Living it up in Vegas

North America ~ United States of America ~ California ~ San Jose & Nevada ~ Las Vegas

Well, what a wild couple of weeks. Am now back in the U.K., but before I go into that, I’d like to explain a little of what I’ve been doing…

One of the girls that works at the shop, Remy, also works at a theme park called Paramount’s Great America, which is only 3 miles from home. She managed to get us free tickets, so mum and I spent a fun filled day at the park. We went on a day when the park wasn’t open to the public, it was a ‘school’s day’, where they focus on science and maths, and only school kids are at the park (although how a 9 year old can learn maths whilst on a rollercoaster is beyond me). So there were heaps and heaps of little kids under our feet. Luckily, the kids all left at about 4pm, so until 7pm we basically had the park to ourselves. We spent most of our time hanging upside down on various coasters and thrill rides. Whilst in the park we stumbled across Boomerang Bay, an ‘Aussie’ water park. There were ‘kangaroo crossing’ signs and toilets named ‘blokes’ and ‘sheilas’ everywhere…

One day was spent over the hill at Santa Cruz. There was a couple canoeing down under the wharf right next to the huge sea lions. It was great fun watching the sea lions come up next to the canoe and then dive under the canoe and just disappear. The faces on the people in the canoe were priceless… On the wharf we went to Stagnaro’s and had clam chowder… YUM! Didn’t get time to wander along the boardwalk, as there were absolutely millions of people about, but I’ve been there everytime I’ve been to the U.S., so I think I’ll cope.

Grandpoppa took me down to his Alameda, Santa Clara University last week. Was a complete culture shock. The university was gorgeous, really nice grounds. However, on the front lawns of the university there were girls sunbaking in bikini’s! Once we got past that we had to dogde girls and guys skateboarding their way to class… I’m not at all sure I’d be able to go to uni in California – I just don’t have the balance on a skateboard.

Las Vegas was fantastic. We flew up there on the tiniest plane I’ve ever been on, only 18 rows, with one flight attendant. Just before we got into Las Vegas there were heaps of turbulence, which was fun… Las Vegas was so hot compared to San Jose, definitely warmer than London! We stayed at the Boardwalk Casino, not one of the really well known ones, but still a great hotel. Each day we wandered along the strip, visiting Bellagio, Alladin, Caessars Palace, Mirage, Monte Carlo, Paris Las Vegas and the Venetian. My favorite was probably Bellagio, the lobby had a huge display of glass flowers covering the roof, made by a guy that mum and dad met a couple of years back. Paris Las Vegas is pretty cool too, inside the casino, the rood is made to look like the sky, it’s curved, painted light blue with clouds and has natural lights. As a result you lose track of time, and it’s a huge shock to walk outside and be greeted with the night…

It’s been a bit of a drag, as [legally] I’m not old enough. The legal age here is 21, which is a hastle. Whilst in Las Vegas I was only kicked out of one casino for underage gambling, not a bad effort I think! Oh yeh, nearly forgot. On my second day in Vegas I saw a real live Las Vegas Wedding!!! The pair got married in the tiny little gazebo in the ‘garden’ [read: 2 meter square lawn], at our hotel. Maurice and Petunia were really happy, or so the priest with the microphone proclaimed to the rest of us under-agers swimming in the hotel pool… Found another ‘under-age’ suitable venue that I quite liked – M&M World! Four storeys of m&m’s and m&m related products. They had one complete wall devoted just to m&m’s.

The rest of my time has been spent shopping, attempting to find a digital camera. My original camera stopped working back in India, so I just brought a cheap one there, but as you can probably see from the photos, the quality’s not that great. Now I have a better camera, so hopefully I’ll get some more photo’s up. I’ve also been catching up with all my family, seeing my cousins and so forth. My cousin Dave’s mate caught a pirana with inch long teeth last week in a local reservoir, bit of a shock to everyone. The fisheries department came in and confiscated it…

Well, hope everyone is having a dandy time back in Aussie. I’m now in Edinburgh (Scotland), I’ll be looking for a job soon, grr!

xoxo Bobs

Do you know the way to San Jose?

