OUR AMERICAN HOLIDAY 26. 6. 96.
Saturday 4 May
It was a long flight from Hong Kong to Seattle. Gloria squirmed all the way, I didn't think I did. Not all the way, only half the way. She doesn't travel well in cattle class. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that she couldn't smoke on the plane or maybe it's a bit too small to get up and walk about.
The plane landed in Seattle, Washington State. We were both tired and a bit on edge with each other a new country and a long flight took its toll. We caught the airport bus into Seattle and got off somewhere down town and then hailed a cab to our Motel. We had booked the motel before we had left Hong Kong. It was the only advanced booking that we made. All other bookings were done as we went. Most times when we were driving we just drove around town until we found a suitable place to stay. The local visitors information was always a great help. The motel in Seattle is a Best Western and it cost us US $59:00 per night. We visited the Space Needle Park, had a feed of beautiful oysters on the waterfront at Pike's market. Went to an OMNIMAX movie about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens volcano. It was great except it was one of those movies that surrounds you and it dose make you feel bad. What I did see of the movie was great. I felt awful. I don't think Glen believed me at first but when I told him that I was a bit sick He took a good look at me and I must have looked a bit pale. The effect of the movie made Gloria feel ill for hours afterwards. We went for a ferry ride to Bremerton and on another day we visited Bainbridge. We found a little restaurant there and had dinner. It was about the only time we had a romantic dinner it was very nice. We decided to go for a ride on a train so we went down to the subway to wait for a train. We noticed that there was a strange platform which was only about a foot high and as we waited what appeared from the tunnel was not a train but a bus even though there were railway/tram lines set into the concrete. The bus ran on overhead power lines. Didn't know where we were going. Just decide to get on the first bus that came along. Stayed on the bus for about 45 minutes and got off back at the bloody airport. Would you believe it.
This morning we arrived at the Seattle train station for our train to Vancouver. The station was one of those big halls with the ceiling about 20 meters high. Passengers waited in the centre and departure gates around the edge. Actually the train ride started out with a bus for the first hour because of a land slide that had been a problem for about 2 weeks. Anyway by 7:30 am we were on the bus, issued with our complementary breakfast of a container of orange juice and a sweet raisin bun. We caught the train at a little town outside Seattle. The train was quite nice with plenty of room. Had breakfast in the dining car and as we gazed out of the huge windows at the snow covered mountains, cosy little communities nestled into the valleys we come to the realisation that this was the beginning of our great travelling holiday. We were happy. We were doing what we like most and that was being on the move. On the other side of the train for a large proportion of the trip was a large lake with it's shores only meters from the tracks, I think it was called the Puget Sound it was quite beautiful sitting on the train and watching the country going by. Somewhere alone the journey we entered British Columbia, Canada. The train trip finished for us at Vancouver.
We are staying in North Vancouver in the Capilano Motel. Today we went shopping. Not much shopping as we mainly stuck to the routes that didn't have many shops but the scenery made up for it. Caught a bus to the SEA BUS (ferry), Went for a ride to the end of the line on the .SKY TRAIN (local rapid transport systems built for world expo back in the 80s). Had lunch in one of the local pub in the suburbs. We ordered nachos it was enough to feed six people but we managed to get through nearly all as we were so hungry. Next we caught the Sky train back to the wharf or the docks as you might call it.
Visited down town, the international ship terminal. Had dinner in an old English style restaurant by the harbour. At sunset we caught the Grouse Mountain Sky-ride. Canada's longest aerial tramway. The ground was covered in snow and the view overlooking Vancouver was truly spectacular. We had fun as when it was time to go down the mountain the gondola was broken and they had to get the other one working. When it isn't snow season they only have one gondola running and in winter they have four. For a short while I thought we might have to stop on the top of the mountain far the night which would have been great. It wasn't meant to be, but it was a nice thought for a little while.
