Archive for May, 2010

San Diego Whirlwind

We’re officially one week late on the blogging as this happened last Sunday!! It was only one day of San Diego fun and I wrote this in Grand Canyon (yesterday!) after 30 kilometres of walking (a little teaser for an epic blog on the Grand Canyon!), so it might be a little boring, I was lacking in humour. Hopefully the pics make up for it and the promise of fun times in Vegas and the Grand Canyon make you wanna come back and visit and send us little parcels of love on the comments page… pleeeeease?!! Thanks so much to y’all for posting comments, it makes our hearts sing when we see them!

Ok SDog, you promised to be the finest city in California and with only one day to view you, perhaps we shouldn’t judge but we think you might have been exaggerrating. You were still very  nice, don’t be mad, we might come back one day and give you a second chance. For now, here is what we thought of our day of fun in San Diego.

Our one day in San Diego had to be action-packed and memorable because it was our one chance to bond with the city before heading to Las Vegas.  The toss up was between the Zoo, which is supposed to be one of the world’s best, and Sea World, with the beautiful killer whale show and plenty of entertainment. We decided that sea animals were more exciting!

First stop was Believe, the Shamu show. Shamu is the world famous killer whale and this show was meant to be good, but I found it absolutely spine tingling. There were four killer whales in the show and they were so graceful and majestic I found myself tearing up. Sean was impressed too, he claimed he had sunscreen in his eyes but I reckon he had a soft spot for Shamu himself.

Prawn and Shamu stare each other down... While friendly, I don't think this guy could turn down a nibble of a King Prawn!

The whole of Sea World was pretty much animal shows which suited me just fine! We also did Sea Lion and Otter Show which Sean said was his favourite of the day. Totally cute with the sea lions performing skits from top TV shows like Survivor, CSi and American Idol. One of the sea lions sang and it sounded just like Max, Licia and David’s dog! We had a good laugh.

One of the sea lions doing a Survivor performance

For the rest of the day we saw sharks, flamingos, dolphins, an animal rescue show and Mexican musicians. It was fun.

Mexican music, was fun and felt like dancing but nobody else was so instead...

We lay on the grass and soaked up the sunshine - glorious!

Night time I convinced Sean to leave the area our accommodation was in and head to the Gaslamp Quarter. It was a brilliant decision as the main street, Fifth Avenue, was packed with restaurants, bars and generally a buzzing nightlife. We had our best meal yet at the small Toscana’s, an Italian restaurant before wandering up the street to see some of the action.

Sean's crab stuffed shrimps on spinach risotto was a hit, mine was blackened salmon on spaghetti alfredo... sooo good!

Sean’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when one of the bigger nightclubs had a lingerie show on and girls were promoting it out front while the baddest dudes talked themselves up to each other. I tried to give the club a wide berth but Sean wanted to mingle in the local culture and walked through and even took a free entry pass, hoping he could convince his wife to enter the club she was power walking past. He was appeased with ice cream as he so often is and went in to Ghiradelli’s which gave us a free chocolate sample as soon as we went in.

Happy man, double scoop ice cream at Ghiardelli's. Delicious!

 He was happy, I was happy and a fun day and night in San Diego finished there. Next stop Vegas! Hopefully a new post really soon. xoxo


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LA (Grand finale)

So, I reluctantly gave up my blogging powers (is it the one thing i have over Sean?!) to the King Prawn and he has written up our final two days in LA… hope you enjoy!

Since Lisa has written the last four blogs and I have failed to do any so far I thought it was about time. Please note that it does take me about 10x longer to write something compared to Lisa and seeing as though we visited Knotts Berry Farm 5 days ago I think I’m doing pretty well. Also, it’s the perfect opportunity to get my own back on Lisa for whatever she has said in the blogs so far. 

After returning the hire car, Friday was the first guided tour we would take and the first day of real action! Knotts Berry Farm was originally a working farm complete with fruit and animals that was opened to the public back in the 1950s. It eventually grew over the years to provide rides and other attractions and competed with Disneyland next door. While it is not the most extreme theme park in California (that title belongs to Six Flags Magic Mountain) it certainly has its fair share of thrill rides.

We started the day very sedately on a meandering log ride through a rolling river at Lisa’s request before I was allowed on something extreme.

Lisa enjoying herself on the first ride of the day. That smile won't last long if i have anything to do with it!

