Just Playing around but will be back soon

•November 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

So am helping Anne set up a blog and am showing her how to add photos but I am sure it will still be very interesting because that is what I do – is that derisive snorts of laughter I hear. Just look at the pretty picture.

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Oh how Yummy does that look. Almost a meal in itself. Fairly sure this was a Vanilla Malted with Butterscotch. Be still my congested beating heart

LET’S JUMP AROUND A BIT

•October 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Just a teaser of The Bellagio fountains -not going to talk about them now. Instead I am going to tell you about fabulous Los Angeles. Will get back to Vegas, the fountains and , of course, Hoover Dam which is magnificent – especially when you think it was completed in 1935 and built within 2 yrs.

Have had a fabulous day today. Arrived in LA last night and it was with some trepidation that I approached the registration desk of my hotel, The Farmer’s Daughter. Although I had checked that I was booked in, the track record so far with accommodation, had me worried. What was I worried about. No problems, hand over credit card, get room key, go to room – Eureka success at last.

This is such a sweet hotel. Bit quirky, bit arty, bit shabby country chic but I love it.

I have just had dinner and two rather large cocktails – bit woozy and who knows what will come out of my head and onto the page but I don’t care. Cocktails were served in the ever so popular mason jar and was a Handmade Pimms Punch or Pimms Handmade Punch. Can’t remember but sure tasted good. Very refreshing and a great way to end a very good day.

Last night as I was boarding the plane to LA, I was starting to think that maybe it would be nice if I was going home. Miss my boy, miss my dog, miss my cats but when I woke up today – ready to go out and explore. Started with a great breakfast in the restaurant here and then headed off for La Brea Tarpits. Missed the turn down Wiltshire Boulevarde – no signs but checked the map the hotel provided and set off in the right direction. Had to pass the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – next stop thought I and then kept passing the museum. Mighty large place but soon the aroma of hot tar wafted up my nostrils -yes a little florid but I have had two cocktails (did I remember to tell you that). Into view came a very large Mammoth, little baby Mammoth (everyone say AWWWW) and poor Mummy Mammoth stuck in the tarpit. Must be close and so I was. Stopped for a cigarette and wondered what would happen if I threw the lit butt into the sludgy water – would it erupt into massive flames and melt the poor Mammoth family or would it just blub down to the bottom to be discovered by archaeologists in another 20/30/40 years. Didn’t do that so we will never know but I imagine there has has been a lot of rubbish chucked in there over the years.

Though there is a large land holding attached to the tarpits the museum is not that large but very interesting to a nerd like me. Paid to see the 3D movie, Titans of the Ice, and then wandered thru the displays of bones that have been discovered locked in tar over the last 100 or so years. Walking back through the back to head towards the art museum, there are green witches hats covered in gooey black muck that show where the tar has leached up thru the grass. I bravely strode across the grass, secure that if tar suddenly blooped around the feet and I was stuck that modern technology would save me. Luckily this did not occur. Phew I hear you say – the tension of the moment must have been excruciating.

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Having survived my stroll across the field of gooey bits, I went into the art museum. Now tempting though it is to bore you all with the details of the works I saw, I won’t – well not much. Seeing artists up close reveals so many more details and nuances than a picture every can. I like Wassily Kandinsky quite a lot but until I saw examples of his work, I did not realise how delicate and ethereal they are. The images float on the surface with a slight transparency that one can almost imagine that may float off the page. Saw a beautiful Rothko that just sent shivers down my spine and a magnificent Robert Motherwell that no photo could do justice do as it is about 4-5mtrs long and probably close to 2 metres high – mesmerising. I could probably rabbit on for so long over the works but I will not as I realise that for many reading this blog the above information probably translates to blah blah blah but for those who would like to see photos, I am going to load a couple or three. For those really not interested, just close your eyes and scroll down.

Robert Motherwell - think it is called Spain or For Spain. Doesn't do it justice

Robert Motherwell – think it is called Spain or For Spain. Doesn’t do it justice

Thought I had taken photos of the Kandinskys’ but apparently not so will have to show you something else that I found incredibly beautiful and ethereal.

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When seen in the flesh (or canvas) this work just glows and pulsates with light and colour. Yes I know I can rabbit on about art and I know that a lot of people say I don’t know anything about art; I don’t like art; I don’t get it but the thing about art is to just stand in front of a piece, empty your mind and let it fill you. Liking or appreciating a piece of art isn’t about knowing who the artist is or when it was painted or the various styles, it is simply allowing the work to enter your soul and start a conversation.

