Location: Top 20 Observations of the USA, USA
Whilst we have a bit of spare time and given I am in the mood for writing, thought I would jot down some observations from here in the USA....
1. America reduces you to feeling like you are an idiot as almost EVERY toilet experience is an adventure in itself and I find myself in their feeling hapless. Automatic flushes, 500 differen't kind of taps in the wash basin, toilet seat protectors, paper towel dispensers, you name it, I have seen it.....
2. The Hotel evelebators here have a star beside the button of the floor that houses the Hotel Lobby. A simple but effective thing.
3. Everytime I ask for Coca Cola in a restaraunt, they have Pepsi, whenever I ask for Pepsi they have Coke.
4. Taxes on goods and services are a pain as they aren't included in the price you see on a pricetag or on a menu.
5. So much loose change, so much loose change, so much loose change...
6. Yes boys and girls in America, AC/DC did come from Australia, yes we are Australian....but you really don't have to change the music in your bar/restaraunt to AC/DC just because we are in here.
7. People guessing our accents is always funny, we have had South African, English, New Zealand and Irish. Not too many pick Australian straight away.
8. Free soft drink refills....EVERYWHERE!!!!
9. If you live in Atlanta, it seems that your religion is Coca Cola and pity help the person who tries to argue that Pepsi is better, I was lucky to make it out alive....
10. Beer = nice beer and low carb beer.
11. Crossing the road here entitles you to literally stop traffic. Cross the road at any place other than a pedestrian crossing will see the traffic literally stop for you. But don't try this at home kids...
12. Any wonder why America is a nation with so many largish people....it's very hard to escape restaraunts and menu's that serve things other than a variety of Burgers, Pizza, Chicken Wings/Tenders...and any way you want your fries you can get em here.
13. They call their mustard, YELLOW MUSTARD. As if to distnguish it from other kinds of mustard which is also....yep, YELLOW.
14. Billy Ray Cyrus, the man who took the world by storm with Achy Breaky Heart is back with a new album. Thought you might like to know...
15. People in the service industry are a very polite bunch....with lot's of "Your Welcome", "Thankyou Sir" etc, etc, seems more so than back home...
16. Soooo many local American airlines, I think at least 10 that I have encountered.
17. Today in the Hotel we got a complimentary make up remover and a shoe mitte....BUT they didn't have toilet paper on a toilet roll holder and we didn't get complimentary shampoo or shower gel etc.
18. Why don't hotel bathrooms have exhaust fans???
19. Here they collect the pickles that people throw out of McDonalds hamburgers and give them to venus and they fry them in a batter and serve them like hot potato chips. But they are a taste sensation and I am definitely bringing them back to my restaruant that I will open here in Australia....
20. The obsesssion with cinamon, grape, horrible red and peanut butter flavoured things....
21. People say "excuse me" when they are apologising for doing something they shouldn't of like bumping into you in a supermarket....it just sounded so differen't to the usual Australian way of "sorry".
22. You can get complimentary lemon juice at Burger King
23. Only Australian's would understand this....but they use the words "scone" and "biscuit" to effectively refer to a bread roll.
24. Your ID is checked everytime you use a credit card
25. There are bike racks on the front of buses so that cyclists can catch a bus and transport their bike on the front of bus
26. Drive thru ATM machines....yep you heard right!!
Location: Hollywood, USA
A few days back in Hollywood to finish us off. And yep you guessed it...time spent back at the Rainbow Bar and Grill catching up with friends from back home in Melbourne and new friends made a few weeks back. Did however go check out a bit of Cruefest at the infamous Whisky A Go Go....another surreal moment to be standing meters from the stage that The Doors, Van Halen and Guns N Roses once played. Such a tiny venue too...
Barely anything else to report that was differen't to our earlier time in Hollywood! Feel right at home here, Hollywood rules, maybe one day I will live here?? Who knows??
Location: Cleveland, USA
Hello, Hello, Hello,
Well due to technical difficulties, this latest update will come without the multimedia aspect of photo's. Our laptop has decided to stop working, so our source of Internet has been at the Hotel's, but unfortunately sometimes this ain't free...but today it is!
Since the last update our travels have taken us from Chicago to Atlanta and now onto Cleveland where I currently sit.
Atlanta was a fun filled experience, seeing us connect with the area made famous to both Troy and I via our favourite musical artist, Butch Walker (who hails from Atlanta). Via these connections, Troy knew a whole bunch of people in Atlanta, so for our 2 days we were driven around via our expert tour guides. Atlanta was far differen't to what we had experienced previously - the city was full of greenery in the form of tree's and was incredibly spread out, where no matter where you wanted to go by car it seemed you needed to head out onto one of the Interstates/Freeways. We experienced our first real downpour of rain during daylight hours, not that this really affected us as we were dining yet again on Burgers and Chicken and Pizza!