The first real ride was called the “Xcelerator” which is basically a giant slingshot that shoots off from the start and reaches 150km/h in 2sec before shooting up 80m in the air and performing a number of twists, turns and rolls and coming to a stop 1min later. I spent 5mins in the line feeling as though I needed to go to the toilet until eventually it was my turn to jump in. I don’t think I have ever shaken so much, people in the line next to me kept asking if I was cold and needed a jacket. Trust me, no jacket was going to stop this shaking.

I jumped in and checked the straps and buckles 5x just to make sure I was secure, and in the event I passed out I would still be there at the end. They actually had a countdown timer before this thing released then whack, off we went, I felt like a fly being squashed against a car windscreen. I eventually opened my eyes when we slowed down somewhat only to realize that we were at the highest point of the coaster, 80m up (I am petrified of heights by the way) and I felt myself go white all over. We then plummeted straight back down and eventually I started to enjoy myself. Somehow you forget the fear so quickly and you get the most amazing buzz that you just want to do it all over again. So off we went to see what other rides we could conquer.

"The Xcelerator", That was me on that thing! If only the camera could show how white i was.Xcelerator conquered! Pumped and ready for more.

I tried for the rest of the morning to convince Lisa to join me before she had the opportunity to lose her lunch. Eventually we found a moderate coaster that she could warm up on that didn’t go too high or upside down but still went pretty quick (the Pony Express). I think I got more entertainment out of watching Lisa’s face and hearing her scream than I did from the ride itself but it was well worth it. She admitted afterwards that it wasn’t so bad and she enjoyed it more than she thought which gave me hope I could get her on an extreme ride at some point.

I continued to experience every ride I could find in the park including the silver bullet which takes you upside down and flings you in every direction you could imagine all while traveling at speeds in excess of 120km/h.

The Silver Bullet, more twists and turns than a bowl of spaghetti

Finally I convinced Lisa to join me on the longest roller coaster in the park lasting for 3min but I had to lie a little bit. I told her it didn’t go upside down so it had to be pretty sedate. The first bit was true but the second part couldn’t be any further from the truth. This thing went so high, so fast and was so rickety that I was once again shaking before getting on. It didn’t help that the ride was shut down for ten minutes before we jumped on due to someone getting a blood nose. We eventually jumped on and straight away I wished I had brought along the ear plugs that mum and dad gave us before we left. This thing felt as though it was going to jump off the tracks at any minute and the ride felt as though it was never going to end. Eventually it ended just after Lisa lost her voice from screaming so much but it was an absolute blast.

Lisa still shaking, but on the upside she lost her voice!

I finished the day off doing the last remaining ride in the park called the Boomerang but after her last experience Lisa wasn’t joining me for this one. I can safely say the rides here are 10x more severe than anything I have ever experienced before and will probably last me for another few years. We finished the day off with dinner at TGI Friday’s before making our way back to Santa Monica for our last night in Los Angeles.

Waiting for the bus to take us home, what a fun day

 Saturday morning we woke fairly early so we could get some last minute shopping in before leaving. I had some adventure shopping to do while Lisa went up to a famous strip called Montana Ave where she hoped to spot some celebrities and find a bargain or two. I found an awesome adventure outlet called REI where I kitted us both out for our planned visits to Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks. They have amazing gear all about half the price of Australia and yes I went a bit nuts. Surprisingly I bought more stuff than Lisa that day but somehow I think that will be a once off.

Me about to enter heaven, REI, with backpack on and all

After leaving Perth with our cases half full we are now well and truly packed to the brim but at least that means no more shopping for a while. We jumped on a bus for what we thought would be a 10min trip into downtown LA but boy is their traffic bad over here. It took us over an hour to travel about 10kms and we still had another 3hr train ride ahead of us to get down to San Diego. Thankfully we had a bit of time to spare in between rides so we went for a wander through the Mexican quarter and had authentic Mexican burritos for dinner.

Hey burrito

 It was another late night after checking into our hotel at 11pm but tomorrow is Sea World and I will let Lisa fill you in on all the adventures.

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LA (part two)

Thanks for all the lovely comments! I will write a reply in the comments section of the last big post. For now, ding ding, round two!

I’m writing this from our very typical motel room, Howard Johnson in San Diego. It’s one of those U-shaped ochre yellow numbers and last night I had the eeriest feeling that there might be a ghost because it just feels kinda old and creepy! Anyway, back to LA and day three where we started the day reeeeal early and Sean’s family will get a kick out of this… Just so we could get save $9, we woke up at 5.30 to get our car out of the parking lot before 6am because you got a super special deal. Oh, the pain! The pain of waking up so early when we go to bed so late on holidays.

