God bless America and Family
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Where I stayed
Casa Peter and Dinh
Now the first thing we did was hit the "99 cent" store to stock up on toiletries etc, now after 6 months of bargaining and arguing over the price of everything... Stephen paid for his things and the amount came to $4.48, while we was only expecting to pay $3.96... so the red haired jet lagged temper is unleashed and he starts having a go at the checkout operator saying why are you trying to rip me off... then i come running up to him and quietly tap him on the shoulder and explain that in America.. they add the tax on after wards... so the penny drops and he hands over $5 and tells her to keep the change... hhmmm.. i begin to wonder how we have survived 6 months...
So the first 2 weeks we spent with my parents who also made it over from Ireland to visit us...it was great to see family again and we spent our time exploring Hollywood, Pasadena, then a great trip to Paso Robles wineries on the central Californian coast.. on the way we found "the Hitching Post" from the movie Sideways, then few days of wine tasting and good food, apart from a little run in with a dumb ass red neck American, who told us we were driving too fast and that the dust from our car would ruin the grapes... well my brothers temper unleashed.. my poor mother had to listen to some profuse language exchanged...well it is the land of free speech after all..
Then a trip to San Diego to hang out on a boat on San Diego harbour and more great food, drink and games of pool..
Then back to LA to send the parents back to Ireland and then we take over Peters and Dinhs couch , flatscreen TV and internet for the next few weeks, of course we think we are being helpful by cooking the odd dinner and playing with the funniest and cutest nephew Finnian, Stephen became the C.R.O (chief rubbish officer), but overall i don't know how they put up with us for 7 weeks, also their friends feed us the best food and wine imaginable( thanks Mary, Cliff, Hui and David), yes the sibling tax bill has definitely increased, yes being the youngest of 6 definitely has its advantages at times.
Then before we hit of to New Zealand, we make a trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Las Vegas what can one say.. before we went we said we will only spend a few hours gambling.. the minute we hit Hooters Casino where we were staying, we sat at the black jack tables at 8pm and next thing its 5am in the morning and we have just finished playing blackjack and are now eating Hooters famous chicken wings... i finally drag Stephen to bed as he is tired from checking the Hooters girls all night.. the next day we decide to take a walk down the famous strip to check out the craziness of Vegas.. hotels the size of streets in Ireland.. watching the water fountains dance to Pavarotti outside The Bellagio hotel was definitely a highlight. Then our will power let us down again and we are playing blackjack again.. this time we won some money, at least enough to make up for the night before, again more chicken wings at 5am in the morning...A little bit more black jack the next day and we are glad we are leaving the next day before we blow our budget completely for New Zealand... yes Vegas definitely brings out the worst in all of us..but as they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.. enough said.
Then we next day we arrive at Flagstaff before we go to the Grand Canyon the following day. Sure is nice to breath fresh air again, now i have seen the Grand Canyon before and it brought me to tears the first time i seen it and when we arrive at the Grand Canyon the following day, it has the same effect, the perfect antidote for Vegas. It really is a mindblowing place, 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and 5000 feet deep. We spend the day taking it in from the different viewpoints and are overwhelmed each time. Then we decided to blow the budget and stay right on the rim of the Grand Canyon, money well spent to spend some time taking it all in when the tourists have all gone home, watching the sun set and rise again in the morning.. magical.
Next stop New Zealand to build up the bank balance again before hitting South East Asia.