Monday, January 24, 2011

My last day in Hawaii

Today we spent our last day at the beach. The water was lovely and warm. Ironically it was much warmer than the hotel swimming pool. It took quite a bit of persuasion to get Mum and Dad into the water, as they were worried about jelly fish eggs, blue bottles and sea turtles. It was a wonderful surprise to see there were no little creatures like that on the beach. The amazing thing was how clear the water was. We could see our legs and feet in the water. During my tours I was told that the sand in Hawaii comes from Australia. It's come along away. I was also told that the Pineapples grown in Hawaii are not exported. They are sold on the island to restaurants, supermarkets etc. They are not picked until they are fully ripe in Hawaii. There is definitely a difference in colour and taste. The pineapple in Hawaii is a real golden yellow and it is very juicy. On the outside the pineapple skin is yellowy golden and not so green.
I think the problem with the pineapples that are exported to New Zealand is that they are not completely ripe and are green on the outside. The colour on the inside is more a pale yellowy lemon colour. In Hawaii, they used to can pineapples for export, but this stopped in the early 1990's as it became to expensive and it was much cheaper to can them in Asia.
Sugar Cane used to grow in Hawaii, but the factories closed down due to the cost in running them and was much cheaper to rely on Asia to make sugar. Some of the fruits grown in Hawaii are: Papaya, Bananas, Figs, Watermelons, Rock melons, Honey dew melons and Mango's.
The climate is perfect for growing tropical fruit.

I have to say that I've had a wonderful holiday. I am feeling rejuvenated and relaxed, ready for a busy year ahead. I have been truly blessed with the people whom I've met on my travels to Canada and to the USA. It has been the people who have welcomed me into their countries. Canadian and Americans are so warm and friendly. I have to say that they are very easy to make conversation with and for someone who loves talking, we have that automatic connection. As soon, as I open my mouth I'm always asked where are you from? I tell them New Zealand and some way or other they know of someone who has been down under or they've been down under. The service in shops and restaurants has been amazing. I certainly don't mind tipping one bit. It must be awfully hard living off your tips. In the USA, they have a lot of coins: pennies (1 cent), knickles (5 cents), dimes (10 cents) and quarters (25 cents). It takes a bit of getting used to and I have to say that shop assistants are very kind in helping me give the right change-virtually counting my coins. I have to say the attitude from the people has very positive around receiving small change. One morning I had about $5.00 worth of quarters. They do add up and Starbucks were happy to accept them.

Mahalo- Thank you everyone for visiting this blog. 8 hours and 15 minutes of flying in the air. All good things must come to an end. It has been a fantastic adventure and one thing I have learnt is that not all of the Northern Hemisphere has snow during this time of year. I think that as we are so far away that we make the assumption that everyone in the Northern Hemisphere has snow. This has not the case, but one I would recommend all kiwi's (New Zealanders) to do is have Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a magical experience and the heart of Christmas is here. The attitude of Christmas is so different over here in the Northern Hemisphere. You can buy: Christmas plates for the family, Christmas salt and pepper shakers, big bulbed lights for your houses, Christmas ornaments with lights inside, and stockings. Filling up a stocking with knick knacks is very special over here. Celebrating Christmas in Canada with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins was a truly amazing experience. Till next time, I'm back to saving the money for a new car and then it will be a brand new overseas adventure. Who knows where I'll be heading to? One things for sure, is that I will be visiting the library and reading up on my next overseas destinations.

Greeting from Hawaii-The Waikiki Trolley

Over these last two days I have been on the Waikiki Trolley.We took two different bus lines. The bus lines were colour coded. There was a red line that focused on the historical sites and the green trolley route focused on the beaches. On the green route we went to Diamond Head - a very scenic beach and great lookouts. The properties around the route would be in the millions. Great beach views. The red route took us to downtown Honolulu and to China Town. The fruit and vegetables at China Town looked very reasonable in price. The bananas were 59 cents a pound about 3 bananas. There was a lot of seafood in shells and crayfish crammed in cages. In downtown Honolulu we went to the Aloha Market. The Aloha Market was a bit of a hole and a lot of the shops were closed. The USA has been hit quite badly with the recession. We noticed this in Las Vegas where there were half built buildings just sitting there no workers, no action, no deadlines to completion. After we went to the Aloha Market we stopped off at the Ward Centre. The Ward Centre has a big sports shop-a bit like Rebel Sport. The prices for Addidas and Nike clothing were very reasonable. You could get an Addidas track suit for under $80. One of the best things about the Waikiki Trolley was the driver. The driver named Peter was a real laugh a minute. He would love at his own jokes and would "yeah yeehah" with every stop. He would joke with other drivers at the lights and would confidently speak Japanese. He was a bit like Jim Carey and Robin Williams combined-a bit slap stick.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Greetings from Hawaii

