Bye Bye California
Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
23Trip End Nov 28, 2012
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Once at Union station I then had to catch the FlyAway bus to LAX which is $2,25. Once there you stand under any hotel transfer sign and wait for your hotel bus, wave it down and that costs you $1 in a tip if the driver helps you with your bag. I arrived at the hotel at 10am after a full day in San Francisco, and an 8 hour bus ride to LA with no sleep. I checked in and at the same time signed up for the tour to Universal Studios which was leaving at 11:25am.
Because I just freshened up (a squirt of deodorant and a change of shirt) i was ready early and thats when i went in search of a polling station. I walked in and was obviously greeted and i simply blurted out that I couldn't vote, although I'd love to, because I am South African but am really just being inquisitive and would they mind telling me how it works! oh when i blurted out i was South African, the gentleman in the front said "we beat you at rugby!" i thought I'd missed something since i don't recall an embarrassing defeat to a USA team - as it turns out, he was originally from New Zealand - figures! but really, this group of people were so accommodating and explained with such patriotism how their voting system works and allowed me to also make a mock vote. I also want to mention Alex Richardson who I promised I would mention in my travelblog. Alex, if you're reading this, i tried to find you on FB but couldn't. Thanks again for your help and enthusiasm and for allowing me to experience a part of US history in the making - Go Obama!!
Right, back to Universal Studios...Oh my Goodness - again another WOW experience. I became evidently excited when I got up to the rotating globe (which was at the park entrance) and stayed this way until the bus picked us up at 6:30pm. There were movie characters wandering around and I made sure I got my pic with every one. Funny that no one has tried to run off with my phone yet when I hand it over to take a pic... My first show was the Shrek 4D experience. It's set up in a movie theater style and you're given a pair of 3D glasses on entering. So you sit and the show starts - I was completely absorbed in the graphics so that when the chair jerked forward and up an down, I shat myself. Along with the moving chair you get blown on by little valves on the head of the chair, you get water splashed on you when the dragon sneezes and then something brushes your legs in another scene. That's what sets 4D apart from 3D and I'm hooked.
From there I headed down to the train line which runs around the entire complex of Universal and it's HUGE. You get taken to studios where movies and sitcoms are shot, you see literal cities that have been built where shooting takes place (Back to the Future, Wisteria Lane Desperate Housewives), you get to experience things as they happen in the movies, eg Jaws, Psycho, War of the Worlds, a flash flood, a 4D King Kong and dinosaur attack and I can go on and on. I took loads of photos, just too many to upload. Incidentally, in War of the Worlds, they used an actual aircraft which is scattered and still smoking in a make shift neighborhood. This tour lasted about 45 minutes and I could easily have gone around again.
Then I went to the lower level of the park to do "The Mummy" roller coaster ride. Adrenalin rush of note. I mean they double strap you into the seat - I was scares out of my wits but once it was over, I wanted to do that again too - until I saw the photo that had been taken. I'd have loved to have bought it as a keepsake but at $25 my sanity prevailed. Straight after that I did the Transformers 4D ride. You're in this capsule which is meant to be the head of the Transformer and then you fight other transformers and fall off buildings and crash into things - totally exhilarating. Unfortunately the Jurassic Park ride was closed so I headed back to the top of the park to change my underwear... Probably a bit prematurely because I then decided to do the Simpsons ride, thinking it was a kid's thing - but what the hell... That was by far the scariest ride I've ever been on and violent and death-defying. Certainly not for the faint-hearted. I'm going to be scared to death of Sarah Simpson for the rest of my life.
Thereafter I went to see a show where the actual animals from shows are in along with the trainers. This included dogs, cats, a pigeon, rats and hamsters (I kid you not, they're trained), a hen, a pig, a hawk and a macaw. These trainers must have the most rewarding job ever and they are so talented. I mean who would ever have thought you could train a pigeon - and all these animals were rescues so a show really close to my heart. Yup - I shed a tear or two.
Then I just wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds, had a few more pics taken and by that stage the park was starting to close - it was only 5:30pm but my feet were killing me and I was walking on the tip toes of my takkies so people were looking at me funny. I thought if go and sit and wait which was fine to give my feet a rest. But when I got outside, I had no idea that there was a whole other section of shops and restaurants and bars and music an lights - so I set the pain aside for the time being and went and experienced this too. I remembered then that I hadn't eaten all day so I decided to grab a bite. Seriously!!! Just when I thought I'd settle for a pizza then I see something else and then something else and so on. You really can't go into that place to eat with an open mind coz you wont be able to decide. I eventually settled on a Wentzel Pretzel (I think that's what it's called) and then I didn't know which one I wanted, so I took a pepperoni an cheese one and a jalapeño and cheese one. The jalapeño one I ate straight away and it was to die for.. The next one I kept and had it for breakfast this morning.
Speaking of this morning, I decided when I woke up that I would rather travel to Vegas today and not at midnight as originally planned. So I quickly checked the Greyhound schedule and the rest is history. Except for creating a palava again in the station when I couldn't find my ticket. I raced to the restaurant, I tipped my bags (my backpack is already loaded at this point) and come hell or high water, this Mike Tyson look-alike lady was not allowing me onto that bus. I eventually have her my sandwich to hold onto and tore around that place like the Roadrunner - and when the lady at the counter said she remembers me "But choo gotta have chor teekit" I tipped my content of my carry bag over in desperation... And found my ticket! So I raced back with a minute before departure and for on. And here I am....
As I'm writing this, we are traveling along the Historic Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. But there is nothing but sand and shrub here. Probably because its a desert, but even with its vast nothingness, I am still filled with a sense of awe and disbelief. I am really living my dream.
Now remember friends, family and fans, I am going to Vegas, Sin City... If you don't hear from me during the next few days, it just means I may have a Do Not Disturb sign up, or I could be in some drive-thru chapel getting married to Bubba-Joe or I could be slumped over a black jack table... Endless possibilities and opportunities await me (and everyone else) in that oasis which is now only 125 miles away...