Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hello San Fran =) Goodbye LA =(

Well Hi there! I am now in San Fran staying with my Dad in Santa Rosa (about an hour out from San Fran)! YAY! I like it down here, prettier then LA. I was up early today and drove north on highway 5 towards San Fran with my grandparents. The whole way is basically flat hot desert with the highlight being nests of starlings (Birds) under the freeway overpasses (not that you can see any birds) and the low point being the cow farm- I feel even better about not eating meat! We met my Dad half way there at a place called the Apricot tree. I remember this from when I was little! I used to play cards with my Nana under the tress and guessing games like 'I'm thinking of... and 'I spy''. I met my Dad and after hello hugs and goodbye tears continued driving northwith my Dad and Dave. We stopped in Berkley for a quick bite to eat (falafel yum!) and saw Berkley Uni and an absolutely stunning San Francisco Bay View from the Lawrence Hall of Science which is part of the uni. I used to go here and see science museum stuff as a kid who knew what a geek I would turn out to be! It's amazing how much of these places I remember (left USA at age 10). Before we got to my Dad's house he insisted I be blindfolded for a surprise about the house. My Dad has been working on his house since before time was time and for a moment I was worried that he had had a great new idea like 'knock out all the walls on the second floor' but instead he has finished his garage with a unit above it which was a major project (particularly because California's local government is so corrupt)! I am so proud! This is the best surprise in the world and makes me SO happy for him!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Movies with Nonie

Hi there! Today I went and saw The Island and Wedding Crashers with my Grandparents who are secret shoppers and get free movies! I liked The Island. It was fast paced, new and futuristic. Wedding Crashers I saw because my cousins Jason and Kaylen wanted to see it. It was pretty funny and there were a lot of 'Oh No!' sorta scenes. A cameo from Will Ferrell made my cousins day! After that we went to dinner at the Spaghetti factory in Hollywood. It has very simple/typical American food and is a favourite from when I was little. The furniture is all antique/fun and 'spumoni' ice cream which comes with all meals is can't be found anywhere else! It's really good. We then all walked around Hollywood and saw the stars on the sidewalk and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Bought a California pin....gosh I feel Patriotic! Photos soon! Anyone see those movies?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

LA as a tourist!

Hey there! Today my family (Grandparent's Kay and Chuck, Aunt Jill, cousins Jason & Kaylen and my Aussie friend Dave) started out and visited Chinatown which has a whole bunch of rubbish for a good price. Kaylen and found ourselves escaping from a lady trying to sell us underwear! I bought a hand bag because I didn't bring any small bags and carrying a wallet, water bottle and a borrowed phone alone in a giant suitcase really isn't convient! Travelling tip: Remember to bring a handbag and /or back pack when you travel, especially to hot places where you might not have lots of pockets ( a prob for the gals who don't usually wear cargo shorts 24-7- trendy skirts are strangely devoid of pockets!) We then went to Olvera Street which is where you can get all sorts of mexican stuff and some not so mexican! This is where the first house and street were built in LA. Jason, Kaylen, Dave and I picked up some custom leather cuffs. Mine is red with flowers! Then we walked around Universal City Walk where I found the Ultimate wind-up toy store (Cara collects fun wind-up toys)! Bought some my favourite was a lady bug who did both back flips and circles! Then we went to Baja Fresh which makes really great 'fresh' mexican food! Soooo full!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

LA....Venice beach, Santa Monica & Malibu

Hi everyone! Today my grandparents and I drove to LAX to pick up my friend Dave. The airport was insanely busy! People everywhere, spilling out of the airport! After lots of hugs and hellos we drove to see Venice beach, Santa Monica and Malibu. These were a nice intro for Dave. Not too hot as they are by the ocean, sunny and full of life! Venice beach reminded me of St.Kilda a bit but the beach is very wide- you have to walk a fair bit to get to the ocean. There were lots of people playing tennis and basketball on the (free?) courts. I saw the famous gym on the beach. We saw a guy rollerblading while playing his electric guitar with speakers strapped to his body and singing/humming! My trip to LA wouldn't be complete without seeing an area roped off and a movie being shot! We saw actors and camera crews filming on the beach....the acting was a bit cheesy though (once music and sound effects are added I'm sure it will be a blockbuster! lol)!Santa Monica was very pretty... a bit smoggy though! You couldn't see very far! The pier was lined with stalls and shops. We put 51c into a machine which smushed 'Santa Monica' a a picture onto the penny flattening it and turning it into a souvenier (these machines are all over the USA). Malibu you can't really see much of because it runs below the highway and is lined with exclusive small beach houses starting at $3millUS. This is where all the stars have their holiday homes. Chuck (my grandpa) says that this is where you see stars down at the local shops and where annoying magazines get shots of unhappy celebrities hiding underneath their hats and sunnies!

