A Travellerspoint blog

Viva Las Vegas Y VIVA AMERICA LATINA!!!

Six Flags, Las Vegas, Tamarindo/Villareal (Costa Rica) (1)

A full day of maximum roller coaster! It was good fun at the Six Flags Magic Mountains. We did all the maximum thrills (that were open) at least once. But no more food in the parks (Universal in Orlando was probably the worst we had in the US - and we had a lot of s***) so we had dinner at the Red Lobster which was really good and then we were off to Sin City...

What happens in Vegas - stays in Vegas!
Viva Las Vegas
No, Vegas indeed is something else than the rest of the US. Clubs and bars are not shutting at 2am, finally legally drinking on the streets again :), the spirit is just different, and even the food is better. Very important!
The suite in the Palazzo was great (the service etc. was, however, disappointing...) and temperature was very moderate and not the expected heat.
Unfortunately early in the morning of the third day in Vegas Beat left us behind and went back to good old Switzerland while we moved to the USA Hostel Las Vegas, which was obviously quite a downgrade but it's just so much more fun in the hostels and there are far better people. It was wild...
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At the poker table I didn't play very well anymore (after winning a second 'tournament' in the USA Hostel San Diego), so I made it only to 6th out of about 20. I also lost some money with roulette but the damage is not too big... And all in all I'm still in plus.
We also booked a flight with a little airplane around the Grand Canyon which is indeed spectacular.
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The USA - the best country in the world!
Anthem
How come so many Americans say that but they have never even left their homeland? I tell you it's not. For sure!
(However, I wanna apologize to everyone who supports the American Way - this is not going to be very nice... But it is the way I have seen the US by myself for 3 month now.)

  • First the good things: we were very lucky with the weather, the nature (National Parks) is just amazing, we could meet at least three fantastic Americans (thank you Nash, Robert, and Matthew - it has been emotional), people's humor and jokes, the girls -especially in California- are hot! (but usually there is not more about it), delicious rips, 'turn right on red', our good friend Captain Morgan is cheap to buy and so is good quality Vodka, liquor stores and delis that are open till very late, and not to forget the favorable exchange rate.
  • However, most bad prejudices and biases have not only be confirmed bud they grew and expended and it's for a fact now:

Scary news on the TV and the lies they tell you in a speed hardly letting you build your own opinion, disgusting commercials, always you spend money for something you don't need you actually are saving money ;), capitalist democracy, horrible horrible food - really it's pure poison what they feed to there population (no fucking wonder they are all obese), corn sirup in Coca Cola etc., the clorine in the water, those huge tanks they call cars, countless fools, ignorance, everybody hates its job, the support for the troops, and the conditions of some streets, houses, and are like in a third world country. Everything needs to go by procedure, it needs to be complicated, and no one would take care of anything outside its direct responsibility (if even). And don't you dare try to question anything or start a discussion. It's not worth the effort anyway. Good thing, however, that there are always few exceptions.
Still it's a fucking police state and everyone is applauding to it not realizing what price they actually are paying for their 'freedom'. But remember; it's the laaand ooof the freeee... and the very best anyway...
I already wrote too much, however, could go on with this for (p)ages but let me close with a song from 1990 that is in my opinion spot on and hasn't lost any of its truth or actuality in this 20 years: The American Way
And this time I really do want you to listen to the lyrics - or read it: Lyrics

Anyway I'm happy we made the time for this trip and had the chance to see all the good and bad things for ourselves.
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Costa Rica - PURA VIDA!
It's time to look ahead now. Juanito a.k.a. John Smith a.k.a. Johann and I arrived tired but happy in San Jose.
Even though Latin America is completely strange and new to me I felt comfortable immediately. People and authorities (already at the airport) are fare more relaxed and friendly, the first meal we had in the first crappy little restaurant - where we were waiting for our transfer bus - was about in the top 5 of the last 3 month and on the way to Tamarindo we stopped in the middle of nowhere at a dirty little place where we could definitely enjoy the best coffee in 3 month. These things really made me look forward. The family I stay with is just fantastic, the weather is unusually good for 'wintertime' - and damn hot! (sorry Switzerland)-, the people at the school are really nice, and I'm even starting to get the language. It definitely helps to know French, on the other hand we keep mixing the Spanish up with French and Italian. But I'm positive that we soon will be able to survive with our skills.
We already made a tour with a boat into the mangroves where we saw an apes family, crocodiles, and fantastic nature. As well we have been surfing twice - big up for beautiful Sofie who borrowed us her board - Thanks! The waves are just perfect for my level of skills which still needs a lot of practice but it's fun. The evenings are rather quiet since it's low season but they made us big hopes for Friday night...
So everything so far so good - I'm doing great :)
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PS: Go STARS!!! We are almost there - make me happy and proud!

