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Around the world in a daze

US of A

USA | Monday, 21 June 2010 | Views [395]

After a couple of days walking aroudn the newly abandoned Olympic stadiums in Whistler and vAncouver, I flew into LA.

I got the most expensive taxi ride of my life past billboards advertising lap band surgery on one side of the road and fast food onthe other. I eventually arrived at Sunset Boulevard and met Kyle and Fred lying on their hotel beds uploading photos from their first day in the States - this would become a daily routines. Jo arrived a few hours later.

The next four days were one huge adreneline rush as we did Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm and Magic Mountain theme parks. Jo only came to the first but the boys were in heaven and ran excitedly from ride to ride only stopping for lunch when I begged.

We flew from LA to San Fransisco, which was a fun city despite one of its main attractions being America's most notorious prison.  We got the ferry to Alcatraz, which was gloomy but very interesting and had a great view.

We had the full San Fran experience - rode bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge, hopped on and off trolley buses down to Fishers Wharf and ate at Bubba Gump. Jo and I even managed to squeeze in a day trip to Yosemite National Park. It seems even after living in the Canadian Rockies, I haven't had my fix of snow capped mountains yet.

For a change of pace, we headed to Vegas for Fred's birthday. We arrived on St Patricks Day so the neon lights, drunk college students and vomit filled streets all had a greenish tinge and everyone claimed to be Irish.

We had five nights there and managed to break even on the pokies, see David Copperfield and stroll the boulevard.

For Fred's birthday, he decided he wanted to shoot stuff up, and what better place to do it. I headed out with the boys to the Gun Store and we really taught those paper terrorists a lesson. It was quite a thrill to pull the trigger and to see I actually made teh target, despite what the boys said.

We took a day trip to the Grand Canyon and it was certainly big. There was still snow in some places adn the white made a great contrast with the dusty red of the canyon.

After Vegas, the boys headed to Victoria in BC and Jo and I were on our own in a rental car heading through morman country. Despite its reputation as a religious state, Utah is actually a lot of fun. We visited three amazing national parks - Zion and Bryce Canyons and Arches - and Dead Horse State Park. We managed to find Utah's only brewery and settled in for some tasting one evening, it turned out to be pretty damn good.

There were some great walks in the parks and although Zion Canyon isn't as big as Grand Canyon, I think it is much better. It has huge rock pillars filling the canyon.

We tried to see a lot in just a few days, which meant six to eight hours driving a day and we pulled into Salt Lake City exhausted and ready to head south to the warmth and great food of New Orleans. Thsi is my favourite North American city, maybe because it feels like you are in a different country. The French, Spanish and African influences are so strong.

Although it is still recovering from Hurricane KAtrina, it si a vibrant and lively city. There is jazz playing everywhere, the smell of gumbo drifting down the streets and Bourbon Street at night is full of men throwing mardi gras bead from the balconies. Ironically the most popular drink is called a Hurricane and people walk down the streets sipping the bright red cocktail and trying to catch the beads.

I was sad to leave, especially after only a cople of day, but it was time to meet the boys in Texas.

Auston is supposed to be the live music capital of the world. We were there on a quiet Monday night but there were still 80 live bands.

Unfortunately there isn't a lot to do in the day and we found ourselves wandering around George W's old stomping ground - the State Capitol building.

The next day Jo and I went to San Antonio, which is basically Mexico but on the American side of the boarder. It's a fun town and also the site of the Alamo so we were able to brush up on our American history while walking around.

Miami was our next and final stop in the U.S. The boys went via Orlando for another theme park, while Jo and I made the most of the beach and sunshine.

Just as well because Canada was next and there was still plenty of snow. I had a great week back in Banff showing Jo around and catching up with my friends. But we weren't there for long and before I knew it I was on the plane to Paris to meet my sister.

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