A Travellerspoint blog

New York City..The city that never sleeps.. White Christmas!

And back to LA/Santa Maria for the end of our adventure!

snow 3 °C

So we arrive in La Guardia Airport and havent got accommodation booked for the night... Great! Another sleepless night in the airport... We arrive in around 11pm, try our luck with options to find somewhere to stay for the night, so with no luck we end up with about another 50 travellers, in the food court area all sleeping on this warm vent next to the window... Besides the stiff back, the warmth actually made it somewhat comfortable...

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I think all in all about 2-3 hrs sleep at tops..
Haha decided to eat something around 6:30am for Breakfast. We had arranged to drop our bags off at our apartment at 9am so decided to start making our way there. So this was a bit of an adventure, we had no idea where to go.. We got dropped off in the 'Ghetto' with so much luggage, we had to walk about 7 streets back to 119th Street, where we stayed. We arrived, needless to say by the expression on my face, I was completely over it, and just wanted to sleep!!! Haha

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It was in Harlem approx 9 streets north of Central Park. The first two days I must say I felt pretty scared to walk around at all. We got to the apartment and couldnt get on to the caretaker to drop off our bags, so Bryan stayed with the luggage and I had to wander off to find a payphone to call him... It was a little intimidating... Even the caretaker said to Bryan when he Let him in, (I was still walking back from the payphone) "She went on her own, that's brave.." Ahhh so a tad more scared now, thanks champ. Haha

So our bags are dropped off, all we wanted to do was sleep, but we couldn't check in till around 3pm, so put on a brave face and off to explore NYC for the first time!Bring it on!!

We walked down to Central Park and walked around. We couldn't believe how big it was... It was really pretty though!

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We felt like we had been walking forever, and we weren't even 1/2 way down... Haha, so we caught a bus down to Union Square (lower part of Manhattan, around 10th Street, got a much needed coffee and had a wander. Decided to get a few groceries to take back and by that time it was getting on 2pm we decided to head back and call it a night. Cooked some wonderful Butter Chicken, it was actually amazing!! Scuze the unmade bed lol.. Gets like that on holidays!!

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And we settled into our lovely little apartment for the night. Next morning was Christmas Eve for us... We spent the morning at home so we could call the family on Christmas day, then we went down the grocery store and spent a good 2 hours in there getting our supplies for our massive cook up for our Christmas Day.
On the way home from the Grocery store, we also got some little decorations for the apartment, and some lights, we couldn't find a little tree to buy so we thought we would improvise and found a large forked branch which we thought we would decorate with Christmas light... Definitely not what we are used to.. But it was our special tree... :)

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Afterward we made some dinner and decided to head into Times Square to go and check out the Christmas Tree at the Rockerfella Centre. This was our first time in the city at night. It was just such a sight, so many people around, and the lights are just phenomenal!!

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We also went to the m&m store and Bryan wanted to get something from Mobile car called Weed World Candies. We got some lollipops :)

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We took lots of photos and decided that we were freezing so headed home around 11pm, after a nice slice of 'New York Style' pizza.

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On the way home we found someone cuttings from an actual christmas tree on the way home.
Couldn't be more perfect! And home just in time to tuck in before Santa comes ;)

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Christmas Morning!! Yay!! Finally got to do my White Christmas in New York City. Was a very special day! And to spend it with amazing company!

We woke up, it wasn't quite snowing outside but it looked like it had snowed a bit during the night. Oh well you can't win them all!
After exchanging a few presents, I got Bryan a watch, a tripod for his camera, some cologne, Armani :) It smells amazing!
Some Victoria Secret lingerie, mainly a gift for me.. Or him, just to justify me buying them ;) haha
Shaving kit with clippers and shaving cream brush so he's now covered on all angles, grooming wise!
and a few other little gifts.

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He then gave me my present. A box of Fruit Loops!! For those who don't know, little bit of a tradition in my family, so I was stoked.

I must admit I felt kind of bad only giving Alana a box of fruit loops after she had just given me all these really nice gifts, But I had somthing to make up for it.

Anyway then we decided to make some breakfast Alana wanted to have a shower first. So i quickly got to work so she would come out of the bathroom to a bed full of rose petals and a massive bunch of red roses.

none of this was planned before this trip, and it is probably a shock to most people but i truly love Alana and I have never been happier with anybody and this big trip we have done together had made me realise that definitely. I though it would be a pretty special place to make ever lasting memories :)

My first reaction when I walked out of the bathroom was, "Awww your so cute babe. Thanks" and I thought that was it...

