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Yanks for the Memories

USA | Monday, 21 February 2011 | Views [199]

So after fifty-one amazing days, nearly five thousand miles of driving, several dozen cities and towns visited, more burgers than one person should eat in a limited time-frame, fourteen unnecessarily purchased novelty t-shirts, one ridiculous spending splurge, too many awesome memories to count, and a handful of brilliant people who I know will now be in my life forever... the road trip across the United States came to an end.

The final stop on the trip was Los Angeles. Hollywood consisted of several highlights, most importantly a consistent return to warmer weather. The snow had been great, but it was great to see regular sunshine again. The first notable stop off was the Warner Brothers backlot tour. Now after I got over my initial disappointment that it was not being conducted by either Daffy or Sylvester, I settled into the golf-cart for a zippy look around the lots and stages of some famous movies and TV show locations. The viewing of the "Friends" stage and re-created Central Perk set was a highlight, as was the inclusion of the original (and much cooler) Batmobile, as well as the Mystery Machine from "Scooby Doo". Unfortunately there were no mysteries to solve, except perhaps why shows like "Two and a Half Men" were still in production. "Ruff. I ron't know!"

The other prominent highlight in my quick stopover in LA consisted of walking the streets and stumbling across a little district called Beverly Hills. Now even though I had forgotten my Gucci bag and designer sunglasses I couldn't help but channel the days when my sisters forced me to watch both "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place". Suddenly names like Brandon and Brenda were coming back to me in disturbing memories from my youth. I made sure we quickly moved on.

A final night out and a few too many Coronas later, the last day finally came. We did a bit more wandering around the streets, but knew our departure was imminent. We met some crazy Aussies on the shuttle ride to the airport, which gave me some excitement about getting home and seeing all the great people I had been missing, but it was definitely a bittersweet departure. It became mainly bitter when we boarded the plane and realised we had probably even less legroom than we did on the flight over. Fourteen hours later we touched down back in Sydney, saw a "G'day" sign in the airport, and knew we were home. The intensely humid and gross heat that awaited us outside made us even more aware we were certainly back in the land of Oz.

I don't know how to put it into words what a life-changing experience it all was. And not because of the things we saw or did. Sure I will now dream of a day where everything can be drive-thru, that meals you order in restaurants are large enough to last you a week, and that "Y'all" becomes an Australian tradition - but it was the people that made this trip so special. Just about every person we met was so hospitable, whether it be the service station attendants willing to help out a confused Aussie with the gas, the hungover people I chatted to on the plane to Memphis, or the kids with their bright beaming smiles at Diana's school, Y'ALL are awesome!

And in particular to the Memphisians (you know who you are), thank you for everything. You are all well and truly in my heart now. You'd better be planning your trip to Australia already!

So that's it. Thanks for having us, thanks for reading, and in honour of the joyous union of the Aussies and the Americans I suggest a re-writing of one of your most well-known songs to the following: "Sweet Home Alabamaustralia". We'll sing it at karaoke!

Peace, love and fries.

Nick, xoxo

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