Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gay Pride!

San Francisco - whoo boy talk about my favourite city!
Cause after visiting San Francisco its still Kuala Lumpur...

Nah its pretty bloody good here. There's no doubt that its beautiful. Row after row of amazing and expensive houses until you just wish Flanders was dead. What has really hit me about downtown San Francisco is just how...bi-polar it is. Its beautiful, colourful, prides itself on its Liberal views, and yet, right in front of the Bently Prestige car showroom where you swoon over how cheap lovely cars are over here is a cadre of homeless people sleeping in the chill breeze... Two blocks from the most expensive shopping mall I've ever been in feels like a war zone with yells and honking and smells that would make a Bankok residend gag. Its beautiful sun downtown with the smell of hotdogs and popcorn on the air, flags flying, and a 15 minute bus ride away on the bride your freezing your arse off in the dense obscuring fog as you cling on for dear life to the famous "international red" handrails and look down at the cold, cold deep water so far below.

...and its all brilliant. Its an amazing mash of experiences, and theres no doubt as to why so many people love this place. It feels alive. No featureless plain of suburbs is this town, it rises and falls and twists and turns till your stomach (and legs!) just cant take any more! The food is amazing. The people, all of them, friendly and happy to talk. The views stunning, and the architechture breathtaking (personally I'm more impressed by the bay bridge than the Golden Gate - but dont let the authorities in on that).

One thing to be wary of over here is not to be too sensitive about your accent. None of these bloody yanks can tell the difference between Aussie, New Zealand, English, Irish - and believe it or not - sometimes even French and German... its not like I walk around calling these guy Venezualen or anything... one poor lady had no idea what I was on about when asking if she was using all the chairs at her table...
"Are you using all these chairs?"
"What?!"
"Oh... are you using these chairs?"
"WHAT?! I dont HAVE and cheese!"
"Nono! chaiRRRRRS"
...

...oh and its Gay Pride weekend... busiest damn day of the year here... nice planning Jue...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Donuts...


I'd always imagined that the United States would look somewhat... different. A little more gritty than real life, a little more colour saturated, a litle more exciting. Kind of like living in an episode of the Banana Splits or the Beastie Boys video for "Sabotage". I thought it'd be jiving on the street corner with a gang in no time, yelling out "Fo' sho' Mofo!" and popping a cap in someones ass, or at the very least being asked to appear on LOST to make up for all the rubbish Australian accents they've had so far...


Its not really like that though, real life in America is very much like real life in Australia. Okay, theres a few obvious differences. For starters, the cars are WAY cooler over here. Where we have Magna's, Commodores and Falcons they have Mustangs, Chargers, Magnums, Flambangoes and Lincoln Town Cars . Those last ones are perhaps my favourite - not because they're amazingly cool or anything, but they're the car of coice for United States police forces... watching them cruise around Waikiki really WAS for a few short moments like being on the set of the Blues Brothers or Die Hard. American Cop cars LOOK like they mean business - even when the drivers are cruising past, one arm out the window and the other holding a donut - these are cop cars you dont want to mess with. They install fear with a single "WHOOP" at any and all hours of the day and everyone watches their step when they're around, and whoo boy - if they catch you driving a Flambango...


As for Waikiki - now that we're leaving I can say I liked it. Its like a great big happy version of Surfers Paridise that's about the same size and also about as happy. Lots of food, lots of shops and lots of boob jobs (not that I noticed, Lib just happened to mention it in passing... ahem). I feel that when we come back we'll need to explore other sides to the island, there must be more to it than just walking around smelling burgers and tanning oil and trying not to notice the boob jobs the whole time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Aloha!


Aloha!


We've had such a great start to our trip, that we're prepared for everything to go downhill from here. In saying that we're sure it wont! Our overnight flight to Hawaii was as good as can be expected and we landed smoothly listening to "Forever Young" which was playing on the loud speakers. Jue, as usual, has planned well for his family booking into a luxury hotel for the first few nights (it can be seen in the background of this photo).

The girls are making the most of their time here by establishing a relaxing routine of alternating swimming and eating sessions. Waikiki has fantastic swimming areas for children. Tanned buxom bikini clad bodies are everywhere and surfing schools also line the beaches. I have eaten my first condiment filled hotdog including sport peppers and pickles. A distinct lack of healthy breakfast cereals has delighted the girls who have now tasted Coco Puffs, Frosty Flakes and Lucky Charms.


Tomorrow we fly to San Jose and as we have already been through customs, it shouldn't be too difficult to then make our way quickly up to San Fransico. By the way, as we are travelling with children we were able to avoid the massive 1 1/2 hour custom queue. We were kindly taken to an express lane and only had to wait behind two people. We wonder if San Fran will have as many human statues as Oahu - hope not! Jamila is obsessed with them and our spare change is being spent seeing what they do when they move.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fast Food Heaven

While we're in the US one of our main objectives, apart from having fun, is to try to find the perfect hot dog. (I hear it may be a hard slog seeing as we're only on the west coast and the real hotdog havens are are all on the east coast).

While we're trying to find the best hot dog though - I thought it would be shame to neglect the U.S.'s other contributions to the culinary world. To this end, we'll be endeavouring to stop at at least one of each of the following fast food chains from the United States:

Actually, at 190 theres not only too many to list, theres too many to visit... what a shame, I was looking forward to that... it only would have been 2 a day...

The ironic twist to this though is the fact that the *worst* food for you in America is named the Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing. Strange... I dont remember mum ever serving anything like that!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vacation...

So...
...here we go.

After almost a year of planning, FAR to much thinking about where to go and for how long we're just about to head off on our very first trip to the United States of America. The weekend has been spent packing... packing clothes, packing gear, packing tents, packing the kids off to the parents... but now everything is just about done, and all there is left to do is watch the clock tick down to takeoff time, and relax, safe in the knowledge that the only thing I have to worry about is the last day of work and having to try, most likely unsuccessfully, to look like I'm working (I mean hey - why start now?).

SO where are we going? How long are we gone? 106 nights, 12 states (feels like it should be more) and over 9000kms of driving... you'd think the sheer size of such an undertaking would be overwhelming...

Thankfully, its not - my limited intellect, along with my shocking memory combine to keep me blissfully unaware of the dreaful possibilities; What if I dont like American food? What if I dont speak the language? What if the kids come back with American accents? What if I don't like the beer...

And the greatest fear of all, given that its such a long road trip: what if I go slightly mad in an overenthusiastic dad type way and Libby starts calling me "sparky"...

 
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