Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NY-Last day before I fly out!


Fish anyone?

No fish? Okay, how about an Asian Pear?


Okay then, come on...Giant Cheese?

Look at these buildings!

And these! SO New York!

Today Jeanna and I went back to Manhattan to see Little Italy, China Town Soho (South of Houston) and other areas of they city that I've missed. We bought an asian pear (tastes like an apple crossed with a pear) in china town to munch on, bought shakes for lunch and then went home via the Path train to make dinner as a Thank you to Jeanna's parents for having me stay. When we went to the store I bought some food for my trip tomorrow. Tired....need rest. I figured out something about myself. I can pull all-nighters and stay up way above and beyond the call of duty (and the call of most people)...but not for 2 months! Your body starts resisting...bugger!

Goodbye America

Goodbye America,
I had lots of fun while I was here. My family lives here and I enjoyed seeing them. There are places with stunning natural beauty (Grand Canyon) here and some amazing, if unnatural cities, (New York). But I think I have grasped the 2 basic problems here. Everything is so cheap and therefore abundant that it is insane therefore people buy too much (and give to little) and eat too much (hence the obesity). Also, life is faster here and everyone is driven to succeed and told that they have to be the best. Well, everyone can't be the best because then there would be NO best! Get it? SO yeah, it introduces this competitive element where people don't help others either because they are too busy helping themselves or they don't want to help the other person because they don't want them to succeed and take their place or something they feel they were owed! This means that people spend way too little time with their famillies because they are trying to achieve the best which produces dysfunctional relationships and children making society's future dim here.

New INFO hot off the presses

My Mum says that on her side of the family my grandfather's great grandfather came through Ellis Island. They were Irish that fled the great Potato famine. So it is part of my family history! Wow! That is amazing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Day 5- NY and Knitting Factories

The Brooklyn Bridge (A engineering wonder of the world apparently)

New London Fire at the Knitting Factory

Eating falafels in the parkJeanna, Dani, me)

Today I got to sleep in! Hooray! More then 5 hours sleep is so great! Then Jeanna and I drove to Hoboken (I like to call it Hobnobbin’) and took the PATH train ($1.50) into the city. We got off at the World Trade Centre Station which was under the World Trade Centre complex so now it looks like you are standing in the middle of a giant disused swimming pool. It wasn’t as eerie/moving as you think. However, on a temporary wall in the station big ‘signs’ were being put up. They were actually children’s drawings as tributes to their parents, the police and firefighters who lost their lives. A bit sad, had to leave before I welled up. It’s those types of stories that get me. Outside the station there is information about 9/11 and a timeline of that day. Apparently they are not going to put a park here as I thought. They are building a new tower called the “Freedom Tower’ which is aimed to be the tallest building in the world (1,776 feet tower plus 276 foot spire). Jeanna thinks they should paint a big target on it and I agree. I think it is disrespectful to those who lost their lives. A park would be more appropriate and rare in the financial district which would serve to remind people how fragile life is.

We walked along Wall Street and I saw the NY stock exchange (and a lot of security). We walked past the fish markets to the Brooklyn Bridge and walked to the middle. It is a very pretty bridge and the pedestrian foot way is on the upper level while the cars are on the bottom. Great views. We then met Jeanna's friend Dani, walked around 'TrIbeca' and went to the Knitting Factory (a club) to watch 'New London Fire' (Jeanna's friends). They were good! I told them if they ever tour Australia that I would show them around Melbourne. There is no smoking in clubs in NY and you can go in if you are under 21 because if you want to drink you show your ID at the door and get a stamp. Great Idea!

After, we walked through East Village, Greenwich Village to West Village. We bought falafels from a hole in the wall (voted best cheap eats) where a falafel pocket plus veg and dip is $2.oo and ate them at Washington Square Park while listening to live Jazz music by locals (these guys play every Tues night here and other nights of the week elsewhere.). That was really fun! In the park, rats were running across the path every so often and galloping in the grass, people were playing chess and park lamps were decorated with giant lampshades of different colours! Neat! Alive! We then took the PATH home.

The PATH station was still sweltering, it feels like it is raining in NY because leaking air conditioning condensation and when people take out their garbage here they literally take it out and set it on the street in garbage bags. So there is garbage all over the place! It is smelly too, a breath of fresh air is hard to find. But it has a strange appeal to it all! And I like it! Goodnight!


