Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sin City

Vegas - what can you say? It's nothing short of completely mental - the weirdest place I have ever been. But so, so cool. We were only there for two nights and that was probably long enough (considering I'm the world's worst gambler). Although my Nan taught me from an early age the best tips for pokie playing, I'm afraid I was a little out of my depth when it came to the hardcore gamblers that you see by the thousands in Vegas. I was more excited to wander around soaking up the atmosphere and seeing the bizarre sights of a rollercoaster in a casino, a complete replica of Parisian monuments, an indoor replica of Venetian canals and in fact the entire Italian city (see pic), snowlions alongside palm trees, tobacco chewing gallon-hat wearing texans playing roulette, the famous water show outside the Bellagio, and all the fabulous crazy sights that make Vegas the wondrous fantasy it is.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The City of Angels

OK, so I have been really bad at writing anything lately about my trip. I think because it was such a good time and we did so many things that choosing to write about any aspect of it is a little overwhelming!

Everyone is interested in LA I guess, so that's what I'll talk about. It's not as great or as glamourous as you would think. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, and there are so many cool things to see and do, but it's a bit of a pain to visit as a tourist, everything is massively spread out, and if you don't know where you're going, you're screwed. And Hollywood Boulevard is pretty tacky. I wasn't expecting the streets to be lined with gold or anything, but I was a little disappointed at how cruddy bits of the city were. But then there are the glamourous bits too - Rodeo Drive (great to wander around and pretend you can afford stuff), Orange Country (not technically LA but close enough), Santa Monica (verging on tacky but quite nice still) and lots of beautiful little boutiques (once you know where to go). I think LA is the kind of city you would appreciate much more if you actually lived there - it's quite difficult for a tourist to fall in love with in a few short days.
Although when I was sipping a Mai Tai cocktail in the lavishly decorated Ashton Kutcher-owned Geisha House, I definitely felt my affection growing. We didn't make it to Disneyland unfortunately, instead choosing to head to Orange County for some gorgeous beaches and cruising with the top down. It was actually at the next beach around from Laguna Beach (of MTV fame) that I took a proper plunge in the ocean for the first time in the holiday (everywhere else was too cold and I just froclicked by the water's edge like an idiot) and it was wonderful to feel that exhilaration you get from swimming in the waves. That feeling is definitely nowhere to be had in London!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to reality

Getting back from a holiday and going straight back to work is exhausting - I think I need another holiday already! At least I have some cool photos to look back on. I will put some here and upload the rest on Flickr when I get the chance. Unfortunately my pics from San Francisco aren't the best because my camera, which has served me loyally for four years or so, decided to pack it in on the second day of our holiday when we were on our way to Alcatraz. It's just died. Typical! Luckily we had a camcorder with us (yes, blatant tourists) which took some still, but they weren't great quality. So I used that as an excuse to go shopping and buy a new camera - after which my pics dramatically improved. These are some of my favourites from San Francisco - there's more to come, don't worry!...

Having coffee in the square on a Sunday, watching the art exhibition and passersby..
The sign that greets you when you enter Alcatraz...
The famous streets of San Francisco...

When I have uploaded some more, i'll put a link up.

In other news - since I got back, I have been frantically trying to go to the gym (when I say frantically, I mean twice this week) because Paul and I are doing a 10K run for charity in a couple of weeks and I don't want to collapse half way through. Paul is still trying to get out of it (I think two weeks of eating in the US has taken it's toll) but I am definitely still dragging him along. We are running 10K for cancer research UK on Sunday 30 September. Any support in the form of donations are muchly welcomed - as I want to feel like the blisters and pain are really worth it! If you are able to sponsor us, we have an online donation page here. Thanks for any support! And I will of course let you all know how it goes.

Friday, September 07, 2007

America, America.....

This will just be a quick one as I'm scabbing free internet in a library in Austin, Texas. Yes, I've been quiet the past two weeks cause I've been having too much fun in the US! We have been having the best time and I'm not exactly looking forward to getting back to 'real life' in London. Just quickly, some highlights (and there have been too many to mention here) have been:
- touring the spooky enclaves of Alcatraz in San Francisco
- clam chowder, fish tacos, fresh oysters in California...and wine tasting!
- singing 'take me out to the ballgame' and eating garlic fries watching the San Francisco Giants play ball (ok, so the garlic fries were NOT a good idea but at least they were memorable!)
- the breathtaking coastline between San Fran and LA: secluded beaches, sea lions, mesmerising fog, thick forests
- sunbathing in Malibu and imagining I'm in Baywatch
- touring Laguna Beach and the amazing beaches of Orange County and imagining I'm in a MTV reality series/The O.C
- cocktails in Ashton Kutcher's Japanese-inspired LA nightspot, Geisha
- penny slots in the Bellagio in Vegas! (I was too scared of the tables but Paul had a go)
- swimming in the natural watering hole in Austin and gorging on Tex-Mex food!
- shopping, everywhere

So much fun crammed into two little weeks. We still have a couple more days to explore Austin - the 'live music capital of the world'. I have to say, i have enjoyed the US a lot more than I thought I would. The friendliness and hospitality of the Americans is supreme (even more reason for me to continually berate, much to the annoyance of all my lovely friends, the appalling levels of service you get in the UK). And the heat! God bless the heat. I have bought lots of beautiful summer clothes that I'm sure the UK is already going to be too cold for, but I have been deprived of this kind of sun/heat too long and must take advantage :) I'm hoping I can still squeeze some more skirt-wearing into what's left of the UK summer - can't let this 'tan' (sunburn) go to waste.

Will put up some photos etc when I get back to London - on Monday. See y'all!