North America ~ United States of America ~ California ~ San Jose

A big howdy to everyone from the sunny state of California! Yep, I finally made it here. Plane trip was long and tiring. It all began when we had all just gotten ourselves onto the plane. The pilot announced that someone had checked in their luggage but failed to show up for the flight, so they had to take their luggage off the plane. That should have been the warning sign… Half an hour later, once we had been taxi’d out onto the runway, the pilot announced that the warning light had come up on one of the jets. Three hours later we were taken off the plane, whilst a new plane and crew was found. We finally left Heathrow seven hours after the original departure time, with a cheer rising from the plane. Arrival in San Francisco was interesting as well. At immigration I had my fingerprints taken with an ‘inkless’ pad (really more like a mini scanner), and I also had my photo taken!

California is the same as it’s always been, yet so different from all the places that I’ve been in the past couple of months. The streets around San Jose are so quiet, of a weekday there are very few cars on the road. A lucky thing too, since I’ve been driving around, trying to stay on the right side of the road! In the morning, squirrels play in the trees outside my Granpoppa’s house and of a day you can hear all the leaf blowers going. My Grandpoppa’s golden retriever, Traveller, is absolutely gorgeous. He loves to have his ball thrown for him, day and night. Of a day he sits at the gate, waiting patiently for someone to walk past the bottom of the driveway. When he does spot someone, he rolls his ball under the gate and down the driveway to the unsuspecting stranger. As a result, Traveller is always making friends who come back through-out the day just to throw his ball for him. The other day, mum and I decided to give him a bath. I went and changed into my old clothes, thinking of how difficult it is to wash our dogs back home. To my shock, Traveller walked into the bathroom, jumped into the bath and proceeded to lie down. Mum has trained him so that, provided the water is just right (not too hot, not too cold), he is more than willing to jump into the bath. The only problem is keeping him out of the water when she is running the bath for herself!!!

I’ve been out and about all week, seeing the ‘sites’ of San Jose. The other day, mum took me to one of the Asian supermarkets (they’re huge over here, not like the tiny little stores in Australia). This particular supermarket stocks everything, including a huge range of fresh seafood in tanks up the back. It’s as fresh as can be – you take it home still breathing. They also have the largest range of frozen dumplings I’ve seen outside of Asia, and as a result I’ve eaten Japanese dumplings for breakfast ever since. Last night we went out to a barbecue restaurant with Grandpoppa and some of his friends. Had a great time, munching away on beef sandwiches and jiving to real western tunes. I’m in my element over here – California has a huge range of Mexican restaurants, they’re dotted all over the place. The guy around the corner from the shop sells hot dogs and burritos, yum!

Mum took me to the famous San Jose Flea Market the other day, and we had a great day. The market was full of little Mexican kids racing around speaking Spanish, and stalls that sold burritos and tacos. Unfortunately we both got extremely burnt, so I’m a walking lobster at the moment… Another of my nights was spent down at the Indian Movie Center with my Granpoppa and second cousin. We saw an Indian movie, Avunna Kadana, which I’m sure would have been really interesting, had we been able to understand. Although there were no subtitles I managed to make up a dialogue in my own head…

Most of my days have been spent down at my Uncles shop, helping mum and the girls pack everything up. We’ve spent the week (and they’ve spent the past couple of months) selling presses, computers and other printing equipment. This week we’ve had schools and other organisations coming in to collect donations of card and paper. It’s hard seeing so much of my family’s history going out the door, but it’s very rewarding when you have someone who truly appreciates what they are being given. Even more rewarding is talking to my Uncle’s friends and business partners who come in to chat and tell their stories. Everyone has something funny and nice to say about Dave, it really makes me smile, hearing these stories. It’s so great to realise that Dave made such a positive difference in so many people’s lives.

Take care all, and let me know how you’re going.

xo bobs