Location: Darlington ;-(((((, England
Hellooooo! Well, my 9 mth trip has officially come to a halt....for the time being ;-)
Got back to the UK on 5th May and was back to work early on the 6th. Good to see my Mum and mates again (Dad is away on business). Obviously sucks not having my boy, Champ. Work is good though, and I have a holiday booked for Paris in early Aug as I predicted that I may be in need of one by then!
Collecting Shadow, the horse, tomorrow, and he will now be part of the family again - albeit not quite living with us. That's about it. Work, horse, drink, eat, sleep, plan more holidays away.....!
Hope you all are well, see you whenever...
Location: Boston, USA
Hi from Boston! Still here with my friend Elizabeth and her Brit housemates. We have been having a very drink fuelled time here...out pretty much every night for dinner and drinks. Last night was another big one. We all caned the jagermeister hard....ooops! I was actually okay...unlike my bday night last Friday. I was in fact the responsible one looking after a certain someone, I won't go into embarrasing details, but we've had a lot of laughs today looking at the photos....they are hilarious!
I have been to Boston Common and the Public Gardens, Chinatown, walked part of the Freedom Trail, drank wine and eaten fries and nachos in the "Cheers" Bar, bought a Red Sox baseball cap, been in the Swan Boats...it's been sunny the last few days and lovely to get into the city during the day. The architecture is beautiful, the public transport is spot on and it feels like a very safe and chilled out place in the day time. Thumbs up for Boston. Now what did i do with my glass of wine.....
Location: Boston, USA
Hi from Beantown (Boston). Got here on Friday and hit the sauce straightaway with my friend Elizabeth and her housemates. We ended up in some club for my birthday night, and apparantly I had a very good time! The whole night is really a bit of a blur, but the photos (all mostly censored) would indicate that much fun and merriment was had by all of us. The next day was hangover brekkie at a local cafe, followed by clothes shopping and a cocktail party in the evening. Not bad eh? It's been raining here, so not been up to much the last couple days. Going to keep my fingers crossed for sunshine and then might go sightseeing tomorrow while Elizabeth is at work. Oooh, tomorrow night we are going to a new sushi restaurant (now my fave food besides steak) and to the local for one or two....that could be another episode...we'll see! The big night is planned for Friday, I am extremely worried and already planning on locking my telephone up before going out to ensure that no more drunk dialling gets done at 2am. Ouch, that really hurt!
Location: NYC, USA
Hiya, still having fun in NY, enjoying the sunshine and the green spaces! and seeing my friends of course. been a great week. Leave for Boston tomorrow and more fun n games with Elizabeth!! Getting very scared about having to go back to real life....ha ha! Can't believe it's almost over....! These last few weeks have been so much fin and gone so quick. Hope you are all well, see some of you v soon.
Location: New York, New York, USA
Hello! Having a FABULOUS time here in New York City, with my old best friend from years ago, Julie, and her boyfriend Julian. Staying in Brooklyn with them and have received the entire gold package re sightseeing! We have eaten out in various quaint eatieries, chomped on pretzels as we gazed at the Statue of Liberty, rode on the carousel horses in Central Park while eating a NY hotdog, shopped til we dropped on 5th Avenue, toured and drank in Greenwich Village, kissed lots of cute dogs, drank Jack and diet coke in numerous establishments, played pool, got a crick in the neck from looking up at the Empire State Building, seen the tragedy that is Ground Zero, stared through the window at Tiffany's, met up with another old friend from school and sang along to karaoke (oops again) and gossiped, walked around Times Square at night, soaking up the lights and the atmosphere, the list just goes on and on!
I also had a fantastic last couple of days in DC...walked around for hours in the glorious sunshine and admired the amazing architecture, bumped into an old friend there too and was great to catch up.
Life doesn't seem to get much better than it is right here and now! Boston will be next this weekend...!
