No More Adulting

Two grown children who decided we didn't want to adult anymore, so we decided to run around the world
Living in: England, United Kingdom

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  • Day21

    Day 19

    We woke up and moved to the top bunk near the window to watch the sun come up. It was just utterly beautiful and we could hear the staff setting up for breakfast and laughing and joking with each other. One of the staff members called Moses had the most infectious laugh you have ever heard. You could help but smile whenever you heard it!

    We said our goodbyes after breakfast and headed to the boat to make our way to Waya Lai Lai (why-ya-lie-lie). It took about an hour and a half until the boat stopped in between two islands and we took the smallest little boat at about 40mph speeding towards the shore. We were welcomed to the island by the staff/locals who live here with singing and dancing and shown to our room. Because we are here out of season the islands are so quiet, it's wonderful. We have a whole room to ourselves - complete with veranda and an ensuite!!! It's amazing! After lunch we wandered down to the beach and did some snorkelling and chilled in the hammock. There were a couple of people that we knew from Southsea (Judith and Dom - Dom is incidently Freddie's doppelganger and only 4 days older then Henry!) who are travelling a day ahead of us, so we spent some time catching up with them and in the early afternoon I went with Judith and the local women to their village and we sat with them and made shell bracelets and drank fresh coconut water from green coconuts. It was the most traditional "tropical-holiday" moment so far!! We had dinner and watched the sunset.

    Day 20
    Today was Sunday, so there are no organised activities. We had a very chilled day on the beach hammocks, sunbathing and listening to music. In the evening before dinner the resort put on a proper kava ceremony for us and explained all about the traditional artefacts that they had on show. In Fiji most islands are experts in one particular craft, the lady who ran our resort came from an island where her father was the best wood worker in all of Fiji. She showed us a beautiful traditional club he had made and explained that historically Fijians were canabals. Ew. She also showed us the stunning mats that had been made by the wayalailai women. They are all weaved by hand from banana leaves! In traditional Fijian weddings the mothers of the bride and groom have to collect as many mats as possible for the wedding to spread out around the ceremony. We had dinner and went to bed as we had an early start the next day....

    Day 21
    We got up at five to do the hike up to the highest point on wayalailai to watch the sunrise. It was an hour hike straight up through some pretty tough rocky terrain and we were seriously sweaty by the time we reached the top!! It was so worth it though. The sunrise was was so stunning and we could see for miles. It was a pretty awesome moment, watching the horizon turn from pink to orange to gold. We are so lucky to have seen it. The sun looks so huge here too. It's amazing.

    It only took us 15mins to get back down the mountain and we grabbed a swift breakfast before heading off to go swimming with the sharks! The tour guides kept swimming down and encouraging the sharks up to the surface so they would swim among us. They weren't huge, the biggest was maybe a meter and a half, but they still look pretty scary when they are heading straight at you! Apparently you can upgrade your shark experience to free swimming with bullsharks. We didn't do that because we don't have a death wish.

    We caught the boat to our next island, white sandy beach. We had heard some bad things about this Island, but we're determined to put on a brave face..

    There is one redeeming feature here and its the ability to go swimming with mantarays, which we did when we arrived. We saw three and they were just incredible. I hadn't realised how HUGE they are!!! There was a black one, a grey/blue one and a white one. We must have spent a good half hour in the water with them. They came so close I could've reached out to touch them! It was a day full of incredible activities. White sandy beach is an experience in itself...

    Day 22
    You all know I can be a bit snobby, but I've thought that the accommodation we have had here has been pretty good. Yes, its very basic and a bit dirty in places. We haven't had hot water since we arrived and I've shared the bathroom with a lot of creepy crawlies but this place is something else...

    The food is utterly inedible, I'm writing this on the evening of our second day and I haven't eaten anything yet (probably no bad thing after all the food we ate in the states!), the beach is dirty and the rooms are awful... It says a lot about a place when you won't shower for fear of getting dirtier... We have both been ill despite the fact that we've used an entire tub of antibacterial hand sanitizer.

    To sum it up... sitting in the hammock earlier, being eaten alive by ants and dealing with hideous stomach cramps, the son of one of the staff members got up on the wooden shacks used to house the snorkelling equipment and took a pee over the edge onto the beach....

    It's put a bit dampner on the trip here to be honest... fingers crossed the resort tomorrow is better!!!!

    Callum

    19 - woke up and watched the sun rise. Had a tasty breakfast then jumped on the boat to Waya Lia lia.
    This resort was just as beautiful as the last. We had a little welcome party. Which included the locals and also Dom and Jude from South sea resort who are travelling a day ahead of us.

    Spent the day chillaxing on the beach and had a tasty dinner of curry.

    20 - today was Sunday so nothing happens. Whole day spent on the beach in a hammock and a bit of swimming.

    21 - this was going to be a busy day. Up at 5 to climb a mountain to watch the sun rise (all Fiona's idea). It was beautiful at the top just bloody early to do a hike.
    A quick breakfast and then off on the boat to swim with sharks. This was awsome, they were only small but it was cool to see them and the Fiji boys diving down and bringing then to the surface.

    Then it was back to the island a quick check out and then back onto the boat to move onto White Sandy Beach Resort.

    We had already heard negative things about this resort but were determined to have an open mind about it.

    We got off the boat and into the little speed boat to take us to the island. The boat couldn't take us to the shore as the tide was low so we had to walk over the rocks to get to the beach.

    We checked into a less than clean dorm room and had an unappetizing lunch. But then headed off to swim with the mantarays which was amazing. They are massive and swam so close to us. Definitely the only reason to go to White Sandy.