-New York...when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you.
David Letterman

-No matter how many times I visit this great city I'm always struck by the same thing: a yellow taxi cab. - Scott Adams

-People say New Yorkers can't get along. Not true. I saw two New Yorkers, complete strangers, sharing a cab. One guy took the tires and the radio; the other guy took the engine -David Letterman

Day 3 coming soon!

I am too tired to do day 3 right now. It is 4 am and I am going to bed. Tomorrow! Love you all! Tired Cara xoxox

Day 3 in the city that never sleeps.

Today Jeanna and I went into the city together to see some of the cool areas there. Kinda like exploring Brunswick, Fitzroy or Carlton in Melbourne only on a massive scale of course here because Manhattan (the island that the main part of New York city is situated) is huge. We got on the 208 heading east but had to get off due to an accident. Instead we took the 287 south and accidently passed the exit for the 23 which would have taken us to 46 and then to ultimately to 3 but instead we had to ask for directions after realising our exit was ages away. Our Turkis. So we took the 287 to the 80 which would also take us to 46 and then 3! Isn't that nuts?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Cara's dinner and Hawaii pics now up!!!!!!!! YAY

Cara's dinner and Hawaii pics now up. See early Aug and July! Comment there if you want!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Day 2 in the big apple!

Gigi and I boarding our ferry!

Here I am with some of New York city behind me!

This is the Great Hall in the Ellis Island main building where some 12 million immigrants were processed from 1892-1954.

Gigi and I at the Statue of Liberty!

Hi guys! Today I drove with Gigi on the New Jersey Turnpike to Liberty State Park! We took the Circleline Ferry to Ellis Island and then to the lady of liberty herself! Surprisingly, Ellis Island was the highlight of the trip. The museum and information in that building was amazing! I LOVED the photos taken of the immigrants when they arrived. They are in their traditional grab which I find fascinating! The photos were my favourite, they were well taken and some of their eyes are just hauntingly real! My Mum says that on her side of the family my grandfather's great grandfather came through Ellis Island. They were Irish that fled the great Potato famine. So this is part of my family history!
I liked this quote (for you Kris): I saw this man coming forward and he was beautiful. I didn't know he was my father...later on I realised why he looked so familiar to me. He looked exactly like I did....but that’s when I met him for the first time and I fell in love with him and he with me-Katherine Beychok, Russian Jewish Immigrant, 1910, interviewed 1985.

In the evening we ate dinner and watched the MTV music awards because Jeanna's (my friend from when I was little) boyfreind is the bass player in 'My Chemical Romance' which was nominated for heaps of awards....good on ya mate!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

New York New York!

Knights at the MET

Central Park Boat Pond

Central Park

I am here! and I am SO excited! Today went like this:

Parked on 77th street on the West side (that means west on 77th street). Parking cost $36 (plus 18% tax)! The car was put into a giant elevator and taken up out of sight! After that we walked through Central Park. I saw a lake where you can row boats and another where they race the small toy boats. We then walked up 5th Avenue which is called the 'museum mile'. We went to the MET there! Saw all kinds of wonderful Art! Impressionists my favorite, modern colorful art on the roof (YAY), 16 century armor and some Vermeer paintings, too. We then walked south on Madison Avenue, on 6th Street also called the 'Avenue of the Americas' and to Times Square which 42nd Street. To get home we walked north on Broadway, took the Subway on 50th, got off at 72nd, ate tea and then went to the car!

Interesting Info:
The number of the streets is a great idea and makes lots of sense. It is pretty easy to find your way around. I can see why people come to New York to live (lots of celebrities). It has a great feel associated with it and is very ALIVE! It should be with over 18 million people living here. Think about it.... that’s almost the population of Australia!! The city is huge. So long and so wide. It smells like cars and people and the air is dense with it. The subway had absolutely no ventilation and is sweltering underground even at night (the trains are air-conditioned). There are steam vents all over the place...classic New York and when you look up at the apartments you can see little gardens tucked away on people’s porches and roofs. Times Square is full of tourists and very, very bright. The famous ice skating rink at Rockefeller Centre is not operating during summer and it is hard to even tell where it goes! There is a cafe there instead...not quite the same. The Hudson River is huge and makes the Yarra look tiny. In fact this whole city makes Melbourne look puny! I keep having all the movies and TV shows featuring New York running through my head! Sex in the City, Spiderman, Ghostbusters, Cyote Ugly, Xmen, When Harry Met Sally, Greencard, Miracle on 34th Street, Splash, Stuart Little, Home Alone 2, Spin City, Friends…the list goes on. Think of some more?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

