AMERICA: Thoughts and experiences

California, Nevada and Hawaii. A loooong two weeks in the states, spent with family over the Christmas period… I have a lot to say about this trip, please bear with me!!

America is no doubt a wonderful country! They’ve got it all, the music, mountains, cities, beaches etc. This blog post is a lil bit about my trip, but also about America in general…

Here goes.

The 13-hour flight is f***ed. I get it, Australia is in the middle of butt fuck nowhere, and to get to any international destination is gonna take TIME.

But to endure a 13-hour when all you can hear is some Americans blab on about how AWESOME Dallas is, and how Dallas is so much better than Australia, it really gives you the shits after a while! A turbulent flight over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, combining American conversations, crap in-flight movies and shitty teriyaki chicken meals for dinner was not a good start.

NOTE: I probably sound so spoilt and closed-minded, but i need to rant about this trip!

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Lara, excited for her window seat

So we finally land at LAX…

Nightmare. Security measures to enter the US is next level, there were about 6 flights the landed at around the same time, so you can imagine what customs and immigration looked like, a bloody zoo!

  • I take my hat off to airport workers, cause you’d come across some real idiots in situations where crowding and intense logistical implementation is required.

ANYWAYS… we get to LA and hop in a car and drive about 4 hours to Las Vegas, Nevada! What a drive! The highways in the states are none other than FANTASTIC! Six lane highways, keeps the traffic flowing and that’s just what we needed to make a smooth start to our road trip!

Pit-stops on the way consisted of IN-N-OUT and McDonalds, which was deadest every 10 km. (Probably why America has such an obesity issue). Regardless, a double cheeseburger tastes the same as it doesat Caringbah Macca’s – Cant complain!

 

We finally get to Las Vegas, and the only way I can describe the drive into the city is a visualisation of multiple scenes from the hangover, and hearing Kanye West’s song “Can’t tell me nothing” in the back of my head as we drove past Caesars Palace. – Absolute classic!

So we stayed at the Cosmopolitan and had a view of the Bellagio, Caesars Palace and ‘Paris’. Not only is the Bellagio one of the most awesome fountains EVER, but also its Casino is like a damn palace. We visited Vegas during December, so everything is beautifully decorated (the Americans doit so well with decorating). Their Christmas tree’s sh*t on Sydney’s.

 

So, we finally got over our jetlag, and headed straight for the Grand Canyon. Cannot even put into words how awesome it was. We got in a helicopter and flew over the Hoover Dam and pretty much dove in and out of canyons. We finally landed and this was where we were….

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Pretty good view right? 

I don’t know if its just me, but it looks like a desktop background from Apple. But regardless, this place was magnificent. It goes to show just how BIG something is, i’ve always thought the Grand Canyon was just a few rivers and rocks…

But this thing is dam beautiful, it was pretty much a sensory overload, where you’d pretty much be on the edge of this canyon, and look up to see more canyons, and your brains just trying to hard to interpret what your looking at cause your eyes just can’t adjust to the size of this thing…

Best experience ever, flying with Maverick Helicopter Tours, along with an amazing pilot who know SO much about this wonder!

Without a doubt, I DEFINATLEY, recommend this experience if you ever find yourself in Las Vegas for a few days, its one you’ll never forget! It’s a bit pricy but considering what’s included:

  • Morning Tea overlooking the grand canyon
  • Professional Photos
  • Drinks provided
  • Helicopter tour over the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and Desert areas of Nevada and Arizona regions
  • Knowledgeable tour guide, with music to listen to!

Ive gone on so much about Vegas, but it was probably the best city ive visited in the states.

We eventually drove back to LA and stayed four nights at the Grand Californian in Anaheim, CA. This is otherwise known as the gateway hotel to DisneyLand. I know this sounds AWESOME.

BUT, there’s only so much Mickey Mouse and Cinderella you can take.

We spent four WHOLE days here, yep, 4! From 9am to 10pm at night, we were walking through these fantasy lands and eating churrros etc, just embracing the American experience pretty much.

I love Disney in general, having grown up with it, along with most other kids! It’s a intergenerational love that even adults feel warm and fuzzy about.

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But FOUR bloody days is TOO MUCH.

I basically have memorised the tunes that get played around the park all day, and was sick to DEATH of Chip and Dale trying get you to take a selfie with them.

Anyways, I appreciate that Disney Land originated from one man who created stories for kids, but its got a massive corporate and multi-billion dollar feel behind it and it just seems to take the magic away from what Walt Disney really set out to do!

Anyways, I take my hats of to them cause they do an amazing job at organising the parades and keeping Disney Land such a magical and warm place!

 

A 5-hour flight to the sunshine state of Hawaii! Expectations were somewhat crushed, but we managed.

So, to set the scene…. We’re disembarking the aircraft, talking about how excited we all are to be sitting by the pool, swimming with dolphins, scuba diving etc.

So we arrive at the Hilton Hawaiin Village, Honolulu. Read the next for points and tell me if this sounds relaxing:

  • Having to fight for a pool chair
  • Having to pay 100$ + USD for a family to eat breakfast/day
  • Having to pay 60USD for beach chairs
  • Blissfully walking down the beach to find rubbish everywhere, and no peace and quiet.
  • Shit service
  • Loud American conversations by the pool.

Yep! We loved it! (despite our smiling faces in these photos, only because we were keen for some food from Bills!) 

I know this post sounds 100% snobby! But we were just disappointed in this place, because we’ve heart soooo many good things about Hawaii and how relaxing it is. But seriously, it was an actual shit fight and just completely ruined our expectations. Im sure the smaller islands are so much more authentic and traditional but Waikiki is pretty much the equivalent to Surfers Paradise.

The ups?

  • Eating at ‘Bills’ an Aussie owned restaurant just a 5-minute walk from out hotel cause it was the only decent food where you could get a vegemite toast and avo on toast!
  • The shopping (Ala Moana Shopping Mall)

Anyways, rant over. To say the least, America is a good country! Not gonna say its horrible because its not, and despite the not so good experiences, we actually had a few laughs and made the most of family bonding time.

I’m a bit hesitant to visit America again, although I haven’t visited the West coast yet, so ill give it another chance – i’m sure there’s magnificent things to see.

Do your research! Don’t settle for anything less than your standards, and embrace the good with the bad, and of course enjoy time spent with your family!

lotsa Love

T x

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