Monday, December 14, 2009

Homecoming Part 1

I arrived home yesterday afternoon after 24 hours in transit, and having been awake for about 40 hours. The last four weeks have come and gone, I had a fantastic time in the US, but I’m very happy to be home. This is the first two weeks of my trip, as I took about 3000 photos and visited four states over four weeks, plus did a lot of shopping. I’ll try to cover it all over a couple of posts.

I arrived in LA at 7am on a Monday morning after a 14 hour flight; struggled to stay awake all day (about 35 hours total, after not sleeping on the plane), but woke the next day refreshed and ready to go. I was assigned a roommate and we spent the day at the beautiful Huntington beach in Orange County, where we tried out Ruby’s diner on the pier.

The next morning my tour started, and we headed to San Diego where we took in the city from a harbour cruise.

Then we checked out Balboa park and Old Town.

The following day I went to Sea World, and saw Shamu!

Then out to dinner in San Diego where I got the most massive margarita I've ever seen!

Then on to Arizona, where the bus was boarded by border patrol for a quick passport check to make sure we where all in the US legitimately.

We spent the evening in Scottsdale near Phoenix, where we were treated to free shots of ouzo and had a few adventures with the statues in the town.

Then we were up early for hot air ballooning over the Sonoran desert.

Next stop: Grand Canyon!

I flew over the canyon in a helicopter which was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and done. We also watched the sun set over the canyon and were lucky enough to see condors.

It was soooo cold!

Then on to Las Vegas! We partied in some exclusive (and expensive) clubs, and even had a dummy wedding led by Elvis himself. And I braved driving on the right hand side just so I could visit some quilt shops (more on that later!).

Next we went to Yosemite National Park, which was beautiful. Finally got to see some squirrels and deer. We also experience our first Thanksgiving dinner as we were treated to a HUGE banquet.

After that, we moved on to San Francisco (just in time for black Friday sales!), where I finally saw the Golden Gate Bridge. A sunset cruise was pretty worthwile. I also rode the cable cars, shopped like a crazy girl, and got totally wiped out in a gay bar in the Castro district (2-4-1 drinks at $4 a pop was too much to refuse).

I also took in an American football game; the 49ers vs the jaguars. Not the most exciting game I've ever seen, but the hotdog wasn’t too bad (better than it looked!).
Then it was on to Santa Barbara for an evening, before spending most of a day in Hollywood.

A final meal with the tour group at Bubba Gump Shrimp in Anaheim and it was time to say goodbye to my 40-something new friends (my tour manager below), and continue my adventure.

More to come soon!


Renee said...

Welcome home Kate! It looks like you had a great time and you managed to do so much too! Looking forward to the next installment :)

Carol said...

Home safe and sound! Looks like you had an awesome time!

Becky said...

WOW! Great holiday by the sound of it. Looking forward to seeing more photos :)