I forget how diffrent things are here! Since II have been back here a couple of times now I have gotten over most of the shcoks! Having Dave here reminded me that:

1-America's obcession with the SUV (sports utility vechicle) is awful! I hope we never end up that way in Oz! Everyone here has trucks that you would need a heavy-vehicles license to drive back home! Some of these cars are so big that they have double rear tyres and my Uncle Danny says they are designed for towing up to 2tonnes! What could the average American need to move that was that big! Haven't seen a hummer limo this trip but I guess I will soon!
2-There are american flags everywhere!! On houses, stickers on cars and shops fly them out the front. Dave and I coutned 10 from one spot on Venice beach!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lazy L.A.

Hey all! Today was a lazy day! I am still running on Hawaii time. To bed really late and up pretty late! It is so hot and dry here. I went to Ralph's (supermarket) yesterday and tried to buy some healthy food....interesting. All yoghurt has high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient except one which has maple syrup instead! Oh GREAT! I'm excited because Dave (one of my best friends) will be arriving in LA on Tuesday avo (fingers crossed Air New Zealand doesn't strike!)! Can't wait to be around that Aussie accent again and someone who thinks Americans are a wako! I am looking into doing tourist things with him. You know, Hollywood Boulevard (with the stars on the pavement, seeing the Hollywood sign and Grauman's Chinese Theatre), the J. Paul Getty Museum (a definite-one of my favorite places in the world), Universal studios (?) and Disneyland (?) . It's so funny, my family already has the restaurants picked out where we have to take him and they have more restaurants in mind then the days that we are here in L.A! Dave says "I've only been to NZ before! soon I will be with you in the US eating sugary bread!!! and krispy kream donuts I've been told by cousin alli! did I tell you that my flight from Melbourne to Auckland tomorrow has been cancelled every day for the last week except for tomorrow when I fly out!! lucky!"

Saturday, July 23, 2005

LA...Feelin' HOT HOT HOT...*song*

Welcome to L.A. in California on the West coast of the USA! We arrived in LA at 6am but for us it was 3am!! A night with no sleep basically! My family looked tired! I'm okay- happy to be traveling and I have my routine to get sleep on planes (best thing ever) so I was peppy! My slogan is 'if the plane makes it (and no air pockets), it was a good flight'...not morbid/fearful...just easily pleased! As we landed I could see lightening on the horizon striking the ground. It was surreally beautiful and a completely different view so high up. By 8am when we went for breakfast at Coco's (a diner- how American, how fun!) it was already 23°C/75°F! The heat here is dry here and like an oven. It really makes you appreciate Hawaii's trade winds which blow north-east mean there is a constant breeze to keep away this exact heat! At breakfast, I tried some of Kaylen's (my cousin) cinnamon role french toast! God it was sweet! I made the mistake of adding syrup too! Takin' it easy today.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Cara's sleeping TIPS (airplane) for those that want them!

Everyone always has trouble sleeping in transport so here are my TIPS for all you would be travelers. Keep it in mind when you're traveling maybe it will help you out! Cara suggests: have 3 essential items- ear plugs, face mask and 'sleepy' music. A pillow and blanket are optional extras/luxury items. You can sleep anywhere with these things (this is how I sleep in Honolulu with the garbage trucks banging around)! Get a window seat if you're on a plane. Watch TV/read a book like you are preparing for bed. Shove your pillow against the window, put ear phones in (I have some that are like earplugs and go in your ears-best invention ever!), face mask on and I put the blanket over my head for additional noise/light/people blockage even though I would never sleep that way at home. The sleepy music must be music that you relate to being tired. Listen to it only when you are tied so it's like a hear the music and you know it's time for bed. I turn down the music as I get sleepy because I can't get to sleep with a lot of noise. Also, remember to wear light pants even if you are traveling from warm Hawaii to warm LA cos the planes are cold! And on the top wear a layer or two (I like a singlet top and jumper) so you can adjust! Not too many layers or you'll be elbowing the person next to you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Photos!- family,Kauai's Wailua Falls & Hibiscus

My family (Papa, cousin Jason, Me, Mum, Pat, cousin Kaylen, Aunt Jill, Uncle Dan, Nonie), Kauai's Wailua Falls & Hibiscus

Shippwrecked cove on Kauai (breathtakingly beautiful)

Danny, Jill and I hiking the Waimea Canyon

Me and then Canyon!