    Dinner was an interesting affair. We had vegetable soup (hot water with some cabbage floating in it), followed but a mound of rice some veg covered in oil and some chicken nuckles (I say this because it was all bone and no meat).

    I had decided to get drunk so didn't much mind not eating.

    22 - woke up with a banging headache and feeling very hung over, so decided to spend the morning in bed to sleep it off. Which was a good idea as it meant I didn't have to see the filth they served us for breakfast. It also meant I used up a lot of the day sleeping, which is what I spent the rest of the day doing as there was nothing else to do on the island, you couldn't even swim in the sea because of how shallow and rocky it was around the island.

    We made it through day two and had another disappointing but at least edible dinner.
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  • Day19

    Day 16

    Fiji is heaven. Honestly it's just paradise.

    Our flight was 10 1/2 hours and although the airline was brilliant and so lovely the seats were so uncomfortable. We didn't really sleep.

    We left L.A. on Monday September 11th and landed in Fiji Wednesday 13th September which was cool. It was so early we saw the sun come up when we landed! Walking into the customs part of the airport we were greeted by the singing and dancing and guitar playing of the locals. It was so wonderful!!! Our transfer to the hostel left without us which was a bit annoying but thankfully he did return and we were on our way to Smugglers cove! We couldn't check in because it was so early but we didn't mind as we could store our luggage. We grabbed a coffee and the best loungers on the beach and spent the morning snoozing and chilling in the sun. After a while we made more friends (amazing! Who knew we were so sociable!!!), this time it was a couple from New Zealand, Catherine and Brad. She was originally from Ireland and he, Devon. We had an absolute blast with them, we just swam and drank Fijian beer and chilled out in the sun.

    We wandered to the shop to get provisions for our island hopping that started the next day then showered and changed for dinner.

    Sadly dinner was a real disappointment. We ordered pretty sharpish, local fish soup for starters and fish for main, but everyone around us who ordered after got all their food first. Callum was all but flipping the table he was getting so hungry and after 45mins waiting for the starters I did eventually ask where our food was. It came out ten mins later and the starters were great but the mains were badly cooked and clearly not fresh fish. Needless to say when the bill came and no discount or compensation was offered I was not impressed. Callum persuaded me to go complain, he still hadn't really shaken his hulk-like green rage so I thought it was best that I did the talking. Didn't fancy trying to get him out of Fijian jail for a hunger related attack!!! Thankfully, if i learnt anything from the terrible customer service in America, it was that silence and a smile on my face whilst flatly refusing to cooperate worked well... We got a 10% discount and complimentary drinks. Not great, but better then a poke in the eye, as mum would say. We also got to watch the sunset which was just stunning, so not all doom and gloom! They did a traditional dancing entertainment piece that night too. There was hula dancing and fire dancing which was just incredible and definitely super dangerous. So food aside, it was a really lovely evening!

    Day 17

    We slept so well that night, and were up early for our transfer to the port. The queues were long and I was carrying my rucksack and both mine and Callum's large rucksacks to check onto the boat when it happened... I was VISCIOUSLY attacked by Callum's STUPID bag and it snapped the toenail of my big toe. I was VERY brave and didn't cry, but I was sad. Stupid bag.

    We got to South sea Island around 9.30. The island was stunning, so small that you can walk around it in 5 mins! We bagged the best loungers on the opposite side of the island from the day trippers and even had our own dorm room!!! Our window faced east, and we had a lovely breeze rolling in as all the windows here are open, but have bug netting over them. We spent the day on the beach, did a "submarine" boat trip (like a glass bottom boat but you sit in the glass bottom) and went kayaking. The day trippers left at 5 and there was only 8 of us on the island for the night!!! We ate dinner after watching the sunset and headed to bed. The room was so so wonderful and the pillows were the best pillows EVER! Day one on a Fijian Island over. Utter bliss.

    Day 18

    We were up at 6.45 and took our coffee out for a walk along the beach before breakfast. They rake the sand on the beach before people arrive so our footprints were the only ones on the beach. It was so beautiful. You just can't believe how blue the water is. When the sky is blue in England, and its a really hot day you can see how the spectrum of blue changes across the sky, that's what the sea looks like here.. like all the aqua and turquoise and sapphires you've ever seen are liquid. It's amazing. We left around 9.30 to catch the boat to our sailing trip, we started off an island about an hour from Southbeach. The crew were so fantastic, they sang to us and played guitar as we were given free champagne and told all about the islands around us - and we saw a turtle!! We got the the first island and Callum and I were the first to leap off the side of the boat and into the water. We mucked around with the GoPro in the sea and did some snorkelling before swimming to the island and walking around exploring. It's the island where they filmed Castaway, so we went hunting for iconic symbols from the movie and found the "Help me!" In coconuts!!! It was so much fun and SO beautiful! We swam back to the boat and had lunch on board before heading to a local island village. The tribe on the island performed a Kava ceremony and Callum was one of two guys from our boat who represented the boat as chief.. he had to drink a full bowl of kava and take part in the ceremony. He did really well! We didn't spend long on the Island, just browsed the village ladies stalls and visited the school where all the children (ALL of them...) insisted on giving us all high fives which was pretty cute. Then we headed back to the boat for more drinks and our trip back. Callum set about drinking the boat out of free beer and I nursed a half bottle of champagne on the gentle trip back. Suddenly there was a huge splash and we saw a whole school of dolphin swimming and jumping along next to us!!! It was incredible. There were even baby ones!

