A Travellerspoint blog

June 2010

The End

London then back to reality...

rain -50 °C

Hello for the last time... well, for now anyway. I'm sad to be ending my blog and even more sad that it's the end of my trip.

I arrived in London after a long flight, made longer by the small brat sat in the row in front of me. It's father had his chair back as far as it would go until his head was nearly in my lap and the spawn of satan was let loose in the aisles of the plane and took great joy in hitting everyone who was alseep or otherwise as he went running up and down. I know it must be boring for a child on a plane but there is a limit... Got off the plane and stood in the customs queue for ages, why don't these people smile?? Once through, I stopped at Costa coffee and bought a rubbish latte then made my way over to the phone chip vending machine then spent near an hour on the vodaphone website trying to activate it, finally got it going and hopped on a train to meet up with new friends who let me kip on their couch which I shared with Daniel the Spaniel who snores...
They were so welcoming and I felt instantly comfortable and relaxed with them all, they even had a wee shindig in my honour on my last night, how nice is that?? I also met up with my mate Alex who I went through Vietnam with, she's ace. We had lunch and coffee and did some mooching about London. I also met up with my friend David who took me to a very posh resturant in Pall Mall where you're not allowed ot have your mobile on. I didnt know this at the time, so when my phone rang I thought it was hilarious, the Ace of Spades blaring out of my shopping bag handbag hehe I got a few furrowed brows for that haha
I went to a gallery and found my way to the london office of my old work to see Tracy and Neelai which was great. Londons a funny place, the tube is mad, no one talks to you or looks at you, they all just stand there looking at the floor or read the free metro paper for fear of making any sort of eye contact. One morning the tube stopped between stations and switched it's engine off. Deathly silence filled the carriage and I burst out laughing, I couldn't help it, it was just so weird. I got a lot of room after that with people slowly edging away from the nutter on the train... While walking the streets a woman handed me a flower wrapped in tin foil and asked me for 'money for the children' I asked her for her ID and she got all shirty with me 'I don't need ID laaav' so I didn't give her anything and handed back the flower, so rude. I also asked someone for directions in the street and they didn't want to know, it was an italian man who helped me in the end. Londoners are so mean, even in Morrisons while shopping for pavlova ingredients I felt intimidated and small. I wouldn't live in London if you paid me, it's mean and nasty. Of all the places I've been in the world, London is the only place that made me feel scared, intimidated and unsafe. Well, I'm not saying I'd walk the streets of La Linea on my own at night, esp through the ghetto at the border and esp after I got mugged there a few years ago and again, I might not feel too comfortable alone at night in Edinburgh but London just has that air of trouble brewing about it. You might think I'm mad but it's true. I got off the tube after my meal in Pall Mall and practically ran all the way home after texting my friends to let them know I was on my way. It was dark and wet and a big dog barked at me and 2 big burly blokes stood on the corner and stared at me eeek!! me no like. I suppose it doesn't help that all you hear in the media is bad things, I'm sure it's lovely and paved in gold somewhere... The people I was staying with were from Tazmania, Finland and South Africa by the way, not london and like I said before, very nice indeed.

Back on a plane and off to Scotland, got off the plane and no one was there to meet me... poor me... nearly a year away and not a parent in sight. Do you know why? they were having a drink!! shocking isn't it, had to wait outside in the cold for them to arrive, I'm not sure if I'll ever get over it... Being back in Scotland is just weird, in a nice way but strange all the same. I haven't lived here for 14 years so don't really know anyone, it's great to see my family and LeeAnne tho. For the first 2 weeks I was just waiting on my next move then realising I didn't have one I got the post travel blues and booked a flight to Spain. Being back in Spain/Gibraltar was great, I missed my friends so much and even tho it rained quite a lot when I was there it was still warm and felt like I was home. I threw my girls around the room and got jumped on in the guise of Auntie GiGi, went out with Lee-Ann in Spain, great night that was. Drinks with the lads and lunch with friends. On my last night I sat in the pub from about 12 noon and watched people come and go all day. Felt like the queen sitting there hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye then back on the plane and back to Scotland... time to look for a job boohoooo still looking...

