of eleven times; the show has also won other awards and commendations. Although it has moved around several prime time slots since its inception, the program has averaged about 10 million viewers per season.

I hope this blog will pave a way for me to be part of the show in the near future. I do believe in miracles. We never know what the future holds.

Cruising The Chicago River & The Lake Michigan

One of the “must do’s” I had during my recent trip to Chicago was to go on a Cruise in Chicago River and Lake Michigan. I ‘ve read a lot about the city’s rich and breathtaking architectural landmarks which can be seen up close when you hop in one of the river tours. So I didn't let the opportunity pass by while I was there. 

a view of the Navy Pier from our ferry

There were different types of tours to choose from depending on your personal preference and of course your budget. We took the 90-minute Chicago Architectural River tour and it was just perfect! Our boat departed from the Navy Pier, which is another interesting place to see when you're in Chicago and will also be featured in one of my future blogs.

The tour offers a live narration highlighting Chicago’s interesting history and architectural heritage. The expert and funny tour guide led us through the main branch of the Chicago River and through the Chicago Lock out to Lake Michigan. The lake looked like as it was as wide as the ocean and as deep as the blue sea. You will be amazed with how they are able to maintain the cleanliness of the lake which remains to be main source of the city's water supply.

One of the many bridges along the river

According to what I've heard from our tour guide, the river flows backward - away from 
lake.  The reversal of the Chicago River was a pioneering, massive public works effort that saved the Chicago region from waterborne diseases caused by sewage contamination of its drinking water supply. The City's sewers discharged human and industrial wastes directly to its rivers, which in turn flowed into the lake. 

A particularly heavy rainstorm in 1885 caused sewage to be flushed into the lake beyond the clean water intakes. The resulting typhoid, cholera, and dysentery epidemics killed an estimated 12 percent of Chicago's 750,000 residents, and raised a public outcry to find a permanent solution to the city's water supply and sewage disposal crisis. Who would have thought that such a colossal problem would result to an out of the box solution to which the residents to Chicago and its millions of visitors would truly appreciate and enjoy. 

The tour ended with a quick speed boat ride within the picturesque Lake Michigan which I find really cool! It was a very tourist friendly ride and I believed entertained everyone in our boat young and old alike particularly those with a desire to experience first hand, the beauty of Chicago's remarkable skyline.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Different Kind of "High"

A trip to the City of Chicago, Illinois won’t be complete without experiencing “The Ledge”. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck located in 103rd Floor of Willis (formerly Sears) Tower.  For some, it takes some balls to step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.  

entrance to Willis Tower         
Just the thought of it can be nerve-racking, I myself is not afraid of heights having used to climbing tall trees in our backyard as our playground during my childhood days but once I 
was there, the experience gave me a different kind of high! I felt I was superman for a while. Looking down at  the clear glass floor, the structures below it look really tiny and 
the view of Chicago skyline when you look at the glass walls was just marvelous.

The Ledge

I learned that they actually offer dining on the Ledge but reservations is necessary. I 
imagined it would be a perfect setting for marriage proposal. Don’t you think?

dinner is ready
View from the top

great view of Lake Michigan from the top

Thursday, July 10, 2014

An Epic Countdown at Times Square 1/1/14

Who doesn’t dream of traveling to New York City right? Blame it to Hollywood who keeps feeding our eyes and minds with countless varieties of imagery about the city. Yes, New York City is undoubtedly the most featured city in movies, television programs, songs, you name it. It has all the ingredients needed enough to be recognized as one of the greatest cities in the world.

Manhattan Bridge

My great desire to visit New York started when I saw the New Year’s eve countdown on TV when I was in first year college. I thought it would really be awesome to be standing in Times Square and witness such a global spectacle.

The Statue of Liberty 

Never did I know that I would be able to actually do it in 2014 New Year’s eve with my 2 other friends. A crowd of more than 1 million in a freezing temperature, never ending queue of people from all over the world. It was a very long 9-hour epic experience indeed.

Times Square