    We got back to the island for dinner and had a chilled evening drinking and looking at the stars before heading to bed. Amazing second day, and our last day on South sea.

    Callum

    16 - Not much to add to Fi's comments. The plane was nice but highly uncomfortable to sleep on. Who knew!!

    Smugglers cover is nice except from the food and we even managed to make friends who were doing the same trip as us. But sadly in the opposite direction.

    17 - omg it is amazing out here so glad I have finally made it. Beautiful hardly captures what it is like here. South sea Island is just a little (literally) sliver of bliss/paradise and beauty, at least until the day trippers arrive and turn it into manic heaven, with their kids and photo taking. But they leave at the end of the day and that was really nice as we got to stay on our loungers and watch them leave 😁😁😁.

    18 - off on the day cruise we go. Free beer, unlimited free beer. Challange accepted 😄. Went to the island they filmed castaway on and had lots of fun, a really yummy lunch and then onto the village. I was a chief (obviously, they recognised my male dominance and level of authority/the amount of beers I had already consumed). We had the Kava ceremony, it tasted ok and made my tounge go a bit fizzy. Then popped into the school to high 5 all the children. Back on the boat and headed home. My cue to start chugging more beer.

    Had a lovely dinner again and then to bed ready to move to a new island in the morning.
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  • Day15

    After our day at universal we opted for a more chilled day today. We got up late and went straight to Venice Beach. We spent the entire day on the beach before wandering around the Venice Beach area. We decided to honour one of our favourite shows and went to the cheesecake factory for dinner!! It was actually bloody good and we were able to sit outside on the rooftop so had an amazing view of the Santa Monica skyline whilst the sun went down. Not a wild day, but a lovely one.

    Day 14

    We were up at a reasonable time to head to a true American event - a thrift stall! Our new friend Ben had wisely informed us that Sunday was €1 sale day.

    I know. Who'd've thought it. But yes. I got in those piles of clothes on the floor and I sorted and sorted. And I came out with a designer dress and shirt. I felt like a queen handing over my two bucks. Like I had conquered the pile and won. It was awesome.

    Although I did antibac my hands 3 times afterwards and the clothes went on a super hot wash.

    We said bye to Ben and headed to Koreatown for lunch/dinner. Los Angeles is hailed as being one of the best places in the world for Korean bbq and my vs did it deliver. The food was insane. Honestly absolutely amazing. We didn't eat the rest of the day and after walking down through Korea town for a bit we headed back to the hostel for hostel movie night.

    Day 15

    We had to check out today but our flight is super late in the evening so we hung around the hostel all day until it was time to head to the airport. Onwards to Fiji! We both have collated our thoughts on the US in the end of this post! Xx

    Callum - Day 13 - 15

    Day 13
    We went to the beach n chilled then went to the cheese cake factory. Not much else to report. Really nice chilled day.

    Day 14
    Again a chilled day. Fiona dug through piles of second hand clothes then we went to an amazing Korean bbq place. It was sooo good. All you can eat, really nice meat n you get to cook it yourself on a hot plate in the middle of the table. I stuffed myself and then rolled out.

    Day 15
    Checked out and chilled for most of the day at the hostel until we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Fiji.

    Laters L.A. and the US.

    Parting notes on the States.
    Everything here is massive. In NYC everything was big in an upwards direction. Durham everything was big in terms of space. L.A. everything was big because it was sooo spread out.

    The food has been brilliant and really glad we got to try all the local delicacies such as piles of meat in either a sandwich or bagel. Massive portion sizes and some of the best Korean food outside of Korea (not that's I've been) and Krusty Burger.

    Also Americans love to use the horn for at any chance they get. LITERALLY any bloody chance they get, they slam there hand into the steering wheel.

    Finally thank the Lord for Starbucks and their free WiFi. On to Fiji and island life.

    Fiona - thoughts on USA

    Southern terms learnt in north carolina
    Fixings - food sides
    When I came up - when I was growing up
    Jigger - shot
    Y'all - all of you
    Nabs - cracker sandwiches
    Hush puppy - balls of cooked meat and potato. So named because they were fed to begging dogs at the table with the phrase "hush, puppy"
    Brunswick stew - southern bbq stew made in a huge copper pot
    Crawlers/crawdads - fresh water animals you bbq... Like shrimp/prawns

    Life lessons from L.A.
    No dream is too niche or too small. You can be anything you want to be, even if that's something you made up or is just stupid. Homeless community is utterly huge and just everywhere.

    Lovely things in New York
    A guy stopped a bus for a stranger running for it and they didn't even exchange a word.
    There was a park full of stands of books you could borrow to read - there was a girl writing a love letter in the park.
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  • Day12

    Up and out this morning to head to Beverly Hills. We got dropped outside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for a pretty woman photo opp. Before walking up Rodeo Drive. Beverly Hills was like a different world to the rest of L.A.. It's much much cleaner and the lifestyle and money is insane. We saw so many teenagers driving around in brand new sports cars and muscle cars - clearly sweet 16 presents! It was nuts.

    We ate our packed lunch on the grass next to the Beverly Hills sign and watched the masses of people filming their vlog posts or taking pictures for Instagram. Lunch and a show! We also grabbed a pretentious coffee to try and fit in a bit more... Callum ordered Nitrobrew cold coffees with almond milk/half and half. They were nice, but not worth the money we spent!!!

