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Niko & Co. Vs California

it is 2 days away before we fly out and everyone getting excited. cant wait to get on the plane. stay tuned for photos and diary entries when we get there.

Diary Entries

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Location: Santa Monica, USA

Day 20
i just realised that i mis-counted the days somewhere so this might be day 19 20 or 21 .. whatever it is it is close to the end of the trip. tomorrow we check into the hotel we started at, close to LAX before we fly out.
Today we went to 3rd St promenade ( mall ) for more damage to the credit card, great advantages of having opposite seasons, our summer stuff is on sale because Yankees are heading into winter, although you wouldn't know it with the warm weather.
Nothing too much to write about, just shopping and lunch at Yankee doodle- a sports cafe , where they have a supreme burger - a huge burger the size of a plate, literally, and the waiters blow whistles as they bring it out to announce it to all.
saw a busker in the mall we saw on the Getaway special on channel 9 ( a drummer who uses buckets etc ), he was very funny and pretty good.
Matthew loved the mall because there are statues of dinosaurs which are half metal and half vines and have water features involved ( jet of water shooting out of the mouth).
we returned home for dinner and packing to change homes for the last time. this may be our last entry because i don't think we have Internet access in our next room.
We are looking forward to coming home. See you all very soon!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Location: USA

Day 16 17 & 18
Day 16 - We left our lodgings outside Disney land and went for a late breakfast at Downtown Disney. Breakfast was a full buffet which was awesome, and later we finished some shopping here.
We then drove to the home of Addison Montgomerie in the show "Private Practice" , Santa Monica.
Santa Monica is about 60 minutes away from Anaheim, it is a beach side city. We checked into our new home which i didn't like because there is no carpark, you get a permit and have to park on the road... if you can find a park that is. we drove around the block for a bit and then found one, i had to get Evie to help me reverse park into a tight space ( i miss my reverse parking sensors). the place here is only 3 blocks away from the pacific ocean, and is huge compared to what we have been used to. it has a v large living/dining room a fully equipped kitchen ( smallish but functional) and upstairs....yes that's right upstairs there are 2 bedrooms and two bathrooms. we went shopping at the nearest store which happened to be a completely organic grocery store which was fantastic. the only thing they didn't have was someone at the checkout to pack our bags which we have got used inconvenient. Got home and had a home cooked meal ( roast chicken..awesome!!). Before we left to go shopping we walked outside at about 2 pm and saw the weirdest thing- was the middle of the afternoon and there was a thick fog, it was daytime and still a warmish day. Originally we thought something was on fire. the lady at the front desk says it is unusual although not that uncommon either.
Day 17
We headed out to Hollywood and mixed it with the beautiful people on Rodeo Drive, saw almost every sports and super car you can think of driving around. you can smell the capitalism in the air. we ticked a goal off Evie's list, - to eat at an American diner. we stopped for brunch and played a few songs on the jukebox ( 2 songs for a quarter). i played a couple of Beatles songs then i re-lived a few scenes from 'Back to the future' and played "earth angel" and "Mr Sandman" and repeated several lines from the movie much to Evie's disgust. The kids now do it with ice age 3 , even Matthew. Finished off with some Elvis and the beach boys
then we drove to the Santa Monica Pier ( you see this during the show private practice when they show a large jetty with a Ferris wheel and roller coaster), the pier is large and nothing too great. there is a farmers market there on Sundays with pony rids etc which we will try make.
Currently cirque du soleil is on the santa Monica beach with their newest show, cant decide whether to go or not.
We found a regular supermarket ( a Vons which is like coles- they are everywhere in every city) We like Vons because Evie got a discount card back in San Diego even though we dont live here.
Day 18
We headed out with an early start planned - didnt quite get there, we had to get back to rodeo drive for a trolley tour of bevery hills. this was a 40 min tour which was pretty good, went past some sites and stars homes. Hollywood is not all great, once you drive away from beverly hills it gets quite poor and dingy with lots of homeless people about. We drove down the sunset strip and then drove back to Santa Monica to go to the shopping precinct on the 3rd St promenade- ( like rundle mall but more shops), they have better buskers though. Evie managed some more retail therapy. Kids were starving so had to make it back home for dinner.
Evie and I love watching a reality tv show called cash cab. people in new york jump into a cab not knowing it is any different to any other cab. during their trip to their destination they have to answer general knowledge questions and they get $50 for each correct answer and all the passengers can answer. they get 3 strikes and they are out and they can use a street shout out , where the host(cab driver) pulls over and the passengers can call out to someone on the street to help them with the answer. most people tend to win some cash.
by the way the dodgers lost the other night, to the Philadelphia phillies. L.A still has a shot with the other LA team the Los Angeles Angels, who need to win the next two games in a row (against the NY Yankees) to play the Phillies.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Location: USA