Hi everyone, as I'm on a roll with blogging I might as well write about today adventure. Today I did the Grand Circle Island tour around Oa'hu and we made a stop to the Dole Pineapple plantation. It was fantastic. We made stops at surf beaches, calm beaches, look outs over the island. The scenery was very pretty. Unfortunately I don't have the pamphlet on me at the moment, I'm typing this at a Starbucks Cafe two doors up. Better WIFI here than in the hotel lobby. We stopped at a ranch for lunch. The people on the tour were very friendly. There was a lady that said that if I was sitting on my own for lunch that I was than welcome to join her. Her and her husband (Ruth & Stu) were from Pittsburg Pensylvania. They were very interesting to talk to. We also went on a tram ride around the ranch. I took some great photos. Will write more in the morning. See ya

China Man's Hat also known as Mokolii Island. This island was opposite the ranch that we dined at.

Haunama Bay-Oahu

Greetings from Hawaii

Aloha everyone. These last two days have been very exciting and Educational. Yesterday (Thursday) I went to the Polynesian Cultural Centre. It was simply amazing. We took the bus which was part of the tour package and we left from Waikiki. It was a 75 minute bus ride. The guide on the bus was our guide for the whole experience. He was from Samoa. At the Cultural Centre their were different themed villages based on the islands in the South Pacific. These islands were: Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti. Hawaii was also included. During the tour the guide (Billy) took us round to the different themed villages. The people who were in the villages were from the countries. Each representative gave a talk and then played some music, got the audience to join in and make fire with sticks. Fiji focused on getting us to tap a fairly large stick on the ground keeping in time with the singer and ukalele players. It was fun. The Hawaiian village people taught us this dance, the Tongan village people played the drums and got the three members to join in. The Samoan village person demonstrated climbing up a coconut tree, stripping the bark off it and opening it neatly then shredding the main part into pieces. He also did some fire walking.

That night we had a buffet dinner and show. The dinner had island style food and yes a full sized pig came out of the ground. I did have some of him but during the night I mainly stuck to salad and vegetables. There was entertainment through dinner. Lots of different culture groups performing-singing and dancing. After dinner we went to a show called Breath of life. This show focused on a child's journey visiting the islands/cultures etc. It was cleverly done. The show was one and a half hours long. The costumes and music were simply amazing. The strangest thing that I noticed were that the New Zealand Maori performers were not wearing flax skirts, they wore skirts made out of material. I wonder whether this maybe due to customs this end not allowing flax into the country, however the Tongan team had their outfits made of flax or something very similar.

Overall it was a great day. We were given a real flower lei at dinner time which made the day very authentic.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Greetings from Hawaii

Aloha everyone, I hope you are all having a nice holiday and enjoying the kiwi summer. Yesterday I visited Honolulu Zoo. It was great seeing animals. There were Kupu's, elephants, giraffes, reptiles, monkeys,flamingoes, different types of crocodiles and tortoises. We watched the elephants being washed down. It was a 20 minute procedure for just on elephant. It was quite a big zoo, but very natural. Lots of palm trees, grass and tropical plants. At lunch time we bought some lunch at the zoo's cafeteria. We had it under the big sun umbrellas. Little did we realize we had company. Peacocks and P hens to join us. The peacocks were quite aggressive. The people across from us bought some fries and these large chicken nuggets. The food was sitting about a good 15cm from the edge of the table, along came the peacock and grabbed one of their chicken nuggets. He ran off to the bushes and other P hens followed. During afternoon tea time we saw kids who were eating their lunch were being harrassed by these peacocks. I think they were terrified by the end of it.
After the trip to the zoo we went back to the hotel. The hotel has a swimming pool and we had a swim. The pool wasn't heated but was one of those pools where you have to move round constantly to stay warm. I did about 15 lengths. At night we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. They had a special deal on Pina Coladas with refills. I of course had a main, but once I got tired in drinking my piƱa Colada I gave it to Mum to finish off. She enjoyed it, it wasn't to strong with alcohol and I'm feeling good this morning. Today I am off to the Polynesian Cultural Centre. Looking forward in learning about the culture of people living Hawaii.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Greetings from Hawaii

Hi everyone, I'm having a great time in Hawaii. The pace of life is a lot quieter and it is a very clean city. The beaches are amazing with golden sand and real palm trees. I'm staying at hotel two blocks away from the beach. There are lots of great restaurants around here. More in the way of a-la carte which I prefer than buffet-which Vegas tended to promote. Today we (Mum, Dad and myself) went to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre. This is the largest outdoor shopping in the world.