For those Butch Walker fans reading this...whilst we didn't get to meet the great man, we did go by his house, visited Grant Park, saw the numerous venues where he has played gigs and visited his tattoo artist.
We found an Australian Bakery in the heart of East Atlanta.....was pretty fair dinkum authentic too. Sold Bundaberg Ginger Beer, BBQ Shapes, Tim Tams, Cherry Ripes, Meat Pies, Bread, Vegemite and some other odds and sodds. Don't ask me how and why it came to be there.....
Parts of Atlanta were damn scary due to us at times finding ourselves being the only white folk and being verbally and almost physically harassed by pan handling princes, street beggars, smart asses and over zealous car parking attendants!
Of course we went and saw a band whilst here. This time it was Cinder Road, who both Troy and I have been in contact with other Myspace at various times over the past few years. This is a band to watch out for and maybe some day they will be known here in Australia...particularly if we have anything to do with it! Got to meet a few of the guys in the band who of course knew who we were. It's actually fun chatting to all these bands and having our brains picked about what makes the Australian music scene tick.
We had a couple of great nights out on the town...with our farewell night being spent at Metalsome which is a karoake bar with a live rockband, where the song selections are a host of hard rock/heavy metal songs from the 80's and 90's. Right up my alley....
Yesterday we arrived in Cleveland, the home of ROCK N ROLL. The purpose of visiting Cleveland was to go and see one of our favourite bands, Bowling For Soup. A mate in the UK who is good friends with the band arranged VIP passes for us, so that got us seats in our own little "opera style" section at the side of stage. Cool stuff indeed, and we got to meet up with the band after the show so that was cool! An awesomely funny band and once again we had our brains picked about the Australian music scene.
Today we went and checked out the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. Cleveland is known as the Home of Rock N Roll due to the person who came up with the word Rock N Roll hailing from Cleveland back in the 1950's. The Hall Of Fame was awesome, far better than expected with ALL kinds of memorabilia scattered throughout from all styles of music and all over the world.
Cleveland is a nice open City with the smell of fresh air..something we aint' had that much of. It will certainly be memorable for it's taxi drivers. Without a doubt we had the SCARIEST taxi driver ever yesterday. He did NOT speak a word and looked like an American Indian Chief. He kept staring at us via his rearview mirror and his loooong hair was all bundled up into a hairnet. Troy and I were too scared to talk...so it was a silent 30 minue trip! But, we made it to our hotel safe and sound and our other 2 taxi driver experiences have been memorable for their incredible sense of humour!
Tonight is just a quiet night hanging out at our hotel before the finish off our trip with a BANG. 4 days in Las Vegas staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and then 2 nights in Los Angeles, which will no doubt almost entirely be spent at the Rainbow Bar and Grill!
Well signing off for now, gonna go and watch some baseball on TV.....
Hope you are all well!
Location: Arkansas, Memphis, Chicago..., USA
Yep, started talking like American's already....it's hard not to pick up the reference Y'all when everyone uses it constantly in sentences, but that of course depends upon where you are from...
The last few days have been adventuresome to say the least. Rewinding back to the last installment form Rocklahoma....Troy and I (Scott) bid farewell to our Aussie rock friends and hit the open highway for Memphis. Armed with some directions from fellow Rocklahomian's and a very basic road map of the USA, we navigated our way on the North's and South's and East's and Wests.....for fellow Australian's, the highway system here is all based on numbers and directions. So we took the I40 East to Memphis. And those big boards that say Memphis 250 Miles, Nashville 300 Miles, well they don't exist as frequently as back home. All up the trip from Tulsa Oklahoma to Memphis was about 500 miles, we left at 7.30am and dropped off the hire car abour 6pm. A lot longer than we thought, but well worth the experience. The only daunting experience was hitting Memphis and having no idea where the Airport was which is where we needed to drop off the car. One would think something like the airport would be adequately displayed, but alas it wasn't.... But with my silky smooth precision driving skills, we nagivated lanes and dodged trucks and found our way there eventually by following our noses!! The shower that followed in our hotel room was the most awaited shower of all time.....it had been 4 days since our last one afterall.....I kid you not! But we didnt' smell, we had 'baby wipes' to keep us clean at Rocklahoma!