    We caught an uber to Santa Monica to meet Ben but the uber driver insisted in showing us round during the drive which was great! He made loads of recommendations about where to go and explore and what to do. We followed his advice later that evening after spending the afternoon on the pier, and biking down to muscle beach.

    The bike ride was stunning. We cycled the whole beach down to the end and on the way back We dropped off the bikes and grabbed a beer to watch the american football game for a bit. Then played on the equipment on the beach whilst the sun set behind the santa Monica pier. We waited until the pier lit up before wandering off in search of dinner.

    We walked the main high street in Santa Monica, stopping to watch the performers and singer's on the way before getting dinner at Johnny Rockets, apparently home of the first American hamburger. We didn't really rate it!!

    It was late by then so back to the hostel.

    Day 12

    Universal studios day. Obviously this day was for Callum and I couldn't care less.

    JOKING IT WAS FOR ME I LOVED IT I WANT TO LIVE THERE.
    I smiled so much my face hurt. Everything was amazing. Harry Potter world was a dream come true and we definitely went on the right day because the longest wait all day was 20mins. The rides are almost all 3d inside which was so so clever. The Mummy was the only indoor rollercoaster and it went backwards at the end which was AWESOME but totally threw me! The Simpsons ride was 3d and possibly the best 3d ride.. after the forbidden journey in Harry potter land obviously 😁 and we even went full tourist and ordered a Krusty Burger each from the Simpsons area! They were the best burgers we have has since we've been here!! I had a veggie burger with salad and guacamole and a fruit salad side (the mother nature burger) Callum had a pork rib burger with cheese, coleslaw, secret sauce and salad with fries (the ribwich). Henry and Freddie Bond - I thought of you when we found this place!!!

    Callum also made me do the walking dead exhibit. It wasn't even a ride. It was a walk through experience full of zombies trying to grab you. I hate zombies and walkthrough experiences and being scared and creepy abandoned hospitals and EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS KIND OF THING. I actually tried to leave the queue for the ride at one point when I could hear the people ahead of us screaming but Callum wouldn't let me: "face your fears Fiona"....you face your fears you bloody bastard. It was horrendous. I nearly cried. We had to stop because I screamed and jumped so hard my sunglasses came off and then it was like being trapped in a nightmare whilst we had to scramble around trying to find them with zombies and blood everywhere. Callum loved every second and came out laughing at me. It's the happiest I think I've ever seen him.

    We left the park and had cocktails in the complex (I needed them!) Which is attached the the theme park and full of restaurants and shops and cinemas and bars. Then headed back to get changed into our glad-rags and headed out for more drinks. We found a cute bar called Tarts (ha) and spent a few hours nursing a bottle of wine and winding down chatting about the day. We wandered on to a cocktail bar Callum had found called Mixology and ordered some nibbles and more cocktails. We wobbled home and hit the hay around 1 only to be woken by our idiot of a room mate who decided to have a bath when he came in at 4am....

    Callum -

    Day 11
    We went to bevelay Hills which was very glam and over priced. But wasn't all that really.

    Got an uber to the Santa Monica which was beautiful. Got myself a new hat (yes it's a flat cap and I look super gangster, also it says Cali on it 😁)

    We got bikes down to Muscle beach which was awsome and a lot of fun. Saw some skaters who were about 9 and 100000 times better than I ever was. Then went and saw the outdoor gym and wondered around. It was really cool. Then we took the bikes back and went and played on the gym equipment that they have all over the beach was a lot of fun.

    Did a bit more wondering and went n got a burger. The end.

    Day 12
    Universal was good fun. Highlights of the day definitely have to be the universal tour where we got to see the sets and props, the krusty burger (honestly this was such an amazing burger) and the walking dead. Something about seeing Fiona almost sh*t herself made me very happy inside.

    A very fun day but the only real rollercoaster was the mummy one. All the rest while interesting and fun weren't really rollercoasters.

    Then we had some drinks and saw some people on stilts making balloons. Headed back to the hostel for a quick change then out for more booze.

    A very expensive but very fun day. Onwards.
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  • Day10

    I really don't think hostel living is for me.

    I barely slept. There was no AC and fan was rubbish. My BUNK BED squeaked. Other people kept walking in and out it was like sleeping in a revolving door. The light went on and off so much I dreamt I was in a nightclub. The whole thing was deeply unpleasant. Only 95 days till our hotel in Singapore. Not that I'm counting.

    We had "breakfast" (sugar overload) in the hostel and I updated the blog before heading to Melrose Ave. The street was meant to be famous for all the designer stores there... there were a lot, but it was so dirty and smogy, it was like being on the outskirts of a dodgey part of London with great stores. There were lots of cool walls with loads of art work on though, and one of them (the Paul Smith pink wall) is pretty insta-famous. So I got Callum to snap a picture of me in front of it. We went over the street to use a coffee shops Wi-Fi for an uber and stood in astonishment as we watched the pink wall. I'm not joking, these girls would take at least 10mins to pose in loads of different ways in front of this wall. It was insane. I've never seen anything like it. And their friends all happily took these pictures!!? I'd laugh out loud if someone asked me to spend ten minutes taking pictures of them in front of a wall.

    We caught another Uber to the most amazing record store you have ever seen... Callum was in heaven. I'll let him talk about all that but afterwards we tried to swing by a farmer's market before doing the Walk of Fame but that turned out to only be around on the weekend. BUT we met a guy on a street corner (not as dodgey as it sounds) who was from Swindon and ended up spending the day with him which was fun! I'm so good at this making-friends-whilst-travelling lark, although, we did decide not to go to the hostel event that evening on account of all the strangers we would have to talk to.......

