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New York New York

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sunny 10 °C

After the excessive drinking, loss of money, plastic injected women, basically the unrealistic living style that is Vegas we were very excited to head to New York and live like a local for the next two weeks. For as long as i can remember New York has always intrigued me.. I was positive I was going to relive Sex in the City episodes..Watch out New York here comes Samantha...
( i think Sam identified with her similarly named character..- W) We arrived at JKF to a cloudy, windy, rainy, 6 degrees day..not ideal. We caught the subway..(so hip) to our new home in Manhatten. Will's friend Steve has been kind enough to have us, He lives in Tribeca - the most expensive urban zipcode in America.... yees! Steves apartemnt was fantastic and we were soon settled on the couch, out of the weather... But that didnt last long... It was time to head to the famous Radio City Music Hall for something we have been looking forward to for months... FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS! The theatre was unbelievable and FOTC was just as we imagined... hilarious... We were exhausted afterwards and crashed out, needing to get some sleep before tackling New York City.
We sat down the next morning and wrote a list of touristy stuff we had to do.. it got quite long, NYC is the kind of place that you could do something different and fun every day for a year and still have not covered it all.. The first on the list? Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. The view fro the middle of bridge takes in quite a bit of Lower Manhattan, it was beautiful.. There was one thing missing though, a big gap where the World Trade Centre once stood... So we thought we should go check it out. New Yorkers still keep the events of Sept 11 very close to their hearts. Around the site there are tributes to those lost and those who saved others.. St Pauls Church is next door, and is filled with these.. I think a saw Sam squeeze out a tear or two.
We strolled down Wall St past thousands of very depressed looked pin stripe wearing homeless bankers... the recession here is really taking its toll, all the boys in the house we are staying in work in finance, and they have never seen it worse - We on the other hand have no idea, because we are completely unemployed.
We arrived in Battery Park, at the very bottom of Manhattan island. The best thing about Manhattan is the parks, that break up the huge ridiculous skyscrapers.. Spring is trying to break through, and it was great to sit and take it all in.. That was enough for day one, only 15 to go...

Posted by willandsam 14:14 Archived in USA Tagged foot Comments (1)

Vegas baby Vegas

The most ridiculous place there is

sunny 25 °C

After our 11pm flight we rocked in to Vegas at around 1am Saturday night... Probably the worst time to be trying to locate/get to check in to a hotel... Because Vegas was built in the desert with the express purpose of creating a place where guys could fly in, get hammered, indulge in all kinds of vice, and get home again asap, the airport was only a few k's from the strip... We hopped in a cab, wide eyed and unbelieving at the neon lights, homeless guys and hookers..We soon arrived at Excalibur (our hotel) - we chose this place because we were looking for the tackiest, stupidest, most unbelievable place we could. Excalibur is a huge pretend medieval castle, complete with busty wenches (waitresses), horse riding knights, turrets, a moat, and hideous carpet scheme. Excellent.
If Vegas is loose, then Vegas early on a sunday morning is about as loose as it gets... We walked through the doors to find hundreds of people in various states of inebriation, gambling and drinking their way into oblivion, all lit by kilometres of garish neon and set to a musical score consisting of constantly competing Pokie tunes. wow.
Somehow we found our room and locked the door, deciding to leave wait until tomorrow to join the masses and lose our money.
Sunday came and the vice didn't get any better.. the same people greeted us on our arrival to the Casino floor, some having not moved from the tables they were at the previous night. Disgusted but also intrigued, we immediately headed for the comparative solace of the gym, thinking that if we were going to drink and gamble ourselves stupid, we had better do some exercise first. (i know, ive changed - its sams fault - she is a fitness freak). Every km on the treadmill enhanced my thirst, and we soon found ourselves in the Bellagio, ordering spirits at midday and rady to get rid of some of our funds... Sam lost $40 in Blackjack in about 5 minutes, but my superior skills saw us still come out (slightly) up after the afternoons play.... And thats not even counting the fact that they served us about 30 free drinks while we were at it. We crawled from one ridiculous casino to another... Bellagio, Ceasars Palace, New York New York, Paris, Ballys, Palms... winding up at 2am with a bunch of Spanish guys, smoking cigars and paying too much for drinks... sweet. A great night and one to hazily remember in Vegas.
The next day saw us barely leave the room as our heads pounded from too much champagne... Standard procedure, and a much needed rest before it was time to head to the Big Apple.....

Posted by willandsam 12:50 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (1)

ROAD TRIP

Gordo heads to San Francisco

semi-overcast 12 °C

Although no celebrity sighting was actually achieved in LA this was not due to lack of trying..i have no regrets crouching in Jennifer Aniston’s bush, no regrets going through Courtney Cox’s rubbish or no regrets stalking anyone who might have looked slighty famous. It was time though, for another ROAD TRIP...San Fran aka San Francisco and the Tanner family were awaiting our arrival and although i had plenty of stalking left in me i was very excited to head north in the silver beast aka Gordo.. Will surprisingly picked up driving on the wrong side of the road very well and before we knew we were heading up the 101 Freeway... Along the way we drove through Malibu which was home to celebs such as Angeline & Brad, Adam Sandler, Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell etc we didnt see anyone but i was still so excited...the drive was long and it was pouring with rain most of the way so visibility was rather low..but im sure the scenery was brilliant, in fact im positive.. finally 9 hours later we arrived in San Fran...