See told you I could wax lyrically and really I could probably write another paragraph or  more on why there is no such thing as not liking art or not understanding it but as this is not an art appreciation blog, I will not. Though I do so appreciate it and wonder why I do not do more work myself as it does sing to the core of my being but thats a tale for another time when I have had maybe 3 or more cocktails.

Lastly but no means least, must put up a photo of the Rothko. For me, Rothko’s work has a palpable spirituality that shines within every brushstroke. As I came into the gallery where this work was hung, a shiver went down my spine and I could have sat in front of it and contemplate the shimmer and shift of its presence but unfortunately I could not. Gallery was very large and I wanted to see the Frank Gehry (architect) exhibition but one day I will go to New York where there is a large collection and just sit and let myself be mesmerised by the beauty. I apologise in advance to all those who wonder what was in my cocktails that seems to have messed with my head and wonder what all the fuss is about and to the others who know what I mean, dream and drift with me.

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Sorry a little blurry – must have been the excitement.

Seems to have gone on and on and on – over 1100 words so I had better leave it there. Don’t worry will return to Hoover Dam and Bellagio fountains but today was such a great day I thought it would be nice to blog about a day with no dramas – not that there were anymore dramas. Louise’s nose is healing nicely and hotel accommodation has been fine and dandy. Haven’t lost any luggage at any time nor been robbed or mugged. I would say the holiday has been a success and I have had a fabulous time. The glitches were merely that and added to the adventure.

Cocktails making me very sleepy. Goodnight all. Coming home tomorrow. I am so looking forward to it but also to planning the next holiday. More blogging to come – after all must tell you about the in-between bits, musn’t I.

NOW WHERE WAS I

•October 28, 2015 • 1 Comment

AHHH thats right. I think we had finally arrived at The Grand Canyon. Following the road from Williams was easy, once we had found the right road. Night had fallen and I had no idea what was either side of the road but just kept heading straight. Hallelujah, gates of the park right in front. Only took about 12 hours all up to reach the park but mission accomplished. Fear and trepidation set in; after the balls up with my hotel booking, would there be a booking now. Oh yes. Last hurdle to conquer, flight of stairs up to the room. Completed.

Next morning up relatively early; apparently I snore very loudly, whoops. Breakfast and then off to walk to the rim. Almost to the village and I stop to take photo of Grand Canyon train. Please see below (I know sounds a bit boring but the good bit is still to come, so remain patient)DSCN0118

Beautiful isn’t it but that is not the good bit – well maybe not good but certainly unexpected and definitely not good for Louise.

Both need to go to the loo and, lo and behold, port-a-loos next to train station (but not a Kenny in sight). Off we go and as I am finishing my business, I hear Louise say sorry Amanda have ruined your day, I just ripped my nose open. Me, being me, thought she must have tripped coming out of said port-a-loo. Be a minute I shouted back and procedure to finish up. Exit loo and there is Louise with blood all over her hands and a nasty looking scratch on her nose. Did I say scratch. As I approached, she touched her nose and, whoa, the bottom centimetre of so of one side split apart like the alien’s mouth in Alien.

Luckily I had seen a sign that said clinic. Come sit in the shelter and I will go find the clinic says I. Ran (well, walked quickly) over to a building. Enter and explain to person inside that my friend had an accident and requires medical assistance. Says he will send a van over to transport us. I thought the clinic was maybe  just down the road so not sure why we need transport but, hey, hopefully he knows much more than I do. Run (again walked quickly) back to Louise and there is the van pulling up. No clinic is not nearby, need to drive. Caught my first glimpse of the canyon as we sped away to the clinic with our odd driver who does cartoon impersonations as we go. Arrive at clinic, pay driver and he goes. Doors won’t open and no intercom – it was like the Marie Celeste of clinics. Poor Louise is looking paler and paler and really I have no first aid knowledge. Time to walk around the building trying to gain egress. Eureka, find an intercom at back of building and explain situation. Lovely paramedic opens door. Bit of cleaning up, butterfly clip and we are good to go. Paramedics recommended that we travel to Flagstaff (hour there and back); we promise faithfully we will do so and then return to our sightseeing because 2 hours lost is, well 2 hours lost. No I did not refuse to take Louise. Bleeding stopped, not much pain and she made the decision to continue on.