Luckily, we had Malibu to look forward to. You can often spot celebs like Leo DC, Brangelina or my favourite Bond, Pierce Brosnan at the Malibu Country Mart so we stopped there for a breakfast smoothie at Starbucks. We saw many flash cars and the girl working there was the daughter of a director who recently took the family to New Zealand to shoot a movie (I nominated Lord of the Rings) and this was as close as we got. We did have an awesome early morning beach walk and found an Oliver Peoples sunglasses shop which made me think of my special bud, Emma!

Sean on Malibu Beach telling me to hurry up... he always walks so fast! You can take the boy out of the race...

After a quick cat nap back at the hostel (free parking for 2 hours, bargain hunters unite!), we were ready for Beverly Hills and Hollywood! I’ll let the pics do the talkin’ here!

Sean and his future car on Rodeo Drive

Sean and Clint Eastwood's paw prints at Graumann's Theatre

Sean and his hero Jason Bourne, I mean Matt Damon

For some reason, I let Sean take a pic of me with Tom Cruise's star even though I don't really like... think it was because there was no other names we recognised nearby! And Jerry Maguire.

Hmm, caption for above didn’t work but that’s me on Hollywood Boulevard out front of Graumann’s Chinese Theatre where lots of movie premieres are held. I also got chatted up by Spongebob Squarepants who was one of the many dressed up people wandering along walk of fame. He complimented me on my teeth, him and his gap-toothed smile were a little jealous.

Then… off to the ball game friends! Part two of why I love the US so far (I said “firstly” in my last LA post and never went any further oops!) is the passion these guys have for their sports. West Aussies love their footy for sure… but seriously, nearly every person was wearing some kind of LA Dodger paraphernalia, everyone sung the team theme song with gusto when it was played and they were allowed to do the Mexican wave.

Thirdly, they combined two of my favourite things – sports and karaoke. After about 6 rounds (baseball has 9 rounds and that’s only if one teams wins, if they are even they keep going… it’s a little like cricket in that it can get BOR-ing! Lucky it was new for us and i loved it anyway), on the big screen they play about three big songs with the words flashing along the bottom of the screen so the crowd can get karaoke crazy. I LOVED it! Especially when they played Don’t Stop Believin’ (on the Glee soundtrack) and i showed them what gusto singing was all about. Sean tried to hide, but i lassooed him by the nose, he wasn’t going anywhere. Here’s us in baseball action!

Take me out to the ball game! Note the blue and white t-shirts... they're everywhere! Or they're bomber jackets, baseball caps, they even have Dodger g-strings I saw at Universal City - ew

Take me out to the ball game! Note the blue and white t-shirts... they're everywhere! Or they're bomber jackets, baseball caps, they even have Dodger g-strings I saw at Universal City - ew

Night falls and the crowd gets a little rowdier, we even saw a couple home runs - go Dodgers!

What a fun day and night, hope you enjoyed the read. Will post Knotts Berry Farm tomorrow, it’s somehow 7.30pm on our one and only night in San Diego so better go get loco at a Mexican restaurant! What’s that you say, Sean? Extra chillies? Alllllrighty then.


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Celeb alert!

Ok, so I spoke too soon. Last night, straight after posting part one of LA, we went for froyo as mentioned. On our way there we passed a gorgeous looking, tall girl walking next to a guy with a bike. I had to look twice, but realised it was Whitney Port!! Most of you will probably not have a clue who this is, but she was made famous on (sort of) reality TV shows The Hills and The City (how much reality can be squeezed into a semi-scripted show?). She was tall! And surprisingly, a little bigger in real life as she looks super skinny normally. Anyway, big excitement, even if my mum will have no idea who she is and really, Whitney does only qualify as a B-grade celeb but it counts, it was a celeb sighting furreal!
Off to Montana Ave this morning to hunt for more (c’mon, A listers!) and do some shopping while Sean heads to a big adventure store. Churrah!! xoxo

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We’ve finally reached the other side of the world, after a bingle with United Airlines resulted in us staying an extra night in Sydney (and without the loveliness of Wheaterville). But that seems long ago after four fantastic days here in Los Angeles, the first leg of our USA journey. Do we love it? Yes we do!