The Ala Moana Shopping Centre: Mum and I

We caught the Trolley bus which was free to the mall. I bought three pairs of jeans made from a light weight drapping material and for a short person. It's just great these petite sizes. I also went to to a Hawaiian shop Hula Hattie which focused on pearls. There a bit of a catch when we went in. The lady wanted us to play this game in which she gave three keys to us to open this treasure chest. Mum and my keys could not open the chest. Dad tried with his key and managed to open the chest. Inside there were some material bags with messages inside. He picked one bag and the message 50 percent off. From there we had to choose an oyster shell. There were about 20. I choose the lucky oyster. From there I was told to tap it three. My first tap was a hard one. I honestly thought you had to crack it open. After three taps we had to say Aloha. Then the lady cut the shell open. Inside were two pearls growing. It was very cool. We decided to make the pearls into earrings. I chose a stainless steel base and from there the lady drilled holes and glued them onto the base. They cost $60. I chose an earring which wasn't too heavy but still had the elegance.

Definitely not my dinner, but these are clam shells. These are the shells in which pearls grow inside them. Sometimes you might end up having one pearl growing in a clam shell, but I was lucky had two pearls growing in a shell.

Yesterday we flew for six hours from Las Vegas to Hawaii. It was a direct flight. The flight had heavy turbulence on the way to Hawaii. I kept thinking what worse a rollercoaster or heavy turbulence. I think the turbulence. However it was worth it. Hawaii is a place I would definitely go back to. It's more me. The weather is very warm and I'm in my shorts and T shirt. Might go to the beach tomorrow or have a swim at the hotel. This is the life, however it will come to an end next week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Greetings from Las Vegas

At the moment I am sitting in Las Vegas airport waiting for my flight call to board my plane to Hawaii. I have enjoyed my time in Las Vegas which is known as Sin City / the Silver City. I have to say it's probably not ranked as my favourite city in the USA to visit. During the day time they have these sleezy men giving out cards of naked / partially naked women advertising strip clubs. These men wave these cards round to attract male attention. They did that a couple of times to my father but he just ignored them. They also have this type of advertising on the top of hotels which I think is very degrading and I don't see the male strip club advertising any where. One good thing about Las Vegas are the shows and Overseas singers that come and perform at these posh hotels. I have to say I really liked the layout of San Francisco and San Diego more for their layout. Plus it's not all casino's. Last night I did a Neon lights tour of the city. I don't normally go out at night but I felt when I was planning my holiday that I can't go to Vegas without seeing the lights. The Neon lights tour started at 5:50pm and finished at 10:30pm. I was picked up and dropped off from my hotel. The first stopped we made was visiting this diamond shaped Las Vegas sign that is featured in books and post cards. It was put up in 1958. The next stop was going to the Ballagio Hotel. The Ballagio has a fountain that is in sync to music and plays every half an hour. We listened to the Pink Panther them song. After this we went inside the Ballagio. Inside there was a Chinese themed garden that focused on the Chinese new year. This year it is the year of the rabbit. There were rabbit type statues small and big bunnies. After this we went to the Mirage Hotel. The Mirage has an erupting Volcano that is programed to erupt every 30 minutes. It was very impressive. As I watched the fake lava come out I could feel the heat of the flames. The show went on for 15 minutes. After this we drove along the Wedding Chapel strip. People can have different themed weddings here. If you're a fan of Elvis then you can have an Elvis themed Wedding-too weird for me. After the short drive we went to Fremont St. Fremont St is the oldest Casino strip before the new city / downtown was built on. The famous casino on Fremont St is the Golden Nugget and it has a Neon cowboy on top of it. This cow boy is pictured in books. Fremont St had a lot of entertainment such as people going on zips / flying foxes up high to get from one end to the other. There were lots of singers on stages and every hour they have a dedication to a music artist. At 10 pm they played The music to Queen. There was a light show that accompanied the music and it was all in time. Unfortunately I didn't win any money at the Golden Nugget Casino. I went on two slot machines and spent $2.00.

