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2004-05-04 - 6:16 p.m.

So it's my first changeover day after my 6 week hiatus from work. You know how after the school holidays or the Uni break you go back and it's like the holidays were just a weekend bookended by familiar routine? Well...

I'm not saying that in a "I'm depressed because my fun's over and now it's back to the grind and to normalcy" way, it's more an indifferent observation. I'm glad to be back (not at work but, you know...)

So when I was away I wrote a bunch of self-indulgent emails telling everybody what I'd been doing. Half of the people reading this have read them already, but I'm going to put them in here for completeness. And then I'll start thinking about expanding on some parts. They didn't include *everything*- I was sending them to my parents after all...

_______________________________________________________________________________

(Written on 26/03/04)

Why didn't anybody tell me how difficult it is to send these things when

you're doing stuff every day and hopping from state to state?

I'm at a net cafe in the Bahamas-which probably isn't the cheapest place to

write this-so I'll try to be brief but detailed.

We flew into LA at 7am last Tuesday their time, which was 5 hours before we

left! It was 2am Sydney time and I didn't manage to get any sleep on the

plane, but it didn't stop us from going straight to a hire car place from

the airport and having to learn fast how to drive on the wrong side of the

road. Cristan was doing the first lot of driving, but I decided I wanted to

take over from a lookout on the top of Hollywood Hills on Mullholland Drive-

that was scary!

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills, managed a couple of

hours sleep in the afternoon (by then close to 7am Wednesday Sydney time, so

we needed it) and also had time to relax by the pool before heading out to

Hollywood Boulevarde, seeing throngs of people welcome Angelina Jolie to the

red carpet premiere of her new movie at Mann's Chinese Theatre and walking

miles down Sunset Strip where we ended up seeing a band at the Viper Room.

This isn't exactly short and concise is it?

Wednesday saw us drive from LA to Vegas (the Santa Monica freeway was an

experience), stopping at a factory outlet haven along the way where the

others went crazy. We got lost inside a casino trying to find our hotel and

somehow stayed up until 4am drinking free black russians (as long as you stay at the gaming tables).

Vegas was fun and exciting and everything and I won $85 on Roulette but for

me the more "real" parts of America have been better- we did a day trip to

the Grand Canyon and after leaving Vegas spent two nights in New Orleans.

Bourbon Street was a tourist Mecca but the cab rides to and from the hotel

showed us how the people actually lived.

And the food was great. US food doesn't really have a lot to offer but New

Orleans food is all Cajun and Creole, which goes back to it's French and

Black heritage. Lots of seafood. Mmmm...seafood.

From New Orleans we flew to Miami, and caught a train (and a couple of buses) to Fort Lauderdale, which is where the ship to the Bahamas left

from.

We spent hardly any time in Fort Lauderdale but had a lot of fun anyway.

Everyone loves an Aussie and after dinner we ended up talking and drinking

with some of the waitstaff and their friends. This was on Monday night.

Tuesday we were up before 5am (I'd almost forgotten what that was like!) in

order to get through immigration and onto the ship to the Bahamas.

The sea was angry that day my friends. We spent most of the 5 hour cruise

sitting very still hoping we wouldn't succumb to the more messy side of

seasickness. And we all scraped through- just.

The Bahamas is full of US college students on Spring Break, which has it's

good and bad sides. The weather hasn't been all that great, and I don't

really rate the beaches I've seen that highly, so it's a plus that everyone

you meet is on vacation and what I've enjoyed the most about the Bahamas is

meeting people, which is probably what appeals the most to me about travel

full stop. True some of the people have been drunken frat boys but, you get

that.

Tomorrow we're swimming with dolphins, then taking our motion sickness

tablets and hopping back on the "Discovery Sun" headed for the East coast

of Florida. On the horizon we have 7 days of car hire which we'll use to check

out the Orlando area (and some of the Florida Keys), Disneyworld and the

Kennedy Space Centre, and then what I'm really hanging out for- New York,

London, Liverpool, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo... some of the great cities of

the world.

I'll check back in soon-ish. I can't imagne there's *that* much to do in

Orlando.

 

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