This blog covers our trip around the world in 2006. We will post here with news of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy! Ang & Jane

Monday, August 14

Location:  Queenstown
Miles Travelled:  19235
Time Zone:  GMT + 11

Hello! Yeah, it's us... As you may have noticed, we're a bit rubbish at keeping the blog up to date... Basically, we're busy!! We're trying to see and do as much as is humanly possible in the amount of time we have. That's our excuse, and we're sticking to it!

First up, the belated birthdays! Happy birthday to Sonya Reddy, John McCarthy and Stephen McNally!!
Also, a special Happy First Birthday to little Sarah O'Brien! And to her honourary Auntie Jane who shares her birthday!

So, when we left you last, we were in Las Vegas...
Great place is Las Vegas! We lost the huge sum of about $25 between us, and that's after winning little sums of money and losing it all again. We went to a couple of shows there too - Viva Las Vegas (which had some of those famous Las Vegas Showgirls in it) and American Superstars. American Superstars was a show of lookalikes, including Britney Spears, Elvis, Christina Aguilera, Tim McGraw and a very funny Michael Jackson! After several weeks of driving in rural America, we'd had to become fans of Country and Western music (it was that or really bad Christian music all day!) so we already knew some of Tim McGraw's songs.
We also went to see the Sirens of T.I. outdoor show at Treasure Island (made famous-ish by Miss Congeniality 2!) - but due to the heat (106 degrees at 10:30 at night!!), I had to leave and find myself a nice air-conditioned hotel lobby to recover in!
We'd gotten free tickets into a really fancy looking nightclub so we headed there one of the nights and enjoyed a lovely open air terrace on the roof in between fighting for space on the dancefloor!

We took a 2 day trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, and on the recommendation of a hostel guy in LA, we drove via Zion National Park and the North Rim. It turns out he was dead right cos the scenery in Zion NP is just spectacular!! It's all red cliffs towering above the road... We got to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on time for the tail end of sunset, and that was really pretty. Unfortunately we hadn't booked our accommodation on time and ended up spending the night (I won't say sleeping!) in the car on the main road into the park as it's illegal to sleep in your car in the park itself. We set our alarms to be up on time for sunrise at 5:23am the next morning and we were there a good hour before anything happened. It was only later we figured it out - while Arizona is in the same time zone as Utah (where we'd changed our watches), Arizona doesn't do Daylight Savings even though Utah does! Ah well, it's better that we were an hour early than an hour late! Sunrise was beautiful though...
As we'd been up so early we had plenty of time to have breakfast and lounge around for a while watching a group of chipmunks play on a patio before deciding to hit the road for the South Rim. The whole way there is through a Native American reservation andf it's the most barren wasteland ever! On the South Rim, we visited the Desert View lookout and it was then we really saw the Grand-ness of the Canyon! It's a truly stunning place!! There's a beautiful old (well, 1930's I think) watchtower there that was designed to show off Native American art, and it has amazing views all around.
After that we drove into Grand Canyon village and got a shuttle bus tour up along an edge of the canyon for more great views!
When we got back to Las Vegas we went up in the lift to the top of the tower of our hotel - the Stratosphere. We had a great time scaring ourselves to death on the three fairground rides that throw you off the top of the tower!!

The following day we headed back to LA where we picked up Dave from the airport. During the next couple of days we visited Laguna Beach & Newport Beach and then spent a great day in Disneyland! We had a fab time in Disneyland, going on all the rides, watching the parade and enjoying the fireworks show. Dave even had a little admirer while watching the parade - a tiny baby girl called Isabelle who was convinced he was just a giant baby cos of his bald head!

And on to San Diego!
We were staying pretty much on the beach on San Diego so after our late arrival the previous night, we dozed on the beach for our first day - typically the hostel was doing it's monthly maintenance on our room that day and we'd had to vacate it by 11 that morning! We weren't impressed.
We'd a quiet few days the next few days - Dave was at the ComicCon most of the daytime so we had busier evenings. We spent Jane's birthday at San Diego Zoo, where we got to ooh and ah over baby Meercats and the really cool Pandas!! It was great fun. We even attempted a big night out that night but after Jane and Dave had drank a Gigante Margarita each, they were incapable of movement - for once I'd been sensible!! (I know, wonders will never cease!) On our last night in San Diego, we went into town to meet Dave and his ComicCon friends for dinner - apparently having dinner with Scott McCloud and his family is a big deal? Nice guy actually.

Hawai'i was great fun... On our first evening there we went for dinner in the Cheesecake Factory with Tina and Joe who were on the last 2 nights of their honeymoon. They were well up on all the happening places in Waikiki so we spent the rest of the night in the world-famous Dukes on the Beach - we'd never heard of it either, but it's a nice place! There we accumulated two more Irish couples, so we made a nice little bunch!
We spent the next day on the beach and accidentally found ourselves primely located (is that even an expression?) for a free film being shown on the beach that evening! It happened to be one we'd both wanted to see and hadn't gotten around to it yet - Failure to Launch. Afterwards we went to a bar called Moose Macgillycuddy's to meet Tina and Joe and found there was some free entertainment provided - a very classy bikini contest! I don't think Tina, Jane or I enjoyed it as much as other people...
We had dinner with Tina and Joe again the following night just before they caught their flight to San Francisco to continue their holiday. It was lovely to catch up with them!

We went to the Big Island (also called Hawai'i) for two days then, and did a lot of driving around. We went to visit the King Kamehameha statue in the north of the island (well, we think it was the north of the island, but they don't do maps with north at the top over there!!) and attempted to visit a rainforest valley but it got foggy so we turned back. It was around this time we discovered that we'd actually had an earthquake the previous day - thanks for asking if we were alright!!! Oh yeah, we were also being threatened with a Hurricane, but none of you worried about that either, did you??! Luckily for us, both passed without much incident (the hurricane turned into Tropical Storm Daniel and missed the islands, and the earthquake was only 4.9 on the richter scale and was on a different island).
We visited the Volcano National Park then and saw some amazing sights including the steam plumes as the lava enters the sea, some massive volcano craters and all the old lava streams that have hardened on the mountains... We really didn't have enough time there, so if you ever get the chance, spend more than one day in the Volcano NP!!
Back in Honolulu that night, we went on a Sunset cruise and then spent a few hours in Moose Macgillycuddy's again - this time I undid all my intelligent behaviour from San Diego and really did the dog on the drink. We won't say any more as I can't actually remember too much. Good job Jane was there then, eh?
The following day we dragged our very hungover bodies out of bed and did a tour to Hanauma Bay to do some snorkelling... Amazing experience! I was just trying on my mask and snorkel and stuck my head in the water to see if it was on right and there was a fish right there under my nose and several others nearby! This was in knee-high water! There were some beautiful fish there and we'd a lovely day...

Our flight to Auckland left at midnight so we had a whole day at Pearl Harbour. If you're a big fan of military history and equipment (ShaneG?), this is the place to be! There are (disarmed) torpedos, guns and submarine equipment all over the place! We did a fascinating audio tour of "The Pearl Harbour Avenger", a submarine called Bowfin... We also did an audio tour of the museum and the USS Arizona memorial, and it was totally mind-blowing... For people who didn't know much about what happened that day, it was a total eye-opener. We came away with a new-found understanding of what that attack did to the American people. The memorial itself inspires total silence and awe... When you realise that you're standing above a sunken ship containing the bodies of over 900 men, there's not a lot to say...
Definitely a place we'd recommend visiting!

And on to New Zealand...


Olivia said...

Ye are having an amazing trip. Hope ye enjoy every minute of it. take care

9:11 PM, August 14, 2006  

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