Archive for 2007

New York City

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Are you ready for an update? Are ya? Huh? Perhaps it’s best for my scattered brain if I do a daily diary type entry.

15th - I made some kind of blog entry. We walked around San Francisco until my feet were sore and I was exhausted. We saw a crappy view of the Golden Gate Bridge because it was foggy. Then we went and ate lunch at Mel’s diner which was a cool American 50′s style diner, where we ate burgers with fries and coke. After that we saw lots of people jogging and walking their dogs and people buying Christmas trees and then we caught the subway home! I think maybe that night we went and saw No Country for Old Men at the cinema, or perhaps that was the day before. Who knows? Trish thought the movie was annoying, and I thought it was good.

16th - I think we were fighting this day because we were getting a bit bored. We went to Starbucks for the eighteenth time this week and then went to see I am Legend at the cinema. By gosh we watch a lot of movies! This time, Trish thought the movie was only slightly annoying, and I thought it was good.

17th - This was a weird day because we had to check out of our hostel at 10am and then catch a midnight flight to New York. I didn’t really feel like carrying all my crap around the city so we had a lazy morning and mostly just sat around the hostel catching up on our internets. On this day we watched S.W.A.T. which I used to think was a good movie, but on second viewing I realised it was ABSOLUTE CRAP. After five million cups of tea and a cheap subway dinner, we caught the train to the airport and sat around watching Spaced on the laptop, which I think is quite the hilarious and addictive television show! Along the lines of Shaun of the Dead, indeed, made by the same makers and peopled by the same peoples. Then we got on the plane and I slept uncomfortably.

18th - New York! I was confused and tired and excited. The guy at the subway was rude to me in a New York accent which made my day complete. This was a shit day really, now that I think about it. We caught the subway to Harlem and sat around our crappy hostel until 3pm waiting to check in, because we were too tired to do anything else. We had a good afternoon sleep and then went and got delicious takeaway Chinese and tried not to stare at all the black people.

19th - we are ready for action. Jumped straight on the subway for Times Square and walked around with our mouths open for about three hours getting excited about New York. This place really does feel like the centre of the Western world, or at least the centre of greedy capitalist pig world. It’s pretty much exactly as I expected, except the buildings aren’t quite as tall, and the steam coming out of the manholes smells like poo. We shunned the Empire State Building and opted for the top of the Rockefeller building instead for a good view of New York City. It was a magnificent view and oddly a good way to get our bearings in the city.

20th - we moved hostels again, a bit further South on Broadway. Nicer area, and it looks like a hotel, but it is actually quite shitty. The elevator doesn’t work, there is no hot water, the wireless internet is crap, and there are lots of other things that annoy me. I’m looking forward to moving to our private room in another hotel on Christmas eve (our special Christmas treat).

We caught the tube right down to South Ferry and caught the circle to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I really enjoyed the statue, it’s a stunning work of art and a real icon. Got about five hundred photos and then moved on to Ellis Island, which was the original immigration processing centre and is now an immigration museum. The museum was quite interesting, but I fell asleep during the video presentation. I’d just had a plate of delicious french fries and they switched the lights out, it was bound to happen. After that we went to see Wall Street and the World Trade Center site (aka “Ground Zero”) which was quite strange. Not much to see apart from a giant construction site, but it’s weird to see such a big empty space in the city. Hard to imagine what happened here and get a sense of the reality of it, really. We ate hot dogs and contemplated which country we should crush next.

21st - I am getting a bit sick, but this is no time for weakness. I’ve got Greenwich Village, the New York Public Library, the UN building and a few other things to see. We also check out Bryant Park which has free ice skating and a cute Christmas market. We’ll come back here on Christmas Day for some ice skating fun. The library is the highlight, despite a slightly boring 1-hour free tour, the place is well worth a visit. We stare at people reading books like stupid tourists.

We go outside and it’s freaking cold. My feet are numb. I am exhausted, but the tiny wife has not had enough. She says she wants to go see a Broadway show. “Crap”, I think. This is going to cost me, and I will probably end up seeing “Dirty Dancing” or some other shite. To my relief, the wife seems open to seeing Spamalot or Avenue Q. I doubt we can afford anything, but we go check it out anyway. $65 is the cheapest ticket, but they’re holding a lottery at the Golden theatre for Avenue Q – front row seats for $21.50 with twelve seats to give away. I never win anything, but we decide to enter anyway. We come back at 6pm with our hearts pounding. The man pulls my name out of the bucket. We win! I am chuffed, and the wife is ecstatic. I know this because she squeaks wildly. I am relieved because now the wife is off my back about the Broadway show, plus I get to see something I like. At 8pm we return, and the show is hilarious. It’s a touching, rude, entertaining, naughty, sexy, brilliant puppet show which we both relate to. We laugh for two hours straight and it’s a great night.