Day 13 14 15 ( Last 3 days of Disneyland)
Day 13 - we checked out of the wilshire grand in downtown LA, on the way out, around the corner from our hotel, there was a film crew on the street but we didn't spot anyone famous. The town is a buzz because the LA Dodgers (baseball) still have a chance to make the world series. Made it to the new hotel just out from disneyland. Evie found the accomodation a little less than to her liking, but what are you gonna do? we settled in ok and since this is our last chance to enjoy disneyland we only need the place to sleep as we are out all day and night.
Day 13 at disneyland we got a few more rides done and Niko and Elleni did the starwars ride again, they have been on this ride every day we have been at disneyland atleast once or twice. our aim was to get to other parts of the park we didnt do last time.
I got to go on the Indiana Jones ride which was ok. I convinced Elleni it wasn't too scary and she went on with Evie and came off a little traumatized. Some more rides and caught the fireworks while in line for a go-Kart type ride, good day out again.
Day 14- We made it to the park fairly early and the park was not as busy as other times we had been there which was great for us, no huge lines. We got to disneyland first and got to some other new rides such as the Pirates of the carribean. We got to the other park ( California ) to have lunch with the Disney Princesses, which was enjoyed by all not just Elleni.
On to more rides here such as California Soarin - this is a ride which simulates a flight like suprman(except sitting) over various areas of California , the kids loved this one as did we, and so we did it twice. Evie and i went on the roller coaster California Screamin which was the most scary ride of all. you start by being catapulted up and over a huge ramp and includes a loop the loop. Niko and i went on a huge Ferris wheel which everyone else was scared of. We got a great spot for the daily parade which Niko was awake for this time, he loved it . we ended the day with dinner at the rainforrest cafe - which was ok , they had a mechanical gorrilla who would wake every 10 mins and a lightning and thunder storm every 20 mins the walls and ceilings are all covered with vines and leaves.
Day 15 - we told the kids this is the last day for Disneyland and we had to decide which rides to do, they decided ofcourse on Star tours ride again which we did twice and the most boring ride - Alice in wonderland we had to do again. i think most parents hate this ride because there is always a big line-up and it is slow and boring and only takes a few moments and its over.
We went on a bunch of rides in the morinng and got most things done very early. Elleni did Jedi training for the third time and got picked again. i got to ride space mountain ghost ride again, and Evie and I both got to go on the Splash mountain , evie got wetter than i did.the kids got to meet Winnie the Pooh and tigger . the park closed at 9pm today but we were out by 6.30- 7pm . i tink we were all, dare i say, Disneyed out!!
We made it to a restaurant in downtown disney ( a mall outside disneyland between the park and the Disney hotels), called Naples. The food is great as is the service. they had a ballon guy ( dressed normally, not a a clown), who was great, Niko and Matthew got light sabres with a belt and elleni got cinderella . In all, a very long day but thoroughly enjoyable.
check out the pictures.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Location: Downtown LA