Location: Washington DC, USA
Hi from DC. Having a good time, chilling out, walking around this very beautiful city and enjoying looking at the incredible architecture, monuments and trees and green bits. Spent a week with a friend in Alexandria, and that was also a very pretty place, old buildings, very quaint with lots of character and individuality. Drank my first Guinness and also a car bomb, ate my first ever sushi and squid. Went to Atlantic City and gambled a very little - i didn't have the funds of the guts to gamble much. Still, i came out $100 on top and bought a gorgeous pair of high heels with the cash. Well, i'd already bought the shoes, just trying to excuse my shopping fetish!
So, I don't know what's next...my hostel here is ok and have another 2 nights here in DC at least. Then i guess it's off to NY to soak in Manhatten and the sights. I will be in Boston for my birthday on the 22nd, with my very good mate Elizabeth, can't wait!!
Location: Virginia Beach, USA
Hi again from VA Beach...having a great time here with my folks and our hosts, Charlie and Joann. We've been to the aquarium to see the sharks and pet the rays, seen the "doo dah" parade...(no idea, don't ask!), walked around the impressive battleship USS Wisconsin. I even frequented a local karaoke bar, and once my parents went home I preceeded to drink a few jack and cokes and somehow ended up singing Grease songs with 2 others. I was still sober enough to know that I need others to drown me out! , I was escorted home in a mustang (neat, huh?) at some small hour this morning and woke up still fully clothed and in my boots, still drunk! Yay, I love it when that happens. Soon sobered up and got a hangover in time for the drive to Busch Gardens. Perked up when I got there however - fantastic weather and atmosphere, and I had to ride the rollercoasters with my Dad, which got the fresh air into my lungs as I screamed all the way around! Busy schedule this week seeing more friends and not sure what else...but sure it'll be fun whatever we get up to!
Location: Virginia Beach, USA
Hi all! Writing from Virginia Beach...my old stomping ground when i was 8-11. It's so good to be back. Had a great time in Florida with my friends, the Colonel and his family. Been very well looked after and have been out to dinner, clubs and all sorts. So, yes, I flew into Norfolk yesterday and met up with my parents. They flew in on Saturday and are staying with some friends of theirs, who are also nice enough to put up with me too! We have already been to a few malls shopping (2 new handbags..oops!) and to dinner etc...far too much carrot cake and ice cream already. ho hum! Tomorrow we are heading to Williamsburg i think...and maybe some museums, potteries etc, I wonder how much of it I'll recognise? We are staying near a place called Mt Trashmore...I have fond memories of being chased by a million seagulls when i was about 9 years old. My parents gave me 2 loaves of bread and threw me on top of the hill to meet my doom. Ahhh, those were the days. Also meeting my old schoolfriend, Corinne, and her mom, for dinner next week. It's shaping up to be a fab visit...also Busch Gardens to see and ride all those scary rollercoasters! Last but not least, I am trying to persuade my Dad to come and do a skydive with me here...just depends on how much time we have ;-)
Location: Orlando, USA
hi from orlando, florida! been hanging out in downtown disney, riding about in airboats, drinking beer and chasing gators, tanning on cocoa beach and generally having a great time!
Location: Austin, USA
Hi again from Austin. Still here, leaving tomorrow for Orlando. Had a very quiet few days, although St Patrick's Day was good. Went into town with someone and spent the afternoon drinking beer and listening to live bands. Was pretty trashed by the time my friend Kevin picked me up to go to the rodeo and a Kevin Fowler (?) concert...which was awesome. They had bucking broncs, more horses than you could shake a stick at...and also giant turkey legs. I just had to have one...I felt like a cross between an ogre and a cavewoman as I sat there and ate it! They also had the crazy bull riding, like they had at the Tuff Hedeman rodeo I went to with Ross and co. So, all in all a good day out. Right now I am sneakily sitting in the lounge in the Radisson Hotel...treated myself to lunch at TGI Friday so thought I'd extend my welcome and use the rest of the hotel's services. Everyone is getting ready to go home after South by Southwest. I am going to loiter maybe for a few hrs and then go and see the Mexican Free Tailed bats that live under the bridge here before catching the bus to my out of the way hostel for the evening. Not quite sure how to while away that much time but sure I'll manage somehow...