Picked up a car from budget car rentals. A FORD TAURUS. On our way to pick up the car while on the bus Gloria comes to the realisation that a quarter is actually 25 cents. I caught a couple of strange looks from some of the locals sitting near us on the bus. Then we were on the move again heading for the Canadian Rockies. I think I am hooked on cruse control. A nice way to drive long distances. Not yet in the Rockies proper, but travelling through beautiful country. We decide to stay in the pub in Penticton. The Three Gables Hotel. Still in British Columbia. Its a small country town and the pup is not unlike one in a country town in Australia with the dining room and bar downstairs and the accommodation upstairs. That night after dinner we venture downstairs and ended up having a game of pool with 2 Indian girls and a helicopter pilot who is originally from Morocco. One of the Indian girls is with a guy who I think she is shacked up with. He is originally from Portugal.
What a place. It is so refreshing to stand in the snow again with its breathtaking views of the mountains and crystal clear air. Come across a heard of mountain big horn sheep. There was about 10 of them on the side of the road as we were travelling through the mountains. Such a change after Hong Kong. Rogers pass is at about 14500 feet, snowing and with about 2 meters of snow on the ground. The locals at the museum tell us that this is quite unusual for May. We travel adjacent to the railway and notice that in many places there is sloping roofs build over the line to protect it from avalanches. At the highest part of the pass the museum shows how in 1912 before they put the railway line underground to protect it from avalanches that the train got hit by a huge avalanche from the side of the mountain and a number of people were killed. During the rescue another avalanche thundered down from the other side of the valley and caught the rescuers. In total 62 people were killed. That's when they decided to dig a tunnel through the mountain. That night we stayed in a small logging town called Golden in a Motel called Mary's Place.
Travelled through a couple of national parks including The Glacial National Park. Turned off the main highway and travelled approximately 70 miles towards Jasper National Park but only made it to a place called the Crossing. It was here that we realised that Jasper was still another 115 miles to go and as we will have to come back this way. It means we will have to travel 370 miles so we turned around and headed for Banff. The detour was worth it though the mountains are truly awe inspiring. It is difficult to know where to look. From one side of the car I am looking at a towering snow covered mountain and when I turn back an even more imposing peek comes into view. Our heads are swinging from side to side, True rubber necks the like you have never seen. We are now in the state of Alberta. We are getting into a routine now. First we visit the tourist information centre at Banff. Then find a phone and ring a few motels and bed and breakfasts. Our LET'S GO USA & CANADA book was a great help. We eventually settled on a bed and breakfast just behind the main street. Next morning we took a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The sun was shining and the air was crystal clear. A bit chilly. I think I counted about 14 peaks scattered around a 360 degree panorama from the top of the mountain. After lunch we headed for Calgary. Its a shame that sometimes it seems that we are rushing our trip a bit. Torn between too much to see and not enough time. We tried to strike a balance between doing the Japanese tourist thing (That is trying to see everything at once) and seeing the sights and meeting the people. Generally getting a feel of the country and the surroundings. That's one of the reasons that we often like to travel by the local buses, trains and ferries. I think that a lot of tourists often concentrate on the sights and forget that part of the holiday should include the people as well.
We stop off at the Calgary Winter Olympic Park. It was quite strange to see the ski slopes (that didn't seem very steep), ski jumps, lougue and associated building stuck on fairly flat land in the middle of the suburbs. As a matter of fact the hole complex seemed small. Of cause there was no snow to be seen except on the mountain peaks by now far in the distance. We picked up a pamphlet at the park and rang and booked a bed & breakfast near down town and not far from the public transport.