LA...Back to Civilisation

Say Goodbye to the Colegroves (my Mum's sister)

Bye to Dad and Dad's brother Ward (our accmodation and airport taxi specialist) at LAX

Hi everyone! I am in LA at my favourite Aunt's house *waves to Aunt Jill*. I have left the Grand Canyon and now tomorrow I fly out of LA for the big Apple on the East Coast! My flight leaves here at 7:30 am and I arrive in New York at 3:55 in the avo. The flight is 5 hours. I am in New York for 5 days exploring and staying with Jeanna (my best freind when I was 6) and her family in New Jersey! I plan to hit the museums and relax a bit! I have been running since I got here!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Grand Canyon pics

Hey there, nice Canyon!

When you explore the South rim of the Grand Canyon this is the last stop on the free shuttle buses that run up and down (great idea for the environment!) to carry all the tourists. I went back later and bought my Dad a t-shirt here as a surprise and gave it to him when I said goodbye at the airport! He loved it!

This is the view from our destination on the muel ride...Plateau point

Look at us in our compulsary wide bimmed hats and our sunglasses and cameras had to be tied around our necks ! Cowboys...well, cowboy and girl. Cowpeople? lol. Politically correct?

It's me and the muels! YAY! (sore bum/legs). The trail we came down is behind us on that mtn face! Wow!

Hello Grand Canyon...Hello Mule?

Hi everyone! The Grand Canyon is beautiful! We have been really lucky with the weather! It is SO clear and the days are very warm while the nights are cool. Very much like Autumn. Today we went on mules with a guide down to Plateau Point. We were up at 6 to weigh in, register and complete orientation. Then we saddled up after a long boring talk on how to ride your mule (I’ve done some ridding so when someone explains to you in detail to pull the left rein if you want to go left you tend to get a bit bored). These mules are quite big. When picture muels you think small horse but these guys were horse size. I rode a bigger mule called Trinity who is a celebrity they tell me because she is on the front cover of their brocure. We rode for over 6 hours including lunch! Hence my bum is worse for wear! Plateau point was beautiful and from there you can look down and see the Colorado river. You can hear the river too which was really nice.

I think sometime it would be fun to work here over the summer. There are people working here from all around the world. Sounds fun except I doubt there is much of a night life/way to meet people. I would probably have to organize stuff….hummm….random events anyone!?!

P.S. All the tourists here are from Italy and France! It’s amazing! Every second tourist is French! That’s unexpected really considering the current political situation? You think?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Say hi to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon

Just got to the Grand Canyon last night! We drove from Las Vegas, stopped by Hoover Dam and took a tour, stopped in Williams for groceries (that lil' town was going off on a Friday seriously it was!) and got to Angel Bright Lodge where we checked into our cabin on the Grand Canyon's South Rim (the best place to be)! We will be here for 4 nights and tomorrow we are going on the (there is only one in the whole canyon) mule ride down into the canyon! Gotta go get out there and see it instead of sitting in the 'Grand Canyon Community Library'! That's right, I have joined another library! Photos coming as soon as I can find some way to get them on here!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Viva Las Vegas!

The famous Luxor Casino. It is SO hot here the pavement was scolding.

New York New York Casino

This is M&M wrold. Rediclous and only in Vegas. You can buy anything you can think of here with M&M's on it! Clothes, teapots, stickers,'s insane. I saw a M&M 3D movie made especially for Vegas with a weak plot (may miss the Academy Award nomination this year) and walked though a tunnel like the Cadbury one with a story about how they make the M&M's. The wall behind me is covered with all different colours of M&M's that can't usually get anywhere! And people are buying all this stuff!

The famous Bellagio fountains at night go off every 15mins and are beautiful! Amazingly high and coreographed to music by computers ! We saw 2 'shows'-one to a duet sung with Celine Dion and the other to the national anthem.