Due to contrary belief Will does have some friends and we were lucky enough to stay with Sepo aka Chris and his lovely girlfriend Asia right in the heart of San Fran. Being the hospitable couple they are they filled us with plenty of tour guides, famous sights and just in general great things to do around SF.

First stop was the big red bridge aka Golden Gate. As we drove over the beautiful bridge the Fullhouse song filled my head, memories of the Tanner family came flooding back and yes i will admit i thought we might see someone from the show driving next to us. The bridge was even better than imagined, it is so pretty and the geography reminded us a bit of the Sydney ie Sydney Harbour Bridge aka Coat Hanger joining the centre of the city.

Already in love with San Francisco Will and I spent a few days just walking around and admiring the architecture and pretending we were one of the locals. Our main downfall, apart from our accent, was whenever we went to pay for something we got confused with the change...dime, nickles...blah just give them a domination...people you can see the confusion. So in the end we would just pull out a pile of change and ask the attendants to pick out which coin they needed thus ruining our cover as locals and possibly giving them the idea we were very stupid...something that Will has been battling with this whole trip.

Hey batter batter...our cool roomies also took us to a baseball game.. The Giants v The Brewers, it was the first game of the season and the game was packed, it was awesome, amazing atmosphere, we followed that with a great dinner and a few sneaky drinks.

The next day saw us visit Alcatraz..this was a highly educational and enjoyable experience. We battled the cold (awesome Asia let me borrow her waterproof jacket..thank god this saved me from developing hypothermia) and headed over on the ferry. Once there we were given headphones which had an audio tour on the history of the island giving us a blow by blow description of the prison and the scary things that happened there, there was even an exert from an old inmate who gave his personal experience of the cell as well as talking about some of the famous inmates..Robert Straud aka Bird Man, Al Capone etc ....one of us may or may not of had scary dreams that night...it was Will

Unfortunately or as some might think fortunately we were heading to Vegas on Saturday..originally it was meant to be an early morning flight but one of us may have booked the flight thinking the 10:30 was AM but in fact as Chris pointed out it was actually PM...hrmmm woops my bad..however there was a silver lining..we ended up going out to a few clubs..one which had actual beer pong tables and red plastic cups..straight from a movie..and another..and another..this is where my memory gets a bit dusty but it was fun, there was alcohol and did i mention we love San Francisco and its people.

Fighting a horrible hang over we managed to drag ourselves out of bed and our awesome roomies took us to “Sam’s Cafe” ...and yes it is a coincidence that we are both awesome and smell of alcohol..

Several bloody mary’s later, a simple photo, a ton of funny jokes and we had made friends with the table next to us - Jake, Peg and Sarah.. Jake generously offered to take us out on his boat and take us to Angel Island for the day...urrmm let me think about that...oh there will be lunch and wine...urrmmm twist our arm, lets go!!!

We have been struck by how friendly people are here on the west coast.. We always thought Aussies were the friendliest people around, but West Coast Americans have gone out of their way to be nice to us... I think the Aussie accent and the presence of a nice looking blonde piece (will) have helped....

Although a random invitation onto a boat might seem a bit forward, we have decided to always go for it whenever an opportunity arises, so with a surge of enthusiasm we jumped aboard Jakes awesome yacht and off we went... We soon found out that Jake and his ship mates didnt actually know each other either... All three of them were members of meetup.com, a website where people register their interests .. in this case boating..

After a game of croquet (I won), several more glasses of wine, some yummy sandwiches and pumpkin seeds we headed back home...not before we picked up another lovely couple who had unfortunately missed the last ferry..Meet Nancy & Derek..another lovely, overly friendly SF couple. We once again had to celebrate this new friendship the only way we knew how...beers...!!

Before we knew it it was time to head back home and fly out to Vegas...we sadly waved Good Bye to Chris & Asia..promising to come back and live in their house (they were extremely pleased, i could tell)...

Next stop..the land of neon lights aka VEGAS.....

Posted by willandsam 18:45 Archived in USA Tagged transportation Comments (2)

Los Angeles

The madness begins

sunny 26 °C

Sadly it was soon time for us to leave Costa Mesa and head into the big sprawling mess of LA... Sam was (over) confident that we would see celebrities at every corner, Lindsay Lohan in the gutter, and Britney getting out of a car with no undies, so with a great amount of anticipation we headed to the hire car place to pick up our transportation.