Then.... He gave me the biggest hug and told me that he loved me so much and that this was the most amazing trip ever and that being with me, every day on this trip made him realise that he wanted to be with me for the rest of his life.
He got down on one knee and pulled this ring out and asked me to marry him......

so yes we are now engaged if you already didn't know any crazy in love <3

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Made me the luckiest girl and the best Christmas ever! :)

We started cooking our amazing feast for Christmas. We made a beef roast with lots of veges. I made an amazing Spinach, Pumpkin & Pinenut salad, Potato Salad, Tradition American favourite 'Mac n Cheese' and the best gravy to go with.
The feast fed us for almost the rest of the week, which was great!

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We then finally because of the time difference, could start to try call our families for Christmas and to break the news...
It was pretty funny telling the family... Everyone was rightly shocked but happy for us!

We then met with my friends Ash and Arica & Ash's mum Marguerite and we had a few cocktails at the Nomad Hotel, a classy little ritzy hotel where the cocktails were exy but oh so delish... ;) It was so lovely and cosy to spend it with friends :) We had a lovely night celebrating and carrying on haha and then headed home around 130am. Very nice night all in all!!

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Boxing day, we slept in for a bit of the day and kinda decided we didn't really have any reason to rush outside. It was actually a lot more colder today, so we stayed in, enjoyed one another's company and watched some movies!

Today we caught the subway down to Brooklyn and decided to check out the streets down there. We wandered around for a bit in search of a cool spot on Bedford Ave, that we were told to check out but we never found it... We decided to head back down into Manhattan and spent the rest of the afternoon there, wandering and browsing the shops.

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New years Eve! We had a lovely day, made a nice breakfast and ventured into the city for a bit, then headed home to get ready for the night. We cooked a lovely pasta and had a few bottles of wine at the apartment, then around 1030pm we headed into Times Square. It was awful. You couldnt move as soon as you walked up the subway to the street, there were people everywhere and the police had most of it blocked off so you couldnt move within 2 metres of the stairs to the subway. We basically thought "f*** this, lets go to Central Park and watch the fireworks. So we made our way back down the Subway, managed to slip through the barrier without paying, and went to the closest stop to Central Park. We still had to walk a fair ways to get to central park and it was 1145 by then so we were pushing it... We got there and found a good secluded spot on a hill and took some photos and drank our wine out of Coke bottles! haha
HAPPY NEW YEAR! To a great year ahead!

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We slept in today as I'm sure most people did. Again, no real reason to rush getting up. We went to the store and got some supplies for the rest of our stay for the last few nights.

Today we ventured out of the apartment around lunchtime, we decided that we wanted to go see Statue of Liberty. So we did a bit of research and we found out that we can go on the Staten Island ferry for free. We basically caught the subway down towards Lower Manhattan, walked the streets till we got down to Battery Park. It was almost sunset and we got some amazing photos of the sunset and the Statue in the far distance.

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We then boarded the Staten Island ferry and basically caught it there and back. It was fun, something to do and we saw the Statue, up close. It was so cool. Got some alright photos, but you had to stand outside where it was freezing to get good ones, so you didn't take them through the glass. Was pretty hard with the boat moving and the lighting, needing to put the camera lens on a slower shutter speed. We tried our best! Then we walked around the lower part of Manhattan, and saw Wall St, and the bulls backside, Chinatown, bartered and got some souvenirs. Saw where 9/11 happened and the memorial site and then got a packet of Oreo's on the way home to make with our ice cream. A great evening we had but it was time to get out of the cold, to the comfort of our bed as it was freezing and really windy!