    We did the walk of fame and ended up at this huge shopping centre with a viewing point for the Hollywood sign. We played tourist and took pictures before grabbing a beer and continuing the walk of fame, stopping only to browse the Hard Rock Cafe Museum. At the end of the walk of fame we got an uber (SO SO cheap here!) to the Griffith Observatory.
    The veiws we stunning. Honestly gorgeous. L.A. just goes on and on and on. The smog is a bit mad though. I tried to take a super arty insta picture of Callum but there was a girl that would not move so she's in the picture too. Oh well.

    We caught the bus back down to the town (50c - so cheap) and half way down the bus driver just got off the bus and left us. I, naturally, thought we were going to die or be sold or kidnapped (I definitely watch too much criminal minds) but thankfully we weren't. So that was good.

    We walked back along the Sunset Blvd watching the sunset in front of us, waved Ben off to get his dinner then caught an uber back. We bought food from Trader Joe's and made our dinner in the hostel. The next nights sleep was no better....

    Callum -

    She will get over hostel living it's really not that bad.

    They really do love a sugar breakfast but what else do you expect from the country that invented cinabun and poptarts as on the go breakfast foods!!!

    The record store was awsome. Absolutely massive!! I could have lived in there. The only issue was they were all new so had the cellophane wrap on them and no character to them. But there were records of albums that I didn't even know you could get records of, so still could have spent a lot of money in their if I didn't have to carry them around the world with me. But they do do international delivery 🤔.

    The farmers market was a fail as it's only on the weekend but the info we got made out that it was a permanent fixture. Oh well. It did mean that we bumped into Ben, who turned out to be from Swindon so just down the road from us (in US terms).

    We then did the walk of fame and saw some names, but in reality it was a big let down as it was very dirty, had the most homeless people in one place I have ever seen and adult shops.... take from that what you will. But the stars themselves were in really poor condition, either cracked and broken, or had the name half missing, or were so dirty you just couldn't make out who they belonged to. But anyway, we then found a cool outdoor shopping centre and popped into L.A. hard rock cafe, which I have to say wasn't as good as New York's.

    Then headed up to the observatory which had some stunning views of L.A. got the bus back down and then started walking back to our hostel. An hour later and we were still walking back, L.A. is so so so spread out it is ridiculous, so once we got to Ben's hostel we decided to uber it the rest of the way.

    Popped into Trader Joe's to get dinner and lunch for the next day and decided to skip the social event as we were fairly tired. We had done over 25,000 steps or that's what my phone told me, so well deserved rest was needed.
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  • Day8

    Day 7

    We had lunch on the balcony before heading off in the Mustang on our tour of Durham. I insisted on going for a walk and picking up salad (or as Jim would call it "Rabbit food; the food my food eats") for lunch as my body was craving vegtables!!! Duke Uni is huge. I think that the whole of Tunbridge Wells is smaller then this uni. It's also utterly beautiful. We went to the famous Chapel and got lucky as the choir were practising so we had a good background to our tour of the stunning stain glass windows. Jim wanted to introduce us to his Biker friends in Durham so we went to one of their common bar haunts and had a beer before finding them all at another bar round the corner.

    It was quite a bar. The guys we met were SO lovely and friendly and we heard more real Nortth Carolina accents there then we had so far! They bought us drinks and showed us their Harleys and talked to us about all the southern things we didn't know about. We've complied a list at the bottom of this post! The biker bar had a wrap around veranda where we sat with the bikers over looking their bikes and the bars opposite.... both of which are gay bars. The music from the biker bar combined with the music from BOTH gay bars was quite something to behold. We loved every second!

    We left after sunset in search of dinner (ribs) and then headed back for cocktails on the balcony.

    Day 8

    Our real American Road trip Day!! We got up super early and filled a cooler with diet coke and water and hopped into the mustang to head to the coast. It's a 4hr hour drive past the most gorgeous countryside and towns. We went past a huge lake with some of the most incredible houses I have ever seen. I want a lake house. No, I want a lake estate. These places were ridiculous. They put my private school size and grounds to shame.

    We stopped for "biscuits" at a place Jim said Daddy and Charles had loved called Bojangles. Biscuits are a southern tradition that are sort of like a savoury English muffin and a scone's love child. You have them cut in half and filled like a sandwich with breakfast items. Think MacDonalds breakfast muffin type fillings. Or there's sweet options called "bo'berry biscuits". They are basically like sweet blueberry cookie/biscuits with icing. They're VERY yummy but my god are they filling!!

    What amazed us is that we were driving 4 hours to have lunch by the sea. As Callum rightly pointed out, that's the distance from Bristol to Twells! We would never have considered doing that just for a day but it goes to show how massive America is!! You truly get a sense for the vastness when you do something like that. Highlight of our trip down was a guy driving a Dodge like a total knob past us and not 2 mins later a cop screamed past to pull him over. Jim was delighted haha!

    The coast line was gorgeous. The town we stopped in was called Beaufort and was home to Blackbeard way back when. It was the most traditional looking little town ever and was just so cute. We had lunch over looking the boats and the ocean and had a relaxed wander up and down the pier before heading to see Blackbeards house.

    Jim explained that when the army took over Blackbeards house they left two men to gaurd it when they went back to England. The two guys did so until suddenly they disappeared without trace. The house went on the Market and went through a variety of owners, one of which noticed the plumbing in the house needed work. A guy was called in to go under the house and sort it out at which point he stumbled upon the two corpses of the soldiers who had been left to guard the house... super creepy right?!

