A Travellerspoint blog

Tahiti

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11 Feb - We arrived in Tahiti at around 6am this morning and the outside temperature was 25oC. When we got off the plane a heat wave welcomed us - it was awesome!

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We had a shuttle waiting which took us to our hotel "Le Meridian".
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The hotel is absolutely beautiful and our view out of our room was great. We had a swimming pool / ocean view.

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The swimming pool's surface is covered in white beach sand and the water is so nice and warm. We went to the restaurant for lunch which cost us $100 for 2 sandwiches and 2 non alcoholic cocktails, so not the cheapest of places to eat.

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After lunch I laid next to the pool and Dan went snorkeling.
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After his snorkeling he joined me and we just relaxed the whole afternoon.

The sunset was stunning, the sky turns an orange red and you can follow the sun all the way down to the horizon which was really really amazing.

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We were in Tahiti until 2am the following day and it stayed warm throughout!!! _1629_.jpg

We really really enjoyed our whole trip and we just want to say thank you to everyone that welcomed us into their homes.
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Thank you to everyone that followed our trip on our blog, we hope you enjoyed it nearly as much as we did ;-)

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 03:17 Comments (0)

Los Angeles - California

Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills and Hollywood

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6 Feb - Our bus left midnight heading for Los Angeles. By this time Dan and I were both excausted from the big day to the Grand Canyon and back so as soon as we got onto the bus we fell asleep. We were supposed to be in LA at 6am but the bus driver got a bit lost and only managed to find the bus depot at 7:20am. But we were really happy about that as it gave us more time to sleep and we did not have any where to go once we arrived in LA anyway. IMG_0741.jpg

At the bus depot I called some shuttles asking them to take us back to Munro's place (the kiwi friend of Dan's we stayed with in the beginning of our trip) but they quoted us between $70-$90. What a rip off. So Dan got a bright idea and suggested a car rental. We then managed to hire a car for the whole weekend for $65. We booked into a hotel downtown as it is very convenient to all the surrounding attractions and the major bus and train systems run from downtown as well. The hotel was called STAY and we had an awesome room with a funky hand couch. IMG_0748.jpgWe stayed there for 4 nights and after returning the vehicle we were able walk almost every where as the hotel's location was perfect.

7 Feb - As we still had the rental car for the day we decided to drive to the major attractions which would otherwise require a bus or a tour. We headed for Malibu beach and discovered that if you are a surfer, it is the place to be. We wondered along one beach and saw the coolest electric car display at one of the beach side restaurants. IMG_0667.jpg

After Malibu we headed for Santa Monica where we walked around on the famous Santa Monica pier. There I bought funky butterfly sunglasses and a cool Jamaican style cd. IMG_0644.jpg
Santa Monica also has great long white sand beaches where volleyball nets are set up for the locals to have games. IMG_0638.jpgIMG_0641.jpgIMG_0643.jpg IMG_0663.jpg

Venice beach was our next stop. IMG_0690.jpg IMG_0681.jpg
They had an awesome market along the beachside where locals sold their own arts and crafts among some dodgy looking dried green leaves ;-) IMG_0691.jpg

We also saw the famous gym on the beach called muscle beach where the big armed very golden brown guys pump their muscles outside in the open air with passers buy adimiring them. IMG_0685.jpgIMG_0686.jpg

There were rollerbladers, skateboarders, cyclists and runners everywhere on this beach which was very cool. IMG_0694.jpg

When we left we drove through Beverly Hills and along the famous Rodeo drive. IMG_0711.jpg
In Beverly Hills we saw the Wilshire hotel where Richard Gere climbed the fire escape stairs to go and kiss Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman also Rodeo drive is the street used in the shopping scene. IMG_0700.jpg
This street has some shops where you need an invitation from the shop to get permission to go in and purchase something and all the famous brand names can be found at very expensive prices.

On our way home Dan wanted to buy some peanut butter flavoured power bars as you struggle to get them in New Zealand. Well in order to get them at a good price in bulk we went to about 5 supermarkets. So that basically concluded our Sunday evening.