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Went out to check at the post office for the parcel and they advised it was to be delivered today! Hallelujah, so stoked, should have the parcel ready and waiting when we get home tonight, since we weren't going to be home until late.. We spent our last day sightseeing and shopping around. I wanted to find an amazing fur coat, one of the things I've always wanted to buy.. Found the most amazing one and had to have it.. Poor credit card :( Then we went to meet with my gorgeous friend Ash for her birthday! It was so special.
There we were, in this little Italian restaurant in the middle of Little Italy/Chinatown and there is about 8 of us in total and 6 of us are from Tweed. It was so surreal to have so many there to celebrate her special night :) We had a lovely dinner and a few glasses of wine. before venturing out to this little lounge bar, which we both agreed was probably the best bar we went to on the entire trip so far.
Imagine, walking the streets of Chinatown, walking up a dark alley way with nothing but no lights on hardly.. We had to trust, that Ash's boyfriend, a local "New Yorker" and knows all the spots/ hangs to be, knew where he was going. Looked like we were going no where, and then walked up to a big black door which had to signage or anything out the front to suggest it wasn't anything more than someones place. We walk inside, it has like a red curtain up around the door, so when you walk through the curtain, you come into a quaint little bar, called Apotheke. It was really nice place, comfy cosy lounges, really exclusive, not many people were allowed in unless you knew someone. They had a menu to die for. The bar staff were all dressed in white lab coats and served cocktails in glasses, that were made as actual 'cocotions'. Examples like, honey nectar, lavender, egg whites, fruits, spices, rose water, to name a few and were labelled in headings on the menu such as Euphoric Enhancers, Health & Beauty and Aphrodisiacs. They had the best dj playing the coolest chilled out tunes & it was an amazing night socialising, drinking and dancing. We got home and the package hadn't been delivered or was stolen, I was devastated :(

We didnt take the camera out for this night for obvious reasons, so don't really have any to show!

The next morning we had to check out as our New York adventure was finally over :( We thought it would be worth a chance to try our luck checking out if the parcel had come from home as one last desperate attempt to maybe finally recover it. We waited in line forever and it was almost time for us to be back at the apartment. Finally got served, waited a long time and was beginning to think, obviously they cant find it, when she comes walking out with this massive parcel. The first thing we both did, was look at it and think, where the hell is that gunna fit with our already overweight luggage.... Ahhhhh "Thankssss MUM!!! haha..." Nah but we got some lovely little pressies in it and a few indulgences that we had been missing!

We collected all our luggage and then had the lovely experience with 1 large snowboard bag, a massive suitcase, about 3 bags the size of carry on, then handbags and backpacks later, we boarded a bus (finally after the bus almost took off without me, cuz I was trying to lift on board 3 bags, we got to the airport $2.25 later.... Even though it was a mission and the worst thing, well it was cheap, what can you expect... Haha. We finally got to the airport, and was probably the first time we have ever been early for a flight and feeling like we are not running to it!

By the way... We have noticed on every single one of our flights since we have travelled internally within the US, ever gate we depart from at the airport. It is ALWAYS and I mean every time, the very last one at the end of the 'wing'.... Every time, we are like, are you kidding me?? Really... From 10 flights all at the very end.... Anyway thats my rant....

Back to the story. So we arrive into LAX then collect luggage and head to catch the transfer to Van Nuys (Van Eyes) where its only a short cab ride to my Uncle Bills. We were soo angry though, the cab driver didnt know where he was going so took us the totally long way and then had the hide to 'bitch' about his tip, and about paying on credit card... saying we didn't give enough. I was so angry. We argued for a good bit, he got the shits, I was still angry but glad I didn't give in!

Now on to the last part of the journey..

Posted by alanaandbryan 22:06 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Chicago - The "WINDY" city - Rightly named so.......

Pizzas, Home Cooking, Whole apartment in middle of Chicago with million dollar views at $40 night! Winning!

snow -5 °C

So we definitely lucked out on this part of the trip...

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View from our apartment.

Booked a shared apartment with two people for our own private room and ensuite. With use to the kitchen and living room etc. Thought it would be ok, we dont mind and thought it might be fun to meet people to show us the ropes of the city.
Get there after catching the metro, $2.25 per person later.. again winning :) Better than $165 each way transfers :-l

And we arrive at 2am.. After a delayed flight... No one is home... Oh well we tuck in for a good night sleep and a sleep in.

Next morning we wake and go for a walk. Grab some breaky on the go and explore the city :)

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We were relieved to have better internet here so we took advantage and downloaded a bunch of movies to stock up!

We also finally had a kitchen so we could cook a decent meal! instead of shitty 2 min noodles we mad a nice chicken alfredo pasta dish with some red wine... delicious

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It was freezing here. No stopping the wind. We would basically have like 5 layers of tops/jumpers on then 1-2 jackets. 2-3 pairs of pants/leggings/tights etc, and 2 pairs of socks! Haha was so uncomfy sometimes having that many layers... Started to feel claustrophobic haha

The second day we explored the Art Museums, galleries etc and the what to sees in Chicago basically...
We went and saw the famous silver 'bean' which reflects the Chicago cityscape off it. Really cool and got some good shots.

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Mucked around and spent the afternoon, ice skating and exploring 'quirky' souvenir shops.. Not the lame, same old same old ones.