Day 11 &12
Yesterday we had a relax day (sort of), we got up a bit later than usual had a slow relaxed breakfast and went shopping. our main goal was for kids shoes, downtown LA is hopeless for kids shoes.. adult shoes - not a problem. The night before i did some internet research and found a kids footlocker at a galleria in Glendale (shopping centre basically) we got there mid morning and it was not too busy but as we found out the busy time is late afternoon as the shops are always open late, the earliest is 8pm sometimes til 10pm even on sundays. found some great shoes for the kids , Matthews shoes have lights in them and light up when he walks. this was a little dangerous at first as he would look at his feet while walking and not at where he was going. he is walking normally now. We thought the shopping in the galleria was good, until we went outside to the mall called Americana on Brand ( essentially a block of shops with only pedestrian access with a playgound and fountain with squirting water to music.). We were loathed to go outside as the temperature was 35C. We were glad we did though, as these were great shops and some of the high class shops were there also ie/ armani, guess, Tiffany & co etc. We got some clothes and since Elleni did not want to walk anymore decided to go home. Heavy traffic on the way home which took a while.
Day 12
Today was another late start, we made the last hour of breakfast and for those who have seen Niko and Mashie eat ( v slowly ),this was just in time. Our plan today was to go to the Natural History Museum. We got there well, sunday traffic is much better, even parking available on the street. The museum was pretty cool as was the weather, only 26C. They had in the front part of the museum a T rex and triceratops side by side which looked great, Adelaide museum only has a T rex head. In the dinosaur section they had a show where an actor controls a huge dinosaur replica from inside. combined with a great sound system in a dim lit hall, it made for a great show. Some kids even cried due to the realism. the first show had a juvenile T rex then in the afternoon they had a juvenile Triceratops. The museum wasn't all dinosaurs though, we saw some meteorites and precious gems like one of three red diamnds over 5 carats in the world ( the Kazanjian Red diamond). this one had an amazing history as it was discovered in South Africa ended up in the Netherlands stolen by the Nazis and rediscovered in a Salt mine in Bavaria near Hitlers retreat. the stone is not that big but is blood red in colour. Between the two dinosaur shows we had to go to the nearby california science centre, as the museum cafe was under re construction. they had a maccas in there so the kids were happy. Still have crappy toys in the happy meals here by the way. What they did have of interest was an indoor rock climb set up. Elleni really wanted to give it a go and so she did, and she did pretty well, not quite to the top, but about half way. We were very proud.
we left the museum to go back to the Americana mall, some more shopping including some bling for Evie and then dinner. We decided to eat at Cafe Primo, ( nothing like the ones back home), good food and excellent service. Matthew down-ed one of the largest choc chip cookies i have ever seen.
The drive home wasn't too bad traffic wise, we settled in for the night and packed for the next move back to Anaheim to take on Disney land again

Friday, 16 October 2009

Location: Los Angeles, USA

DAY 9 & 10
hi to everyone, yesterday we drove from San Diego back to LA. We are staying in downtown LA this time. A little difficult to find the hotel but we got there in the end. Thank goodness for the GPS navigation, i dont know if we would have made it with a map the roads go in all directions at once.
we checked in and went for a walk, we went shopping at Macys nearby. The US is great for cheap clothes especially with the current dollar rate.
Day 10 we spent at Universal studios. This was always going to be aimed more for the big kids. having said that the little kids had fun too.
We got there early as the park opens at 10 am. we went thru the entrance gates at 9.45 and waited inside for the park to open ( no one was allowed in ) Our first goal was to get to the inner park ticket booth to upgrade our tickets to the front of line pass. When the park officially opened we made it to the booth first and got them. there are only a limited no. of these tickets isseued and it means you dont have to line up and you get preferred seating at all the shows, and some extra bonuses like behind the scenes talk to the actors in the water world show.
we sarted with a studio tour on the buses which was great, lots of interesting facts and great fun. the kids loved the "Jaws" shark and the "mummy returns" spinning tunnel. Elleni liked seeing Norman Bates at the Bates motel ( an actor putting a body in the boot of a car and chasing the bus with a knife in hand ) from the movie Psycho.
then off to see Shrek 4D ride - again our passes meant no waiting in line, which was great as the temp today went to 32 C ( the park had micro srayers and fans set up at all the lines and on light poles around the park to keep people cool, although it wasnt to bad - the heat that is). we all loved this one except for Matthew who got a little scared.
then Evie and Elleni went on the Simpsons ride which is simulated roller coaster, Elleni came off the ride looking a little distressed. but it couldnt have been too bad beaude at the end of the day she dragged her mum on it again. I also went on by my self. it was pretty good.
We stopped for a bite to eat and then off to the Water World show, this was great, we sat in the "soak zone " hoping to get wet but no luck. Kids loved the show.
Evie and the kids went to the "Curious George playground" which has water falling , dripping etc from above and also squirting from the ground, while i went off to find the mummy ride. Evie and all 3 kids were playing in an area when the heard a count down and before they knew it they were standing in the wrong spot because a huge amount of water was dumped on them from above saturating them all from top to toe.
the Mummy ride is an indoor roller coaster like ghost mountain at disney land but not quite as good. i still liked this ride never the less.
We met up together so Evie could try the mummy ride then we went on the jurrasic park ride separately which is also good. as mentioned the last ride of the day was Elleni and Evie on the simpsons ride. before that however we saw Niko's favourite part of the day- The Backdraft show. this is where you are shown how hollywood does special effects with fire. Matthew missed most of the show with his eyes shut and face implanted into Evies shoulder.
during the day we got some photos with various characters, we missed a coupe of things on the list of things to do - but over all a very long day - perhaps an excuse to return some day.
we got in the car to return to our hotel, the trip to the park this morning took only 20-30 mins in traffic. the return trip had an 8 km stretch travelling at 10 Kph. we took much longer to get home as we left at 5.30 and it is a friday here today. lots of traffic, which is apparently normal. it took just over an hour. we settled in for the night and we have a couple of free days now which we might try to fit in a beverly hills tour , a museum visit and some shopping.
bye for now - check out the photos.