22nd - I feel like crap because I probably should have taken it easy yesterday so I can get over this cold. Better stay inside then. We go and eat bagels and talk about the show last night. Definitely one of the best I’ve seen, and a great one to see in New York. We do laundry and talk about our careers and our future. We have coffee in a diner and forget to tip. There is a Star Wars marathon at the hostel but Trish can’t stand more than 20 minutes of it. While watching Episode IV I realise half the reason the new CGI-based Stars Wars films are crap is because everything is too perfect. They’ve lost their gritty “real” feeling. Everything is too shiny. We watch a few episodes of Long Way Round and take it easy.

23rd - I’m glad I stayed out of the cold because I feel a bit better today. It’s Sunday and we had planned to go to Harlem and visit a black gospel church, but Trish won’t move out of bed. I also wanted to go visit Central Park today but it’s raining. I grab my laptop and do a blog entry.

I saw stuff

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

There’s a lot to say. Maybe I should just point you in the direction of my latest batch of photos? Or I could be not lazy and tell you stuff. Who knows what I will do?

Our last night in England WAS pretty boring. We stayed in a tiny town about 1.5 hours away from Heathrow. There was a pub across the road which didn’t serve any food, so we ended up walking around fifty roundabouts in the freezing cold trying to find nasty kebabs. Jesus intervened, and we found ourselves in the best restaurant EVER, eating a giant delicious beef roast, with all the vegetables you can eat. ! ?? !!! !! It was fun, and I had a beer, which topped off my night. !!??((( It was the night to end all nights. So, earlier, when I said it was boring, I was wrong.

Then we got up at sparrow’s fart, when all the sparrows were still in bed rolling over and farting. We drove to the airport in the cold cold morning air and caught a plane to Frankfurt. Our hotel at Frankfurt was much more luxurious than we’re accustomed to, so we felt like rich German capitalist pigs. It was a short, expensive, and enjoyable stay. But! Sadly! We had to go to the airport and catch another plane! (Will the suspense ever end?)

This time, the plane trip went for a fricking long time. It was 10 hours and 36 minutes of hellish cramped food-gobbling bad-movie-watching inertia and ennui and lots of other words that have letters in them. It was bad! OK, it wasn’t really that bad, because the food was good and I read a book and quite enjoyed the trip. But my legs got cramped and sore! Will my pain never end?

It turned out the plane was headed for San Francisco. It also turned out the 11th of December went for 36 hours (confusion!) so by the time we arrived we were psychopathic sociopaths with little or no regard for our surroundings. We caught a train into town and experienced wild emotional troughs and peaks. TROUGHS AND PEAKS. It was scary, and fun, and we felt like we were in a dreams. We walked up and down San Francisco hills looking for our hostel and saw lots of oversized cars, American flags, Americans, and crazy homeless people.

I really forget what happened after that. We have been here five days and are loving the city. The people are friendly and there is lots to do and see. We generally just eat waffles and walk around soaking up the (limited) sunshine. The other day we took the ferry out to Alcatraz, which was excellent. Today we are going to walk around and get some photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. There will probably be spaghetti bolognaise involved at the end of the day.

Welcome to America

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Britain adventure

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Finally, a hotel room with wi-fi access! I’ve been running around Britain in a hire car for the past week, driving, driving, driving, pointing at stuff, then driving a bit more. It’s been a fun trip so far, but ten days isn’t much time to see everything, especially since we’ve felt like sitting on our arses and drinking cups of tea for the first week. It’s taken a while to recover from work, London, and get the pollution out of our lungs.

At the moment I’m back in England, but I spent the first three nights in Wales. We stayed at Curly‘s place and enjoyed a grand tour of Cardiff pubs before meeting Cope for brews and fun conversation. This was followed up with more beer, late-night chips & gravy, and drunken street-walking, which strongly reminded me of my glory days at University. How I miss those halcyon days! I discovered good Welsh beer (Brains) which I shall now remember fondly with a twinkle in my eye. Ahhh.

After a delicious home-cooked bacon & egg breakfast (ladies, Curly is a certified catch) and a lunch-date with Cope & his child bride, we took off and spent the next two nights chilling out in small Welsh towns, drinking cups of tea and keeping out of the rain. We swung by Liverpool for an absorbing visit to the Beatles museum, where I re-kindled my Beatles obsession and immersed myself in some deliciously Beatlesy history. Interestingly, the museum includes a complete replica of the Cavern nightclub which was pretty cool. That night we stayed with my Mum’s cousin in Lancaster, who as it turns out, grew up in Liverpool and used to go dancing in the Cavern during the early Beatles days. Wow.

Edinburgh was the next stop on our lightning tour, and yet again despite limited time, we enjoyed our two-night stay. A wander round the city and the castle was a nice way to waste a day, and our nights became equally languorous after we discovered our hostel had an excellent big-screen cinema room. Here we spent many nocturnal hours, and Trish was introduced to the essential 80′s sci-fi films Predator and Aliens. Her life is now complete.