Before I get into the pictures, can I say, I love me some american hospitality. Firstly, nobody in Perth has ever cheered me on throughout a morning jog (unless you count a wolf whistle from a dude hanging out of a ute, I don’t). But jogging up the street I got a “Great job, go for it” from a passer by plus numerous good mornings. Well, good morning LA, I like your style too!

We arrived on Tuesday to cold and rain which was a little dismal. But we didn’t let it dampen our spirits and hit Santa Monica, the surrounds of the hostel we are staying in. Sean apparently spotted a celebrity while out trying to get us a phone. It was a blonde girl surrounded by security guards going into a shop which closed for her benefit. I wasn’t there, he didn’t know who she was and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of a movie star since. Bah! And I’ve been looking, plenty of stealthy stares in likely areas, but to no avail. I am hitting up Montana Avenue tomorrow morning where apparently Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon frequent, so fingers crossed!

Anyway, we did spot lots of lovely shops like Victoria’s Secret, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters (i went in there especially for you Steph!) and Lululemon. One other not-so-lovely shop we popped into for far too long was REI, some adventure store. Sean was mesmerised for hours (at least one hour) over the tents, hiking shoes, special jackets and nutrition. I busied myself in the book section, which was huge, and covered many important topics like “what to do when you spot a bear”, “what to do when you come across a rattlesnake” and “mountain lions look cute but will probably eat you.” I felt a lot better.

Anyway, we were still in my preferred domain of “city by the beach” and took full advantage with a big walk from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach. Here’s some snaps;

Me overlooking Santa Monica beach, where many Baywatch scenes were shot

Sean looking classy, bonding with local sealife

Two ladies and their cockatoo going for a walk along the beach (and Prawn in the background avoiding bird - scaredy cat!)

Sean, meet Ben and Jerry. Ben and Jerry, meet your biggest fan, the ice cream king.

Our first night out in Santa Monica we went for Cafe Crepe nearby which had a big menu as we both felt like different things. The dessert was the highlight though, Sean went for banana and nutella with a scoop of ice cream while I held out for frozen yoghurt next door. Mm-mmmm!

First drink in LA, happy people

This crepe never stood a chance, despite being the biggest we'd seen. Munch, munch!

Hyello loverrr... Pinkberry and I get intimate

Next day was Universal Studios and it was FUN as you’d expect. It started off with the return of a special friend. The red and white striped nose hilarity! Some of you know that Sean’s nose does party tricks when he’s hysterical and this was the first time this trip that something tickled him enough to bring it on. I captured the occasion at Universal City, just before we entered the Studios.

Nearly bought it, but it's not reeeally something a married man should be wearing, hey stud?

Universal Studios, where movie stars are made!

Waterworld, our first stunt show and one of our favourite activities at Universal

And we got a little wet... i protected my hair but my pants were wet through, but Sean's were only wet around the groin which was humorous to me of course

Ah there you are, my endless nemesis. Bruce from Jaws, you have a lot to answer for!

He's alive! Cheeky bugger scaring everyone on the studio tour.

Sean and one of his idols, Jason Bourne and the car used in the movie. Who is better looking, Sean or Jason? You be the judge, but you know what i think!

Sean takes a sneaky pic of me clutching on to him in the House of Horrors... I screamed a lot and Sean laughed a lot, it was fun.

Goodbye Universal Studios, what a funtabulous day!

It was a big day, bear with us, because we then headed up past Los Feliz to visit Griffith Observatory which was gobsmackingly gorgeous. Definitely worth a visit and the planetarium and museum were really interesting too. We took some geeky, science pics to prove it.

Sean looking out over the phenomenal view at Griffith Observatory

Nerd alert! Sean gets crazy with some binoculars.

Yet another beautiful view... The Hollywood background is ok, but mama please, just look at that new lululemon top!

Ok I’m out of time to finish off the last two days and y’all (I can say that officially now I’m actually in the US!) are probably bored already. Next time I post will be of our Malibu/Beverly Hills/Hollywood by day and LA Dodgers baseball by night plus today’s Knott’s Berry Farm expedition. And maybe some San Diego too coz that’s where we’re headed tomorrow (bring on Sea World)! Yahoo! Exciting, although I’ve loved LA. If only my friends and family lived here I’d consider moving. I’m out, time to hunt down some more Pinkberry (I’ve been teasing her all day with promises of a visit).

