Apr 21 2006
0

Fifth time lucky

This week I have been missing LA immensely. (Maybe it is the Dani California obsession…?)

When I first went to LA I hated it. I couldn’t wait to leave. I had no money. I was bored. I was waiting out for my flight home and that is where I wanted to be. Not in some place where the pollution burnt my skin (well that is what the over-tanned girl at the Clinique counter @ the Beverly Center told me). The only thing I looked forward to was going to the free tapings of Hollywood Squares and, to break it up.. a taping of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. TV tapings had air conditioning and passed the time quickly. I would run up to the Chinese Theatre at 10am to keep an eye out for someone with a big black texta and a clipboard. That translates to “We need an audience!”

I survived by living on a large McDonalds quarter pounder meal at about 3pm everyday. I would sit at the Maccas on Hollywood and Highland and watch the homeless people eat fries straight from the bin. I know I could’ve gone down to the Farmers Market and got some grub but I was 21 and still enthralled by the size of the Maccas meals. Breakfast at the hostel was unlimited free waffles. I think I’ve only eaten waffles once since that long stint in LA. The only memorable thing? Sleeping through the earthquake.

The second time there wasn’t much better. But I discovered the ‘7th Heaven’ church in Studio City so that made the stay worthwhile. Again, I had no money (LA is always the last stop on the way home) but I discovered the a LA branch library just near Hollywood and Vine. Again, more airconditioning. I ventured out on the buses – just sitting on them for the very cheap sightseeing. Travelling through neighbourhoods. This is what I do way too much when I travel. I get on a public bus, make sure I get a window seat and take it all in. It is the cheapest and best form of sightseeing yet.

The third time was awesome. Great accommodation. Money. Santa Monica. UCLA. Fun times at Ross Dress for Less. Barney’s Beanery. Just having fun.

The 4th and last stay, last month was way too short. When we landed and after I had caught up on some sleep, Friday night wandering the Sunset Strip was awesome. The Rainbow Bar and Grill felt like I was getting a teeny tiny little taste of just how fabulous this place must have been in the late 60s and 70s. It was the LA I had a fascination with. I wanted to be there 30 years earlier. Sitting at Dukes. Eating French Toast at 11am after just waking up. This was the LA I’ve read too much about. This was the LA I wanted to experience.

Next time it will be catching Z’s at the Chateau.

Next time I will see someone perform at the Hollywood Bowl.

Next time I will be brave and drive.

Next time I will discover Laurel Canyon.

Next time I will go and pay homage to the old site of the Galleria Mall in the Valley.

Next time… my stay will be longer.

Professional Widow – Tori Amos

Mar 31 2006
0

Amarillo burning

Amarillo by morning
Up from San Antone
Everything that I’ve got
Is just what I’ve got on
When that sun is high
In that Texas sky
I’ll be bucking at the county fair
Amarillo by morning
Amarillo I’ll be there
-George Strait

This morning I woke to the news of wild grassfires on the northern end of Amarillo. We could see the black burning smoke (which means that is a home on fire) from the front verandah. The wind here has been especially fierce today and this has fanned those fires, even though everything is under control now. For us, bushfires are such a summer occurence it is just plain hard to understand how a few weeks ago it could be just about zero, yet there are fires, then there was snowfall here and now… more fires again. There has even been tornado touchdowns near the OK border. Argh.

This time tomorrow, I will be at LAX waiting for time to pass until I can get on the LA-MEL flight and be back in my own bed. It has been an interesting trip to say the least – the past two weeks seem somewhat wasted so I’ll just have to make up for it another time. Anyway, I need to come back for another Taco Bell fix. Bring on the bean burritos!

Mar 29 2006
0

Totally Texan in so many ways

Texans love food. And food in Texas is so darn good. Today I had the true Americana experience… I ate out twice in a day! First at IHOP, where I ordered the fantastic Rooty Tooty Fresh’n’Fruity. Then Applebees for dinner for an Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl. I love these chain restaurants… free refills, good service, ‘What ya fixin’ to order?’, ‘Y’alls ok there?’ – I wish I could bottle it all.

In other Amarillo news, yesterday garbage collectors here found a human head in the trash. I found this article detailing the story and cringed through the whole article. A one day growth? Crews ‘combing through’ the landfill? Argh!

To make it worse on the news last night when the story broke, the anchor just started giggling right at the end of the story and led straight into her speel with her cheery Texan twang… “Now lets talk about this Spring weather!” Oh yes siree… lets!