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The Grand Canyon should be called the Fucking Amazing Grand Canyon – excuse my language. It is just mind glowingly beautiful and stunning. Everywhere you look there is something new to see and when you turn back to your original view, slight changes in light alter the colours, tones and shadows. I thought I was going to burn out my camera but it bravely held on. Surprisingly I only took 197 photos but I won’t show them all here. Just a couple more as I want to have the complete attention of anyone who wants to see my photos when I return – any volunteers. In case you were wondering, yes Louise was still doing fine and the nose was holding together.

Caught the shuttle bus and walked between some of the points. I had intend to walk the South Rim trail the entire 12 miles but my ambition may have outstripped my capability. Even only walking about 4 miles on the trail knackered me completely. Maybe next time. Okay promised photos so here we go.

Breakfast view

Breakfast view

Beautiful atrium off the cafe – most people sat inside with their backs to the view. What were they thinking. Cause you can’t see the full view but you get the picture. No view of Grand Canyon but a glorious day and ready for adventure.

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Loved seeing the elk just grazing on the edge of the road -this was in The Visitors Centre carpark after we had watched the sunrise – would have watch the sunset as well but as the previous post told you about the long long long trip, you know we weren’t there in time.

Anyway, almost missed the sunrise as well. I had set the alarm on my mobile  phone for 5am. During the night, I heard this strange ding ding ding and thought the alarm had gone off. No said Louise, it has been making that noise for a while and as it was only 1.45am, alarm not going off but battery power very low. Plug in phone, thinking that the alarm would still sound. Waking on/off till about 3am and then plunged into a deep sleep but only me as apparently I was snoring even louder and kept waking Louise up (just as well we were only sharing for two nights). Next thing I know, Louise is tapping my foot ; your alarm didn’t go off and it is now 5.50am. Oh no, thought we were going to miss sunrise. Chuck on clothes, quickly clean teeth and charge out the door.

Just missed the bus to connect with the bus to take us to Yaki Point (best place for sunrise). Next bus is at 6.18am. Can tell that Louise is thinking we are going to miss the sunrise, all because I can’t operate my phone but no, bus arrives, we make connection and got to Mather Point which is closer. A lot of people are rugged up in blankets and I am thinking idiots not that cold. How wrong I was. As we waited for the sun – goes up slower in northern hemisphere – cold starts to creep in but it was so worth it. As the sun rises slowly the colours on the rocks are amazing. Deep maroons and purples with light swallowing patches of black slowly wash out and lighten. Each minute reveals more of the rocks and the colours start to coalesce thru reds, pinks and oranges with flashes of yellow and white from the lighter hued rocks. At least 150-200 people are scattered around the lookout and barely a sound is heard except for the occasional aaah. Some of the braver souls climbed down the rock to escarpments that jutted out into open air like the prow of a ship -wish I were that brave but still fantastic view. So worth getting up early and, as it happened, if we had been there much earlier would have had to wait for over an hour, so serendipitous that I couldn’t set an alarm properly.

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So that is The Grand Canyon stopover finished.

We headed back to Las Vegas via a different route and arrived here without too much mishap by 7.30pm. Louise said I was driving much better on the way back and she felt so much more relaxed. Onto the fairy princess castle that is Excalibur. You have already heard of the slight hiccup when we arrived so I will not repeat myself (very unlike me I know). Next instalment – Hoover Dam or as the locals refer to it Boulder Dam. Another amazing structure but man made not natural this time.

Hope you like my pictures and, yes, Louise is much much better and the nose is healing nicely even without stitches. I am not allowed to take anymore pictures so cannot show you the progress.

Adios amigos – everything has Spanish subtitles over here

A little out of order but I hope you understand

•October 28, 2015 • 4 Comments

I seem to have skipped a day or two. Before embarking on my journey, I imagined that I would sit down every night and tell you all about my day, add some pictures, maybe some witty and insightful comments. Boy, was I deluded. At the end of every day I am so tired, I just want to sleep. Today is not so bad; Louise and I went on a tour to Hoover Dam and it was fantastic but before I start there, I might go back to the Grand Canyon, if I may.

Don’t know if I told you this but took us over 10 hours to drive to the Grand Canyon. Why?, you may well ask. Because I was a little distracted. Carefully checked the route on Google the night before leaving; wrote down the relevant twists, turns and detours. Turns out Google is not alway accurate. Sent us around in a circle – well I may have helped there. Finally managed to get out of Las Vegas and headed for the little town of Searchlight. Seemed straight forward enough.Hit Searchlight and stopped for breakfast – driving makes me hungry. Stopped at a Maccas located at a casino called Terrible’s. This had taken us about 90mins of a supposed 4 hour journey -mmmmm.