The decision to drive has been long debated, as my abilities to drive on the wrong side of the road were compared by some to Manlys ability to win a game... ie not good. Confident i could prove the critics wrong, we headed to John Wayne Airport. (yes they named the airport after John Wayne. God Bless America)

We were handed the keys to a brand spanking new silver Mazda 3, which we christened Gordon.. a brother for Jules’ beloved Ruby. Hesitantly backing out of the rental car place, we set off... Quiet streets soon turned to smog filled 28 lane highways filled with abusive angry rush hour commuters...

We made it off the freeway and turned onto Famed Hollywood Boulevard.. The hookers were out in force, the homeless lined the street, and the street performers persisted with their bad batman impressions... Ah it was good to be there amongst the weirdos..... We parked Gordon and walked to the nearest coffee shop, across the road from the famous Manns Chinese Theatre... We sat down and realised we were skint, so i went to the ATM. As i was getting money out, a fight broke out right behind me on the sidewalk, two guys just hooking into each other in broad daylight, 11 in the morning, chicks screaming, it was all happening. This understandably surprised us, but a few more days in the city would see us become used to such shenanigans.. Everything in LA is bigger, better and badder than anywhere we’ve been... Instead of arguing, they fight.. Instead of walking, they strut... instead of normal coffee cups, they’re buckets, and instead of normal houses, they’re ridiculous over the top mansions.... Believe me, i was about to find this out first hand.....

After dropping our gear off at the crusty motel 6 on Hollywood and Vine, we did what Sam had been itching to do for weeks.. stalk some celebs. We picked up the mandatory ‘Map to the Stars homes’, fired Gordon up, and headed into the hills... First stop - Miss L. Lohan. Apparently she lived in some huge block of apartments, along with Mathew Perry and Cher... Expecting some beautifully landscaped condos with fountains flowing with champagne, and golden gates with diamond handles, we were bitterly disappointed to find a pretty b grade building.... Trust Lohan to have no class.

It got better though, as we decided to stalk some other members of Friends... Jennifer Anistons hedge looks a bit worse for wear after Sam camped in it for half an hour, and im pretty sure Courtney Cox has taken out a restraining order.... Not to mention Nicholas Cage, Jennifer Lopez and Angelina Jolie.. Finally though we got to do something i wanted to do.. go to the Playboy Mansion! Well, stop on the street outside the playboy mansion, and gaze longingly inside....
After putting about 100 miles on Gordons clock, we headed up into the hills, and straight to the big HOLLYWOOD sign... The view was amazing and the size of LA incredible.... We still had a bit of time so we drove to Bel Air and cruised down Rodeo Drive...Sam hanging her head out the window like a hungry dog as we passed stores that only multi billionaires would ever enter.... Somehow I managed to get out with my credit rating still intact.... By then though it was time to get some rest, as we had a big day battling the crowds tomorrow, at Universal Studios....

After the sheer awesomeness of Disneyland, we headed to Universal with a fair amount of anticipation... Unlike Disneyland, we thankfully managed to arrive on a day where only half the population of California were there, so we only had to wait several hours to get in... We battled our way though waves of over stimulated kids and jumped on the tour of the movie lot, which took us through the backlots and sets used in a ton of movies...It was actually pretty interesting how they put it all together.. After that though we got down to the serious business of going on as many rides as we can, while stuffing ourselves with junk food (or health food, in Sams case)... The highlight though was definitely lining up for photos with various characters, while being at least 12 years older than anyone else in the line... hmmm
With our blood sugar levels through the roof, we soon crashed out, which was a good thing, seeing as the next day we had a serious drive on our hands... Up the US101 to San Francisco...

Posted by willandsam 20:44 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (2)

Adoption

Is is possible at 25...

semi-overcast 20 °C

Everyday in Costa Mesa has been jammed pack with exciting adventures and this is mainly due to our fantastic hosts "Saint" Helen and Chuck "Organised" Scrantom and their family. From parties, to fine dining dinners, to going out on the boat, to shopping, to lunches, to baking us cookies, to having breakfast ready every morning for us, lunch & dinner on the table, to the infamous 5pm Cocktail Hour (which happens everyday and is awesome), to playing golf, to having lunch with the girls, to washing our clothes and basically just looking after us..this trip wouldnt be nearly as wonderful without them.

Having been corrupted by the American fast paced technologically advanced way of life Will and I have succumbed to the pressure and bought ourselves a laptop. A MAC...oh it is very sleek and sexy and although i cant use a mac gosh we look good sitting in Starbucks pretending to do work when in fact we are just trying to find the "on" button. We (mainly Will) are currently editing together our video of everything that we have done so far and hopefully will have it uploaded for you to see our adventures..sit tight..i know you're excited


Unfortunately like all good things our Scrantom time must come to an end, however, the Scrantoms have not seen the last of us, and i do remember Helen suggesting we stay for as long as we like, Lucy offering her house & convincing us to come back in summer and Steve offering his house to us for a week whilst he is away. Little do they know i intend to take everyone of them up on their offer as this place is to good to be true. We love it and we love the Scrantoms. God Bless America....

Still to come..Sam and Will take on Hollywood, visit Universal Studios, stalk some celebs and road trip up to San Francisco..

Posted by willandsam 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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