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Has Portland Gone to Hell? Life in Portland after Covid

Has Portland Gone to Hell? Life in Portland after Covid

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Portland? Hasn’t that city gone to hell?”

“Isn’t it a lawless zone of anarchists?”

“Isn’t Portland overrun with homeless?”

“I heard the police are completely defunded in Portland.”

“Are you ok?”

These are all typical questions I get asked by people in Utah when I tell them I’m living in Portland, Oregon. After COVID took a toll on the main economic industry of Portland (tourism and food & beverage), the city has, indeed, sunk to new lows. read more

First Time to the Grand Canyon

First Time to the Grand Canyon

Nope, never been here…

I’ll admit it.

Until recently, I had never been to the Grand Canyon.

This was my first time to the Grand Canyon.  Although I was only a mere state away in Utah, I never made the drive down south to visit America’s unofficial landmark. When I told people abroad that I had never journeyed to the Grand Canyon, I was met with pure shock and looks of horror.

My parents weren’t much for the outdoors (my mom grew up in Saigon, my dad in Boston), so the mere fact these two city slickers moved to outdoorsy Utah is still a very, very big mystery to me. I was one of the few families that didn’t go skiing, didn’t go camping, and didn’t go hiking. I was always cooped up at home reading a book, painting, or watching the news with my dad.

And to be honest, I was a snobby travel brat. I was so obsessed about traveling outside of America and escaping the clutches of Utah that I snubbed all local landmarks and deemed them below my standards. Arches is just an ugly collection of rocks, I retorted, and the western frontier is just an empty, desolate wasteland.

Man, I was such a stuck up travel snob.

I owe the Grand Canyon—and Utah—and all of America, really, a huge apology.

Because America, you’re goddamn awesome.

Hitting the open road..
Hitting the open road..

Journey to the Grand Canyon

I was ashamed that I had never been to the Grand Canyon—and I was determined to fix that.

With only a few vacation days at my expense, my boyfriend and I devised a southwest road trip across Utah and Arizona. We decided to do the Grand Canyon in two days—it was a tight schedule, but we conquered the Grand Canyon in 48 hours.

Day 1: Epic Views and Bright Angel Trail

See that  that cluster of green?  That's the goal:  Indian Garden
See that that cluster of green? That’s the goal: Indian Garden

I’m sure you’ve all seen photos of the Grand Canyon—it’s a UNESCO World Heritage sight and a pure marvel of Mother Nature.

Even if you’ve seen the photos, nothing can compare to the real thing.


It’s hard to describe the feeling you have when you’re on top of something great—whether that’s the peak of a mountain or the top of a skyscraper, feeling the rush of standing atop the Earth’s magnificence is a truly difficult sensation to put into words. Simply, it makes you feel alive.

The Grand Canyon is exactly that.


Before I could continue my profound moment of life’s meaning, my boyfriend reminded me of the time and dragged me down to the head of Grand Canyon’s most popular trail: Bright Angel Trail.

Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail is a magnificent hike that showcases the many layers of the canyon (from red clay Earth to green shrubbery) with a sweet, green reward at the end: Indian Retreat.

Going down was easy, but man, going up was rough. I’m out of shape. I was huffin’ and puffin’ up that trail, my thighs screaming in pain and my calves aching.

Very pooped on Bright Angel Trail
Very pooped on Bright Angel Trail

Surprisingly, this hike took the entire day. We set off at 9 AM and finished around 5 PM. The trek to the Indian Garden Campgrounds is a long and strenuous one, but very well worth it.

Where there's water, there's a rest stop.  A beautiful retreat at Bright Angel Falls
Where there’s water, there’s a rest stop. A beautiful retreat at Bright Angel Falls

Day 2: Biking the Rim and Enjoying the Sunset

My man rockin the bike at Grand Canyon
My man rockin the bike at Grand Canyon

Whether I’m biking through the rice fields of Bali or between the ancient temples of Ayutthuya in Thailand, I’m always down to explore the world on two wheels.

I was somewhat nervous to bike the Grand Canyon—because, well, it’s the Grand Canyon.

Just the phrase, “biking the rim” scared the shit out of me. read more