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In case you might not know where you are

Now it was time to head out of town and onwards to the Grand Canyon. Check my directions and said to head along the road but turn off just before Needles (yes real name) and head to Laughlin and Bullhead City (yes, again a real name).  Seemed straight forward and followed the route and lo and behold, Laughlin and then Bullhead City. What to do in Bullhead, of course, go into Target and buy a pillow – well thats what I did.

Now, some of you may agree with me, hotel pillows are like cotton case filled with cotton balls. Seems so nice and soft until you put your head on them and then you end up with about 10cm of pillow. So I went and bought a firm pillow. Good news is that Louise finds the pillows too small on the plane and is taking it back with her. Think I worked that out pretty well.

Anyway I stray away from the long long journey to come. Thinking that my written directions seem a little vague -head into servo ( or gas station) to ask directions and buy a map. That should help. Straight directions to Kingman –  the next town we need to reach. Follow said directions and yes Kingman is easily reached. Been a while since breakfast, so thinking need to stop for lunch. Is now about 1pm and we have been travelling since just after 7.30am – little longer than the so called four hours travel time. Did stop at a charming little restaurant called Calico’s and again asked for directions – can’t do that too many times but wait says the nice lady, route 66 is just around the corner. Oh yes, say I, sounds good and it was but after travelling for 2 or more hours along route 66, still seem to be no closer to Grand Canyon. I hope I don’t sound too negative because really the journey has been great fun for me, not so much for Louise as my driving skills seem to be a little erratic -no I didn’t drive on the wrong side, well once or twice but no cars. Mainly the car is much larger than my bubble and I get drifting into the other lane -oh well still no cars. Where was I, ah yes, route 66. It so fun to say that I have driven part of route 66 but don’t let anyone tell you it is an interesting drive because frankly the scenery is similar to driving along Port Wakefield Hwy but it is route 66. Any old how, to cut a long story short, we arrive in Seligman which the nice waitress at Calico’s said was a pretty town – matter of perspective. Now getting on for 4pm and, tempting as it was, no time to call into The Roadkill Cafe -next time.

End of route 66 and now onto interstate 40 for the run to Williams and then turning off to the Grand Canyon. Sounds so simple when typed but my opinion of my sense of direction is definitely declining. Now we are on a major road and lots of big trucks. Poor Louise was gripping the seat tightly every time I passed a truck – apparently I was a little too close but I didnt hit one. Scenery has gone up a notch too  but I can’t look around because I am concentrating on not hitting anyone.

Time for pictures I hear you say – and if not, why not. And time for me to bid you a good night. More tales from the road tomorrow and yes, as you have seen by the pictures we did eventually arrive but I will leave you on the edge of your seat as to what transpired. To tell you the truth, can’t seem to move cursor to continue writing under photos, so am leaving the rest till tomorrow. Must read the help about inserting some time. Cheers

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•October 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Okay I know that the heading is a bit goofy. After all you did not know that I had already attempted to enter this blog but I tell it like is happens. The sun was still up when I start but now is almost gone and the lights are sparkling and flashing to their own distempered beat.

I was telling you all, before I somehow deleted everything, that today had been a great day. Money released by Stratosphere back into my account. Two thirds of the money I had to  pay last night when booking in, has been returned and I managed to return the rental car with no dramas and no unintentional detours – it take over 10 hours to drive to The Grand Canyon but I thought it was fun. Anyway this was the view from my room as I started to type -sorry if it is a little unclear in parts but the window is none too clean.

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The Excalibur may be a little shabby and used around the edges but that is a fab view.

This morning went so quickly. After meeting up about 9.30am for breakfast, Louise and I took a walk through to The Luxor and The Mandalay – I want to stay at the Luxor next time. I felt a little odd taking photos everywhere but then I noticed the other nutters doing the same thing and felt part of a close knit but demented family. Here is a little peek at what I saw.  Drat and damnation, cannot get my pictures to go where I want them to go but at least here is one (I prepared earlier). If only I amused everyone else as much as I do myself. Editing not working so I will post this and tell you about the Hoover Dam next time.

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BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

•October 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It is after midnight and today Louise and I returned from the Grand Canyon. More dramas for me on the accommodation front – and yes don’t say it again, I will do all my own bookings next time. Anyway, too goddamn tired to talk about it but silver lining, room upgrade -fabulous views from window and Louise also received a room upgrade because we were together. Anyway here are a few Grand Canyon pics -don’t want to be moaning every time I blog.

