Sunday, 13 January 2008

"America...F%#K Yeah!"

For those who don't understand the title, it comes from a song in the movie 'Team America - World Police.' America has been fun and i have enjoyed each place that i have been to, there is heaps more to see and do here, so i will have to come back.

The 'Icy' Windy City
Unlike New York where it was what i expected, Chicago wasn't at all. New parks and artistic gardens (pic) with old and new skyscrapers, but a city that you can easily walk around in and not get lost. The central hub of the town is smaller than what i expected but Chicago as an area in general with all the suburbs is huge. At first i unknowingly booked a hostel that was 50 minutes away by train! It was one of the worst hostels i had stayed in and found a great place in the centre of town after. I did a couple of walking tours where i learnt a lot about the city, went to another blues bar (i had to, it's Chicago! -pic) and went and watched the Chicago Blackhawks get thumped by Minnesota Wild (2-5) in my first Ice Hockey game. I loved it. But they lost. A very physical game where one of the Blackhawks players sandwiched a Minnesota Wild player in-between him and the perspex wall, snapping it in two where they spent 5 minutes replacing it. The sell-out crowd of 21,000 fans ranted and raved with joy as the poor bloke got back up quite slowly. Saw a few fights too and the girls in mini skirts who's job it is to scoop up the shredded ice during the breaks. The oversize guy next to me getting drunk on Bud Light? seemed to like it too.

Sin City
Trailer park trash, single mums, Elvis wannabees and drugged up violent couples with black eyes was my first introduction to Las Vegas on my 1 hour local bus ride from the airport to my hostel. It actually felt like i was part of a 'COPS' episode. I was here for a week and a half and it took me a while to find the fun side of this city of sin. The only gambling i did was lose $35 in a poker tournament and win $35 on a Roulette table. Other than that, i watched many people throw away the same amount i am spending on my entire trip within 10 minutes on various games. I became a member at every single casino (pic), went on the scariest rides i have ever been on on top of the Stratosphere casino, i gatecrashed an Elvis themed wedding (pic) and as i was their only guest, they made me part of their wedding photos! I saw most of the outdoor shows the casinos put on and went to many bars and clubs in the main strip and the outside local areas as well. Went to 8 free gaming lessons and learnt how to play most of the popular table games. In the end i did enjoy Las Vegas. It's been blue skies and around 16 degrees everyday.

It's a Grand Canyon
Wanting to spend more time here, i could only go on a day trip for various reasons. It was a long but good day. Up at 5am and arrived back at 9pm. The canyon was amazing however i was shoved in with 60 other whinging and whining tourists where all they did was complain that the bus TV was too quiet and it's too early, too cold etc... With the 5 hours there and 5 hours back, all i did was try to tune out listening to my music and look at the stunning views out the window off in my own little world. We visited Hoover Dam and the southern part of the Grand Canyon (the deepest/widest etc). I watched an IMAX movie about the Canyon before witnessing one of the natural wonders. It was a great day and i was lucky enough to be able to trek down and up a bit only for an hour though on the snow covered path as we were 2.5km above sea level.

Los Angeles
With non stop patchy rain the whole time i was here was a bit of a shame yet i got to do a lot of things that i would not have expected to do in this huge spread out city. Shaved my head again into what my mother has called 'a silly hair strip' and went to a few clubs, being called 'The Girl Bar' a goth club 'Das Bunker' and a roller skating (not blading) club called 'World on Wheels' where hundreds of people dressed in 80's gear and hot pants skate around the ring to 80's music with the bar up the top. They all were very cool clubs like i have never experienced before. On top of that i climbed up in the hills near the Hollywood sign, and got chauffeured around Los Angeles thanks to Mariah who lives here whom i had met earlier in my travels, walked and spent an afternoon at Venice beach and Muscle Park where there is an outdoor gym to show off and release some testostorone when the weather was surprisingly really nice, and went cruising around Bell Air, Beverly Hills, Downtown, Hollywood and all the other areas that need to be seen.

Next stop is 'Carnival!' in Rio, for nearly 2 weeks!!! For the next 3 months i will be travelling and camping throughout Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. I don't know how often i will be able to access and/or have time to check emails and write my blog but i will when i can.