The Neon Cow boy found in books. Photo taken on Fremont St-older Las Vegas
The Gentlemen's club-way too many of these in Vegas.

Entertainment on the ceiling on a big marquee. Every hour from 7 to midnight a featured artist is played. I was lucky to listen to Queen (Freddy Mercury).

Wedding Chapel Mile-kind of cheapens Weddings as far as I'm concerned. A little too corny.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Greetings from Las Vegas

Yesterday we had some retail therapy. Three years ago I discovered the shop Athletes Foot and ever since then I have been buuying shoes for my wide foot. Yesterday Mum wanted to buy some sneekers. She was told in Christchurch that there was an Athletes foot in Las Vegas. Dad googled it and found the location, from there we got a cab to this store. One thing that astonished me was the selection of shoes and how cheap labelled shoes were. Nike shoes ranged from $50 upwards. I got a pair of light weight red and grey Brookes sneakers for $109. When I tried them on they felt like slippers. Mum got a pair of New Balance shoes which were $109 back home she would have spent $250 back home in New Zealand. In the afternoon I went jeans shopping. I went to the Fashion Centre Mall and bought two pairs of Levi jeans at a big department store called Macys. At the moment here in Las Vegas there are plenty of sales and the interesting thing is that the pairs of jeans were on sale but when I took them to the counter they were reduced even more in price. I paid $70 for the jeans which included taxes. I have to say customer service is amazing over here. Jeans are one of those clothing items that require time and I had twosales assistants working for me. The women were fantastic and they knew the styles that looked good on me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Greetings from Las Vegas

Hi everyone, still no wins but gains with going to great shows and seeing terrific scenery. Yesterday I went to the Grand Canyon. There was lots of snow. The Canyon was spectacular as it had many layers of red rock. It kind of reminded me of sedimentary rock. I took a day tour and it took 5 hours to get there. We stopped at the Hoover Dam to take photos. The Hoover Dam was very interesting as the bride divided the states: Nevada and Arizona. Before we went over the bridge it was Nevada and once you drive over the bridge you're in Arizona. The dam was built in 1931. 114 people lost their lives building the dam. On the way to the Hoover Dam we went past a little township called Bouder City. In Bouder City it is illegal to have any gambling facilities of any sort. This was made law in the 1970's. The late Bob Hope and Celine Dion have properties out there. Bouder City is about 45 minutes out of Las Vegas. Celine Dion and Cher are quite big here. Cher is playing here at the moment.
The Cirque Du Solei show on Thursday night was great. The stage was a big dive pool but was also an ordinary stage. It just lifted up from dive pool to ordinary stage. It was a synchronized swiMming show combined with acrobatic moves. The hotel that it was performed in had marble floors and walls. Very posh. Must go off to find Mum and Dad as we are off to do some shopping today. At 4 pm I am off to see the Lion King show at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Mum and Dad saw this a few years back so I'm seeing it on my own. Tomorrow I am doing a neon lights tour of Las Vegas from 5:30pm to midnight.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Greetings from Las Vegas

Hi everyone, I am having a great time in Las Vegas. I have to admit I am a little luke warm towards liking Las Vegas. Some of the Casino's I have visited are full of stale smoke and need a good airing. There Pokie machines every where. I have been to one but didn't anything not even any credits. There is a great shopping centre called the Fashion Centre which has a big Department store called Macys. Macys has a wonderful selection of jeans for short people dress and casual jeans. This shopping centre has won me. Today I am out with my parents. We have been to the MGM casino and Mum and I had our photo taken with a 15 week old lion cub called Bear-like Teddy Bear. He was very cute. I also went to the Luxor Casino which is themed like an Egyptian Pyramid. I have also bought tickets to see the Lion King on Saturday night. Tomorrow I am off to the Grand Canyon. Tonight I am off to see the Cirque du Solei show called O. It's at a posh marble hotel called the Bellagio.