Location: Austin, USA
Hi from a very sleepy me, in Austin, Texas. Got here last night and pretty much went straight to bed in my hostel....all the excitement of the past couple days in San Antonio has worn me out. Did the beautiful Riverwalk, went to the Rainforest cafe, saw the Alamo, rode in a horse and carriage and went to the IMAX. I have been to the State Capital today and walked along 6th St. It's SXSW (massive live music festival), so it's all go go go. I am going to a concert tomorrow night, but need another early night tonight to prepare. I seriously worry that old age is creeping up on me faster than it should. I have drunk seriously only twice in 6 weeks but still feel worse for wear. Oh well! I must need a vacation. ha ha. Hope all is well with everyone reading this.
Location: San Antonio, USA
Greetings from San Antonio...spent yesterday at Sea World seeing the dolphins, sea lions and killer whales...all great fun and incredible weather too. Today we're off to see the Alamo and to go along the River Walk. Then it's to Austin, the State Capital.
Location: Dallas, USA
Howdy ya'll! Howsurmommanem? Having a great time here in Texas with my buddies...staying with a friend from Iraq and his family. They're taking good care of me, getting me drunk, taking me horseriding, taking me out for massive pancake and waffle breakfasts (damn i love the american way of life...we never get free refills in england!), been to see the JFK 6th Floor Museum in Dallas, I even got to spend a 12 hr shift riding around in Ross' cop car with him, AND I got to eat donuts in a donut shop with 2 cops. Then eat BBQ stuff at another place with 3 cops for lunch. how cool is that? I have authentic Texan cowgirl boots and everything. I reckon I might just stay here. ;-)
Location: San Diego, USA
Hey guys...I'm in very beautiful SD, very nice indeed, from what I've seen so far. Arrived v late last night to my hostel on Pacific Beach. Walked along the beach this morning, then spent the afternoon downtown at the harbour visiting a US Aircraft Carrier Museum. Stayed on the harbour til past sunset, pretty nice views. Back at my hostel now and going to have a quiet night in. Tomorrow is a day trip to Mexico...I need to retrieve the luggage I abandoned a few weeks ago! Then Friday is a whale watching cruise, really looking forward to that, as I didn't do it in NZ. Then it's yee haa Texas on Saturday...that's about it for now, things are fairly low key. No bad behaviour or drinking to comment on. Shame I missed Mardi Gras, apparantly it was an excellent night out last night, while I was on my flight :-( Oh well. Next year maybe.....
Location: Havana, Cuba
Soooo, Cuba sucked.
Should I elaborate? I guess I will a little but don't want to whinge...mainly it was the rude, arrogant, sleazy men, but the incident at the airport just summed it all up. I was leaving, wooohoo, but then as i went through emigration and security, I suddenly realised that I had somehow managed to have a complete brain meltdown and put ALL my valuables - money, credit cards, jewellery, camera, etc etc, into my hold luggage. Ooops. And knowing people, I didn't expect to see any of them ever again. So, i sat down, penniless, after i had spent my small pocketfull of change on an ice cream (priorities in times of disaster)...and looked in my hand luggage. I had with me, a bottle of squeezy jam, a jar of marmite, 12 packets of vanilla wafers, 2 hard boiled eggs and a sarong. These were the items I had deemed necessary to keep on my person (?*%??). My thoughts exactly. I had 3 hrs til my first flight to Salvador...so I decided to eat my possessions. The jam went well with the wafers. The first egg was okay. Then i set to work on the second egg. I thought back to Africa last year with a giggle, when my brother had purchased a "hard boiled egg" from a street vendor. I remember him smiling at me (estatic to have a small piece of protein in his grasp), then very enthusiastically smashing it onto his chest to break it open. Ha ha. How I laughed at the sight of runny egg dribbling down his clothes! Well, yesterday it was my turn to be the victim of the raw egg masquerading otherwise. I sat there in disbelief, a lapful of stinking egg. Nice. I managed to mop myself up with my sarong (i knew it would be useful) and just gave up and sat in silence for the next few hours (my ipod, of course, being in my hold luggage).
