A Travellerspoint blog

USA

Chapter 3 - San Diego

Stay Classy San Diego

sunny 30 °C

So, after the airport shenanigans documented in blog 2, I finally arrived in San Diego. After the day I'd had, I would have killed for a beer or 9. Thankfully for the other guests, it didn't come to that, as the hostel had already organised a night out at a local club (usually $40 entry). At this point, I'd like to describe in detail what happened. Unfortunately, neither I, nor any of my newly made friends, could recall much at all the following morning. I have managed to piece together some key events: I dropped my phone in the toilet; the club was huge, and had a fire on the roof; drinks were flippin' expensive; I played some jazz flute; a copious amount of tequila was consumed by all.

With heads feeling rather sore the following morning, a few of us decided the best hangover cure was beer (they say 60% of the time, it works every time). We stumbled a few block to the wonderfully named Nicky Rotten's and planted ourselves next to the biggest TV. Two good things then happened. Firstly, Barcelona gave United a footballing lesson. Secondly, I had the greatest burger of all time, bar none. It was called the 'Pizza Burger'. Combining a pizza with a burger is so brilliantly simple, I can't believe I've not done it before. It was, in a word, glorious. I love Pizza Burger. By 2 o'clock, it was officially a good day; come 3 o'clock, it was to become a brilliant one.

Within a week of leaving the UK I'd come to the conclusion that being sensible was synonymous with being boring. With this glaringly flawed ethos in mind, I put my name down for the trip to Tijuana, Mexico! Mexico's "border control" (I use that term loosely) is somewhat less sophisticated than their northern neighbours'. In favour of fingerprinting and iris scans, they've gone for the not-so-subtle approach of a revolving door, and one man with a gun. In fairness, it was a bloody big gun. We strolled over the border, and went to do some shopping. It was here I made a frankly inspired purchase.

I opted against the bottle of 96% proof spirit, instead spending $10 on a bright blue Mexican wrestling mask (Google image search Rey Mysterio and you'll get the idea). We went for some $2 beers and $1 tequilas, before heading for food. Usually, restaurants, pool clubs, nightclubs and tattoo parlours are separate establishments, but not in Mexico. After we ordered our food, we wandered past the dance floor to the pool table where, in between shots, we were able to watch a girl get a hideous design printed on her back! 

With fajitas, tacos and nachos consumed, the waiter returned with yet more tequila. He proceeded to perform a rather amusing ritual of going around the table, yanking everyone's head back, and pouring a couple of shots worth down everyone's throat. With that, we were ready to hit the club! Once I'd had a few more beers, and possibly some more tequila, I inevitably thought it would be a fantastic idea to crack out the wrestling mask. I'm not so sure it was, but it made for some interesting photos.

Having got precisely seven minutes of sleep that night, I decided to pay a visit to the zoo and meet some pandas. While I wasn't overly impressed with the zoo overall (Singapore blows it away), pandas are stunning creatures, I could've watched them all day! The father was a big chap, I tried to get an interview with him, but they said 'no, you can’t do that he’s a live bear, he will literally rip your face off.' Oh well.

Monday's weather was glorious and, with it being my last day in San Diego, I decided to take a trip to Mission Beach. It was horrible. Overcrowded and full of people trying to sell you expensive rubbish (I bought a hat). I didn't hang around long, and on my travels back stumbled across a place called Old Town, which I decided to explore. I'm glad I did, the place was amazing; it was like stepping onto the set of a western! Before I knew it, I'd spent the rest of the day in saloons, cigar shops and brothels (joking...).

Once back I decided to have a quiet night in, as I had a bus to LA to catch on the morning before flying out. My plan was going well, up until someone asked me if I wanted to come out, to which I instantly responded: 'sure'.

After another fun night, I opted against getting the bus in favour of a road trip with a group of Australians who were heading to Hollywood. This was a good choice - much more comfortable, and they dropped me off right at the airport. Turns out they aren't a bad bunch, the Aussies!

The only downside was a 10 hour wait at one of the most depressing places on Earth, LAX! Within 2 hours, I was in a glass case of emotion.
Eventually though, I was on my way to paradise. I arrived in Tahiti at roughly 5am, and it was hot. Very hot. Good times...

  • * Awesome Trivia #1: How many Anchorman references can you spot?