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The following day Bryan woke up early and went to the gym and then came back and cooked me pancakes in bed... I slept in... but was an amazing morning and surprise :) Thank you babe xo
It was raining outside all day so we stayed indoors and watched a couple movies.

Ventured out later that night to get some amazing ice cream.... Yeah cuz thats what you do when its snowing right??! Hahaha

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It was amazing though! And some hot cocoa which was the best I have had here in America. only to head back outside to find that the light snow shower had turned into a blizzard.... fml. RUN HOME!

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The next day we split up to do some 'seperate Christmas shopping' ;) Dont know about Bryan, but I had a great day in my element and spent too much as I couldn't help myself! Haha

We cooked a really nice, simple meal, Chicken Kievs, some mash and veges. Was amazing.
You appreciate simple meals that really just are the shit! :)

Off to the navy pier tonight because it was winter it was pretty dead, but still it was something to go see

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The last day we spent packing, cleaning up and went out for a last venture of the city, grabbed some lunch etc.
Then went back to collect our belongings to catch the metro to the airport for NEW YORK........ WOOoooooo soooo excited!!!!

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Stay tuned..... Best part of the trip ahead... White Christmas together in New York City! xo

just remember....
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Posted by alanaandbryan 06:54 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! ~ VAIL ~

Snowboarding, Injuries, Pretty Little Town - All whilst freezing our bums off! ;)

snow -20 °C

Well next in the adventure, was our visit to Vail. 2 weeks. Epic Lift passes. First time boarding for Alana.

Plenty of stacks to sum it up and a good time all round :)

First day, after we finally got away from that dreaded airport and booked ourselves on board the Summit Express... $165 for a one way transfer.... Effn Rip off..... haha

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We arrived at the hotel mid afternoon and felt so flat out from the previous night, that we checked in, dumped our stuff and headed into Lionshead Village to stock up on supplies.

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So for those who havent heard of our experience, in the room we had, 2 double beds, heater = heaven, separate bathroom and a "kitchen" sink with a coffee machine. This was to the extent of our cooking facilites... Oh and we had a fridge... Sorry!

So we basically lived off things we could physically cook with hot water or somehow heat up in the coffee pot.... This meant we had 2 minute noodles and heated soups with Salada crackers for 2 weeks straight! An experience nonetheless... Cant say I have been able to look at noodles and soups the same since. Everytime we are in the supermarket since, we laugh when we see them and think to ourselves, never eating them again! Hahaha

The reason being?

VAIL - Everything in general, is EXPENSIVE!! And budgeting as much as we can, we decided it was the best option (at the time....)

On the 4th night, we did decide to splurge though and went to the Cinebistro. Is kinda similar to Gold class movies but sooo much better!!
We both had the same, an amazing fettuccine pasta, and watched Skyfall. New bond. Good movie btw.

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Apart from that, the two weeks we spent, basically Bryan would hit the slopes early for a few hours, come home for lunch and them we would both head out and he would "attempt" to teach me! Good teacher.... But I hate being shit at things so got very frustrated easily...!!

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Finally started to get the hang of it, and decided it was best to have a "Just do" attitude. Found that worked better than trying to constantly do the same thing over and over again.... Just being prepared to fall on my ass constantly but to keep going! haha

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Finally within the last few days I conquered the whole beginner run from the top, down the mountain.. Yay!

During the nights we would either have a few beers down at the pub or drink our 5ltr cask of red ;) we had for the room and stay in;
snuggles and movies, while its blizarding outside... You get the picture!

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We went out one night and met these people who gave us some pot and tried to get us stoned, we were stoked, we didn't pay for any of it. WINNING!

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"medical".....

We had a flask of vodka and went to a few bars and nightclubs. And awesome pizza place...
All while its blizarding in the street. Was good fun. P.s Marijuana is legal in Colorado :)

We would also just go out to check out the amazing town. It was so pretty and they had fires and skating rinks around.
Lots of boutique style shops. Some nice stuff but very overpriced being Vail.

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We also had a indoor spa and sauna at the hotel, we didnt head down as much as we woulda liked... Something about all the old men, crowding out the spa, kinda wasnt my favourite thing to do. But we went down at night and it was quiet them. That was a nice way to relax and unwind from the day.

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All in all we simply enjoyed each other company, had fun and budgeted at the same time. By having it all pre booked and just food to attend for, it worked out well!!