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Recent Messages

From Tina Lattas
Hi George, Evie and Co, Well what can i guys look like your having an absolute ball. Kosta can't get over all the lego and star wars photos. They look absolutely spectacular. What an experience!! Brilliant way to go with the diary, Keep it up. I thoroughly enjoy reading your experiences. And by the way George, i love Rule number 2 - God parent buys god child first car. Way to go guys..... Kosta is so excited. Love to you all. The Lattas Clan xoxoxoxox
Response: Hi Tina sorry we have not got back to you sooner, we are having a great time, but as all holidays do, it is coming to an end soon. we will take some great memories with us. Some bad news with the car situation.... it is the fine print we put in the contract of our kids godparents , so rule 2 does not apply. sorry. look forward to catching up when we return. xxoo
From Christy
Wow! What a blast! I am re-living every moment with you guys...but instead of being soaked at the curious geroge playground I am typing away here at my to you all, Christy x
From Debbie Thomas
Wow - this is great, getting to take the journey with you. So good to see you all having a wonderful time.
Response: Thanks Deb!
We love getting all the messages & have fun updating the blog!
From Jana
Hello boys and girls,

Just to set the at work looking at this and tears have welled up in my eyes! Very jealous!!! So thanks for the posts :) Only joking! Im so glad to hear you are having a great time. Make sure you buy my Godson WHATEVER HE WANTS OK! :) Love you all heaps. Stay safe. mwa xoxoxoxox
Response: Hi Jana!
Were you not aware of Rule number 2 of being a godparent? Rule 2 - godparent buys godchild their 1st car (just ask Steve..Elleni's Nouno :))!!
Love ya & hope Livaditis family is well.
From Peter AKA nephew, go
Hi u guys must be having a blast, wish i was there 2! :)
love u and miss u guys cya xox
Response: from Elleni Niko and Mashie- hi pete we wish you were here, you would have loved legoland. miss you too. see you soon.xox
From peter p, peter ds fr
hello how is america it looks good hahaha!! :)
Response: Elleni here , peter d's cousin - america is great thanks for the message. hahaha!
From Zara!
The dumbo ride i remember that! good times... mum got scared on it. Nice Beyonce moves Elleni! L and M u guys. xoxoxoxo ZD
Response: thanks Zara
love Elleni xxoo
From Louie
Glad to see you guys are having a great time. All is well back home and we miss you guys
Response: all is going well so far , keep an eye out for more photos.
From Dim & Bill
Thats fantastic Niko met Darth Vadar. What a experience! The kids must be having a blast & the 2 big kids..
Response: kids are having a great time except alot of walking for elleni, she is getting used to it now. it is good fun for the adults too.
From Stella, Angelo and E
hi guys happy to see the kids are having a ball from the photos, Niko and Mathew must of been excited to meet darth vadar and the rest of the jedi knights.Hope you got the play on video would love to see Eleni and Niko on stage. How are you guys coping with the time difference and jet lag? You must be special guests to be picked up by a limo are you sure you arent part of the hiltons? Make sure you are having a few drinks on us once the kids are in bed. Would have been awesome seeing the fire works from the balcony (very romantic haha.) We are well Elise says hi to everyone she enjoyed seeing the photos. Say hi and filakia to the kids xxxooo glad you guys are enjoying yourselves we miss you all. from Angelo Stella and Elise
Response: Hi Guys!
After speaking to Stella yesterday..the update for today is.... we made it to Universal Studios today! It was time for the big kids to have lots of fun :). Elleni was v brave and went on the simpsons ride - twice which was awesome (a simulator roller coaster)! So far their fav place is disneyland (surprise surprise) and they are looking forward to going back there Monday (actually we all are!). Stay safe , take care and love & miss you all heaps xxoo PS..give Elise lots of hugs & kisses from us all!!
From Jack and Angela
Have fun guys, we hope you have an amazing time. 2 Adults, 3 kids on the plane for 14 hours should be a snap! Give Mickey Mouse a big hug for Melina.
Response: Hi , plane trip not bad at all, all a blast so far. I am trying to speak like an american but I dont think i am quite there yet dog gaunit..tell Melina Mickey says Hi! George and Evie