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"The Compelling Chronicles Of America, Moon & Honey" by Jacy & Damien Chalcraft. “Not all those who wander are lost.” — J. R. R. Tolkien

"Downtime, Sunshine & Anaheim."

USA | Wednesday, 18 July 2012 | Views [754]


The 8 hour drive (654kms) from San Francisco to Anaheim was interesting to say the least. As mentioned previously my wallet, drivers license & I had mutually parted ways. This proved to be somewhat of an issue when hiring the car as the registration could only be made under Jacy's name & thus I was not permitted to drive. Ridiculous really as I've had my license for 8 years, been driving for as long & I've a practically spotless record but simply due to the fact they are unable to access Australia's DMV Database, I was considered unlicensed in the United States. Like that mattered though. Jacy drove us out of the hire car port, through the city of San Fran, narrowly avoiding pedestrians, red lights & awkward merges until we stopped for fuel in the outskirts of the Californian desert where we switched places & I drove for the remaining 10 days. I believe the correct American terminology for driving unlicensed is "riding dirty?" and boy was it a ride! We were soon to discover that the average speed across these highways is 75mph (120kph) & that all highway speeds throughout the entire US are "universally ignored" without penalty so basically the specified speed limit is the minimum acceptable. The roads were in terrible condition, 5 - 7 lanes wide in either direction & I've yet to mention I'm driving on the left side of the car on the right hand side of the road. It took ALOT of getting used to. City driving brought about the most problematic areas. There were a few instances of driving the wrong way up a one way street but we aren't ones to shy away from a life-affirming, cheap thrill. Regardless, we made the journey to it's destination intact & the sheer convenience of having constant, cheap transport was a monumental benefit.

We arrived to Anaheim around 5:30pm Sunday July 8th & checked into Super 8 Anaheim on Disneyland Drive. It was 37 degrees. Our room at this hotel was pretty mint, had a fridge, microwave & an array of places nearby that delivered various cuisine to our door. We took a drive around the area after we'd checked in & found a grocery store less than a minute up the road where we were delighted to purchase a variety of fresh fruit, bread rolls, salads, snacks, deli meats & incredibly cheap beer (carton of Corona = $23). After stocking our fridge we filled a bucket with ice & went down to the pool & jacuzzi to sip corona & limes & relax for a couple of hours. That night we ordered Chinese to our room. It was a very unpleasant experience that I'd rather forgot, due mostly to the delivery being considerably late (typical cultural miscommunication of the delivery address) but also because of the way I chewed out the delivery guy when he finally arrived puffing & panting in apology. I slammed the door in his face, mid sentence with no tip as he muttered "I'm so sorry". I felt guilty for days. It had been a very long day, I was exhausted & starving. I don't actually think I've spoken about tipping in any of my previous entries. It's a very unusual concept for us which we're still not fully competent with. Basically, waiters/waitresses & many other service-providing staff are on VERY low wages over here in the US. The food & drink here is considerably cheaper than in Australia so on top of the overall price of your meal you pay a 10-20% tip which is given to your waiter who has serviced you throughout the evening. As you could imagine the service is second to none & your glasses are refilled before they've been emptied but there's always that issue of having extra cash on you at all times as well as the inconvenient math. It's the culture though & we're coming to grips.

Monday was a well overdue day of non-productivity. That being said, we did a massive load of washing, booked & confirmed tours & tickets & sat around the pool drinking beers, so it wasn't a complete loss. At dusk we walked down Disneyland drive to Downtown Disney where it's free to enter & dine at all the restaurants. Mexican was on the palate so we paid a visit upstairs to a nice little place named "Tortilla Joes" & had Burritos, Quesadillas & Margaritas. We stumbled home a little later that night after I'd bought myself a new pair of dardy jamaican thongs.

Tuesday morning we had complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Cereal, toast, coffee -that tasted somewhere between charcoal & onion juice- & donuts! That's right kids, you heard me. Glazed, cream filled, chocolate coated donuts at 8am in the morning. With the options mentioned above, how could you be surprised that every single man, woman & child in that room had at least one donut on their plate. It was a delightful, occasional novelty for a featherweight, Aussie like me but a sickening thought that this is a serious breakfast option for kids & parents of America. Disgustipated, we left for Disneyland. It was an ungodly hot day, 37-degrees or something absurd. We had hundreds of excitable kids to contend with but successfully made our way around all the worlds of California Adventure Park & rode all of the best rides. At about 3pm we found a great little bar overlooking the water, named "Ariel's Grotto" & got stuck into some top notch cocktails. A 3 course degustation was booked at "The Wine Country Trattoria" so we hopped on a couple more rides before heading there for an incredible wine & dining experience. Things were a little boozy by now so I can't tell you exactly what we had but the photos can. After tea, we experienced the most incredible light/water & sound show imaginable, the Disney "World Of Color" whereby 50ft water jets are used to project lights, lasers, fire & visuals onto, all the while pulsating & swaying to the beat of the music. A real feast for the senses. Unlike anything I'd ever seen.

Wednesday was spent shitting bricks, riding the world's scariest rides at Knott's Berry Farm. Another ludicrously hot day. Perfect for thrill rides, water rides & roller coasters though. Prior to visiting, we purchased two special ticket-extensions named "Fast-passes" which virtually enabled us to skip any queue to a vast majority of the rides that were "fast pass friendly." We'd enter the ride through the exit, be chauffeured up the runway & appointed us to the next available seat on any given ride. This earned us some seriously filthy stink-eyes from waiting patrons everywhere throughout the day, but the extra fee we paid on-top of the regular pass ensures a 10 minute wait as opposed to at least 50 minutes. When there's no opportunity to ever return again, you'd be silly not to embrace this. We had lunch at the world famous "Pink's Hotdogs" & managed to keep it all down whilst doing a final circuit of the rides. We returned to the hotel that night completely knackered & ordered gourmet Italian to our room. A much more pleasant experience. So much so, that I woke up the next day & ate the leftover Pizza for breakfast. Only in America.

We took a 2 hour car ride south on Thursday to San Diego. We visited the wharf & saw "an old, old wooden ship" almost certainly named "Diversity". At around 1pm we went to Phil's BBQ (as seen on Man VS Food) & "had ribs for lunch" ;) Shortly after lunch we ventured to San Diego zoo & saw "Ling Ling the panda" among many others. Unfortunately while we were in San Diego we didn't get the opportunity to see any "human torches" nor were there any "arsonists with oddly shaped feet" but it was a great visit all the same. We took a very unintentional roundabout way back to Anaheim that night. Google maps gave us the bum-steer & took us way out in the sticks through redneck city, past several hoe-downs, hootenannies & hillbilly happenings in an attempt to bypass peak hour traffic. 3-hours later we pulled into the hotel! Just before doing so, we made a brief food-stop at "Hooters." All expectations that I had of this eatery were instantly deflated. Like the breasts of the waitresses & the flavourless chicken in my burger. Should of got the buffalo wings :(

Friday morning we awoke, fresh as daisies, enjoyed another complimentary breakfast, donut & rancid coffee before packing up our belongings, eating the last of whatever fruit & perishables that were left laying around the hotel, loaded the car, said a fond farewell to Anaheim & made the 4.5-hour trip to the bright lights & debauchery of Las Vegas.

        Our time in Anaheim was exactly what we needed. Distance from the relentless, intensity of being in the heart of a city. Space where we could relax by the pool in the hot sun if we so chose, or go musing through the theme parks & see the sights. It gave us the perfect opportunities necessary to prepare for what came next...  

Tags: disney, disneyland drive, downtown, knotts berry farm, riding dirty, san diego

 

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