Well here we are in Calgary. Years ago we planned to go to the Calgary winter Olympics but eventually had to abandon the idea as the kids were getting into high school and becoming more and more expense to look after so we give the idea away as a bad joke. The bed and breakfast is nice. It's called Lion's Park Bed & Breakfast. A bit expensive CA $75.00 but the room has an ensiute and the lady who owns the place seems very nice. She is divorced and provides for herself and her 2 kids by renting out 3 rooms and living in the rest of the house. Our room is up-stairs and we are welcome to use the kitchen and the lounge room. Dori is a wealth of information and she gives us all the good oil on where to eat, how to get around town and what we should try to see. She even has things like an annual pass to go up to the top of the Calgary Tower. We visit the zoo, Calgary Fort and wandered along the river bank through the parks. Its spring and Sunday. Everyone is out enjoying the sunshine, having picnics, playing with the kids and generally having a great time after what I assume was a long cold winter. We wandered around the city having a look at the shops. They have this system of above street level walkways that join all the buildings. The system is called +15. I assume because its about 15 feet above ground level. I imagine that it's quite useful in the winter when the Chinook wind comes sweeping down from the north. We got in contact with Auto Driveaway Ltd. We wanted to see whether they needed any cars delivered. This company use mainly tourists to deliver cars across the USA. The deal is that we deliver the car free with one tank of fuel free. They did have a car for us but they wanted a Mazda delivered from Calgary to Miami. About 8000 km and they wanted it there in 8 or 9 days. We decided that it was a bit too much beside it was in the wrong direction for us. When I enquired about airfare from Miami to LA the cost was about US $450.00 each. You have to book 14 days in advance to get the cheaper flights. WE forget about Auto Driveaway and head for the Greyhound bus station.
We are on a bus now. Travelling south to Great Falls, Montana. The bus terminates at the Great Falls airport and we pick up another rental car. It's a Oldsmobile cutlass. It was the only one available that would allow us to drop it in LA. Cost us a bloody fortune but. US $79.00 / day plus 30 cents per mile over 100 miles. What the heck. It's only money. In retrospect this car was perfect. Large and powerful. Just the thing for covering lots of miles. Its equipped with cruse control. (so was the ford Taurus). After this trip We are both sold on cruse controls. It made driving those long distances a pleasure.
Today we are travelling across the Montana prairies. Big sky country. Stop for lunch in a little diner in a little town. Maybe a couple of dozen house. We strike up a conversation with an old farmer. His ancestors came from Switzerland. If he was in Australia you would call him a cocky. He once owned a farm but now works as a farm labourer. I didn't ask him but assumed that he had lost the farm to the banks some time in the past. Just like Australia. We finally arrive at Yellowstone National Park. Go for a quick squint up to Mammoth springs and then back down to Gardener. A little town about 5 miles from Mammoth Springs. Found a great little motel called Wilson's Yellowstone River Motel. Brand new and for only US $32.00 a night.
Visited Mammoth Springs. Seen Old Faithful geyser. Wandered through the forest for 4 or 5 kilometres to look at the thermal pools. bubbling mud and clouds of steam. Some places look like the surface of the forbidden planet. It has been raining down this part of the country for the last couple of days and all the rivers are in flood. We are lucky that the rain is only intermittent while we are in the park. It certainly makes for spectacular waterfalls. We came across many animals. Bison, deer and elk. Would have loved to see a bear but even though I kept my eye out it was not to be. The thing that fascinated me was that the hole area is one giant volcano The crater is approximately 50 to 80 kilometres across the crater. I think I read some where that it is the largest active volcano in the world. The last time it erupted some 200 000 years ago. The eruption was 1000 times bigger than Mt. St Helens eruption. Its raining now. Quite hard at times and some of the rivers look like they might flood. St Anthony Idaho is where we stay tonight. The motel (Weston's River View) is right next to the river and we can hear the sound of the flooded river from our room all night.