8 Feb - We had to hand the car back at 9 am this morning so we headed to Hollywood by train after returning the car. IMG_0714.jpg IMG_0735.jpg It was really cool walking among the stars. IMG_0716.jpgIMG_0717.jpgIMG_0719.jpg IMG_0724.jpg IMG_0736.jpg

They also had the red carpet layed out for the Valetines day movie premier. IMG_0720.jpg
In Hollywood we saw some really strange people and when we bought a single drink we received a receipt made from about 2 trees. IMG_0726.jpgIMG_0727.jpg Just for one drink, we were totally amazed and realised that global warming is obviously not taken into account in this part of the world. We also went to the Amoeba music store which sold second hand, old and new cds and dvds, so we managed to find a few bargains there. Back in downtown we walked along Broadway which sells heaps and heaps of cheap but very cool clothes.

9 Feb - It was a misserable day outside so we slept until noon. Once we went outside it was pouring down. We had to go and sort something out in a place about 10km away so we had to take a train and 2 buses to get there. Once we arrived there we were wet and cold. On our way back we waited on the side of the road for a bus. One bus drove past us and drove through a massive puddle which totally shot a wave of water across to our side. We got soaked. But Dan was worst off as he was in the perfect spot for the majority of the water to hit him. He got so wet the water dripped from his nose. 9IMG_0743.jpg We both just burst out laughing as we thought it only happened in movies ;-)

10 Feb - Today was our last day in Los Angeles and in the USA. We went to the Disney music hall IMG_0750.jpg
and walked a 6km route to go and look for a skateboard for Dan and we had to use the GPS to get there. IMG_0754.jpg
Once we arrived at the shop we were very dissapointed to find a tiny garage filled with old skateboards. That is where I drew the line and got on a bus back to downtown. We did our last 2 hours of shopping before meeting back at the hotel waiting for our shuttle to collect us. Our last meal in the USA was amazing hamburgers from Carl's Jr. IMG_0756.jpg

Our flight was at midnight and it was to the very romantic Tahiti.

Watch this space for awesome Tahiti photos :-)

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 03:14 Comments (0)

Grand Canyon

Absolutely stunning

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5 Feb - We got up at 5:30am this morning to catch the bus at 6:10am to the Grand Canyon. Our first stop was the Hoover Dam where we had to go through a security checkpoint. A guard came on board and searched the bus for illegal stuff. Once he gave the clear signal we drove over the Hoover dam bridge and had a photo stop on the other side.
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After about another 1hour drive we passed the historic Route 66 along which we drove on for a few hundred kilometers. We also got off at a little town where we got a lunch pack.

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We arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon around noon. It was snowing outside and cold. Everything was, yet again covered in snow. We walked down to the viewing platform and we were surprised by the beauty and magnitude of the Canyon - It really was breathtaking! An interesting point about the canyon is how many people have fallen into it and even now in the area where we visited there were few safety barriers.
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We were allowed 4 hours at the canyon so Dan and I decided to go on the walk back to the hutts where the bus leaves from for Las Vegas. Everyone took the shuttles to the hutts but we walked and saw amazing views of the canyon which would be missed if you were to shuttle instead. We had some great photo opportunities which we used :-) The canyon was way bigger than we expected, any photos you may have seen just don't do it justice, neither do ours.

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At around 4pm the bus left and we returned to Vegas at 9pm where the bus driver dropped us at the Greyhound bus station for our final journey to Los Angeles.

The Grand Canyon is truly a must see attraction!!!

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 03:03 Comments (0)

More on Vegas

Bright lights every where

4 Feb - We slept in a bit today to go and explore ‘The Strip’. It was amazing. Every casino and hotel had a theme and there are millions of lights every where. We just went wondering inside every casino and looked at its décor.

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This was inside the Venetian hotel. It really felt like we were in Venice.

One of my favourite hotels were Excalibur as the outside and inside of the hotel is really well decorated with the Medieval times decor

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The Bellagio hotel has a water show every 15 minutes after 7pm which we went and watched and it was absolutely amazing.

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For dinner we went to the French buffet restaurant in the Paris hotel. The food was amazing but the dessert was my favourite. IMG_0451.jpg

5 Feb – Just before we left Vegas we managed to visit the Old strip. This is where Las Vegas actually started. We watched the light show which runs hourly on the rooftop of the old strip. It was really cool and the music and atmosphere was an experience. We then went for a short walk down the old strip and looked at the different casinos. IMG_0609.jpg0IMG_0610.jpg0IMG_0618.jpgIMG_0626.jpg

The Golden nugget casino is the first casino erected in Vegas and it has a very cool clear enclosed water slide which passes through a shark tank. Crazy!