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BY POPULAR DEMAND – OR SO I HOPE

•October 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Hello again

Has been a day or two since my last post. This one is going to be bright, chirpy and feel good -well the day felt good to me.

First item is specially for Fiona -sorry no guys, only a little booze but lots of walking and shopping for me. Wouldn’t say no to the first two but I do love to shop.

So where did I leave you all. AAAAH thats right, Stratosphere disaster. Well I think I can put that behind me now. Spoke to a manager today and she said that she had deleted the hold -money still not in account but will give them at least a day. Now that was at the end of the day. Might be a good idea to start at the beginning of today or may be yesterday.

Had breakfast with Louise at Denny’s – quite nice I want to find a genuine American Diner.

Obviously Louise has been pre-warned as to my erratic and frantic stop/start style of shopping and declined to join me. Cant think why. Whats the problem with darting from shop to shop or being distracted by something 50m away, only to return back to the start and duck off the other way. Okay I do get it.

Was going to head to a large shopping mall, Town Centre. Right at end of strip but then thought I would head to Walmart. Need a cheap burner phone -my phone has gone into SOS mode (whatever that is) and run out of battery power.

Hop on Deuce bus – $8 pass for 24hrs, comes about every 15mins and can hop on/off. Alighted from bus at Tropicana Ave because I vaguely remembered reading that bus to Walmart leaves from somewhere on Tropicana. Have a lovely wander thru the casino and then bit of a meander up Tropicana Ave – stop at a bus stop but can’t remember bus route. What is a girl to do? Change directions and head for the premium outlet. If only someone had told me that I had to walk halfway back to my hotel to get on the right bus but not to worry. Lets face if exercise is good for me.

Anyway you don’t need all the details of my trip except that I had a great time and Zac is going to be very happy when I get back. Three pairs of Levi jeans for $39each – woo hoo. Plus one or two other items but lets not talk about that. Just as well there was a little room left in the suitcase.

Its weird driving through Vegas. You have the glitz and glamour and bling of The Strip but then you have areas that look like a bomb zone. Bit more slightly dated glitz and glamour of Fremont St then more industrial wasteland -though there are this daggy, dilapidated unit blocks that just scream last ditch effort.

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It actually was a beautiful day so this almost looks okay -image if this was all you good afford to live in.

So shall we move onto the next day – my favourite so far.

As those of you who have checked FB, you are already aware that I went horse-riding today. Nice photo posted and very nice comments – thanks guys. I usually look like a guy in drag in photos but obviously being on holidays is good as I now have 2 good photos.

Loved my horse, a beautiful chestnut called Yukon. The ride was amazing. The scenery was just awesome. A little like the Flinders Ranges. Took loads of photos but will not be showing them all but probably just a few. The ranch was interesting. Apparently the owner , Bonnie Springs, bought the land in the early fifties and has lived there ever since. Guide said that in the 70s, the government bought up the surrounding and but se has refused to sell and still lives on the property at the grand age of 94yrs old. Sounds like a feisty old bird -I like her.

We started the day with breakfast – eggs, choice of meat and fried potatoes but somewhere along the way, I missed the bit about the 2 pancakes that also came with the meal. Only ate half, otherwise the horse really would have struggled.

Lucky for me they had mounting steps. Little bit of jiggling around and I was set. We only walked but the hour went so fast. Managed to dismount in the most inelegant manner but was surprised to find that after a little stretching, my legs started to function. Wonder if I will be stiff and sore tomorrow. Think may need drugs before bed.

Well have just tried to load pictures and they are saying no way. Well may be not exactly that but there is an error msg coming up. So my apologies all. Will check it out tomorrow. Tired and hungry – pizza tonight then drugs then sleep. Hope I can post photos tomorrow. The colours of the landscape are amazing. Grey, mustard, brown and  speckled black; suddenly rich ochre red zings thru the rock formation and it looks as though a giant has graffitied the rocks – beautiful.

Anyhoo, must away. Hopefully more tomorrow or maybe the day after when we reach the Grand Canyon.

Okay is now a new day and I am going to try to load my pictures and my blog -which if you can read this will make sense and if not I am talking to myself (not an uncommon event)

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How is the view – gobsmackingly gorgeous.

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Okay this time I thinks it will work.

More woes on the hotel reservations but will get it sorted