Paris the Casino

Las Vegas is crazy! It's stinking hot day and night and smells like a cross between McDonalds and petrol! On every corner there are people giving out flyers for 'girls' (so degrading) and there are massive screens advertising (from my hotel room window alone I can see 6!). If you look directly at the screens sometimes they are so bright they hurt your eyes! I cannot believe there are so many casinos here! I know it's Vegas but each casino is massive and it's amazing to think how much money must be being lost for them to stay open and be as grand as they are! But wait there's more being built! I saw Cirque du soleil's Mystère at the casino Treasure Island or ti! It was amazing! I have seen it on TV but I have never seen anything like this before! The music, costumes even the design of the stage was incredible! We went to all the casino’s- Bellagio (with the famous fountains), New York New York, Paris, Mandalay Bay, the Venetian, Caesar’s palace. At Excalibur I played poker!!! YAY for underage gambling! We stayed at a casino called the Boardwalk and had a view of the strip and at Arizona Charlie’s we had a buffet dinner with my Dad’s friend Kathy! I love American buffets! So fun!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sequoia...nature is rummaging through my garbage!

Alright, well Sequoia was beautiful! Great trees! My cousins Martin, Anthony and Kathaleen also came up which was a big surprise(they didn't even know where we were staying but drove around looking for the cars- it's amazing they found us becasue the park is HUGE)! The night we got there however it started raining at midnight. The storm (complete with thunder and lightening) moved right overhead of us, so we moved right to the car! Needless to say sleep wasn’t very successful and in the morning we lost 3 of our number. Ben (cousin), his girlfriend Haiette (she was French- great for practicing) and my grandmother left (granted their tent was no longer classified as on land- probably more swamp)! Our campsite (no. 84) was great because it was in a nice area on a hill and away from the other campers which means it was quite. Also, people wouldn't be trampling through your campsite at all odd hours looking for the bathroom! These are all the things you look for in a campsite. Although something we didn't count on was all the bears!!! In the end we decided our campsite was at the bottom of a regularly used bear trail! Talk about being at one with nature....while it is rummaging through your garbage! If you have done any camping in California you know that places with bears have bear lockers where you have to keep all your food, all the time as bears are active day and night and if they think that something smells or even looks like food or food packaging (eg: bears are known to go after aluminum cans even if they contain something like cleaner) they will rip into your car to get it! In Grizzly country you have to cook in different clothes to the ones you wear daily to avoid being eaten! So yeah, leaving Sequoia and not having to use horns in a can (loud noise = bears either run scared or bluff charge you) wasn't too hard but it was beautiful there!

Sequoia pictures

Cresent meadow: Sequoia is full of beautiful meadows like this one. These areas used to be lakes and now the forest will creep in until they are wooded.

The General Sherman Tree: it is supposed to be the largest living thing however I dispute that having done way too much science I am sure there is a moss somehwere or those trees in India that cover football fields worth of land right guys?

A 'boat bug': in the water in the middle of the meadow (you can cross the Cresent Meadow meadow on a huge fallen tree). Nice photography!

Moro rock: a highlight of Sequoia and great views of the park! With less pollution appaently they used to be stunning! I may be over the barriers in this photo!

Lovely! Peaceful! Serene...bear!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Into the wilderness.... Sequoia

Hey there! Right now I am walking out the door for Sequoia National Park in California. My Dad and I are going to be camping there for 3 days with my Grandma Bea and my cousins Ben and Cathleen. Then on Wednesday we go to Las Vegas and then onto the Grand Canyon! Ending in LA for a couple of days before I fly out for New York! YAY! This past week has been a blur. I have visited old friends, gone shopping for my trip and said goodbye to Dave. I bought a backpack and no it was not the 'big' one I posted earlier. I bought one that fitted better surprisingly and is slightly smaller (3500 cubic inches)! Okay well I will try to write soon! Into the wilderness....

Wednesday, August 10, 2005



Golden Gate!