Well what can I say, it's been a stormer of a year and I have loved every single minute, day, night and second of it. I have loads of favourite places I would love to go back to and loads of favourite people I'd love to see again and will see again for sure. Off to Dublin in July to see Aisling that I travelled through Indonesia with for a start. I've been to amazing places, see amazing things and met totally fabulous people along the way (and the odd weirdo). I've basked in the sun on glorious beaches, climbed volcanos, snorkelled the great barrier reef, got drunk on buckets of mekong whiskey, fell over a lot, jumped out of an aeroplane, threw ninja stars, meditated on a hill top, danced the night away and fell in love with the world and everything thats in it. I met a dog that got eaten by his owners dad, took a dip in a volcanic lake, had lunch in a hill tribe house, held hands with a wild orangutan, got eaten alive by mosquitos and bed bugs, lost a toe nail, got robbed in the street and on the beach, got stuck in a hole and broke a rib trying to get out, flew in a helicopter and treked through the jungles of Thailand. I went to festivals and gigs, zoos and ninja castles, got beaten at pool, played on a climbing frame, triumphed at singstar and buzz, scared a wombat and cuddled a Koala. I've eaten weird and wonderful food in resturants and hawker stands, on the street and in road side cafes. I stayed in hotels and backpackers, tents, squat like holes, on sofas at friends houses and even shared peoples beds (it's cheaper to share a double before you start thinking that I'm some sort of floosy) I travelled on planes, buses, trains, tuk tuks, cars, trams, boats, by elephant, truck and motorbike.
People ask me all the time what my favourite bit or place was. I can never come up with a straight answer. I loved SE Asia a lot esp Vietnam and Cambodia then I can't forget Laos it was gorgeous and the north of Thailand was amazing then of course there's Japan, it was crazy and brilliant. I had the best time ever in Australia meeting up with old friends and new, Melbourne being my favorite city there, for lots of different reasons. I loved Indonesia and LA, Vancouver was fantastic and Malaysia was great although the food didn't like me. Oh I loved it all, I didn't want it to end, I still wish it was last year now so I could do it all again.
The people I met and travelled with with truely brilliant and I plan on keeping in touch with them.. you have been warned... I'd like to see more of Vietnam and Japan and will definately go back to Australia. I'd also like to see some of Europe, Africa, South America and do the transiberian railway trip. I love travelling.

Thank you to everyone who's been reading my waffle and kept in touch while I wondered the world. Also a massive thank you to everyone who supported me, put me up, fed me and entertained me. You are ACE!!

Better get saving for the next trip.....!!

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee x

Posted by blondesock 02:48 Archived in Scotland Comments (1)