    The drive back to Jim's was gorgeous as we got to watch the sunset as we were driving back into Durham. Jim took us to dinner at a place called Burger Bach. It's a new Zealand restaurant and they served hands down the bed Oysters ever. Callum and I polished off a dozen between us! They were totally dreamy. It was the perfect end to our stay with Jim ♡

    Callums comments + Day 9

    Day 7
    Unis in the states are on another level. Think of the biggest UK uni you know then scrap that idea because you're wrong. It is it's own city, has it's own private streets, shops, police the lot. It is bloody ridiculous. Then on top of that they have soo much money that they end up buying half the buildings in Durham for staff use and things. You can see now why they cost €50,000 a year!!!!!

    After the tour of the uni and a bit of culture in the chapel. We went and met Jim's biker friends. What a bunch if nice people. We chatted away for a good while and had some drinks before we went off and I had wings. Dam they were some good wings.

    Day 8
    Up early and on the road for a 4hour drive for lunch. As Fi said that's something we would never do in the UK it's just too much for a day, so well done Jim for doing all the driving. Although if he had asked I wouldn't have had a problem driving the Stang for a few hours (yes I abbreviated It, you can do that when you have been driven around in one for almost a week 😀). The sea side town was lovely and the water looked sooo inviting, we had a lovely lunch and then went and saw black beards house which was cool.

    Long drive back and then a very tasty dinner. Never had oysters like it. There were sooo good.
    Thanks for having us Jim, we had a blast.

    Callum: day 9- Up early to get to the airport. Had a slight issue with getting my boarding pass, Fi's phone app had only downloaded her one for some reason. But we carried on and had a couple of bloody Mary's while we waited for our flight. We boarded and all was going well, until... a generator stopped working and we had to wait over an hour before we could take off, which would had been fine if we didn't have a connecting flight that left an hour after ours landed. So we missed that and had to wait about 2 hours in Miami airport for our follow up flight. Both very hungry having only had some crackers for breakfast and not in the mood we bitched and moaned our way to a bagel shop for a highly average bagel and then waited for our new flight to board. Once on board all was well, we took off without too much delay and landed four n half hours later in L.A.

    This is were the next worry started. Had our bags followed us onto the plane or were they on a different flight or even airport. Lucky for us they turned up after a half hour wait and we quickly decided that we couldn't be bothered with an hour bus journey so jumped into a Uber. Finally things took an upwards turn as our Uber car was a very nice Lexus, unfortunately Fiona had given him the wrong hostel ( there are two banana bungalo and banana bungalo west, so is fairly confusing), lucky for us though the nice lady said she could transfer our booking to this one and all was well.

    I do wished I had filmed Fiona as we went into our 6 bed dorm room, the mixture of confusion, disbelief and finally acceptance. We got sorted and went in search of food. Found a nice little pita bar (kebab house) and got some humus and falafel then headed to bed.

    It was a fairly quiet night sleep except for the one point were someone came in singing. Although after discussion with Fiona in the morning it might have just been someone sleep singing lol.

    All in all a stressful transfer from east to west but we are still in once peice and havent killed each other yet. Callum out.
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  • Day8

    We started the morning drinking coffee on the balcony whilst I raged to Enterprise who had unexpectedly cancelled the mustang I had hired for Callum as a birthday present. It's fair to say I was furious.

    We had compiled a true American style road trip playlist for the Mustang drive which Jim kindly let us play whilst we headed out of town to the country. I think we ruined his street credit when he had to leave his apartment block with us singing along very loudly to Mustang Sally....

    We drove through the country and saw some of the most amazing houses and old Tabacco farms. The houses here really are huge. Jim pointed out some of the larger houses with outside kitchens and servant quarters. We drove past some houses with beams that stretched the whole height of the buildings and looked so grand. Jim explained that these were called T-Houses; the front of the house was built first and as the family grew in size and wealth, they extended backwards and formed the t shape they are named after. So there's a bit of history knowledge for y'all (I'm turning into a southern girl)

    We stopped at a diner for lunch which served all really local, southern food. The people here are SO nice and friendly. It takes some getting used to because obviously in England if some starts talking to you out of the blue they are either crazy or warning you about some bad customer service/weather somewhere.

    We went home via a beer shop that is owned by a friend of Jim's, it had over 2500 different types of beer and Callum was in heaven!

    We went back to the flat and a massive thunderstorm started up. We drank daquaries on the balcony until we were all too pissed to stand and crawled to bed (just me).

    Day 6 - turns out after I went to bed Callum actually got quite pissed. We went to an American Pancake diner for breakfast, then had a very chilled day whilst the boys slept off their hangovers!

    We went out that night to a rooftop bar in Durham and met some of Jim's friends for drinks. It was beautiful on the roof and we were there for a couple of hours before going to the next bar which used to be a bank. It was built by the guy who built the Empire State and you can totally tell. It's like a mini one! We got drinks and walked around the art gallery which is inside the bank. Some of the pieces were cool but others were just weird. There was this one exhibit that looked like a little troll but was giving birth to baby rabbits through it's back....... I didn't like that.

    We finished the night at an Irish bar after the final tour of the old part of the bank building. The old bank safety deposit boxes were downstairs so we walked around them and I decided to get in one. Callum tried to shut me in and I nearly had a full anxious breakdown.

    Callum
    Day 5
    Was very annoying to receive the email from enterprise the day before, saying that they couldn't deliver the mustang. Mainly because when Fi called up they explained that they don't hold convertibles in their fleet so would have never been able to give us one. Why they waited three months and until the day before to tell us I will never understand. Anyway.. Jim took us out to the country in his mustang.