Today we head for Salt lake City. It occurs to me that I might be able to ditch this car and pick up something a bit cheaper so we head for the airport. Sure enough they will take the car and give us another one for the same price but without the 30 cents per mile excess. Strange thing is that they give me back the same car. It was worth the effort though as the car now has unlimited miles and I've saved myself US $30..00 for every 100 mile and with the miles we have to cover that adds up to quite a tidy sum. Tonight we look for a motel in Salem. Gloria thought that would be fun but we got lost and ended up in Payson. Just outside Salt lake City. This is Utah and it took me a while before I realised why I never seen any bars or pubs anywhere. Alcohol can only be bought in the supermarket. This is Mormon country and it is illegal to drink alcohol anywhere other that in your home. We had dinner in a Chinese restaurant and I asked if they had any wine. That was before I realised that none of the restaurants serve any form of alcohol. We must have been spoilt by the food in Hong Kong as the Chinese dishes we had were bloody awful. Americanised Chinese.
Today we have decided to take a side road through the mountains and meet up with the highway further south. The road wound through the mountain. Up and up we went for around an hour. It was a perfect day. The air was crystal clear and as it was still only around 8 o'clock there was no wind. There was new growth everywhere. On the trees and heaps of lilies bursting out on the still soaked ground from the snow that had only melted days before. The deep blue sky and the brilliant sun made the colours of the vegetation and snow covered peaks so vivid that it almost looked artificial. It just can't be that brilliant. The place was almost deserted with only the occasional car passing us. We have probably seen about 3 in the last hour. Anyway as we get to the top of the mountain (about 14500 feet) we come across a snowdrift right across the road. It is about a meter deep and almost a 100 meters across. No way is the Oldsmobile going to get through that so we turn around and head back to where we had gone from. No wander we didn't see many other cars. About 11:30 we arrive in Capital Reef Nation Park. Beautiful country. Red buttes and yellow cliffs. With the afternoon sun shining on the cliff you could see dozens of coloured layers in the cliffs. We walked down the classic canyon and the further we go the steeper the side get and the narrower the passage gets. We have taken some food with us in our backpack so we sit against this huge cliff in the shade and eat our lunch. Some bread rolls with cold meat, tomatoes, cheese and a couple of ice cold fruit juices. We imagined some Indians sitting in the same spot a couple of hundred years ago. As the sun is setting we arrive at Bryce Canyon and check into The Pines Inn for the night. I must mention the highway on our way to Bryce Canyon. At one section for a short distance the highway sits on the top of this ridge with about 500 foot drop on each side. To follow this thin strip of bitumen along to top of this ridge as it dipped and turned. With the car sitting on about 100 kph it was just like a roller coaster ride. Quite scary too.
Bryce Canyon. I had been looking forward to this as I had heard and read about it quite a few times. It was certainly spectacular but compared to Capital Reef National Park the main difference was that there was a lot more tourists here and we had rather liked the solitude of Capital Reef National Park. Anyway we went for a short walk, took some pictures and went for a bit of a drive through the park. By lunch time we were on our way again. Through the land of buttes, bluffs, plains and mountains. Stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam and then into the Navajo Indian Reservation. We stop at a roadside stall where some Indians are selling jewellery. Very nice too. Most of the jewellery consists of stones set in silver. Amoritz, jade and turquoise. We purchased a couple of items and I think to myself that the jade pieces would most probably sell like hot cakes in Hong Kong. The roadside stall is located halfway up the side of this mountain and as we look west into the sun a vast plain is before us. The land has a slight purple haze to it from the angle of the sun and the shadows from the mountains. It's about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Slightly to our right . About 30 kilometres away we can see this huge hole in the earth. Just like the earth had split open. It was a canyon. Most likely part of the grand canyon as we are not far from it now. The plains were perfectly horizontal and the walls of the canyon seemed perfectly vertical. As we looked deeper and deeper into the canyon the purple colour became darker and darker. I can just imagine the pioneers seeing that sight for the first time. Stayed in the Cameron Trading Post Motel. About 50 miles north of Flag staff Arizona. A lovely building built in the Indian building style. Huge thick stone walls with large round timber beams that support the roof. That night we had to go up to the local service station come laundromat to do some washing. The place was full of Indians. Most of the people avoided eye contact but a few of the young bucks didn't mind making eye contact. The only thing is I don't think it was friendly contact. I got the distinct feeling that we were intruding and so we finished our washing and decide to vamoose.