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We both had shoulder injuries, I got carried down the mountain lol ;) It was embarrasssing but actually kinda fun really. Having someone ski you down the mountain, was pretty fun! Embarassing, OK, but fun, Meh, gotta do everything. Hehe
Bryans actually being a bit more serious but not being able to do too much about it. Doctors are ridiculously expensive here, being like, $200-$300 a visit. So he has been doing his own physio, hoping that it will help fix it..

Anyway Day 14 came pretty quick, come to think our trips going very quickly!
We booked yet another $160 transfer back to the airport and Chicago; here we come! :)

I must say we didn't get as many photos of Vail and the snowboarding we were just too busy with everything going on!

and videos are still to come!

Posted by alanaandbryan 20:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Phoenix and Vegas and onto Denver.....

from the dessert to the mountains

sunny 26 °C

We arrive into Phoenix and my Uncle Mike collects us from the airport. He takes us on a drive around town and shows us the Uni that my cousin Sarah goes to and then we go to meet Sarah at her work and decide to have some lunch there. She works at a really nice 5 star resort.

Then we head back to Uncle Mikes place and settle in. He lives pretty much surrounded by mountains that are excellent for hiking and trail bike riding which he loves doing, so we decide to go for a hike up one of the mountains close by.

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Headed home and Sarah came over when she got home from work and we went to get some supplies for tomorrow feast and for the week staying there.

The next day we had a catch up belated Thanksgiving lunch at Uncle Mikes and all the relatives that live in Arizona basically came. Mike was up at 4am cooking the turkey, which was like 10kg... It was massive! There was like 25 of us all up attending. Everyone was there by about 11am 12 noon and then we had a big lunch. My Aunties, and then their children and their children. It was really fun and most of them I havent seen in like over 12 years so it was a great day of catching up with the cousins!

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The next day, we got Mike to drop us off at the nearest shopping centre. It was pretty good. So far the best shopping and it was great because all the sales were on. Over in America, their biggest shopping day is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, not Boxing day, like back home.

It was a good day all in all and came home to relax cook some dinner and chuck on a movie.

The next morning we got a lift back to the airport to collect a car so we could get around, figured it would be easier and then we didnt have to rely on Mike for lifts as he was working. The car rental place, tried to screw us over when we got there, so we were furious. They said because we didnt have a American Drivers Licence, that we had to purchase their compulsory insurance. After 2 hrs of sitting at the airport trying to find another way, lots of arguing with them, we still paid more but less than what they were expecting us too. We got out of there. Then we got lost trying to get home as I had accidently wrote down the wrong directions.... Whoops! Needless to say, it was the shittest morning, Bryan felt sick and we both finally made it back to Uncle Mikes and didnt move from the couch all day & watched movies... Haha

The next day we decided to conquer the Camelback mountain, which is a really hard one, but I woke up feeling sick, with the same thing as Bryan had. I think it was a 24hr thing but it threw me off and even though I really wanted to climb this mountain, I just couldnt, I felt nausea and dizzy, so we only made it to about 1/2 if that.

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So on the way down Bryan decided to have another bouldering session.

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For the afternoon we met Sarah and her friend, at her work at the resort for an afternoon at the spa. This was amazing, we went in the Saunas, hot tubs, pools etc before hand then had a massage after. Bryan went in and used the other facilities and then we layed down in the Whisper room and that was nice.

The next day Bryan got up at 4am and went back to Camelback mountain and did the climb at sunrise and got some amazing photos.

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Sarah met us at Mikes place and we then went to Sedona for the day. Sedona is where Sarah grew up. It has a canyon and its very famous for its 'Red Rock'. The town is very old fashioned and everything is boutique style shops and eateries. The whole town and its buildings had a colour scheme and even the McDonalds there had to fit in with the colour scheme, Beiges and Greens, haha, wasnt the tradional bright yellow 'M'.

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Sarah took us to a place she used to go with her friends, its a place to go swimming and jump off the cliffs and only the locals knew about it. We had to cross the river with all our stuff, it was a little risky as the rocks were really wet and slippery. We finally got to the spot and Bryan went in, the water was freezing but he was determined to climb the cliff. He did a great job!

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Then afterward, we made it back to the town and wandered around the boutique stores for a bit, had some smoothies and then headed back to Phoenix.

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That afternoon, I decided to get my hair done so I got dropped off at the shops and did that, then the boys, Mike and Bryan can and got me. They went out to dinner together in the mean time.