    It is soo true when they say it's bigger in the states. Everything is bigger. What we would call massive in the UK is average out here at best. There is just sooo much space out here. Every house has a massive garden all the way around and their neighbour's are a good half a block away from each other.

    Jim took us to a friend's of his beer shop, which was massive (again everything is bigger). I spent a good amount of time wandering around before I had to pick up some beers. Tasting notes to follow.

    Day 6
    Me and Jim had carried on drinking once Fi had crawled to bed, safe to say I was feeling it the next morning and wasn't able to finish my pancakes, bacon and maple syrup, which was most upsetting.

    But after a good nap I was back to normal. Jim took us to meet some of his friends, who were soo nice and chatty. As Fi said we started off on a roof top bar but then headed to a hotel that used to be a bank. The vault was very cool and I almost managed to lock Fi up, but not quite.

    The art work in this hotel was interesting all the way to wtf is that!!! But it did make it very interesting to walk around. But the main show stopper were the toilets. Stay with me here. They had clear glass walls and doors so you could see when they were empty, then when you lock them the glass frosts up so you can't see in. Very cool. Also very fun to wined Fiona up when she went to the loo and tell her that I could still see through 😂😂. It's the little things in life. All in all a another very enjoyable evening.
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  • Day5

    We said no to the sugar high this morning and instead opted for a proper New York bagel. We knew we'd picked a good place because the queue was insane. To be honest, that turned out to be a blessing because there was so much choice we had still barely decided by the time we got to the counter! We both opted for smoked salmon and cream cheese (what else?!) in the end, his on garlic, mine on poppy... drool 🤤!!
    We ate them on the high line in the baking hot sun then walked to the docks to take our ferry tour. It was a total farce as we waited on board for an hour for everyone to get on, then there was drama with the faulty PA system, then we pulled out of the docks and all looked hunky dory until some total s*@! started threatening to call customer service from the boat about the PA system and made the boat turn round.. idiot. Thankfully we decided to British-complain and got moved to a new boat, new tour and best seats so all's well that ends well, except we had another hour wait for the tour to leave!!
    The tour was as classic tourist as you could possibly want! I think we were the only people to see the city through our eyes as opposed to a lens!! Although I do have one picture of the Statue of Liberty that I'll attach!
    We walked from the Boat to Rockafella - took us far far FAR to long as we got lost and then realised we didn't know what Rockafella was meant to look like!

    It was bloody high. It was swaying. I pretty much scaled the wall until Callum picked me up and carried me to the edge and I looked over and could have sworn my stomach just fell away. Once we were back on the ground we started walking and a guy walked past with a massive Boa Constrictor. She was HUGE and so so gorgeous! I asked to hold her and the guy said yes. I felt much better after that, she helped centre me.

    We sat in Starbucks to do the previous days blog post and wait for it to get dark then walked to The Empire State building via Grand Central Station which was absolutely stunning. We hung around and I was hoping for a Flash dance or some sort of dramatic movie worthy moment... no such luck. The ceiling was awesome though.

    The Empire State was higher. I mean really high. 86th floor. Callum hung over the edge looking down and I did everything in my power to stop myself army crawling round the top near the wall and crying. We walked all the way round then headed down to the sweet, sweet ground and had a Manhattan cocktail in the bar downstairs before catching the subway to Katz Deli.

    My god. That's a sandwich. I had soft salami and Callum had Brisket and Pastrami. It was so late by then that we walked back to the hotel and headed to bed. #wild

    The world was swaying still when I got to bed. Vom.

    Day 4 -
    We got up the next day and packed and headed to the airport after one last cup of coffee. We got to the airport and had a swift boozy drink to say goodbye to NYC before hopping on the plane to Durham to see Jim.

    Quick FYI to everyone requiring a pickup from the airport. If your collection doesn't arrive in a Mustang, you just aren't living. Jim's car is awesome!!! We flew down the motorway to Jim's and had a drink on the balcony to celebrate our arrival! We went to a local pizza place called Ricky's and ordered an extra large pizza for the three of us to share. I don't think I will be able to eat pizza back home. The pizza was so so thin it was like a crepe. It was AMAZING. I'm drooling thinking about it! We headed home for drinks on the balcony with full bellys. Perfect end to the day ♡

    Callum:

    Day 3
    Dam that was a good bagel. The thing was 3inchs thick. Sooooooo good. The tour was a pain. We upgraded to the tour that went all around Manhattan island (except it didn't!!), and while it was good once we finally got going we both agreeded we should have taken the beast tour, which is a half hour tour down to the statue of lib and back.

    Rockafella was awsome once we found it. Fi was bricking it which made it even more fun :).

    Then we poped into the Lego store, that was fun.

    The Empire State building was just a good. Maybe a little more as it was higher and boy is NYC beautiful at night all lit up.

    Then Katz sandwich shop. Omg, we ordered our sandwiches and he put the meat he was using in our bricks on the counter for us to try. Omg omg that was amazing soooo amazing. Unfortunately they were closing so we headed back to the hotel to eat and smelly Fiona made me wait until we were back before I could start my sandwich :( but happy as it was soooo worth the wait.

    Day 4
    We left the hotel and a quick coffee before into the airport.