Hanalei Bay on the North Shore

Hey guys! Today I went swimming in Hanalei Bay, it's on the North Shore. The water was crystal clear and you can see the bottom even in deep water. I jumped off the pier with my cousins and Uncle. I also went to a Guava plantation. A huge cup of Guava juice is $1.15 no sugar or anything and it tastes great! I am trying to pay my HECS overseas and that's interesting. Before you go overseas everyone, make sure you have your account numbers, phone numbers of the banks and know all your passwords and even the numbers of any official documents that you used to open accounts(eg: licence) because without all this I would have had a lot of probs! Be prepared! I had my first ice cream sandwich in AGES! It was Neapolitan Yum!! =) Love ya. And feel better my poor injured Kris and dizzy virus infected Blue! xox

Monday, July 18, 2005

Slowin' down

Hey there! When we first got here we moved really fast and started filling our days but I think we are slowing down a bit! Highlights have been visiting the Waimea Canyon which is called 'the grand canyon of the Pacific' and it's absolutely amazing! It's huge! Also going to the North shore to the Na Pali Coast. Look it up on the net- it's beautiful! I promise I will have pictures as soon as I get to San Fran and get access to my new laptop (YAY! Thanks Dad!) I will put some on for y'all! Yesterday I called my old friends from my aunt's cell phone (on weekends they can call anywhere in the USA for free!!!). I am organizing a dinner in Santa Rosa with everyone and its looking good! I also found out that my old dog Dee is still alive! That makes me smile. I am going to visit her too!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Scuba Diving

Hey! Today I went on an introductory dive with Danny (uncle), Kaylen (cousin) and Patrick(step-dad)! It was a great experience! We did a short skills session in a hotel pool which I thought was okay but wondered how I would go in the ocean. Went home for lunch and then met up at the dive shop to gear up and depart! I stepped into the water (just like you see in movies) and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't sink with all my heavy gear on. I swam with my instructor (Luke-very cute) to the front of the boat. I know I asked him a couple of times that 'If I don't like it I can come back up right?'. He was really patient and just said Yes. At this point I was thinking 'All divers are crazy! There's no way I am going under the water breathing through a tube, maybe I can still get a refund on the dives!' I went under anyway thinking that I would go down a little and then come back up in a minute but under the water was much calmer and I thought I might just give it a go instead. That was our first dive sites- Stone house where we got to play with an inky octopus. The second was the Sheraton Caves where the highlight was a nice size reef shark. It was a bit scary at the start but I recommend if you are interested or curious at all you should be brave, suck it up and give it a go!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Kauai...the garden island...or is it the island of chickens and u turns?

My friend.

Hey eveyone! Finding internet thus far over here has not been very easy and if you find it is's expensive and slow! Hence I am now a member of the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS). Yay...Whooo Hooo! So I arrived here on July 8th at Lihue airport with my grndparents, auntie, uncle and 2 cousins! There are chickens everywhere here!!! Technically they are foul brought here by the Polynesians but I am not kidding when I say that there are roosters, hens and chicks everywhere. At the airport, at the supermarkert, at the beach and we even have one that comes to visit us every morning. That's what happens when you feed them and start to get attached! Or maybe the chicken is attached to the food we keep providing! We are staying in a beautiful million dollar (I wouldn't be surprised- real estate is very expensive here) house right on the beach! I am sleeping in the living room on a couch bed and can hear the waves crashing as I go to sleep! The U turns are because we made 6 or 7 (sometimes 2 in the same place!) trying to convoy our rental cars to our new house! We just couldn't seem to decide on a direction!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Leaving for the big self titled Island- Hawaii

I hate to say it but I am glad to be leaving here! I am going to be glad to get to Kona on Hawaii and not have to deal with anymore Americans! My family can do that. Today and yesterday I have had to deal with a number of rude, snappy and unhelpful people. I have never had that before but I suppose I have always been with family. Last night I was watching fireworks at the beach for the 4th of July with Emily,Lucy, another Brit, a guy from the Netherlands and a couple from the Isle of Man (a British Isle but NOT a part of Britain..they are their own country just in case your curious and don't want to offend Isle of Man inhabitants) and we were asked to move because we were deemed to be in the way by a bunch of middle aged Americans! They were rude and said they had waited in this outside bar ALL day for these spots (we decided if they were in a bar since 12pm they needed to go to Alcoholics anonymous) It was just too much at once! Someone hung up on me on purpose twice and also I made the mistake of telling the guy at the desk after he was really really unhelpful that I thought 'America has so many rules!'. He got all angry and accused me of yelling at him too early in the morning and anyway...gald to be gone!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Honolulu- they city of garbage trucks?

Hey! The YHA that I'm staying is next to lots of hotels becasue it is less then a block from the beach! YAY! However.... 3 different garbage truck companies collect rubbish everymoring at different times (well organised...we must be in the USA) and ...and all of them have sirens! No, no...not just when they are reversing but when they are turned on at all (can't be too careful now can we?). So hence my new favourite things are my earplugs! Take them when you travel people they are saving my sanity! I went for a tour of the whole island yesterday with people from my hostel!There were 10 of us and our tour guide was great. It was from 10am until 9pm and we got to see everything including sunset on the north shore! You cannt see the sunset from Waikiki beach which I found odd because I expect to be abale to see it! I met 2 reallynice British sisters...Emily and Lucy. They live in Chechester (southern England) which is where my Uncle Michael has a brother (Alan) who lives there with his family and has said I have the ok to come and visit! So I may just pop by and see Emily and Lucy as well! Hooray...I have friends!