We got home and packed for the flight ahead tomorrow to Vegas.
Early morning flight... Sick of these early flights! Haha. We had to travel via Los Angeles to get there which was a pain..!!!

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We arrived in Vegas and caught a shuttle to our hotel, the Monte Carlo.
It was across from the Planet Hollywood, which is where my friends, Alice and Lewin were staying.
We had pre arranged to meet them in their lobby at 1230, so we checked in, had showers, freshened up and by that time it was time to meet.

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The view from our hotel room.

We went and got a sandwich from this amazing little place called Earl of the sandwich. They were so good... Then we wandered around the Miracle Mile and looked in a few shops.. We decided to make a time for catching up later on, as we were tired and wanted to have a bit of a cat nap before the nights festivities....

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We then got ready to meet back at their place, all ventured out and got some takeaway - Chinese and Mexican and headed back to their room with a litre and 1/2 of vodka between just us two, they had their own and we started playing drinking games. Time flew, we were all getting pissed making up our own drinking games. We then decided it was time to venture out so we left in search of somewhere to go. There are so many people on the streets with VIP cards trying to get you to tip them for giving you the cards. We got stuck talking to this guy and he was giving us all these cards under the sun. We were getting a bit annoyed and just wanted to walk away because he started to become really rude. The boys gave him $10 total and we ran off with the cards hahaha

Since all the clubs where charging hefty fees for the boys to get in, we thought stuff it and went gambling instead.... I won $30 on Blackjack... haha "Hey big spender..." lol

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Anyway we then all stumbled home and called it a night.

Following day, neither of us got up till 12, lol and we met them to head to the Fashion Outlets down near Old Town Vegas (Fremont Street).
We caught the bus there and all split for a bit as everyone was looking for different things. I lost everyone for about 1.5hrs and finally found Bryan wandering around on his own. We stuck together after that.

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I must say I was pretty disappointed with the shopping here. Everyone had told me, Vegas shopping is the best.... I was very disappointed!
I only found some stuff I liked when I went back into the first shop we walked into upon arrival.

With no sign of the others we figured they had already left, but in fact found out that they were still there later on.

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We headed back to the hotel and got ready for another night. Since we couldnt get a hold of them and tried calling their room multiple times with no luck as the hotel staff were incompetent, (they kept saying they checked out already) we got ready and headed over to their room.

We picked up a fih bowl and a Yard glass and filled it with slushie, and then when we got back to the room we filled it with Vodka.... hmmm yummy.... We made them pretty strong and then decided to head out earlier tonight.
We tried to get into Marquee but the lines were so busy, none of us wanted to wait so we went back to the club at our hotel, which we had wristbands for and Alice and I got free drinks all night. So the boys bought a drink and then we would just pour the drinks into their cups too.

All in all it was a great night. We stumbled home at like 5-6am after getting distracted again in the Casino.

The following day was a right off..... We stayed in the room most of the day, only leaving to get food!
Haha. We organised to see a show tonight. Criss Angels, Believe. It was unbelievable. Sooooo good and amazing!!!

Afterward we got some late dinner, pizzas and salad and wandered around the strip. So many people out and about...!!!
After hanging in the casino and gambling a little more.... We decided to head to bed, before we spent too much money!

The next morning we checked out at 12 and left our bags at the hotel and walked the strip to the other end where they had some more shops. These were better, but I still would have liked some sales. Everything was pretty exy....

The strip was closed because they had a marathon running today so the streets were packed. We headed back and went to see Alice and Lewin for the last time before heading to the airport.

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We had our transfer booked and we got down there at 445pm for our 5pm pick up.
545pm came and still no transfer..... (SOOOOOOO ANGRY!!!) We called them twice to find out where the hell it was.
We ended up having to pay so much more and catch a taxi and forfeit our shuttle otherwise we may not have made it on time.

Once again we were running to the gate and just made it..!!!
We had another ridiculous flight that went via Phoenix again, but in a way it was a good thing it happened that way, because the snowboard we ordered online for me, which was supposed to arrive ar Sarahs place before we left Phoenix, didnt get there in time.
We devised a plan, for me to stay on the plane when we arrived in Phoenix and wait until everyone got off so I could collect all our carry on luggage. Meanwhile as soon as the seat belt sign went off, Bryan took off, to run to the departures gate to meet Sarah out the front of the airport, check the seperate bag in and make it back to the gate all in under 40 minutes... I dunno how, but it worked!!!