Falafel on the lawns of UC Berkeley

T-Rex skeleton at Berkeley

Monday, August 08, 2005

Shopping for essentials in San Fran

Today I went shopping for things that I need for Europe. I got lots of not very exciting essential stuff like floss, luggage locks, hair ties, French tapes....that sorta thing. I also looked at backpacks and I think I found the one that I want. The Kelty Coyote 4750 is pretty big (even tough the web sites say good for weekends that's rubbish because this is one of the biggest packs sold at some stores) and it fit really really well.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Say Goodbye Dave *waves*

Today Dave, my Dad and I all traveled back to Berkeley. We met Dave's mate from Australia, Bec, and played in Berkeley a little until it was time to go home... = ( . Dave and Bec took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which seems to work reasonably well except that there is no station out near my Dad...they started building one and then got distracted. So now they are both in San Jose, staying with Bec's uncle. I feel like we all still had a lot of things to do together but I guess I better get ready to go to the Grand Canyon and Europe after that.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A friendly dinner in San Fran

Hi guys! My dinner last night was a big success! My friends Jenny (plus her boyfriend Chris), Lesley (plus her boyfriend Curtis), Gina and Julia all came to dinner as well as my Mum’s friend Stephanie with her 2 kids. We had pizza and talked a lot. I brought along some squeezable vegemite and tried to convince all of them to move to Australia (or to visit ASAP….okay, in a year when I get back!). The vegemite didn’t help, they decided it tasted like crushed up/liquid vitamins! lol. After dinner, Julia Gina and I went back to Gina’s apartment and I met lots of her friends. Stayed late and reminisced about the old days with some fellow Mark West Elementary School pupils.
I feel really fortunate after talking with my friends. One had cancer, another a mum in rehab, another who dislikes her family and another who’s Mum died of cancer a couple of years ago. Remember that whatever seems to be going wrong in your life and the trials and tribulations of Uni/work etc are nothing compared to any of these things. I think that my friends are very strong people to have endured these things.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lazy San Fran

Hello! Today and yesterday have been lazy days! I am hunting for a backpack for Europe (they all look too small or don't have wheels or don't have straps and I don't really know what will be best in the long run! I'll have to decide soon else carry all my stuff). I've been working on my Dad's house a bit. Reorganising some things to make more space and sanding redwood beams in the backyard with a belt sander (Cara loves power tools), making them beautiful and then coating them with a sealer/stain. I am now in love with my redwood posts! My life is complete. xox. Tonight is my dinner at Mary's Pizza with all of my long lost childhood and family friends! I'm taking photos of all you guys (my friends/family) to show them!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

San Fran- more fog!

Today's activities:
-Exploratorium: the museum of science, art and human perception (today was 'free day' so all the school groups and half of San Fran were there! It's a great way to get people involved. Our museums in Aus should get on the bandwagon! My favorite exhibition was 'The Nobel Prize-100 years' which was fascinating. What a great idea by Alfred Nobel and a wonderful thing to leave to the world! Also, there was a windy desert simulation with a fan blowing sand dunes so you could see the effects of erosion. How nerdy and sciencey!)
-Fisherman's Wharf (it's a very tourist orientated area. Bought different flavors of salt-water taffy! Yum. Peanut butter and cinnamon role were my favorites)
-Pier 39-to visit the seals (big tourist attraction and very cute!)- Sea Lion Cam on PIER 39 in San Francisco (may not work but you can see pictures)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

'The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco'- Mark Twain

Today my Dad, Dave and I visited Legion of Honor which is a museum (the most Rodin in the world, very little Impressionism, a beautiful Spanish ceiling), the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers (beautiful) in Golden Gate Park and Chinatown which prides itself on being the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. Had tea at House of Nanking, which seems to be both extremely popular (queues out the door) and famous. It was also extremely good! The all-vegetarian dinner was chosen for us by the owner/founder/chef Peter Fang who after asking of if it was our first time at his restaurant proceeded to order for us! It was really good and inexpensive too. P.S. I finally got my visa for France today! What an achievement! My Mum is sending it to the USA right now (Thankx Mum) so I have it in time! Oh, this entry is titled beacuse it was so nice in Santa Rosa in the but when we arrived in San Fran the fog was in and I could have used several coats, pants and scarves! I ended up walking around the prime Golden Gate Bridge lookout with our picnic blanket wrapped around me! We picniced in my Dad's truck because of the cold and froze in Chinatown! I will be prepared tomorrow when we go back (you watch, it will be hot and sunny and I will end up sweating in all my