Memphis was somewhere that I had been before, so was highly familiar with it. We stayed right near Beale St, which is the infamous district chock full of blues bars, wailing guitars, blowing saxophones and BBQ and Gumbo and Shrimp and Fried Pickles and BIG ASS BEER! It's all here.. We met up with my friend Ann, who is a Memphis local of sorts (at least she works there). We were taken out to a few of the bars for some well earned beers after the big drive. And we went to the Blues City Cafe for a big feast of BBQ Ribs which came with Texas Chips and Texas Bread and BBQ Baked Beans. They said that the meat literally falls off the ribs, and that it did. A delightful feast of the highest order....
Our 2nd day was spent visiting Graceland. The photo's on our photo page will tell that story. Graceland is not quite the opulent mansion that many may think. It is a modest size, and sure it has some mighty elaborate rooms, but again, the size is not that overwhelming. The jungle room is a favourite of mine....as is his racquet ball shed which is now filled with Gold Records and various other pieces of memorabilia. Of course there are plenty of shops at Graceland and a few little things were bought for friends back home. Quite funny to see what you can and can't buy....
Next up was a visit to the legendary Gibson Guitar Factory to get a 1 hour tour on how guitars are made. Rather interesting indeed....
We met up with Ann again who took us out for a feed of Fried Pickles. What a taste sensation those were..... Imagine the pickles you get in a McDonalds burger, fried in batter.... AWesome!!! Then we went out to a Memphis suburb to catch up with another friend of mine, the talented singer/songwriter Scott Sudbury who was playing a covers gig. He played some cool tunes, did the obligatory AC/DC songs for us couple of Aussies, and also played the theme song of our trip which we have adpoted. 'Don't Stop Believin' by Journey...which is an American anthem over here, not sure if many Aussies would know it.
Didn't sleep that night as had to be at the airport at around 4.30am for our 6am flight to Chicago. Flight went well, but had some big security checks at Memphis. It seems that some of my Elvis souvineirs raised some eyebrows of customs, so my day backpack was fully searched and after about 5 minutes I was cleared to go...
Chicago we met up with the band White Lion and hung out with them, then headed to their gig here in Chicago. The hotel we are staying at is about 40 minutes of out Chicago, so didn't get to see the City itself. Today was just spent having a very low key day. Slept in until 11am...which was the first decent sleep for quite some time...well deserved!
Hung out at the mall and had some root beer, a burger, ate a pretzel, bought a few things and took in some generla American Culture. It's been great to just do nothing for a whole day....just relax in our awesome hotel room, do some washing, catch up on some emails, etc, etc.
Tomorrow we are off to Atlanta to catch up with a bunch of Troy's friends, so that promises to be a fun filled few days. Lot's has been planned for us, including quite a few gigs and visits to musical places of significane....at least of significance to us anyways!!
Well the washing machine has done it's job so shall bid you farewell....
Take care y'all!
Location: Rocklahoma......, USA
Over the last 4 days we have been based in the wide open expands of Pryor, Oklahoma, attending the innaugral 4 day rock music festival "Rocklahoma" featuring around 25 of the biggest hard rock bands from the 80's that ever were, with about 40,000 in attendance, including about 10 Aussies.
My, my, my....this was without a doubt one of the best 4 days of our lives. Where does one start with even beginning to tell the story...in the words of Meatloaf himself, for us all "Rock N Roll Dreams Come True"...and for us they certainly did. We met and hung out backstage with some of our biggest musical hero's, we got to see bands perform we never ever thought we would see, we met some amazing friendly people...and it's fair to say that us contingent of about 10 Australian's took that festival by storm.
Once word spread that there were a bunch of crazy Aussie's that travelled over for the festival....there was no hiding. Photo requests from hordes of people, interviews with some of the biggest American musical media outlets who are going to feature our adventures, bands wanting to meet up with us, shout outs from up on stage by bands/MC's.....at times we wondered whether it was us that was the highlight of the festival, or he music, haha!!
The whole festival was an awesome set up, and the logistics of it was far better than I imagined. The free food and drinks were in abundance, easy to access and of an exceptional quality so we were always well fed and nourished! Our 5 star accomodation for 3 of us in a mini van was suprisingly good....but not much sleep was anticipated anyways. For the best part of the 4 days we ended up sitting in seats about 2 rows from the front of stage. The weather was very warm but not oppresively hot, but due to all the floods over the past weeks, the festival grounds were recovering from flooding so it took a little bit for it all to dry out.
A full comprehensive review of all the bands with setlists a bunch of photo's etc will follow once we return home. For now, just a quick update and a few photo's showing off who we got to hang out with and meet....so check them out in the photo section of this page!
Bye for now, we in Memphis about to head off to Graceland!
PS: We survived driving the 450 miles from Oklahoma to Memphis, that was an awesome experience and will be featured in the next installment!!