Brought some more jewellery from Chief Yellow horse. Not from the Chief himself but from one of his stalls. A huge sign along the road advertising Chief Yellow horses jewellery read "We love you. We very friendly Indians". The Grand Canyon was great. We thought we should go to the bottom of the canyon on a donkey but it is so hot that we just drive around looking from this and that vantage point. Went for a hike of about 5 km. On the rim of the canyon we went on a tour of some ruins of an ancient Anasazi Indian village. On our way to Los Vegas we enter Arizona, Nevada and cross the Hoover Dam. By the time we get to Los Vegas it is dark so we check into the motel and then drive up the road about a kilometre to have a look at the sights. I thought about walking but after the rumour we had heard about the crime rate in Los Vegas we decided to drive. In this particular section of town the main street is about 2 blocks long with about 7 or 8 casinos on it. Between the buildings is paved and the area above the buildings has been roofed in a huge arch. The arch is not waterproof and is made up of millions of discs about 3 inched in diameter. Every hour the arch becomes a huge screen for a laser show. The colours and images are fantastic. Dancing girls, bright coloured light shows. Every now and then an full size image of a fighter plane would go from one end to the other. The distance of 2 blocks. With full sound effects. Really amazing. Played the pokes, had something to eat and went to a bar where the girls danced provocatively on the stage. We bought 2 beers. It was happy hour so we ended up with 4. The bill was US $26.00. Ouch.
This morning we visit a few other big casinos. King Tut's, MGM and Excalibur. I though it quite strange that there was sex everywhere. People shoving pamphlet in my hand as we walked down the street selling sex, shows, anything you wanted. Bars advertising barmaids fully nude. . Yet just across the border in Utah you couldn't even buy a beer. What a strange country. We're off again. A long boring drive to LA.
We are in our motel in Marina Del. Ray. The Best Western Jamaica Bay Inn. Well we are not going to do much at all today. We are starting to become worn out. After a month of the kids visit during April in Hong Kong and only a week to prepare before flying out to the states. Then this holiday which has been fairly hectic. Not to mention a trip to Teipai and to Seoul just prior to the kid's visit. Well I am just about had it. Its a bit of a shame. I looked forward to the food in the states. I had heard so much about it. Things like "all that you can eat", different types of food such as Mexican, sea food etc. The fact is we have eaten so much with the kid's visit and now this holiday. Well we rarely feel hungry. We have both put on a bit of weight. We drop the Oldsmobile off at National Car Rentals and pick up a small Mazda from Discovery Car Rentals for US $37.00 per day. While at National I pick up a magazine full of adds for motels. I wish I'd had this magazine from the start of our holiday. Beautiful dinner tonight on Malibu beach. The restaurant is called Alice's Restaurant and it is part of an old wooden pier. Actually I think it may be the Alice's Restaurant that Arlo Guthry sang about back in the sixties. Went for a stroll around Santa Monica Pier. Everywhere we look we see familiar names that we have heard in song or seen on the movies or TV. Certainly there are similarities with the beach suburbs of Sydney.
We decide to give Hollywood and Disneyland a miss. Mexico here we come. I told you we like to keep on the move. We are going to give the expressway a miss and travel down the ocean road (Route 1) as far as we can. We finally arrive in San Diego but our Motel did not have our reservation that was booked by Best Weston in Marina Del. Ray. That's not completely true they did have a reservation for us for 24th May 1997. I later went back and cancelled that reservation because as they have an imprint of my AMEX card if I don't turn up next year they might debit my card for the reservation. Anyway I pulled out the magazine that I earlier picked up at National Car Rentals and go out to the public phone and start ringing around. The first place I ring has a room for the night. Vagabond Inn, Chula Vista. Time to do some more washing so up to the Laundromat. While we are waiting we have a beer in this bar which is full of shady looking characters and Philippine bar maids. They're everywhere. The motel is full of junior baseball teams and they make a bit of a racket during the night.
