Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Keep in mind this is just my fabric haul; no one told me everything in the US is so cheap! I got jeans, t-shirts, jumpers, purses, a new bag, three pairs of sunnies and lots of other goodies for less than half what it'd cost here in Australia. I went over with one not-quite-full suitcase, and came home with two that were full to the brim!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
After my tour ended I flew to New York. I was pleasantly surprised to run into two girls from my tour also waiting for the flight, so it was nice to know I’d have someone to have meals with and so forth. Having found the 14 hour flight to LA really uncomfortable, I was happy to find that the 5 hour flight across the US was survivable. The only disaster was that it took 2 hours to get from the airport to my hotel, and it turned out my two friends were meant to be on my shuttle but had been left behind by the driver.
In my five days in NYC I saw all the usual sights; the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building (it’s always been my favourite), the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the WTC site. I utilised the very touristy hop on-hop off buses but they were very convenient.
I was amazed by the gorgeous architecture of all the buildings in the city, and loved the abundance of Christmas decorations. I was also lucky enough to see snow!
I had dinner with the girls; we found a restaurant at Times Square but were told it was a 90 min wait. When we turned to leave, they told us to hang on and we were seated straight away. And it would seem that our waiter took a liking to us, as after we finished the bottle of wine we ordered, we were topped up from a further two bottles which we didn’t have to pay for. After dinner we did the proper New York thing and had Cosmos.
I also went to places such as the Natural History Museum (which was selling Platypus toys which is a bit odd), and saw The Lion King on Broadway. I also managed to catch a glimpse of the lovely Hugh Jackman, as well as Daniel Craig.
After New York I flew back to LA for a few days, mostly to break the trip up a little. I stayed in Hollywood at the flash Roosevelt Hotel. I certainly felt a little out of place there as everyone looked very glam, and one night there was even some red-carpet event and hoards of paparazzi out the front!
Again I did the usual tourist things; saw the walk of fame, and all the hand and footprints out front of the Chinese theatre. I also met another lovely Aussie on their hop on-hop off bus and we spent the day travelling around to Santa Monica, as well as Beverly Hills and the flashy Rodeo Drive. I also managed to go to a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live, which apparently isnt actually live!
Then finally it was time to come home; 24 hours in transit with a short stop in Auckland, New Zealand. A minor hiccup when I came through customs with a tad more alcohol than I should have (they let me get away with it). About 40 hours awake, minus the short powernap I had on the plane. And no major jetlag…just get a tad snoozy around 8.30pm but hopefully that’ll sort itself out. Doesn’t help that I've come from 5C to 39C in a matter of days! Still one holiday post to go; have to show you all the lovely fabrics I picked up (among other shopping!)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
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!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I managed to make it to a couple of quilt shops so far; Quiltique was definately my fabourite, the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful.
Tomorrow I'm flying to New York where I can finally do some serious shopping; it's just been little odds and ends so far. Then in a week I head back west for a few nights in Hollywood before heading home. It'll be over in the blink of am eye!
See you all soon, hopefully with photos (this is being typed from my iPhone).