American Life

Trip Start Jan 06, 2008
Trip End Jul 13, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New York
Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wow, I never thought that North America would be a siginificant part of this trip, but it has ended up defining a lot of things for me. I stayed way longer than planned, spent way more than expected and of course that has implications for the rest of my trip. But I have had the most fabulous time, met with lots of people, managed to work through a lot of stuff and make some big decisions, all of which was totally unexpected.

So first up, I landed in Miami, feeling a little blue after an intense and emotional final night with Paul in Guatemala City. Spent the next 3 days basically partying til the early hours, going to the rainbow section of South Beach and generally being a bit of a tart. This included a hot night on the beach with a fit guy called Raza from NYC (remember him cos he comes back again later). Next I took the train to Orlando and about 3 bus rides later (Orlando is ENORMOUS) , checked into some souless motel on some characterless freeway surrounded by Taco Bells & McDonalds and generally started to feel quite low. What the fuck was I doing here? How was I going to get around? Why was I was about to spend a fortune on theme park tickets and behaving like a 5 year old? Anyways, eventually I started talking to some local ticket dealers and managed to get entry to all the places below for under $200 ie about 1/3 of the standard price, so I decided to stay and Im so glad I did cos I fucking loved it. It also allowed me to experience the big side of America which wowed me and shocked me all at the same time.

Disney World for example is mad, like a city in its own right and its bewildering just how many things are on offer (6 theme parks, an adult nightime resort and about 10 hotel resots), how many people work there (60,000 crew members) and how much the daily operating costs must be. So days 1 & 2, I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios and EPCOT Centre, both awesome with amazing night time firework / light show extravaganzas. Also went to the 2 Disney water parks which were well designed and surprisingly high adrenaline experiences. That night went to Disney's Pleasure Island (the adult park with bars and clubs) for the big gay night at "Mannequin's" night club. This was like the Disney version of gay world - handbag house, revolving dance floor, Bud Lites flowing and absolutely no groping in sight. Managed to find something a little rougher in the form of Jerry, one of the hotel managers and the evening took a decidely less Disneyesque tone... Next day went to Universal Studios, the highlight of which was taking part in the Fear Factor Live! show. Made it through to the semi final, but after being suspended 20m in the air and only managing to throw 1 of 3 live octopuses into my partner's bin at ground level we had to do the walk of shame - not fun in front of 600 people! Next day went to Islands of Adventure which was my favourite park of all, and the hulk rollercoster the coolest ride I've ever been on. You know the beginning bit where you get slowly hoisted up to some ridiculous height, with clanking sound effects in the background and you're shitting yourself? well it starts like that but then you suddenly get propelled upwards like a rocket at incredible speed before plummeting down the longest drop and onwards to another 15 or so twists and turns. Also went to Sea World, Aquatica and Wet 'n' Wild, by the end of which I never wanted to see a fucking theme park again in my life.

Went back to Miami to catch my flight to Toronto. Went to stay with Wendy (my ex boss) which was awesome fun and somehow I ended up meeting like most of the Toronto Leo Burnett office, going to their spring party and having some 'informal interviews' out of which I have been offered a job and I have accepted!! I will be Account Director for P&G Bounce for North America and I start straight after my travels end! Far less dramatic (and disappointingly so) was my visit to Niagara falls, which is cool and all but nothing to go crazy about.

Anyways, next on to New York city, now officialy my favourite place on earth and goddamnit am I determined to go and live there at some point soon. Spent the first few days catching up with Roxane, my best mate, who has given birth to the most adorable little baba called Jake. So like loads of stuff has happened to us both since I've been away and we had some fabulous quality bonding time together and went to do loads of sightseeing and stuff. Weirdly enough on my 1st night there, went to one of the big gay clubs and bumped into Raza (yes the guy from Miami) which is pretty fucking weird and somehow I ended up moving in with him for like 10 days. This was fabulous for he lived right in Central Chelsea in aa awesome appartment with a great view and we discovered we had a great chemistry together and so had quite a lot of fun. However, it was quickly turning into an old couple situation, like going for dinner together every night and watching DVDs. So I had to leave. But all is good and we're still in touch. Also in the unexpected social extravaganza that was NYC - met with loads of ex-colleagues who either live or happened to be in NYC and of course met and hung out with a few hot guys. Did the culture vulture thing and went to several museums - MOMA (Museum of Modern Art), The Guggenheim and the outrageously enormous Metropolitan (which includes a real Egyptian temple, brought over from Aswan, brick by brick!) and really enjoyed all that, particularly seeing some of the Modernist / Post Modern classics (see pics). I also spent a fair bit olf time in Central Park which as anyone whose been to NYC knows, you can easily get lost in there for hours-check out the video of the violin-playing nutter for a slice of every day NYC madness. Leaving NYC was really hard, not least because LAN airlines wouldn't accept my ticket cos it had the wrong date on it, not accepting that this doesn't matter with a RTW ticket. Eventually got on a flight like 3 days later and managed to kick up such a stink that I got a free upgrade to business - 3 course meal, Pisco Sours on tap and fully reclining bed - perfect for my 7.5 hr flight!

Anyways, on to Peru and South America. I'll be in touch soon...
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