We were both soo tired, we have just arrived into Denver and have had to sleep at the airport.... Possibly one of the loudest airports ever and with no sleep after Vegas, feeling like shit right now....

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5 star luxury... jealous?

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too many people...

We have been trying to book transfers to Vail and they are all so expensive!!! $150 one way for the both of us!
Anyway so we are currently awaiting 12 hrs at the airport for our shuttle to take us to Vail and our accommodation at Evergreen Lodge!

I figured, as tired as I am, its worth it to try and get this blog up to date....! Finally

Cant wait to go to bed tonight!!!! ;)

Stay tuned for our adventures at the snow, where there will be plenty of stacks on my behalf thats for sure!

Posted by alanaandbryan 13:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Venice Beach + Road trippin to San Francisco

Road trip via Yosemite and San Jose...

sunny 15 °C

Back from the cruise and in LA for a few days before our road trip to San Fran.
We decide to check out Hollywood and head down to Venice Beach for the afternoon. We drove the car into Hollywood and walked the streets of Hollywood Blvd past the Walk of Fame and the "Walk of weirdos"
We saw one guy, homeless, walking the streets barefoot [black feet as anything] no hands [amputated] and pointing a toy gun at the cars whilst yelling at the sky. He also decided it would be cool to walk along the street flashing people.... Worst thing I have ever seen.
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We saw a Pig and Whistle Restaurant and Bar like the one in Queenstown & Brisbane. We did a bit of shopping and after telling a million people we werent interested in doing a organised bus tour we got bored and decided to head to Venice for lunch.

We got to Venice and went in search of a place recommended to us, Jody Maronis. It was a big hotdog place that had all types of hotdog combinations. Bryan didnt rate it. Then we walked along the streets a bit, found out we could apply for a medical Marijuana card to buy it legally for $35.
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We then found Muscle Beach, and Bryan decided to have a play.....

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Afterward we took a bunch of photos on the beach and headed down towards the skate park.

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From this point, Bryan spotted a slackline from a mile away, literally... Though he was so excited he neglected to tell me what he had spotted until about 30 secs after... Way to keep me in suspense...

We went over and made friends with the girl who had just purchased the slackline and was still learning.
Bryan showed her a few tricks and gave her incentive to keep at it!

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Slacklining down Venice beach at sunset was truly beautiful.

I had a few turns too!

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Then it started getting late so we headed back up the beach towards the car & stopped in an Op shop/ Thrift store which we had spotted on the way in. We picked up Chinese takeout for dinner and called it a day.

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Pick up car from LAX at 1pm sexy little beast of a thing haha KIA SOUL it is this little baby got soul. It was going to cost an extra $50 per day to have me drive because I was under 25 so alanas name went on the list and the terrifying drive with Alana at the wheel began, all she had to do was drive it out around the corner so I could get in the drivers seat.

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Then about half an hour into our drive we managed to get pulled over buy a cop who thought we had been drinking and we just said no were from Australia and were still getting use to the driving... he laughed and let us on our way.

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Still driving towards Yosemite we stopped to get fuel at some random servo at night in the middle on nowhere, no idea where we were or where the next town was. so we both decided to have a skanky burrito from the servo for dinner and buy a 1.5L bottle of red wine for $6 mmmm tasty...

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only to drive 10mins up the road and find a town called Oakhurst with heaps of restaurants, supermarkets and everything.
To save money on a hotel we slept in the car put all the seats down in the back and drank our bottle of red and talked and laughed to keep our selfs warm... Only to wake up at midnight absolutely freezing pulling the snow gear out of the board bag in an attempt to warm up, I think its quite possible to say that it was the worst sleep in history...

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Wake up 6am turn the car on and find out it droped to 0*c last night… no wonder, slight head ache from the wine… or lack of sleep not sure on that one but it was straight to starbucks for a double shot coffee.

Then to a nice little diner type place called Katie's where Alana ordered a Belgian waffle with bacon and maple syrup, and I got a massive omelette with what I think was an entire block of cheese melted over the top… not the healthiest breakfast to start the day..

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And we are off ½ an hour to the gate of Yosemite national park and about and another 1/2 an hour to the center, as we were driving up it started getting colder and snow started appearing on the sides of the road. The excitement was building as we passed a sign saying we were 4000ft above sea level more snow is showing 5000ft, 6000ft is the height of the road at the top of the range before we start heading down into the valley.
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Snowball fight.... hehe!
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We head through a long tunnel to see the most amazing site of the monolithic. El Capitan, Half dome, and Bridalvale falls. OMG all I could say, pictures and movies can not do it justice, it is beyond massive!!!