We are so arsey some times. The motel is 2 blocks from the trolley bus that goes straight to the border. We cannot take the car as there is no insurance cover over the border and the likelihood of it getting stolen is fairly high. U S border crossings are strange. No checkpoints going out of the country. We just wander along with the crowd. It was the same leaving the states when we went into Canada. Its a different story when going the other way though. Long queues, lots of questions and passport checks. Straight away we can tell that we are in a third world country. There are beggars, kids running around selling chewing gum and hundreds of vendors selling everything and anything. One vendor of a jewellery stall ask us where we were from and as we stroll off (it takes him a while to think of the sayings) he is shouting every Aussie expression that we have ever heard. We still don't buy anything from him. We did some shopping. Bought some T shirts, some more jewellery and a leather backpack. We had lunch in this large establishment. Our table was right on the edge of this large balcony on the first floor overlooking the main street. They had the traditional Mexican band roaming through the restaurant singing songs and playing the guitar and trumpets. With all the hustle and bustle of the street below and the music and the restaurant which was packed there was a great atmosphere. Gloria brought me a drink. I think it was called a tequila slammer. This bloke grabs me by my head from behind. Rubs my face with his hand, messes up my hair and jerks my head from side to side 4 or 5 times. All the while he is blowing this whistle in time with his movements. Then he pulls my head back and starts poring tequila into my mouth. Then at the same time he hits a bottle on Corona on the table. Puts his thumb over the end and stars squirting the beer into my mouth. While my mouth is full he hits me on the back of the head and the beer in my mouth goes shooting into the air. He does this 2 or 3 more time until the beer is gone. All the while rubbing my face and jerking my head from side to side and blowing his whistle. Then when he is finished he picks me up on his shoulder and spun me around 3 or 4 time. When he put me down I can't stand up and I immediately start falling to my left. Someone grabs me before I fall over. Quite an experience. One that I only want to experience once. After lunch, several margaritas and a couple of coronas we leave the restaurant and wander around the street looking at the shops, tourists and the Mexicans. In my slightly inebriated state I talk Gloria into getting her picture taken on this horse and cart. It doesn't take us anywhere. It's only used for getting your picture taken. So we jump up on this wagon. We are issued with sombreros and ponchos. There is an old white donkey in the harness. He has been painted with black stripes to make him look like a zebra. Poor thing. I feel a bit guilty about patronising this business. The photo costs US $10.00 and it turns out to be only black and white. Ripped off again. These people are experts at it.
We take the expressway back to LA and we head straight to Venus Beach. There are many stalls, buskers, people riding bicycles and roller blades. There are a bunch of black Africans Americans dressed in leather and chunky jewellery, chains and the like denouncing the treatment of the blacks by the whites. They are saying that the time is coming when the blacks are gong to take revenge on the white for all the years of oppression. Very threatening. They are surrounded by a ring of about 15 body guards all dressed in the same style. A short distance away there are mounted police keeping an eye on proceeding in case of trouble. The speaker continues his form of racism and offensive remarks. He says things like the whites standard of living has been gained through the exploitation and blood of the black man and that they would most likely not even be there if it wasn't for the blacks. Then a white man in the crowd sings out "yeah and you wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the whites either" inferring that if it wasn't for the whites that they would be back in Africa living in poverty. I think they're there every weekend and it is obvious that the discussion could get quite heated at times. We have lunch in a little open air restaurant on the first floor of this building overlooking the beach. I could have sat there for hours with a couple of beers and watching the passing parade of bikini clad rollerbladers, joggers and bicycle riders going bye. As soon as a bicycle rider leaves the cycle way he jumps off his bike and starts walking. The police are everywhere and keep a close check on everyone. The whole seen is very multicultural with people of all colours and people from all parts of the world. We stopped and listened to this 81 year old black woman playing her guitar and singing the blues. She was great. Later we drop off the car and the car rental place drops us off at our Motel. The Hampton Inn. Just 5 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport.