Posted by Perch 16:14 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (1)

Under the Californian sun

San Francisco (2), some Santas, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Anaheim, San Diego

Well, San Francisco was not the highlight I expected it to be. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe we were at the wrong spots, and maybe we were 40-50 years late.

Venice Beach is crazy! You have to see it to believe it.
Plus to finally be on (rented) Inline Skates again was a great feeling. It was just a little taste but sweet!

In Anaheim we got ourselves some tickets for the game Ducks vs. Coyotes and made a great deal with a very nice hotel just across the street of the Ducks' Stadium. It was cool to finally see a NHL game (even though it was preseason). Sbisa (#5) played very well and they had two decent fights on the ice - not too bad for the first game of the year. But well, it's US-sport, don't get me started - they just manage to somehow ruin everything. What a pity! I miss the Swiss games and stadiums!!
We also went to an Angels game (Baseball) just 5 minutes walk from the hotel. As expected it was really boring... But lower level first base tickets for 15 bugs is not a bad deal and we met some nice people there who we went out with afterwards...
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Then San Diego! We were two nights at the Banana Bungalow to dive and surf before meeting Beat (Steve;)) at the airport San Diego. Now there are three of us! Together we went downtown for a few nights and then back to the Banana Bungalow at Pacific Beach.
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Right now we are north of Los Angeles just next to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Tomorrow we are going to get a full load of adrenaline and then directly heading to Las Vegas! Can’t wait for Sin City :)

(Sorry I am not so in the mood to write long stories… next time. But there are some new pictures.)

Posted by Perch 23:26 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Cruising down the Westcost

Bend, Inglenook, Bodega Bay, Sonoma, Lake Tahoe, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Yosemite, San Francisco (1)

0 °C

After playing a nice round of Golf at Edgefield and drinking self brewed beer (like Guinness) we were on the road again.
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Bend is a lovely little town. We had a fantastic dinner there, hung out with some nice youngsters, and went for Mountainbiking the next day and it was indeed exceptional! Here I could have spent easily a week or two instead of just one night. Oregon's nature is really fantastic but California is waiting as well...

And then we made it to the Golden State. Highway 1 baby!

The first thing we found in California - by coincidence - was a great organic food marked with healthy and tasty stuff. Something we were/are missing very much.
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In Inglenook we had the chance to stay at a Buddhist Zen Priest's house (who we met in Glacier). We had super discussions, he showed us around, and gave us some valuable tips for our journey. Specially the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest! We would have never made it there, if Robert had not told us about the oldest trees in the whole world - up to 4'700 years of age! Robert, thank you again for being such a good host these are good memories.
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Completely different story in Sonoma where we met the owner of the Schellville Grill who we saw on TV a few days before. The food was really good and Matthiew then showed us around Sonoma at night - two times in a row. The first night we went to a club called Little Switzerland. This was so funny and almost felt like home with all that Swiss stuff around. And we met lots of cool people there, specially the owner hand her two sons, and it was the legendary start of 'Stephanies' (sorry it's an insider).

In Lake Tahoe we set our feet into Nevada for the first time. I always lost at Black Jack but I won the 40+5 sit'n'go poker tournament against 11 others ->248$ and after playing roulette I walked out of the 'Montbleu' with 290$ :) I'm ready for Vegas now!
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Yosemite is nice but my expectations were probably too high after everything I've heard and red about it. No doubt that the rocks/mountains in Yosemite Valley are something special and that those huge trees are very impressive, however, it's just too obvious that this park has 4 million visitors every year. The atmosphere was just not friendly.
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Eventually we made it to a big city again. San Francisco! One of the main reasons I make this trip through the USA.
However, first thing first, we finally exchanged our cheap Jeep. The Ford Edge is even bigger! And so far it's better. We made almost 10'000 km with the Cherokee and it was all right but I don't even want to list all the things that weren't right.
Anyway, San Francisco! The fist nights out were rather disappointing but hey the Asian food is great and we already know all the Korean owners of our hostel. We went for some sightseeing, too. But no real highlights so far...

In general we are still having the time of our lives. Enjoying every day but are too lazy to make everything out of each one;) Laughing about the Americans and there customs and 'procedures', trying to have a healthy died which is really hard, and meeting all kinds of people.
The US sport schedule is not really fitting our schedule but somehow I will manage to watch a Hockey and an American Football game.
The weather is still incredible! Today is day 61, day 48 was the only rainy day we had on our journey. There were a few short showers and a bit of fog sometimes but besides there is always blue sky and sun.
As you can see I made the time an effort to upload lots of pictures. There are so many more but I had to make some kind of a selection. So I hope you enjoy these...

