November - December 2017
  • Day29

    NBA at the Staples Centre

    December 12, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    We had a great night at the Basketball and the team we were supporting won in a tight game. There was lot’s of entertainment throughout the night including “chair man” a Chinese acrobat from Vegas!

    We had hotdogs, pretzels and popcorn for dinner - not particularly healthy but other options included nachos, Maccas or pizza!
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  • Day28

    Universal Studios Day 2

    December 11, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    What a difference a day makes! After all the craziness and crowds of Sunday we returned on Monday and it was so much more enjoyable. The first thing we did was go to the Harry Potter ride where there was a 5 minute wait instead of a 70 minute one. I got both Angus and Ian onto the ride and Angus and I went on it a second time immediately - Ian decided to sit out the second ride.

    We then waited for the Simpson’s Ride to open and we all went on it, and after that we took a break from rides and went on the Studio Tour again - it was ok but we couldn’t go everywhere as there were shows that were shooting. After the tour we went to the lower level and went on the Transformers 3D Ride. We also went to the Animal Actors Show, which was pretty good. Finally we had lunch at the Three Broomsticks Cafe, which is in Harry Potter’s World. We then had one more look in the major Universal store for stuff before heading back to the hotel for some downtime. On the walk back (which takes about 5 minutes) we encountered a women handcuffed and sitting on the curb with about 4 police cars around her. Not sure what was going on but a couple of the cops were searching through nearby gardens.

    This evening we caught an Uber to the Staples Center in downtown LA to see the LA Clippers play the Toronto Raptors - it was a great experience- we really enjoyed the game, which the Clippers won and we were blown away by the entertainment - it was a great night out.
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  • Day28

    City Walk

    December 11, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    This is filled with restaurants, bars, cafes and stores. We had dinner at Camacho’s Cantina last night - food was good but the Margherita was sublime and just what was required after schlepping around Universal Studios all day with huge crowds.

    Will be going back to City Walk to try a donut from Voodoo Donuts as they looked amazing and hang the diet!
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  • Day27

    Universal Studios

    December 10, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We will make the most of our close proximity and get an early start at Universal Studios. We have a 2 day pass so we can return within seven days. We headed off before 9am and walked over instead of waiting for the shuttle, we need every opportunity to get our steps up today as we had a lower count yesterday! First thing we did was take the studio back lot tour which was lot’s of fun and Ian and Angus enjoyed it. As well as going past sound stages and streets made up to look like NY, the west, a European Village and Amity Island (home of Jaws), Wisteria Lane (Desperate Housewives) and some of the set from Who Ville. We also rode through the world’s largest 3-D experience on King Kong 360 3-D which was created by Peter Jackson for Universal Studios and then we also experienced Fast and Furious - Supercharged the Studio Tour’s grand finale.

    We then took the Mummy ride (a roller coaster) and Jurassic Park, the ride which was fun but we got totally drenched! We also wandered around Wizarding World, the stunt show at WaterWorld and finally the Special Effects Show. We then left and went through City Walk which is next door and is a collection of stores, cafes and movies. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant Camanchos Cantina which was delicious.

    Tomorrow we return to Universal Studios for a second go.
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  • Day26

    Farewell San Francisco hello LA!

    December 9, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We are nearing the end of our trip - last domestic flight down to LA. We ordered an Uber Black to get to the airport as we needed a big enough car for our luggage. There have been terrible fires both north and south of LA and so we are not sure what it will be like - the winds have lessened but there is a high alert until at least Sunday night! We haven’t got much planned while we are in LA except for going to Universal Studios and maybe we will go to the movies. On the flight to LA we passed over some of the areas in the North affected by fires and there was smoke in the air as we got closer to LA we found it surprisingly clear. In the airport Line this dickhead taxi driver kept insisting he could fit our luggage into his sedan even though I kept saying it wouldn’t and it didn’t, which he reluctantly acknowledged after trying to slam his boot shut about 6 times. We removed our luggage and then waited as the taxi driver arranged for a mini van which did accommodate all our luggage! The boys got to experience LA freeways as we took the 110 and 101 to get to Universal City. We are staying at the Hilton which is just across the road from Universal Studios and City Walk which has restaurants, shops and a movie complex.

    From our hotel room we can see Universal Studios and City Walk - Hogwarts Castle is very visible and the WaterWorld stunt show includes pyrotechnics which we get a good view of as well.

    We spent the afternoon and evening just relaxing in our room and ordering room service!

    We watched a great special documentary on PBS about the rise of the Beatles which Ian and I thoroughly enjoyed - there was even footage of 250,000 people in Adelaide lining the streets when they arrived and some footage of them performing at Festival Hall.

    We had a fairly early night as we are all a little tired and now Angus seems to be coming down with a sore throat.
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  • Day25

    Angus's Birthday Dinner

    December 8, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    I had given Angus a list of restaurants to select from for his birthday dinner. He decided on E TUTTO QUA, which was on located Columbus Street and across the road from the City Lights Book Store. We arrived just before 8pm, and were warmly greeted by the Maître D - I mentioned we were celebrating Angus’s birthday, but that was it. Our table wasn’t quite ready, so we were asked to take a seat at the bar. The place was so noisy you couldn’t hear yourself think. We ordered drinks, and were ushered upstairs about 10 minutes later. All the staff were very friendly and the food was delicious. When we ordered dessert, the waiter asked me Angus’s name, and when they brought dessert they had a candle in his and sang him happy birthday, with the whole restaurant joining in - I am pretty sure he enjoyed it. Over the evening there were at least three other birthdays celebrated.

    On the way back to the hotel, we walked through Chinatown, which was practically deserted, which made it an easy thing to do as the footpaths are very narrow.

    We have done most of our packing, so not too much to do in the morning. We hope the LA fires don’t cause any issues with flights. Atlanta Airport had to cancel 900 flights today due to snow. It is crazy, southern states like Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi (to name a few) are experiencing snow, and Southern California is experiencing wild fires with humidity at 1-2%, which is so low.
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  • Day25

    Exploring the Castro

    December 8, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    After wandering around Haight-Ashbury, we headed over to the Castro District, which required some backtracking and climbing up and down some fairly steep inclines and declines. I think I preferred walking up hill, as it put less stress on my legs. We passed by Bueno Vista Park and some lovely examples of the "painted ladies". The Castro District was an interesting area, with rainbow flags everywhere - they even had rainbow stripes on a couple of the cross walks. We went past Harvey Milk Plaza, and some very interesting stores. There were so many stores dedicated to pampering pets - predominantly dogs - and we went past two hair salons for dogs in the Main Street as well as a puppy day spa. There was also a broad range of cuisines available. After wandering around for awhile, we decided to call an Uber (we love it) and headed back to our hotel via a Japanese cafe for a light lunch, as we will be having a nice Italian meal tonight to celebrate Angus turning 18.Read more