Christmas came early in the little Scottish town of Sterling, when Trish decided to buy me the Kubrick DVD collection as an early present. You little bewdy. We also purchased the excellent Long Way Round series (Ewan McGregor and pal ride around the world on motorbikes) which we’re currently obsessing over. Since Santa had come early, I also decided to surprise Trish with her present early, which was Lonely Planet’s New York guide. Since we’re skipping family Chrimbo this year (we’ll be in New York), we might need to buy more presents so we don’t feel disappointed on the day (yes, we’re both still children).

So tomorrow night’s our last night in England, and no doubt we’ll spend it sitting in a hotel room stuffing our faces with terrible food and watching bad British television. But that’s what holidays are all about.

He has my full support

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Any Prime Minster who eats his own ear wax is alright with me.

The Secret to being Fabulous

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

I am a domestic god! I’ve got the clothes washed, the dinner cooked, the dishes done and now I’m rockin’ out to some Creedence, all before my wife even gets home from work. Could I possibly be the sexiest husband ever?

Speaking of sexiness, our 5-year anniversary date went pretty well. We started out with a leisurely smoked salmon breakfast at home, followed up with a bus trip into central London for Yum Cha. Things got hairy when we tried to find the Cambridge Theatre to go see ‘Chicago’ at 3pm – my map was completely wrong and we ended up running through the streets of Soho trying to drink our Starbuck’s coffee and yelling at each other. Fortunately we made it with five minutes to spare and enjoyed the show.

The show was followed by a quick pint stop, before heading to the Piano Bar at Kensington for a beautiful dinner, wine, and a round of serenading by various accomplished piano men. Great atmosphere, great music and the perfect place for us to celebrate. I’ll be sure to take my girlfriend there.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

My blog recently seems to have become a series of short updates about my travels. How terribly boring! Gone are the days where I’m so bored that I make up stupid stuff about donkeys and ants. Unfortunately it’s pretty much all I can think about now, the fact that in two weeks I’ll be in Scotland, and in three weeks I’ll be in the USA. I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to do… but I’m pretty sure it’s all organised.

Let’s see:

  • do a bit of work
  • enjoy anniversary
  • do a bit more work
  • drive to Scotland
  • go to Disneyland

Yep, I think I’ve pretty much got it covered.

A few things I’m looking forward to when I get back:

  • going to pick up my new car in Sydney (I’m buying my sister’s Land Rover)
  • a big coming home party with family and friends
  • a decent broadband connection (wireless must die!)
  • watching ants play in the dirt
  • working from home in my slippers and curlers

I feel much better now. I should write in this blog more often.

A life in pictures

Friday, November 16th, 2007

It’s my anniversary next week!

I’m going to see Sufjan Stevens live in January in Brisbane!

My pants are too tight!

Tonight we dine on tacos

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

But seriously, how much did 300 suck? I want my moneys back.

That’s a negatory

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Recently it’s become bleedingly obvious that we don’t have enough money to pull off the ‘moving to Canada’ stunt. Shit. Perhaps if we stayed in London for a bit longer saving money it could work… but that would kinda suck. So we’ve made the big decision and it’s time to go home. I’m a bit disappointed as I’d have enjoyed another year’s travel, seeing new countries, meeting new people and being generally irresponsible. Now we both feel like we have to go home and face ‘real life’.

Fortunately that also means we have a little extra money to splash around before we leave. We’ve decided to spend it on clothes and beer.

Yesterday I bought a new pair of shoes and trousers from Ben Sherman, then met up with Rob (a travelling buddy we met in Venice) and Monica on Waterloo Bridge to watch the Lord Mayor’s fireworks over the Thames. After that we went to the packed Walkabout pub – London’s cringe-worthy ‘quintessential’ Aussie pub chain and stood at the bar for 25 minutes trying to get a drink. Our unquenched thirst rapidly made us cranky and we decided to move to the Shakespeare’s Head at Holburn and ditch the crappy Walkabout. The pub food and easily attained brews were a hit. Huw even turned up.

Only two more weekends left in London before we leave. Time flies. Next weekend is an official ‘blog meet’ which should be fun. The following weekend is our 5 year anniversary. I should really organise something for that. Anyone know any good restaurants in London?

On Saturday December 1, we’ll leave behind our jobs, our nice little flat, and everything we’ve come to love and hate about London. We’re hiring a car and driving over to Wales (Cardiff) for Saturday night, staying with Curly and finally meeting the elusive minor internet celebrity Chris Cope. After driving around Wales for a couple of days, we’ll hit Liverpool, the Lakes District, Edinburgh, a few English coastal destinations, and Cambridge before returning to Heathrow and flying to the USA on December 11.