So...then I boarded the plane some time later and wasted no time in covering myself in orange juice. As they say, some days you are the statue, other days you are the pigeon!
Still, I bought my cigars while in Cuba and was pleased with that. (Being an Shakespeare fan, they were the Romeo and Juliets...and they came in the the prettist box.) Until I realised that I had bought slightly black market cigars and didn't have the necessary paperwork to get them out of the country. So...I was faced with the choice of a) Trying to sell them (I couldn't even sell Girl Scout cookies as a kid) OR b) Smoke them all myself while in Cuba. I obviously decided on the latter. Now, not being a smoking person at all, I didn't realise the full impact of a cigar. I managed to smoke about 1/4 of one, and spent the rest of the night slurrily watching TV, drifting into unconsciousness and then hours brushing my teeth. That plan wasn't going to work!! Anyway, the day was saved when I found out the next day that you can take 23 cigars out of the country without paperwork, so all was okay afterall. (I only had to get rid of another 1 - I gave it away, there was no chance of me trying to smoke another!)
But Cuba wasn't all bad. The old classic cars that they all drive around in were nice to see. And the weather was hot and perfect for tanning while I was at Varadero Beach. I also met up with an Irish doctor friend on my last night, and we went to the famous Hotel National for mohitos (spring water, sugar, mint and rum) and dinner. The lobby has photos of all the glamorous past patrons...Frank Sinatra, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Pierce Brosnan, the Manic Street Preachers....
And I am glad that I went while Fidel and Communism was still alive and kicking. I might go back in ten years' time when he is gone and see how different the place is.
Anyway, needless to say, I made it back to Guatemala safe and sound, which brings me up to date. I have 3 days left before I fly back to San Diego, and only a week before I'll be tearing it up in texas with my friends there! Yee haaaaa!
Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Hey again...still in Antigua...spent the day shopping ;-) and messing about on the internet, so have some more photos finally uploaded! Tomorrow night, or the day after, I´ll be emailing you from another country, in between smoking cigars! Speak to you then.....
Location: Tikal, Guatemala
Hey! Just got back from Tikal, north Guate. Flew there from Antigua (had to get up at 3am, v v painful!) and spent the day walking around the ancient Mayan ruins. Incredible temples and absolutely spectacular views from the top. Saw lots of wild turkeys, monkeys (howler and spider), toucans...didn't see the aleged jaguar though! Walked back into the jungle and climbed to the top of the Lost World temple for sunset...it was beautiful. There must have been 40 people sat on the top...i was glad to have lots of people to walk back with as it soon got dark and was 45 mins trek back to the hotel and civilisation! Had a couple beers and was in bed by 9pm....the generator turns off then and the whole park is plunged into darkness! Pretty neat! Awoke at 6am to very noisy monkeys, but managed to fall back to sleep for a few hrs before hitting the pool for a few hrs....such hard work! Weather is v hot by the way...no complaints!
Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Buenas dias from Antigua....such a quiant and beautiful city, lots of churches, cathedrals, cobled streets, colourful markets and people, all nestled between 3 volcanoes. Spent last night sampling the local bars and beer for the Valentine's Day festivities...even tried my hand at salsa dancing( which was pretty embarassing compared to the locals).
Flying to the north of Guatemala tomorrow to Tikal to see the ruins, then back here before flying to...it's a secret at the moment! ha ha. Tikal should be amazing; ancient Mayan ruins...i'll be sleeping in a hotel (The Jungle Hotel, hmmm) within the park, with monkeys and all sorts of creatures running around.
Hope you are all well. See some of you real soon...should be in Texas in a couple weeks....then onto Florida and up the east coast. Hasta luego!