Inside the Bellagio Hotel-5 star hotel owned by Steve Wynn

Inside Caesar's Palace Hotel-the Hotel where Celine Dion sings

Inside the Planet Hollywood Hotel

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye Orlando

Today marks a whole new adventure. Today I am flying to Las Vegas. I am at Orlando Airport and have been through security, no x-rays or pat downs. The man just guided me through the arch way to collect my carry on luggage. I am sitting at my gate. The Orlando Airport experience wasn't too daunting as I had been to this airport before and I just followed the signs. I have really enjoyed my time in Orlando. The Disney Resort was a fantastic place to stay in as there was transport to and from the theme parks every twenty minutes and at night I would go to Downtown Disney where there were heaps of Restaurants to choose from and there were plenty of Disney shops to buy from. I would love to come back to Orlando again. Next time I would probably divide my stay between two hotels: Disney and one on International Drive. International Drive has Sea World and Universal Studios. It also has Discovery Cove where you can swim with Dolphins and Wonder works. I would like to do a city and sights tour and also a hop on /hop off tour. The cell phone is working well however it takes dollars off for incoming calls. It doesn't run on a sim card just a battery and has a booklet with easy to follow instructions. Daily use-when I use it costs 99 cents a day plus calls cost 10 cents a minute. Last night I discovered that if you go onto the phones website through the phone you can find the locators of calling cards. You just need to enter the zip code and state and it states how many miles it takes. Pretty cool. I am sitting on $3 at the moment but when I get to Vegas I know the seven eleven store has my card for my phone. I don't need to travel to Walmart which seems to be out in the suburbs. Today I have a 5 hour flight to Phoenix Arizona and a 1 hour flight to Las Vegas from Phoenix. I am very lucky with flights. At the moment Atlanta Georgia and Dallas Texas has snow. The airports are closed, just as well I'm not flying to Dallas. Well that's all of the news from me. I hope that my hotel Circus, Circus in Las Vegas has WIFI. If there is a Starbucks I will base myself there. I will be meeting my parents in Las Vegas. It's hard to believe I have 12 days left of my precious holiday. Time is going too fast.
Miami in FloridaThe Adam's Family House which was featured on the TV series

Edith Piaf's House
Julio Iglasias' House

Miami Beach

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Greetings from Orlando

Hi Everyone, today has been a great day for getting out of my comfort zone with Rollercoaster rides. Today I decided to do the rides I had missed out on due to long queues and waiting times. I topped up my four day pass and made it into a five day pass. As I had the hopper option on my card I was able to visit as many theme parks in one day. The first park I went to was EPCOT. I wanted to do the Sourin ride which a hanglider type ride where you would fly over California. It felt very real as you looked at this screen and it made you feel you were flying over rivers, trees etc. Then I went to see the Lion King Show which was a conservation type movie. After this I headed to the Hollywood Studios. It was much quieter compared to Sunday. I went on the Toy Story ride in which you had to wear 3 D glasses and earn points by shooting targets using a laser gun attached to a buggie. After this I had asterisked on my map to do the Hollywood Tower of Terror. The Tower of Terror is a ride which goes up to the equivalent of 13 stories and then it suddenly drops and you go up and down for about three times. I stood outside the main entrance to this ride and thought will I or won't I. Then I thought Joy you have come along way and I knew one of Mum's friends who did the ride. I chickened out in California when I saw it and thought I would do it here in Florida. I did it!!! Screamed all the way down. By the time the ride finished my legs were like jelly. As I was in the adrenilin rush mood I went on Aerosmith's Rollercoaster ride that went upside down, backwards and sudden stops. It went 60 miles an hour. I bought the souvenir photo to go with the ride. After this I went to Animal Kingdom and had a quiet time. I went to the petting zoo and patted the baby goats, sheep, cow. Very relaxing give them some of my rollercoaster jitters.

The Hollywood Tower of Terror
Aerosmith's ride that went 60 miles an hour

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Greetings from Orlando

Hi everyone,

I had another fantastic day here in Orlando. I have to say the Americans are very friendly and welcoming. Today I visited Disney's Hollywood Studios. It was very busy and there long queues for rides and the fast pass ticket machine ran out of tickets. So I decided to avoided curing I thought I would see some of the live theater shows such as the Little Mermaid, Prince Caspian, the Indiana Jones stunt show and the behind the scenes tour looking at special effects, wardrobe departments etc. I also meant from a Walt Disney biography theatre session that Mickey Mouse was originally called Mortimor Mouse that Lillian Disney Walt's wife thought that Mortimour was a bit pompous and liked the name Mickey and so the drawn mouse had a name change. It was interesting to hear that Mickey Mouse has 170 costumes/outfits. He has more clothes than me. I really liked the great movies ride which looked at movies over time using puppetronics. There was the Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Bugsy Malone, Mark Twain movies and a very early film that had a lot of sychronized swimming in it made in the 1930's. Tomorrow I am visiting Magic Kingdom and then on Tuesday I am really tempted to get a one day hopper pass to do the rides I have missed in Orlando. I also need to post away a parcel of shopping down to New Zealand. Love the shopping here bought a couple of Disney Cross Stitch kits the other day. Well I better catch the bus back to my resort.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Greetings from Orlando