Posted by Daniel.J.B 17:18 Archived in USA Tagged beaches san_diego mexico zoo usa panda tijuana Comments (0)

The First Leg - New York

I heart NY

semi-overcast 22 °C

After an emotional farewell to the friends Thursday night, and an emotional farewell to the family Friday morning, it was finally time to leave British soil. As soon as I did, something annoying happened. When in economy class, it's fair to say you're not gifted with a huge amount of leg room. Most people are therefore gracious enough not to fully recline their seat. Most people, but never the ones sat in front of me! A bit of knee-in-the-back action, however, and she soon resumed the upright position.

One inconsiderate lady aside, the journey was pretty uneventful; I got through customs without making any jokes about having a bomb, and arrived at the hostel about 4pm. After some hardcore napping, I went to the welcoming party. I soon got talking to people from all over the globe, and got in a heated debate with an Australian girl regarding semantics. Whilst we agreed on the ambiguity of the term 'fag', I was a little underwhelmed when I realised what she meant when she said I could see her thong.

Saturday was... how can I put this eloquently? Mental. I was up at the crack of sparrows to meet Lady Liberty and visit Ellis Island, which was fascinating. I'd paid a little extra for the audio tour of both, only to forget to collect my headset at Ellis Islands, oops. Once I departed the ferry I was presented with the opportunity to purchase some intriguingly named Obama Condoms. I politely declined. Having stopped to watch a street performance from a quartet of hilarious, and very talented, break dancers, I decided to go to the Empire State Building. The bus terminal looked too confusing for my liking, so I decided to walk, despite the fact I didn't actually have any idea where it was. Turns out it's a very long way away. On my travels I stumbled upon Union Square, Ground Zero and Broadway, where I witnessed the rather elaborate union of messrs Tom and Zach. A quaint church it was not. What it was was a bright pink mobile chapel, complete with loud speakers pumping out music with far too much bass, and plenty of scantily clad dancers. It put Will and Kate's poxy efforts to shame.

Once I got to Broadway and Times Square I suspended my search for the Empire State Building in favour of M&M World. A solid choice - pretzel M&Ms are something special! I filled my boots, and decided to resume my original search. Thanks to my in-depth knowledge of the NY street track on Gran Turismo, I had a rough idea of where it was. Once there, I offended the street vendor when I told him I'd heard the SkyRide was 'crap', and just wanted to go to the observatory on the 86th floor. He begrudgingly sold me a ticket, which granted me the opportunity to queue. And queue. And queue a little more. I eventually reached the observatory, which in fairness was pretty spectacular. Having taken the stock photos, I joined the queue for the exit.
P1010840.jpg
As soon as I was back on terra firma, it began to rain, which put a slight dampner (ha!) on what had otherwise been a superb day. I got back to the hostel, had a quick shower, and got ready for the night out I'd signed up to. Having not heard another British accent up until then, I got talking to a couple of English girls, and we headed to what was without doubt the strangest club I've ever set foot in. Having been violated by the security guard (he didn't even buy me a drink), we were finally allowed entry. To say New Yorkers are a boisterous bunch would be an understatement; they're just plain mental! Us Brits are a more reserved lot, and by midnight the three of us had seen enough - too much in some cases - and jumped in a cab to Times Square. We found an Irish bar that, while not exactly quiet, was somewhat more tasteful than the club we left behind. After meeting some more interesting characters, we ended up back at the hostel about 4am.

Sunday was rather less hectic. I tagged along with Alex and Ruth - the English girls from the previous night - to visit Colombia University, Brooklyn Bridge and Bloomingdales. I then headed off to Rockefeller Center, and walked back to the hostel via Central Park (where I inevitably got lost). I then had a couple of hours to kill before heading off.

New York was a great way to start my trip. I've never been anywhere quite like it and, while 2 days was enough do pretty much everything I wanted to, I do love the place just for the sheer insanity of it all. It's certainly a place I think everyone should try and visit at some point if possible. I just hope the rest of my chosen locations live up to the high standards which have now been set.
I've just arrived at the hostel in Toronto (which is awesome) after a very long overnight bus journey. I'm probably just going to spend today recovering, explore Toronto properly tomorrow, and visit Niagara Falls on Wednesday.
I might post again from San Diego, otherwise you probably wont hear from me until New Zealand in a couple of weeks. Until then, I shall bid you farewell.

Dan.

Posted by Daniel.J.B 06:42 Archived in USA Tagged new_york times_square statue_of_liberty ellis_island broadway central_park empire_state_building Comments (2)

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