    Jim's mustang is sooo cool and I now require to be picked up in this fashion always. Jim's apartment is awsome and the balcony is great for people watching. We have had great pizza and great mustang rides. Such a nice car.
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  • Day2

    Fiona:

    We started today by having breakfast in the hotel... I have never seen so much sugar in my life. The plus side was that Callum's ADHD went wild and we had THE most efficient get ready and get out moment ever and had left the hotel by 9.30. Silver linings!
    We headed for the Chelsea market to grab coffee and Callum tried Matcha for the first time. I did warn him it's quite unusual... I am so sorry I didn't videos his reaction but imagine watching a dog eating a lemon and you'll get the picture!! Hilarious. He threw it away and bought a very large coffee to wash away the taste, poor mite.

    We walked the high line with our coffees which is an old abandoned railtrack that has been turned into a
    Raised walkway garden on the old tracks. So so pretty.

    We headed from their to Central Park and dived into a Starbucks for Wi-Fi and a bottle of water. Unfortunately, we made a bit of a bad table decision and landed up sitting next to a guy who decided we ought to hear his whole life story, including exerts from the book and plays he'd written. Then he got onto English Politics... he asked our opinion on Brexit. We were VERY diplomatic about the whole thing, remarking that it was happening now and we all need to take a positive step forward. Nailed it. Totally British.
    THEN he told us it was a good thing and that the younger generation should know they are wrong for not wanting to leave like the older generation did. All kinds of mistakes in that sentence but we let it slide and I remarked that "Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That's what makes us Unique". He told me I meant "makes us different". I told him I didn't mean that. He went on a self entitled rant about how I was wrong and he was right. We left before I threw my drink at him.

    We headed to Central Park at quite a pace because I was still furious about stupid-starbucks-guy. We saw a falcon in Central Park and went to Shake Shack for lunch which was honestly the best fast food burger either of us have ever had.

    Moved on to the natural history museum which was HUGE! I loved the African Animals exhibition and the Asian exhibition was fascinating. We learnt all about a wide array of African Tribes including how they used to live and hunt. The most amazing videos showed their ritualistic dances and inventive cooking techniques. It's incredible how they have developed the most ingenious and efficient ways of living. It makes you realise how spoilt we are.

    We headed toward Times Square and stopped for a coffee and a macaroon each: One Pumpkin (dreamy) and one coffee (also dreamy).

    Times Square was incredible. I was utterly star struck. I want to move here. I could sit in Times Square all day and just watch. It was all lights and noise and amazing smells and people. Just paralyzing beautiful.

    We went for cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe (Magical Mystery Mojito for Callum (...mockery welcome) and a Pomegranate Mule for me). Then headed to a proper American sports bar for some more drinks... and more... and more... a little tipsy and very late we stumbled back and had dinner at an American Diner near the hotel which was SO edgy and cool... and also the only place open that looked remotely enticing.

    I wish I'd bought my fitbit. I've never walked so much in my life xx

    Callum:

    Matcha is absolutely vile. It tastes like sea food coffee 🤢.

    The natural history museum was interesting for about half an hour, then I got bored.....

    Times square was wicked sooo many lights and colours.

    Hard rock was awsome. I could have spent all day looking at all the signed guitars and clothes and everything. Fiona knew no one. She even asked me to confirm that Freddie Mercury was the singer in Queen (shakes head violently in disgust).

    All in all a great day two

    Callum out
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  • Day2

    Fiona:

    We got to our hotel about 3 o'clock local time after 4hrs sleep and 13hours travelling - woop!! 🛫🎉
    We dumped our bags and heading out for a slice 🍕 and a wander. We did really well and walked down Broadway through the Washington Square Arch park, past NYU departments for Psychology and Neuroscience AND we saw Macy's and Bloomingdale's but Callum was determined that I wasn't allowed in... party pooper. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and then into the Financial District which was SO BIG. Everything here is so big. The pavement is wider, the road are wider, the cars are bigger the buildings are HUGE!! I love it!! We saw a girl running for a bus and a guy walking past the bus in the opposite direction saw her and knocked on the door to stop the bus for her. They didn't exchange any words but it was so nice to see something so considerate in a city that is so huge and everyone seems so engrossed in their own stories.
    We walked through the Financial District seeing the Charging Bull and the Girl. It was crazy busy so snapping pictures was done at 100miles an hour! We ended up in Battery Park and watched the sun go down over the Statue of Liberty and had a beer at Pier A Harbor House.
    We walked back via the World Trade Centre and the 9/11 memorial. The memorial was so beautiful and moving. It's a wonderful way to remember who was lost. We looked at all the names and watched the water for a bit before walking back. We took our time and it was awesome seeing the city at night with loads of people sitting in cafes that sprawled across the street. It was so busy and so lovely and warm and the smells from the different restaurants and food trucks were so enticing! We both decided we loved hearing the Subway rumbling along underneath us too. We went to a falafel place for dinner then headed to the hotel and were asleep in minutes. We were knackered !!!

    Long post today... they'll no doubt get shorter as we keep going!! Lots of love xx

    Callum:

    So the bits that Fiona forgot to mention... The two heart attacks that she gave me. First in the queue for boarder control, when she asked why we didn't have our Esta printed out like everyone else. Considering we were in the queue for an hour and she questioned me about 10 mins in, the next 50 min were a long worrying wait, even though I knew at the back of my mind that we hadn't printed them off because they were electronically connected to our passports. So that was fun.

    Then just as we got through to get our bags and she couldn't find hers and started ranting that her bag was defiantly lost ("that's JUST MY LUCK"). We hadn't even left the airport yet!!! But of course we found it and luckily the rest of the journey into the Big Apple was panic free.

    Love Callum
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