Take care and best regards from San Francisco

Posted by Perch 23:06 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Frontier to the west

Minneapolis, Badlands, Buffalo Bill, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Seattle, Olympic National Park, Portland

So we made it through the Indian land to the westcost. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZuuu3eOjZ4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

In the Buffalo Bill State Park we built up our Wallmart tent for the first time (and about 3 or 4 other times since). It was a beautiful place at a lake and we made some special pictures from the breathtaking sky... 

Yellowstone is absolutely unique with its Hot Spots and Geysers. So beautiful! We also saw some animals but not sooo many bears... In numbers - zero. 

On Sunday we arrived at the westcost in Seattle. Actually the only spot on my travel-map where I have been before. It's a lot colder here but nice. Seattle is a charming city except for the parking situation... Because of a misunderstanding they towed our car. But I eventually got to see the rock museum (Experience Music Project) which I have missed the last time. 

Now we're near Portland in a nice Hostel/Hotel on a big property with pups, bars, restaurants, concerts, and a beautiful hot pool: 
http://www.mcmenamins.com/?loc=3

However all in all there is not so much to tell except it's always sunny and freezing cold at night - in the tent - our Jeep is a piece of shit, the cool box is cool and the grill is hot.

Unfortunately again no or no good PC's at the hostels - so again no pictures. Sorry! But this is getting a priority now. 

Best wishes to all of you

Posted by Perch 10:44 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York you make it happen!

New York (2), Chicago, Milwaukee

New York you make it happen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iul3ujcBGwU

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Yeah, New York is something else. What a city! Although we haven't seen a lot besides Manhattan, I think I haven't missed anything, we had just enough time booked, and of course there would be so much more to do. But I was also happy to eventually move on. The bad air, the heat, and the prices are getting annoying.
We had a fantastic time walking the city, meeting all kinds of people, partying at nights, doing few touristy things, and hanging out with that New Yorker we met down in Florida. Thank you again Nash! Many things a 'normal' tourist in NYC can't even think of...
Also big up for Vicky who sent me this list with all the cool places. Thank you!
Not to forget the pilot who brought me back safely from the helicopter flight. (Plus tax, minus discount = $152)
Also to mention about New York: The city sleeps, though - from time to time...

Obviously I can't pack every thing in the blog, however, I tried to sum some things up so that you have an idea how we are doing in that strange, funny, obese, smelly, loud, dirty, fascinating, huge, and different country:

Weather
Florida was really hot, 35 and more but is was ok just like this. It rained from time to time but only for 15 minuter or so. Otherwise it was all Sunshine State.
NYC was cooler in the beginning, 20-30 degree and 30+ in the second part of our stay. Sunny or cloudy and always very humid, however, no rain at all.

Food
Well well, the food... they can fry stuff and they can do hamburgers from fantastic to horrible. We had some good and we had really really bad food. We're just fighting our way through, in fast food shit, supermarkets, fruit stands, and restaurants from time to time. Disappointment and happiness can be very close.
I haven't met no scale so far, but I think/hope that I haven't gained weight, surprisingly...
We eat irregular (1-2 times a day is actually enough) and a lot of shit but also fruit and just try to be reasonable and as healthy as somehow possible.

Celebrities
In Orlando in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel (which was of course too expensive and booked out anyway) we run into Hulk Hogan himself. He was just about to check in ...and we survived.
In New York we got free tickets to the David Letterman Show and then sat just a few meters away from Marky Mark Wahlberg who was promoting his new movie 'The other guys'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6WOoUG1eNo&feature=youtube_gdata
Then there was the Comic Strip with Juda Freelander and several comedians that are not that big yet...
And of course models shooting fashion pictures on the streets of New York.

Shopping
Not a lot, honestly! I just bought two shirts and one pair of shorts in Miami - almost for free in the outlet mall - and a Mark Streit Islanders T-Shirt in NYC.
We had other priorities :)

Financials
Well I am still hoping to get through the US with 10 grand. But it's getting very thight.

Parties & Girls
Hmm... no comment in public...

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Ohh ja and Chicago... We got in, there was traffic jam, I saw the bean, got a parking ticket, more traffic jam, easy evening at the hostel, swimming in Lake Michigan at 3am, and we were outta there...
But I have to admit, Chicago is a lot better and nicer than I had expected it to be.

Right now I'm writing from Milwaukee which is rather boring but nice and today we're heading west...
Here we finally slept in a nice hotel again. This is really great after all the hostels. And we have free computers to use so I can finally send you some more pictures. But it takes forever! So you have to be patient again... Thinking about opening a flickr account. Any better suggestions?

Gotta go...

Take care guys and keep in touch!

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Posted by Perch 09:29 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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