USA & Canada

Malibu, Hollywood, 34 hour train & Vancouver

sunny 25 °C

They took away my tiger balm Grrrrr

so hello there, how's it going? Almost at an end now boooo and hissss

I arrived at LAX in Los Angeles after a mega 3 flight, 4 countries and 2 days twice from Auckland to Tonga where I met 2 ladies who were off to meet Princess Anne then to Samoa where customs took away my lighter, tiger balm, face moisturiser, deoderant and perfume all because the next stop was america. No other country that I've been to have cared if my under 100ml liquids were in a plastic bag or not, just the USA. I still managed to get my lip gloss and lip balm and other lighter through and would you believe, nothing untoward happened, imagine that... anyway, rant over.
I sat next to a guy that looked like Johnny Depp's younger brother which was nice, he even had a sense of humour which is just as well as I was laughing out load at a Bill Bailey programme about the orchestra for an hour, very funny. I had ordered a GF meal for all the flights which was going well till dinner time. Everyone was getting a big tray with lots of dishes on it and I began to wonder where mine was so I asked the air hostess, trolly dolly, steward or whatever the PC is these days and she went to have a look... came back with a kiwi fruit and a banana. That was it, 10 hours on a flight and nothing to eat but a banana and a kiwi fruit, not even a knife or spoon to open the kiwi. I got breakfast later which was ok except the GF sausage tasted like it was made of sawdust held together with camel spit and polyfiller.
Marie, my friend Sally's mum, picked me up from the airport in LA holding an emailed photo of me on her phone and took me to her house in Malibu. I was totally spoiled for the 5 days I was there, they're such a wonderful family. On the way to her house were signs at the side of the road that said 'Drunk Driver, call 911' I'm not sure if that for the passanger, for the driver, or for others on the road. 'excuse me driver, are you drunk?' 'yesh' 'right, I'm calling 911'.
The beaches in Malibu are beautiful. Where Marie and Jim live is about a 2 min walk down a hill, across the road and you're on the beach. Marie let me use her car and I drove to Hollywood up Sunset Boulavard, passed Rodeo Drive (baby) through Beverley Hills, Bel Air and into Hollywood. It was wicked, the car is automatic so you just sit there. I got a bit lost a couple of times (on a straight road I hasten to add) but got there and parked up. Hollywood is so removed from reality it's brilliant. I got my photo taken with Elvis, Elmo, Zorro, a dirty looking Shrek and Catwoman. They all stand outside the Chinese Theatre where all the hand prints are and you give them a dollar for a photo. I also saw michael jackson who had obviously had work done to complete his look, darth vadar who was seriously tall and just kind of wafted down the street with a stormtrooper by his side. I didn't manage to get a photo with him tho unfortunately. I took pictures of the Hollywood sign, was asked out on three dates by three random men in the street, a wannabe hip hop star who failed to sell me his CD so offered me a night out cos he'd never had a scottish gilr before, a guy called Henry who wanted me to go on his tour then suggested dinner and a movie and finally Elvis bless him, I don't actually think they were interested in me, just my wallet. I also had a song sung about me by a guy on the guitar for a dollar, it was really funny. Ordered a soya macchiato in starbucks and got given real milk so they made me another one and I gave the first one to a surprised looking homeless person. I'm sure he would have preferred the money really.
They have many museums in Hollywood, I went into the max factor one which was class, so much stuff and lots of it really up to date. Clothes and props from films in the cinema now like the Twilight saga although thier clothes are a bit boring really... When I got to the top floor there was a young couple sharing a seat infront of a glass cabinet watching the new Star Trek film which I thought was a bit bizarre but why not..?
On the way back out of Hollywood I passed a place called In and Out Burger. I'd been told to rty it but due to my stomach I'm guessing it really would have been In and Out.. I also passed Fat Burger who were doing a 2 for 1 deal for $2.99, no wonder there's an obesity problem in the states, it's cheaper to buy fast food than go to the supermarket.
Marie took me to the Getty Museum on top of a hill. It was fabulous. I really enjoyed the paintings and the photography section but the building, gardens and the location make it quite spectacular. You can see for miles, all the way from Malibu, across orange county and into down town LA. We got there on the famous highway 110 or was it the 104? I can't remember now, thought I'd written it down but I didn't, why doesn't that surprise me. Anyhoo, the museum is free but you have to pay for parking then get on a wee train up to the top. I really loved it and would definately go back. You can take pics of the paintings but not the photos, something to do with copyright. It's obviously easier to pass off a photo as your own than a painting from the 18th century... I went a bit mad in the gift shop and could have gone supermarket sweep crazy, in the aisles if I hadn't have been short on cash at that point in the game, so many things in there, really interesting and different kinds of gifts and books and prints and odities. I said cheerio to Jim and Marie at the train station and went off to Vancouver. Marie had very kindly packed 2 shopping bags with everything I would need for my 34 hour trip from dark chocolate to sandwiches, crisps water and bottle of beaujolais - very nice indeed. They also sorted me out with a mobile in case I needed any kindof help I could call them, how nice is that?? Shame it didnt work, AT&T were useless, they guy Jim spoke to didn't even know where LA was, hadn't even heard of it. It's not like he was in some call centre in outer mongolia either, he was in Texas!! madness.
The train ride was fabulous. The seat was massive, I got a pillow, a wee bottle of water and a snack pack which I donated to a wee girl sat in front of me and settled in. The views were amazing, from beaches and coastline to snow and trees and mountains, I would recommend it to anyone. Much better than flying even if it was 30 hours extra... I also saw a man smoking crack under a bridge in a place called Riverside and wonder if thats the place that song is from... "Riverside Motherbeeeeeper" There was a guy on the train sat opposite me who waffled absolute tosh on his mobile most of the way to Seattle, I've never heard such flirtatious drivvel in all my life. By the looks of him the girls he was talking to had never clapped eyes on him before unless they like a bit of homeless chic... Anyway, I had 2 seats to myself most of the way then was joined by a gothic girl who lay down and didnt move for 4 hours, she was very pale indeed. I tried to talk to her but she just looked at me as if I was mental and shut her eyes.
We got to Seattle on time after making up the 2 hours we'd lost due to some fault with the train and I got on a bus to Vancouver. We got to the border about an hour later and through passport control. The woman who stamped my passport was very excited about all my stamps and I decided there and then that I would like Canada and I did.
My friend from school who I hadn't seen for about 14 years came to pick me up from the station which was bizarre, much like when I met up with Jeni in Melbourne. Back to his and a cup of tea and off to sleep, it was about 1am after all... The next day he took me to see some totem poles and the beach, it was a damp day so very atmospheric. I then met my friends girlfriend who is a calanetics master, they're well into it in Vancouver, I didn't join any classes tho... The olympics had just finished by the time I got there but the para olympics was still on, how amazing are those people?? Blind cross country skiing for one, thats just fantastic!! I went shopping with Linda and to the Olympic torch which was amazing, loved it, you can feel the heat coming off the flames, it was ace. She also took me this shop which was selling olympic souvineers in a sale, the main thing everyone was after were red mittens. You were only allowed to buy 12 pairs at a time!! 12 pairs?? madness, only kids ones left when we went. The news were showing the madness of people fighting over them when they were taken out of the box, crazy people. In town they have an outdoor ice rink going on and a death slide from the centre to the museum over the crowds, I thought it was pretty cool, didn't go on it tho, massive queue..
Vancouver is also well into ice hockey, the whole city goes mad for the canucks. I'd love to have gone to see a game but the tickets are seriously expensive. I just wanted to see a fight really hehe
Vancouver has an amazing food market down by the water, the fruit and veg is gorgeous and the cheese counter was unbelievable. I'd move there just for the market and the blossom on the trees in Spring, very beautiful indeed. We walked upto Elizabeth park on top of a hill. We could see America from there, this huge big mountain covered in snow looked like it was floating.
I loved Vancouver and was so nice to see my friend again after so many years, had a right laugh!! We got the train to the airport for my Air Alaska flight and found myself back in the USA before I'd even left Canada which was odd. The flight was good tho. Spent the next 5 hours I think it was mooching about LAX waiting for my flight to London Booooooooo Once I'd checked in my bags were scanned about a trillion times before I said cheerio to them and headed for the gate.

Next stop London.... sob sob

Posted by blondesock 05:29 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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