On arrival in Hawaii we buy a return ticket on the hotel airport bus and we are dropped right at the front door of our Hotel. The Waikiki Hanna Hotel is right behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel only one block from Waikiki Beach. I had got the name of the hotel from the LET'S GO USA book and had booked it from LA. There had been a 1800 number so the phone call had not cost anything. When we checked into the hotel again they had no booking for us. They gave us a room anyway but it was a better room than the one that I had booked and they gave it to us for the same price as the one that I had booked. US $57.00 per night. The room had a kitchenette, great location and for about a quarter the price of a room in the Hyatt Regency across the road.
Today we caught a bus to Diamond Head. An extinct volcano near Waikiki. It is very hot and the climb to the top, about 20 minutes just about wipes Gloria out. It was worth it though as the view from the top is magnificent. The see is a deep blue with sailing boat, surfboard riders down below and mist covered mountains behind.
Tonight I booked a car for tomorrow. I didn't tell Gloria what sort of car I had booked. A white Mustang convertible. US $39.00 per day.
Today we drive east around the coast and then north up the coast but somewhere along the route we end up on the wrong expressway and return to Waikiki via a tunnel. Now we head north through the middle of the island. Past Pearl City and then onto the north west coast. We follow the coast around and head back down the north east coast. On the way we stop several places. Go for a swim on a deserted beach and just admire the beautiful mountains and vegetation. We drop the car off at about 5:30 PM as we have nowhere to park it. Later we are wandering around the streets looking at the tourist stands and generally being a typical tourist when I see a gathering at this big complex so we decide to investigate. Its Michael Jackson or I should say his double. He is giving a performance that he does in a show that is to start in a few moments called "Legends". We're quite impressed. The show has played right across the USA and has just arrived in Hawaii. I had seen it advertised in LA and Los Vegas as a coming attraction. We decide that it would be a good way to spend the next couple of hours so we purchase a couple of tickets and in we go. We got a pretty good deal. The ticket were normally US $35.00 each but as we had come from the performance outside and as the show was about to start they were offering a special price so we got our tickets for US $30.00 plus a legends T-shirt each, plus a free cocktail. The show was very good. All the performers were doubles of the original artist. there was Neil diamond, Elvis (naturally), Madonna, Marolyn, Whitney Houston as well as Michael, dancers and the band.
Today we are not doing anything other than laying around on the beach and having the occasional swim. This has not exactly been a holiday to relax. We have been on the move for a month and we are feeling the strain. My next holiday will be somewhere a bit quieter and a bit more relaxing. About 5:30 PM I remember that I better book the airport bus for the following morning but when I ring I find out that first of all I should have booked 48 hours in advance and secondly the office shut at 5:00 PM so I will have to wait until 9:00 the following morning to book. Our flight is at 11:25 am and with the heavy traffic it is going to be close.
I manage to book the bus for 9:50. As it turned out the bus was early and there was plenty of time. Again leaving the USA is a simple affair. Immigration is done at the check-in counter at the airport and we are on the plane with minimal delay. We had a 4 hour transit at Tokyo airport. We got caught a bit unaware as we did not have any Japanese currency. We couldn't even buy a cup of coffee. There was no money exchange in the transit lounge and they would not take visa for small amounts. We couldn't even buy a bottle of water. We arrive back in Hong Kong at night. By now it is Saturday the 1st June. We lost a day flying over the international date line.
Well it's been a great holiday. No great disasters. We travelled over 6000 kilometres and spent over A$5000.00 That includes every thing including food, petrol, car rental and accommodation. It even includes a few presents and clothes. Does not including airfares. That's pretty good actually. 7 rolls of film and a wealth of memories. Now I have 1 day to recover before I'm back at work. What a thought.
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Posted By Glen on 29th December 2009
Updated : 29th December 2009 | Words : 6505 | Views : 7558
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