Maybe I’ll get Captain Hiking Boots to do the San Diego blog…

Byeeee, comment and tell us if you like our travel blog, what you’d like to see or hear more of and of course, holler if you miss us coz you know we miss you!


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Let the games begin

Hi ho friends!

Finally we have begun our journey and we’ve been in a very happy travel bubble ever since 10.10am Friday when we sat our booties down on a Qantas plane headed to Sydney. We arrived to see our beautiful friend Emma (who is with bunny in the oven) waiting for us. We were very lucky to stay at chez Wheater with Em and Muz, it has been a brilliant weekend so far and we still have Monday morning to come (Bondi to Bronte walk planned!).

Friday night we spent at a fun pizza place Love Supreme on Oxford Street gasbagging about life, travels n everything in between with Em and Muz while feasting on delicious pizza. We were feeling crazy so we even ordered a “surprise” pizza which arrives on your table with no prior knowledge of what might adorn it.  We’re out of control already, I know.

Here is us getting more insane with dessert…

Lip smackin' good pannacotta

Emma with her "this is no crumble" cannoli

The next day we woke up pretty early despite a very late night for a dinner date (1am, who are we?!) and after eating some fruit salad, we went to La Gerbe d’Or for round two and consumed pastries and coffee which was pretty much heaven.  I ate a coffee eclair, while Sean and Em knocked back St Tropez, and Muz made short work of an almond croissant.

Emma looking lovely with St Tropez pastry in all its custardy glory

That coffee eclair never had a chance...

Muz makes like a Frenchman with his croissant and perfect pose

After eating for Australia, we went for a massive walk in Centennial Park with Pedro the wonderdog. This little guy is very cool, i have rated him 2nd best puppy in the world after Oscar, very prestigious accolade indeed. Here is the guy exhausted after all the walking but still helping me blog (note the bandana, he’d just been to the doggy hairdressers – tres chic, no?).

Pedro inspires me, he doesn't understand why i didn't quote him more. "ARF!" says Pedro.

It was then off to see my long-lost sister-friend Stephie! We look alike and talk alike so Ben and Sean may  have emphathised occasionally over dinner when we tried to order for them, discussed celebrity spotting and generally squealed a lot. It was fun! We started off at Max Brenner for chocolates. First celebrity spot! The pretty blonde twins and the really big lady (who is a little less big now, well done!) from the latest Biggest Loser entering Max Brenner, but leaving without purchasing anything. I gave them two thumbs up while slurping my peanut butter iced chocolate.

Steph chomping chocolate goodness while giving us fun travel tips

We headed off to The Spot at Randwick to meet Ben and get some tapas at the Spanish Fly which was really delicious. Fun atmosphere, great staff and absolutely delicious tapas (thick slabs chorizo, tasty grilled octopus, pork belly etc mmm). The Spot seems to cover an intersection in Randwick from what we gathered with lots of restaurants (plenty of Thai), shops and cafes. It was packed on Saturday night and very good for people watching.

Ben and Steph at The Spanish Fly... awww

Me, Sean and a lychee cocktail... match made in heaven

After a fun night out and not wanting to say goodbye to my dear friend, we headed home to get a good sleep before our BIG morning on Sunday cheering Muz on at the Sydney Half Marathon.

Muz in the zone... with a cheesy grin! And head cheerleaders Em and Bunny.

Muz did awesome and managed to do a time under 2-hours despite not training as much as he’d have liked. We celebrated with another sensational meal (sans pics) at Forbes and Burton. Brunch and it was delicious.

After a quick trip to see the infamous butcher (I wrote about it in Commercial mag!) Victor Churchill and then discovering Donna Hay store on the way home, we caught up with Sean’s middle brother, Patrick Padderico McPadster. Sometimes called Paddy. We ran amok through the Rocks at the fun markets there and the boys got lunch while I sampled fudge and soda bread. They also humoured me with a trip to the Lindt Cafe where we carried on chatting and it was a fun afternoon where we were lucky to make the most of last chances to see family!

Bruvas... Paddy flew to Sydney from Tasmania to see his big bro, so lovely

Me and Paddy in Hyde Park, me very happy after Lindt expedition

El Prawno with his gozleme and Paddy nails some pancakes

Just finished our last homemade meal for a while at Em’s and it was one to remember. Pork sausages from Victor Churchill’s with tomato lentil stew, fresh bread from local baker and salad. Time for our contribution of dessert.

See you at our next stop, LA!!

Lisa and Sean

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