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Alana was less than impressed. Haha Just joking... She decided to have a sunbake, in trackies.... Haha
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First we stopped off at Bridalvale Falls. which was less impressive due to the fact it was winter all the water had frozen and the water fall had almost but stopped.

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We found some cool looking bridges and some big trees and a big field of snow. Alana made a snow angel and we saw some deer prints in the snow...

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Nothing was a comparison to the mighty El Cap

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It was more of a tease than anything being there with no climbing gear... save that for next trip

there was awesome bouldering to be had... but had to warm up the hands first!

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found heaps of good problems already brushed and marked with chalk.

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didn't see any one else bouldering though.

even managed to find a pay phone in camp 4 at the bottom of El Cap to call Tomic, to let him know exactly where we were while he was on his way to work... hahah

we also went for a walk up to Yosemite falls which wasn't flowing either because it was winter.

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but the highlight of my day was seeing Tommy caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson (two professional climbers) half way up there multiple day attempt of the dawn wall project, Hardest route in the valley.

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they are the two tiny specks in the middle... ( trust me they are there!)

I am already thinking about the next trip back to Yosemite purely climbing big walls!

but by then it was starting to get dark so we left the national park and found a nice spot to camp for the night.. Take ll... Hahaha we were a little more prepared this time round and bought these emergency blankets for like $5 each which reflect body heat. Instead of putting the back seats down, we put the front ones down and reclined them as far as they would go. All in all, still a shit night but definately better than the 1st!
We awoke to overlooking a field that had some deer in it, which was really nice. We found somewhere to grab a quick bite and decided that we would start the drive to San Jose to stay with my Aunt Susan& Henry for a couple of days...

We arrived and luckily Brian (my cousin) and Mandy (his wife) and the kids were there. So we got to visit with them all for a bit.

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Then in the afternoon we went shopping at a place called Santana Row; a very European looking shopping area where we found a bar called the yard house which had 135 beers on tap!

The next day we went wine tasting to a few, of the many hundreds of wineries around the northern California area. Bryan now thinks he's a wine expert, lol ;)

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The next day we went to Emily (my cousin) place and we had an early Thanksgiving dinner at her new place. She bought with her husband a really nice acreage which has stables and potential to grow their own vegetables. Really nice place.

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We then left San Jose for San Francisco which is a beautiful city and stayed a couple of nights at her cousin Gregs place.

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I found a climbing gym which was huge! As the weather was a bit crappy and I couldnt get outside anywhere. We went for a few hours then afterward made our way into the city,

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wandered the streets, did a bit of shopping then headed down to Pier 39/Fishermans Wharf for a bit of a look.

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We had the famous Chilli Bread bowls

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and wandered around, had the best icecream ever. We saw heaps of sea lions and some amazing street artists doing their work and gathering big crowds.

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the bottom right photo was all done with spray paint nothing else.... wow

It was quite cold so we finally started to make our journey home on the trams and buses to get back to Gregs.

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The next morning we made pretzels from scratch and they were the best ones we have had all trip. (They are big over here...)

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Alana decided she wanted to have a big shopping day so I went to the climbing gym again and worked out while she spent 6 hours in the same shop..... "It was an amazing shop though..!! It was called Loehmanns and it had all designer brands, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta just to name a few. In my defence the store is massive, over 3 levels and you really have to search every single rack to find the best buys. I bought a few things and I was very happy to say the least.

Tonight we went out to dinner with Greg and Ashley, and went to a bar first for some cocktails.

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Then went to this Thai restaurant for dinner. We all ordered a few dishes and shared. It was really nice food.

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Then went a to few other pubs, lounge bars and had a few more drinks then headed home.

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We then began the journey back down the coast.

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Stopped at my other cousin Matts place, with his family.

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They live in Santa Maria. This was lots of fun. We spent actual Thanksgiving with them. We went to the park in the morning and learnt how to play Disk Golf and played in the park with his girls then came home to play some Bochee in the backyard.

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It was loads of fun and then cooked up a big Mexican Feast! Bryan was in heaven. We both agreed the best Mexican we have had here, including even in Mexico.

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We had to pack and get ready to get up at 4am to make it back to LA for our flight. LA was 2hrs south of where we were.
Matt got up and made us some massive travel mugs of coffee, which we were very grateful for...! And waved us off!! Off to Phoenix we go!

Posted by alanaandbryan 16:50 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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