The Disney All Star Music Resort-this was the area that I stayed in:- The Rock & Roll area

Hi everyone it feels like ages since I last updated my travel blog. I am staying at a Disney Resort which has two outdoor swimming pools and it is music themed. I am staying at the Rock & roll block. Unfortunately it doesn't have wireless WIFI. If I had my school laptop on me I would be able to use an ethenet cable so for these last few days I have been missing the net. On Wednesday I went to EPCOT which is one of Disneys theme parks. The park was divided into two parts. The first part was on space exploration rides to do with the future and the second part was on the World Showcase featuring themed villages from around the world. There was: Canada, Britain, France, Morocco, Italy, Germany, America, Norway, Japan, Mexico and China. I liked going to the world showcase as they showed movies, had themed rides and souvenirs on the country.On Thursday I went on a tour to Miami and the Everglades. The Everglades is an alligator farm. I had the most memorable experience at the Everglades. At the alligator show this Cuban zoo keeper demonstrated wrestling an alligator and explained his moves. After this he called a person from the audience to wrestle this large alligator. Out of all people he chose me. I was so nervous and he sounded so convincing. In the end he pulled out this medium sized alligator which had tape over it's mouth and showed me how to handle it. Then it was a photo shoot session with me and the alligator. He was quite cute the way we had to hold him. Then after this we went to Miami. I had lunch there with my tour group. After this we went on this harbour cruise. It was 1.5 hours. The tour was 16 hours meant to be 14 hours.Yesterday I was not very well. I don't know whether it was food poisoning, exhaustion, a 24 hour bug but at 2:45am yesterday I was vomiting and had the runs. I haven't been that sick in years. I just took it easy at the resort no theme parks. I did go out and get a cell phone at Walmart. I paid $14.95 for it with $10 credit on it. Mum and Dad here is my new number: 321 246 5622. I will leave it on. I think there is a 4 hour time difference to where you are. Orlando is ahead of time.Today I woke up feeling much better and have avoided the American diet of fried foods and have stuck to fruit. I went to the Rainforest Cafe tonight at Downtown Disney. I had a lambshank with vegetables. It was very nice. You'll be surprised to know I'm at Downtown Disney and it's 9 o'clock lots of people around and regular Disney resort buses to pick us up. I love this set up.
EPCOT-Walt Disney Theme Park. Future LandThe World Showcase:




My Alligator Experience

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I have made it to Orlando. Two big airports to contend with. Dallas had four separate terminals in which you had to get the Sky Link train to. The plane landed at terminal d and I had to depart Dallas at terminal c. When I got to Orlando I had to get the shuttle tram to take me to the baggage area. Then I went down to level 1 for my Disney Express ride. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of level 1 so I asked a man to show me where to go. I am sitting on the Disney bus to take me to my resort. I am feeling exhausted and hungry I think if I did this trip again I would probably have a night in Dallas. There is a three hour difference between Vancouver and Orlando. Orlando is three hours ahead in time. We are waiting for more people to get on the bus I wonder how long we have to wait. I'm looking forward to getting myself cleaned and having a shower. The weather is about 20 degrees celcius a contrast to Vancouver. I feel I am making silly mistakes due to tiredness I wish the driver could come and drive the bus. I am tired of waiting and so are the kids in the bus LOL.