Mar 29 2006
0

Prince @ Tower Records

My absolute favourite music store in the whole world is Tower Records on Sunset. This place has such an aura about it that makes it so great. The stock inside isn’t particulary impressive… it is just like a JB Hi-Fi. But this place just has that great feel about it that you don’t get until you go there. It just sits so nicely there in its little nook on Sunset.

Anyway, I am itching to get Prince’s new album. Now, even more so after reading this story in USA Today.

Mar 27 2006
1

Georgia on my mind

Well I sure did catch the Celtics fever while in Boston… I also caught something else.. the ‘flu! Which in turn, has bought on a severe dose of tonsilitis that resulted in me seeing hardly anything of the beautiful and sulty Savannah. I guess if I was going to get sick, it happened in the right place, because the Bed and Breakfast Inn was just gorgeous. I felt almost Nancy Drew-like, checking in and being told that breakfast is served in the parlour. Totally charming.

I am now in my final stop in Amarillo after a very sick and sorry day of flying as well as one hissy fit at the check-in counter at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The highlight of the day was flying on a Delta aircraft with the grooviest retro vinyl seats. And it wasn’t because they were trying to be cool. It was just that the plane was that old.

Speaking of planes, as a airline food fan who loves sipping the orange juice out of those plastic cups with foil lids, this trip has been very disheartening. At the end of the four weeks I would have flown eleven flights and only three of these would have served meals. Oh the shame of it all!

This is going to be a very low key week in TX, mainly because I want to make sure I am back to at least some form of decent health before I fly home. This is mainly because I don’t want to put my ears through what I put them through yesterday. Blocked sinuses, inflamed tonsils, fever, eight-sneezes-in-a-row while in the departure lounge, and a nose that is running like a tap does not suit air travel. At all.

Mar 21 2006
1

Defence! Defence! Defence!

Just got back from the Celtics Vs Lakers game – it was fantastic. Even though we lost…!

But it was great seeing Kobe in action – he shot 43!!!

Paul Pierce was best for us with 26, we made a great comeback with the end score being 105-97. It was loud loud loud when we got close so it was a great atmosphere.

Spent today at the Harvard Law School Library, the Harvard School of Government Library and also the JFK Presidential Library meeting with so many wonderful and talented librarians and seeing what it is all like behind the scenes.

Tomorrow morning I fly to Savannah where it should be nice and sultry. On the local news this evening Cyclone Larry got a big mention and it was strange seeing footage from home on tv… they also had an indepth discussion on why we call these storms cyclones and here they are hurricanes.

Time to go and defrost with my Dunkin’ Donuts Hot Chocolate which Starbucks cannot even try to match.

So long Boston… I’ll be back!

Mar 20 2006
0

Still in Boston…

This morning we woke to snow flurries and The Goonies on TV! Awesome!!

As it is so cold, we’re giving the St Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston a miss.

Can someone please explain American seasons? Spring starts tomorrow at around 1.30pm. Interesting!

Also, I found out why I had to unpack some of my luggage at check-in when leaving DC. Domestic allowance is lighter than the allowance I had when flying over and leaving. Hmmm. This will be interesting trying to ‘level out’ the weight in both my bags.

Too much shopping is a baggage allowance hazard!

Mar 19 2006
0

Greener than the Emerald Isle, I love that Dirty Water…

Boston is more Irish then Ireland. Well it sure does feel that way!

We had an amazing day – first in Boston at an Irish pub that had a queue to get in, in the middle of the day! The Dropkick Murphys concert at the Avalon Ballroom was just FANTASTIC – the crowd was the most diverse crowd at a show I think I have ever experienced. Their energy and volume was extreme. And for the first time I wore ear plugs at a concert… and am glad I did…!

Today Amy took me up to Kittery, Maine and we visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is freezing outside, but the sun is out to it is deceiving to say the least! Tomorrow, I’ll be chilling out with Amy as Evan leaves to return to Melbourne. Monday I will be visiting the JFK and Harvard Libraries before I leave for Savannah on Tuesday.

I love Beantown!

Mar 18 2006
0

Happy St Pat’s day from Boston

Well my day at the Library of Congress was absolutely AMAZING. I still cannot believe I saw it and got to see first hand some of the work that they do and meet so many fantastic people. A totally memorable day and I will post some pictures up when I get home.

Our flight from DC to Boston Logan was uneventful and the only change was the weather. Very chilly at the moment! To have St Pat’s day here is amazing as here in the US, people celebrate it more than in Ireland and so I can let my Cleary pride fully shine today! 😉

Tonight Amy and I are off to the Dropkick Murphys concert (a very novel way to keep warm!) but I just realised I didn’t pack anything green to wear…