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We really loved Vegas even though we did no drinking or gambling as Vegas has all kinds of entertainment.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 14:26 Comments (0)

Viva Las Vegas!!!

sunny

2 Feb – Tim dropped us at the airport very early this morning as we are heading for Las Vegas! Our first flight was to Chicago and thank goodness we did not have to leave the airport in Chicago as it was snowing heavily again. Our flight left Marquette late which meant we would have to rush in Chicago to make sure we caught our flight to Dallas, Texas in time. After we were sent to 4 different gates (as it kept on changing) we arrived at our gate 10 minutes before departure. Close call!

We arrived in Dallas and changed our watch by one hour as we thought we had passed through a time zone. Well we had not passed through a time zone which meant we headed to our gate one hour late to catch our final flight to Las Vegas. When we got to the gate and it said boarding to Hawaii we knew something was seriously wrong. We then saw that the time did not change which meant we had missed our flight. We then, very nervously walked over to the gate where the next flight (which departs 2 hours after our initial flight) departed from and asked the lady if she would be able to please let us onto her flight as we missed our flight. THEN to our surprise she said: “O you guys do not have to worry as you are on my flight” We were so surprised but delighted! She said that the airline assumed that when we did not board our initial flight to Vegas we were delayed as our flight left Marquette late. So we were seriously lucky this time.

Once we arrived at Las Vegas our bags did not surface on the carousel as they had actually travelled on the previous flight.
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We got our bags eventually and took a shuttle to our hotel which was Circus Circus. IMG_0400.jpg

After we checked into our hotel we went and watched the free circus acts and played some of the carnival games, where Dan won me a little stuffed doggie. 8IMG_0391.jpgIMG_0389.jpg

3 Feb – We went downtown today to have a look and after we realized there is not much going on we went back to the strip (the strip is the street in Las Vegas where all the major hotels and casinos can be found). IMG_0396.jpg IMG_0394.jpg

We decided to go and do the rides on the Stratosphere at night time as the views of Vegas would be great from that height. IMG_0393.jpgIMG_0398.jpg

Well they have some CrAzY rides on top of that building. Once you are in the lift on your way up your ears actually block up from the fast pressure change and once you are on top the views are stunning.
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Dan and I decided to go on the Big Shot ride first as we thought it is the least intense and we wanted to leave the scariest ones for last. Well we got it seriously wrong! The Big shot ride involves you being shot up into the air 4 times the force of gravity and then you drop down at zero gravity. I have never in my life been so scared, let me tell you how it all went.

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Elvis and Marilyn doing the ride before us

Dan and I took our seats and no one sat next to us, which kind off freaked me out and our seats were around the back of the ride where no one could see us. I sat down and when I pulled my safety harness down it did not lock – so I was freaking out, and so was Dan he just did not show it. After a few minutes of being seriously nervous the guy in charge of the ride walked around and locked us into our seats, which was such a relief. Anyway a pressure release sound could be heard and I thought this was it, but nothing happened. Then we got lifted very slightly and I thought I am shooting into the air BUT still nothing happened. Then all of a sudden the ride released and we shot up into the air at a speed which would put Superman to shame. We kept on going up and I thought this is it. But when you arrive at the very top it eventually falls down without stopping at the top. At this point I started breathing again!
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This is the result of the high speed ride - What a Kodak moment!

This ride is the highest thrill ride in the world and it must be one of the fastest ones as well. It was a terrible experience and there is no way I will ever do it again. My legs were so numb and I totally wanted to chicken out for the 2 remaining rides but to proof to Dan I am G.I. Jane I toughened up and went on the 2 remaining ones. The one involves you being shot out from the side into the views of Las Vegas and then all of a sudden it brakes and pulls you back and the other ride involves you being spun at a great speed over the top of the building where you eventually just see the ground below and no building. IMG_0405.jpgIMG_0410.jpg

I think I have proven that I am brave and I would definitely not recommend those rides to the faint hearted.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 20:57 Comments (0)

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