I am at Vancouver airport and they have wireless internet. I passed all security checks. There were no pat downs or x-rays. They were there. The only thing that I had to do was take off my coat after I had been through the guy with his security wand, I didn't mind. After this I lined up to go through the x-ray machine but the woman said I've been cleared and I didn't need to do it. Then I went through to the American Border security area. I had a very nice man who served me. My finger prints and thumb scanned well. He kept saying stunning after his tests on me. He told me to smile for the camera and when I did he said stunning. He knew about the ESTA form that I did online I didn't need to show him. I had it ready. Then after this he wished me a happy new year. I've been told that's all the checks they will do. All I need to do is to enjoy my time flying and find my gate in Dallas. As for my suitcase it will meet in Orlando. In Vancouver it automatically goes through the security checks. So far I have found my gate and I am enjoying a fruit parfeit before my flight. I sometimes think that the media blows American security out of proportion. I honestly thought every passenger would either be patted down or x-ray but this snap shot experience has proven other wise. So far, so good. Good news, I will be bringing some Canadian money home with me, which means another trip in the not so distant future. YES!!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Vancouver

Hi everyone,
This will be my last post from Canada, but don't despair I've read that my Walt Disney resort hotel has wireless Internet in Orlando. At the moment I am on the BC Ferry heading back to Vancouver. From there I catch my 2001 bus which is on Deck 2 and I will take the bus back to the bus depot. Then I will get a taxi to my hotel. Today I sent three large parcels back to New Zealand, as I don't want to have limited suitcase space / weight when I head to the USA. It will be a very early start tomorrow morning an early rise of 4:30am. My flight departs Vancouver at 7:45am and i have to be at the airport two hours before my flight, but I'd rather be early than late. I didn't have much luck getting my Canadian cell phone unlocked to work in the USA but may try getting it unlocked at a mobile place at the airport. Today I heard that the Dallas airport is huge, if it looks unlikely I will buy a little cheapy in the states, so I can correspond with you Mum and Dad when arrive in LA and Las Vegas. So far the weather temperatures for Dallas and Orlando appear to be fine so hopefully no delays. The weather temperatures in Orlando are over 20 degrees. In Victoria there has been highs of 5 and lows of -3 degrees. I will be wearing a T shirt and a merino top tomorrow. A contrasting wardrobe. Tonight when I get back to Vancouver I aim to have my dinner in the tallest building in Vancouver at the Empire Landmark Hotel. It has a revolving restaurant called Cloud 9. It is only 130m away from hotel and I just need to cross one set of lights. If Robson St is busy I will go. I've checked the menu and for three courses it is about $40. I'm not sure when I will be back to Canada. My goal is to upgrade my car save hard this year and around graduation next year 2012 I will get a new car or a good second one. I would like to visit the UK and Europe there after. One things for sure Victoria has not seen the back of me I will be back.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My last night in Victoria

Tonight is my last night in Victoria British Columbia. It's hard to believe that my Canadian adventure is coming to an end. Tomorrow I will be catching the bus-ferry-bus back to Vancouver. It's about a four hour process. I will be spending tomorrow night at my hotel in Vancouver, then early Tuesday morning I will be flying to Orlando Florida. I will be transferring flights in Dallas Texas. The flight is 7 hours in total, but I spend around 2 hours at Dallas Airport. I hope everything goes smoothly entering into the USA-what will be will be. I've never had to transfer flights before, which I'm a little nervous about. As long as my suitcase meets me at the other end then I'll be happy. I will be asking at the Vancouver airport as to whether I need to pick up my suitcase in Dallas and to re-check it in or whether it meets me in Orlando. All I know is that a big airport will await me either way. I am looking forward to visiting Disney World visiting the Epcot Centre (theme park focusing on different countries around the world) and also doing my day tours around Florida-Miami Beach, the Everglades.

Visiting Sidney

Yesterday I went to Sidney with my Mum's friend Barb and her husband Russ. It was a very crisp cool morning about 2 degrees and it was fine blue skies. Sidney is a sea side village. It has been built on quite a bit since my last visit. We walked round some of the bay and then we went to a book shop. It is amazing here with the number of hobby magazines that are available. I bought a cross stitch magazine with Christmas themed patterns in. I keep thinking one day it would be great to do more of my embroideries. It was great looking at these quaint little shops, most were closed due to New Years Day. We had lunch in Sidney. I shouted Russ and Barb lunch at a restaurant over looking the harbour. It was very nice. A few things I have noticed in Victoria are that if you order a burger/sandwich you can substitute fries for soup or salad for no extra cost. I have also noticed that if you have drank all your lemonade there are free top ups. I like that idea however you do pay in the tip and also hidden taxes are added to the bill. A menu may charge $8.95 for a bowl of French Onion Soup, but may cost $10.00 to cover taxes. The portion size of food is generous.